Cultural Comparison Paper
There are many cultural differences between the United States and France. Some of these are simply social and others are cultural. Hofstede’s Value Dimensions can be used to highlight the differences between the cultures. Individualism vs collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity/femininity, power distance, and long-term vs short-term orientation are all characteristics that differ between France and the United States.
In Communications Between Cultures individualism and collectivism are described by researchers as “self-orientation versus collective orientation as one of the basic pattern variables that determine human action.” These differences can be found in family life, school, and workplace interactions. Both France and the United States believe in individualism. Some components of individualism are (1) the individual is the single most important unit in any social setting, (2) independence rather than dependence is stressed, (3) individual achievement is rewarded, and (4) the uniqueness of each individual is of paramount value (Samovar, Porter and McDaniel). Both countries also stress individual initiative and achievement, and they value individual decision making. The United States ranks number 1 and France is ranked 10/11 according to Hofstede’s findings.
Uncertainty avoidance looks at the level of tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity within a culture. France has a high uncertainty-avoidance tendency while the United States has a low one. Some common traits found in country’s with high uncertainty avoidance, including France, are countries/cultures with a long history, the population is not multicultural, risks, even calculated, are avoided in business, and new ideas and concepts are more difficult to introduce [ (International Business Cultures) ]. Cultures with high uncertainty avoidance try to minimize uncertainty through strict laws and rules as well as safety and security measures. People in...
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Making Sense of Cross Cultural Communication. 11 June 2010 <http://www.clearlycultural.com/geert-hofstede-cultural-dimensions/long-term-orientation/>.
Samovar, Larry A, Richard E Porter and Edwin R. McDaniel. Communication Between Cultures. Belmont: Thomson Higher Education, 20007.
Yates, Mike. Cultural Differences: It 's More than Geography that Matters. 13 June 2010 <http://www.growing-global.com/detail.asp?ID=23>.
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