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MIB ASSIGNMENT

Q-3 Explain various cultural frameworks given by different


or understanding cross cultural differences. Give suitable example to illustrate
thse frameworks.
Solution
The word 'culture' is derived from the Latin cultus, meaning cult or worship. The word culture in
our society has many connotations: artistic, elitist and biological to name but a few. In the
context of international business, culture may be defined as learned patterns of behavior or
guidelines for behavior which are primarily passed on from parents to their children but also by
social organizations, special interest groups, the government, schools, and churches.

Cultural frameworks given by different aupperities for understanding cross cultural


differences are :Edward T. Hall study
Edward T. Hall was an anthropologist who made early discoveries of key cultural factors. In
particular he is known for his high and low context cultural factors.

1. Context
High context
In a high-context culture, there are many contextual elements that help people to understand
the rules. As a result, much is taken for granted.
This can be very confusing for person who does not understand the 'unwritten rules' of the
culture.

Low context
In a low-context culture, very little is taken for granted. Whilst this means that more

explanation is needed, it also means there is less chance of misunderstanding particularly


when visitors are present.

2. Time
Monochronic time
M-Time, as he called it, means doing one thing at a time. It assumes careful planning and
scheduling and is a familiar Western approach that appears in disciplines such as 'time
management'.
Monochronic people tend also to be low context.

Polychronic time
In Polychronic cultures, human interaction is valued over time and material things, leading to
a lesser concern for 'getting things done' -- they do get done, but more in their own time.
Aboriginal and Native Americans have typical polychronic cultures, where 'talking stick'
meetings can go on for as long as somebody has something to say.
Polychronic people tend also to be high context.

3. Space
Hall was concerned about space and our relationships within it. He called the study of such
space Proxemics.
We have concerns about space in many situations, from personal body space to space in the
office, parking space, space at home.

The need for space

Some people need more space in all areas. People who encroach into that space are seen as a
threat.
Personal space

is an example of a mobile form of territory and people need less or greater

distances between them and others. A Japanese person who needs less space thus will stand
closer to an American, inadvertently making the American uncomfortable.
Some people need bigger homes, bigger cars, bigger offices and so on. This may be driven by
cultural factors, for example the space in America needs to greater use of space, whilst
Japanese need less space (partly as a result of limited useful space in Japan).

4. High territoriality
Some people are more territorial than others with greater concern for ownership. They seek to
mark out the areas which are theirs and perhaps having boundary wars with neighbors.
This happens right down to desk-level, where co-workers may do battle over a piece of paper
which overlaps from one person's area to another. At national level, many wars have been
fought over boundaries.
Territoriality also extends to anything that is 'mine' and ownership concerns extend to material
things. Security thus becomes a subject of great concern for people with a high need for
ownership.
People high territoriality tend also to be low context.

Low territoriality
People with lower territoriality have less ownership of space and boundaries are less important
to them. They will share territory and ownership with little thought.
They also have less concern for material ownership and their sense of 'stealing' is less
developed (this is more important for highly territorial people).

People with low territoriality tend also to be high context.

HOFSTEDES STUDY
Hofstede's study demonstrated that there are national and regional cultural groupings that affect
the behaviour of societies and organizations, and that are very persistent across time.
Based on his IBM study in 72 different countries, Hofstede identifies five of these differences in
mental programming, which he calls five dimensions:
1. Power distance
Power Distance Index (PDI) focuses on the degree of equality, or inequality, between people in
the country's society. A High Power Distance ranking indicates that inequalities of power and
wealth have been allowed to grow within the society. These societies are more likely to follow a
caste system that does not allow significant upward mobility of its citizens. A Low Power
Distance ranking indicates the society de-emphasizes the differences between citizen's power and
wealth. In these societies equality and opportunity for everyone is stressed.
2. Collectivism versus Individualism
Individualism (IDV) focuses on the degree the society reinforces individual or collective,
achievement and interpersonal relationships. A High Individualism ranking indicates that
individuality and individual rights are paramount within the society. Individuals in these societies
may tend to form a larger number of looser relationships. A Low Individualism ranking typifies
societies of a more collectivist nature with close ties between individuals. These cultures
reinforce extended families and collectives where everyone takes responsibility for fellow
members of their group.
3. Femininity versus Masculinity
Hofstedes study suggested that mens goals were significantly different from womens goals and
could therefore be expressed on a masculine and a feminine pole. Where feminine values are

more important (Sweden; France, Israel, Denmark, Indonesia), people tend to value a good
working relationship with their supervisors; working with people who cooperate well with one
another, living in an area desirable to themselves and to their families, and having the security
that they will be able to work for their company as long as they want.
Masculinity (MAS) focuses on the degree the society reinforces, or does not reinforce, the
traditional masculine work role model of male achievement, control, and power. A High
Masculinity ranking indicates the country experiences a high degree of gender differentiation. In
these cultures, males dominate a significant portion of the society and power structure, with
females being controlled by male domination. A Low Masculinity ranking indicates the country
has a low level of differentiation and discrimination between genders. In these cultures, females
are treated equally to males in all aspects of the society.
4. Uncertainty avoidance
Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) focuses on the level of tolerance for uncertainty and
ambiguity within the society - i.e. unstructured situations. A High Uncertainty Avoidance ranking
indicates the country has a low tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity. This creates a ruleoriented society that institutes laws, rules, regulations, and controls in order to reduce the amount
of uncertainty. A Low Uncertainty Avoidance ranking indicates the country has less concern
about ambiguity and uncertainty and has more tolerance for a variety of opinions. This is
reflected in a society that is less rule-oriented, more readily accepts change, and takes more and
greater risks.
5. Long-term versus Short-term orientation
A long term orientation is characterized by persistence and perseverance, a respect for a
hierarchy of the status of relationships, thrift, and a sense of shame. Countries include China;
Hong Kong; Taiwan, Japan and India. A short-term orientation is marked by a sense of security
and stability, a protection of ones reputation, a respect for tradition, and a reciprocation of
greetings; favors and gifts. Countries include: Britain, Canada, the Philippines; Germany,
Australia
CRITICISM OF HOFSTEDES MODEL

Geert Hofstedes depiction of enduring and powerful national cultures or national cultural
differences is legendary. If his findings are correct they have immense implications for
management within and across countries, and for the future of nation states - including the
prospects for greater European integration. However, closer examination of his research reveals
that it relies, in my view, on fundamentally flawed assumptions. This article examines four
crucial assumptions upon which his measurements are based. These assumptions are crucial in
the sense that each is necessary for the plausibility of his identification claims. It is argued that
they are all flawed and that therefore his national cultural descriptions are invalid and
misleading.
Assumption 1: Every micro-location is typical of the national
Assumption 2: Respondents were already permanently mentally programmed with three noninteracting cultures
Assumption 3: The main dimensions of a national culture can be identified by questionnaire
response difference analysis
Assumption 4: That identified in the workplace is unaffected by location