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The term culture has been defined in a variety of ways.
Although culture is guiding conceptual principle of anthroplogy, there are many
definitions of the term.eg..

Edward Tylor in the nineteenth century, defined culture as

“that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals,
law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of
(More recently, Clyde Kluckhohn and W. H. Kelly have referred to culture as
“all the historically created designs for living, explicit and implicit, rational,
irrational, and nonrational, which exist at any given time as potential guides for the
behavior of men”
According to M. J. Herskovits, culture is “the man made part of the environment,”
By Elvin Hatch, “the way of life of a people.”
Running the risk of adding to the confusion, here is still another definition:
Culture is everything that people have, think, and do as members of their society”
for a person to have something, some material
object must be present. When people think, ideas, values, attitudes, and beliefs are
present. When people do, they behave in certain socially prescribed ways.
Thus, culture is made up of
(1) Material objects;
(2) Ideas, values, and attitudes
(3) Normative, or expected, patterns of behavior.
People “as members of their society,” means that culture is shared by at least two or
more people. If only one individual thinks and behaves in a certain way, that
thought or action would be called as habitual, not cultural. For an idea, a thing, or a
behavior to be considered cultural, it must be shared by some social group or society.

Every society has its own culture, which is distinct from other cultures. For example ,in
some societies, Western societies in particular, authority is viewed from a
democratic/participative perspective. The 'boss' is seldom regarded as omnipotent, and
decentralization of decision making is feasible. In other societies, particularly Islamic
ones, authority is highly respected and subordinates are not expected to question their
superiors. In these societies, centralism is the norm and there is little delegation of

Individuality, competitiveness and aggressiveness are valued in some societies like the
US and Australia; but in other societies these characteristics are less acceptable. The
aggressiveness valued by US-style management is often interpreted in Asian cultures as
denoting a lack of concern for one's associates: modesty and patience are, on the whole,

Openness, honesty and frankness are also characteristics more highly valued in (mainly)
Western cultures. One of the related consequences of these characteristics is a tolerance
of criticism. In other cultures, politeness is valued above truthfulness. In such countries,
'constructive' criticism is likely to be construed as a personal insult

Culture is transmitted through the process of learning and interacting with one’s
rather than through the genetic process.

Culture is considered to be store house of knowledge. Culture is composed of values,

ideas, beliefs, and behavior patterns that are more or less shared by a group of people
and that are passed down from generation to generation.

In every culture, each child has only to learn the various solutions to these basic human
problems established by his culture. Once these solutions are learned, behavior becomes
almost automatic. In other words, culture is passed on from one generation to another
within a society. It is not inborn or instinctive.

No evidence whatsoever suggests even remotely that people in some cultures are less
efficient learners than people in other cultures. What the comparative study of culture
does tell us is that people in different cultures learn different cultural
Content ,that is, different ideas, values, behavior patterns, and so on, and they learn that
content every bit as efficiently as anyone else. For example, despite the inability of a
Kikuyu farmer from Kenya to solve a problem by using differential equations, he would
be able to recite exactly how he is related (step by step) to a network of hundreds of
kinsmen. Kikuyu farmers have mastered what to us is a bewildering amount of kinship
information because their culture places great emphasis on such knowledge if the rather
complex Kikuyu marriage and kinship system is to work.


This idea that culture is acquired through the process of learning has several important
implications for the conduct of international business.
1- Cultural learning can lead to greater tolerance for cultural differences, a prerequisite
for effective
inter cultural communication within a business setting.
2- The learned nature of culture serves as a reminder that because we have mastered
our own culture through
the process of learning, it is possible (albeit more difficult) to learn to function in other
cultures as well. Thus, cross-cultural expertise for Western businesspeople can be
accomplished through effective training programs.
3-The learned nature of culture leads us to the inescapable conclusion that foreign
workers, although perhaps lacking certain job-related skills at the present time, are
perfectly capable of learning those skills in the future, provided they are exposed to
culturally relevant training programs.


Majority of our conscious behavior is acquired through learning and interacting with
other members of our culture. Even those responses to our purely biological needs like
eating, coughing etc are frequently
influenced by our cultures. For example, all people share a biological need for food.
Unless a minimum number of calories are consumed, starvation will occur; therefore, all
people eat. But what we eat, how often and how much we eat, with whom we eat etc
differ from culture to culture.

EXAMPLE: In Pakistan, we do not eat lizards and cockroaches but in China,people fry
and eat them
These things are considered very delicious.If in Pakistan,we eat cockroach by mistake,we
fell sick or probably vomit.Our body structure is like that and our digestive system is not
adapted to eat such insects.
This is a how culture can influence biological processes.
The effects of culturally produced ideas on our bodies and their natural processes take
many different forms..
Those nontangible parts of culture, composed of ideas, values, beliefs, and so on,
can have powerful effects on the human body. People alter their bodies because their
cultures teach them
that to do so will make them more attractive, healthier, or more socially acceptable.
1-Women in the Pakistan usually pierce their ears and nose in order to look attractive
and wear ear rings and nose rings.
2-Traditional Chinese women had their feet tightly bound as young girls to retard the
growth of their feet.
3-It has even been reported that a group of people living between Canada and Mexico
engage in the somewhat
barbaric practice of putting holes in their earlobes for the purpose of hanging
pieces of jewelry from them. And they practice this type of bodily mutilation for the
very same reason that people tattoo their bodies, scar their faces, or put bones through
their noses—because their cultures teach them that it is the acceptable thing to do.

IMPORTANCE IN BUSINESS: The basic anthropological notion that culture channels

biological processes can
provide some important insights when managing or marketing abroad. For example,In China,
the idea of equating small feet with feminine beauty should be taken into account by shoe
manufacturers who hope to
sell shoes to Chinese women in the twenty-first century

All cultures of the world—despite many differences—face a number of common problems
and share a number of common features, which we call cultural universals. There are
many societies with their own unique cultures.
The determination of how many different cultures exist today depends largely on
how one defines the problem, a definitional question on which there is hardly consensus
among the world’s anthropologists. Rather than being preoccupied with the precise
number of cultures in the worldat any one time, we should emphasize the significance of
the variability; that is, the great number of differences between cultures illustrates how
flexible and adaptable humans are in relation to other animals, because each culture has
arrived at different
solutions to the universal human problems facing all societies.All societies, if they are to
survive, are confronted with fundamental universal needs that must be satisfied. When
cultures develop ways of meeting these needs, general cultural patterns emerge. At a
very concrete level, differences in the details of cultural patterns exist because different
societies have developed different ways of meeting these universal societal needs. Yet at
a higher level of abstraction, a number
of commonalities exist because all cultures have worked out solutions to certain
problems facing all human populations.
The needs that all cultures must satisfy and the universal cultural patterns that emerge
to satisfy these needs are:
a-Economic Systems:
One of the most obvious and immediate needs of a society is to meet the basic
physiological requirements of its people. To stay alive, all humans need a certain
minimal caloric intake, potable water, and, to varying degrees, protection from the
elements in terms of clothing and shelter. No societies in the world have access to an
infinite supply of basic resources such as food, water, clothing, and housing materials.
Because these commodities are always in finite supply, each society must develop
systematic ways of producing, distributing, and consuming these essential resources.
Thus, each society
must develop an economic system.
To illustrate this principle of cultural universals, we can look at one component
of economic systems, namely, forms of distribution. In addition to producing basic
material goods ,all societies must ensure that these goods are distributed to all those
members of the society whose very survival depends on receiving them. In the United
States, most goods and services are distributed according to capitalism, based on the
principle of “each according to his or her capacity to pay.” In socialist countries, on the
other hand, goods and services are distributed
according to another quite different principle, that is, “each according to his or her
But whatever particular form the system of distribution might take, there are no
societies, at least not
for long,that have failed to work out and adhere to a well-understood and systematic
pattern of distribution.

b-Marriage and Family Systems:

For a society to continue over time, it is imperative that it work out systematic
for mating, marriage, child rearing, and family formation. If it fails to do this, it will die
out in a very short time. All societies have patterned systems of marriage. Life in
groups and family is universal of cultures. Family living and food sharing are universals.
All cultures consider some people too closely related to marry and have laws for
marriage.Since the newly born babies are dependent on parents, all societies need to
find ways of fulfilling the needs of dependent children for the survival of the society.
So,all societies have patterns of children rearing and family institutions.

c-Educational Systems:

A society must see to it that the children learn the way of life of the society. Rather than
expecting each
new child to rediscover for himself or herself all the accumulated knowledge of the past,
a society must have an organized way of passing on its cultural heritage from one
to the next. By definition of culture,it is a learned, shared, compelling, interrelated set of
symbols the meaning of which provides a set of orientations for members of a society
“Culture is transmitted through the process of learning and interacting with one’s
rather than through the genetic process. Culture can be thought of as a storehouse of
all the knowledge of a society.”
This universal societal need for cultural transmission gives rise to some form of
educational system in every society.
Despite the universality of education systems, the specific features of any given system
vary widely from culture to culture. The patterned forms of education formal (schools,
books, professional teachers) or informal (information
passed from parents to children or from older to younger siblings) are different in each
Is the emphasis on rote memorization or the development of analytical carryover skills
is differebt everywhere.
EXAMPLE: in America there is High school in which emphasis is given on developing
analytical skills of a child where as in Pakistan,emphasis is given on memorization of the

d-Social Control Systems:

Every society has a system for coercing people to obey the social rules, and
these are called “social control systems”
People have develop some established ways of preserving social order in order to keep
societies alive.
All societies have develop mechanisms and laws so that most of the people obey most of
the rules most of the time. If there are no rules and laws, people will violate each other’s
rights to such an extent that anarchy will prevail. Different societies meet this need for
social order in different ways.

EXMPLE: In Pakistan,in urban areas, behavior control rests on a number of formal

mechanisms, such as a
written constitution; local, state, and federal laws; and an elaborate system of police,
courts, and penal institutions etc.On the same hand, in tribal areas of Pakistan, laws are
made by the head of the tribe.Similarly Feaudalism exists in some villages of Pakistan.

e-Supernatural Belief Systems:

All societies have a certain degree of control over their social and physical environments.
People in all societies can understand and predict a number of things.However, we
cannot explain or predict with any degree of certainty many other things:
Why do tornadoes destroy some houses and leave others unharmed? Why do safe
die in auto accidents and careless drivers do not? Such questions have no apparent
answers, because they cannot be explained by our conventional systems of justice or
logics Therefore, societies develop supernatural belief systems for explaining these
unexplainable occurrences. The way people explain the unexplainable is to rely on
various types of supernatural explanations such as magic, religion, witchcraft, sorcery,
and astrology.
Religions and other supernatural belief systems affect the conduct of business by
Shaping attitudes about work, savings, consumption, efficiency, and individual

1-Colors should be used with great care. Black is the colour for mourning in Christian
countries as well as being the colour for trendy clothing, whilst in the Middle East it
stands for modesty. White is the colour for mourning in Islamic countries. Red is
considered lucky in China , as is yellow in Thailand . White carnations, which are often
worn at formal events in some English speaking countries, are a symbol of death in some
East Asian countries

2-Another Example is ofThe Islamic religion, although not hostile to capitalism, places
greater emphasis on theindividual’s responsibility to the society, including charity to the
poor and ensuring that
profits are made only through fair business dealings rather than through fraud, deceit,
or usury. And another world religion, Hinduism, places emphasis on spiritual goals
rather than on economic or professional accomplishments. At the very least,
businesspeople must be sensitive to these broad divisions in how people’s values are
affected by their religious traditions.

Thus, despite the great variety in the details of cultural features found throughout
the world, all cultures, have a number of traits in common. This basic anthropological
principle, known as cultural universals, can be an important tool for helping international
business people more fully understand and appreciate culturally different business
According to Richard Robinson, the successful international manager is one who sees
and feels the similarity of structure of all societies. In the workforce, he appreciates their
underlying commonalities, which an be beneficial for the business.
In short, if we realize the fact that different ideas,practices and behaviors give solutions
to the same basic human problems facing all cultures of the world,we will be less likely
to prejudge or be critical of different practices.

All cultures experience continual change. All cultures change over time--none is static.
Early twentieth century anthropologists tended to de-emphasize
cultural dynamics by suggesting that some societies were in a state of equilibrium in
which the forces of change were negated by those of cultural conservatism. The rate of
change and the aspects of culture that change varies from society to society. For
instance, people in Germany today generally seem eager to adopt new words from other
languages, especially from American English, while many French people are resistant to
it because of the threat of corrupting their own language. However, the French are just
as eager as the Germans to adopt new technology.
Although small technologically simple, preliterate societies tend to be more
conservative than modern, industrialized, highly complex societies, but it is now
generally accepted that change is a constant feature of all cultures.

Cultural change generally recognize that change occurs as a result of

both internal and external forces.
• Internal forces include discovery and invention.
• External forces include cultural diffusion.

Cultural Diffusion: The spreading of cultural items from one culture to another is
called cultural diffusion.

Borrowing someone else’s invention or discovery is much easier than discovering

or inventing it all over again. Anthropologists generally agree that as much as
90 percent of all things, ideas, and behavioral patterns found in any culture had their
origins in other regions. Individuals can get new ideas with far less effort if they borrow
them. This
Most cultural change occurs as a result diffusionso,so,it deserves a closer
Characteristics of cultural Diffusion: Cultural diffusion varies considerably from
situation to situation, we can identify certain generalizations that hold true for all

1-cultural diffusion is a selective process. Whenever two cultures come into

contact, each does not accept everything easily from the other. If they did, the
cultural differences that exist today should have been not there. Changing one trait will
have an impact on other traits because they are functionally interconnected. As a result,
there commonly is a resistance to major changes.
EXAMPLE: we would not expect to see the diffusion of swine husbandry from
the United States to Saudi Arabia because the predominant Muslim population has a
strong dietary prohibition on pork.Similarly, many men in North America and Europe
resisted the increase in economic and political opportunities for women over the last
century because of the far ranging consequences It inevitably changed the nature of
marriage, the family, and the lives of all men.

.According to a study by Everett Rogers , an innovation is most likely to be diffused into

a recipient culture if
(1) It is seen to be superior to what already exists
(2) it is consistent with existing cultural patterns
(3) it is easily understood
(4) it can be tested on an experimental basis
(5) its benefits are clearly visible to a relatively large number of people.
These five variables should be considered by international business strategists when
the introduction of new marketing or managerial concepts into a foreign culture.

Successful international marketing requires vast knowledge of the cultures

found in foreign markets to determine if to what extent specific products are likely to be
accepted by these foreign cultures.

2- cultural borrowing is a two-way process:.

Earlier,it was believed that contact between “primitive” societies and “civilized”
societies caused the
former to accept traits from the civilized. It was assumed that
the primitive societies are “inferior” and they had nothing to offer the “superior” civilized
Today, however, anthropologists reject this concept because it has been found that
cultural traits are diffused in both directions.Both of the societies adopt features from
each other.
EXAMPLE: In India, women have started wearing Shalwar Kameez,which is national
dress of Pakistan.Alternatively,Pakistani women wear Saris,on many occasions,which is
national dress of India.

3- Frequently borrowed items are not transferred into the recipient culture in
exactly their original form:
When any culture adopts features or items from another culture,it does not diffuse in its
original form. Once a cultural element is acceptedinto a new culture, it may undergo
changes in form or function
EXAMPLE: Pizza, which diffused from Italyto the United States in the late nineteenth
century, has been modified in a number of significant ways to conform to American
Similarly,when it diffused to Pakistan, it is transformed according to our own culture.We
use spices and flavours like Chicken Tikka, according to our own flavour.
Sometimes the diffusion process involves a change in function but not form.

4-Some cultural traits are more easily diffused than others:

Some traits are easily transferred than another.
Technological innovations are more likely to be borrowed than are social patterns or
belief systems, largely because the usefulness of a particular technological trait is more
immediately recognizable.
EXAMPLE: Use of USB drive is easily accepted easily for the people living
in Pakistan because it has made data transfer very easy.
On the other hand, use of Pig meat can not be accepted by Pakistanis,because it is
against their religious beliefs.

It is important for the international businessperson to understand that to some
degree all cultures are constantly experiencing change.
The three basic components of culture i.e. things, ideas, and behavior patterns can
undergo changes.
Some components die out, new ones are accepted, and existing ones can be
changed in observable ways. but the rate of cultural change is different for each society.
A business person should keep the folloeing points in mind:
(1) Any culture is not exactly the same as it was
last year or will be one year hence; the cultural environment therefore needs constant
(2) The fact that cultures do change provides some positive thought that the cultural
gap can
eventually be filled.
The concept of cultural diffusion has important implications for international business.
Whether one tries to create new markets abroad or introduce new attitudes and
behaviors in a local staff, it is very important to know that cultural diffusion is selective.
To predict which things, ideas, and behaviors are likely to be accepted by a particular
thecritical variables affecting diffusion like as relative advantage, compatibility, and
observability should be understood.

The concept that cultural diffusion is a two-way process should help international
managers be more receptive to the idea that the corporate culture, as well as the local
culture, may change. If the corporate culture is open to accepting new cultural
features,local cultures can lay positive role in giving new ideas.

An understanding that cultural diffusion frequently involves some modification

of the item is an important idea for those interested in creating new product markets in
other cultures. For example, A wedding dress designer should take into consideration
that diffeent cultures have different superstitions related to different colours,if he plans
to do business world wide.

Also, the idea that some components of culture are more readily accepted than
others into different cultural environments should at least provide some general
for judging what types of changes in the local culture are more likely to occur.

Although, culture change can assist the management of change that will as anticipated
occur in both corporate cultures operating abroad and the local cultures,but it does not
mean that corporate people start behaving unethically. They should take care of
following things.
1-They should try not to bring changes in destructive manners.
2-They should not bring changes solely for the purpose of profits,without doing any good
to humanity.
3-They should not force local workers to change their attitudes and behaviors

Ethnocentrism is the tendency for people to evaluate a foreigner’s behavior
by the standards of their own culture, which they believe is superior to all others.

Ethnocentrism means culturally centered. All cultures to one degree or another ,display
ethnocentrism, which is perhaps the greatest single obstacle to understand other
Our own culture is usually the only one we learn first, so we assume that our behavior is
correct and all others are wrong or strange.
The extent to which ethnocentrism is rooted in a culture can be clearly seen in our
history textbooks.
For example, we have been studying in our history books that India and Pakistan are two
different nations with different ideologies, beliefs and social patterns, which can never
merger into each other.We can never adopt their culture because we are different from
them.We have studied about the Indo Pak wars and we have always been against
them.For us, our culture is superior and better.Similarly,for Indians,their values and
cultural norms are superior to ours.

Ethnocentrism it is found in all societies.
People in every society with its own different culture have the tendency to refer to
as “us” and everyone else as “them.”
People everywhere think their explanations,customs and opinions are right and moral
and regard others cultures and behaviors as strange,immoral and savage.
The tribal names that appear in anthropology books often come from the native word for
people.One of the anthropologists,while doing a research,askd the tribal people,”what
are you called?” and they replied
“Mug mug”. Mugmug turned out to be synonym for people, but it may be the only word
natives used or themselves.Other tribes are not called fully humans. The neighbouring
groups were not called Mugmug.They were not classified as mugmug.They were given
names that symbolize their inferior humanity.Neigboring groups may be insulted and
ridiculed because of their customs and preferences.
Similarly,the ancient Chinese felt that unless a person spoke Chinese and observed
Chinese customs, he or she was a barbarian. Similarly,in different socities,the concpt of
cleanliness is different from others,and they think others cleanliness practices pathetic
and their own perfect.

Such crticism of cultural differences prevents us from seeing that other people view our
customs as equally strange and irrational. All people in all societies are ethnocentric to
some degree regardless of how
accepting or open-minded they might claim to be. Our ethnocentrism should not be a
source of awkwardness because it is a consequence of growing up in our society.
Ethnocentrism is a cultural universalism. It contributes to social unity among mong
people who share common culture. On the other hand, ethnocentrism can also
contribute to injustice, hatred for outsiders, and inter group conflicts. Although it is a
deeply rooted in every society, it is important that we become aware of it so that it will
not hinder us in learning about other cultures. Awareness of our own ethnocentrism will
never eliminate it but will enable us to minimize its more negative effects.


It is vital for businesspeople to avoid comparing our way of life with those of our
international business partners.
Instead, we should seek to understand other people in the context of their unique
social, and cultural backgrounds.


Cultures should be thought of as integrated wholes—that is, cultures are coherent and
logical systems, the parts of which to a degree are interrelated..
When we say that a culture is integrated, we mean that it is an organized system
in which particular components may be related to other components, Cultures are
patterned systems,
not just a haphazard collection of customs and beliefs. If we can view cultures as
integrated systems, we can
begin to see how particular culture traits fit into the integrated whole and,
consequently,how they tend to make sense within that context. This understanding
helps international business people to cope with the “strange”customs encountered in
the international business arena.

EXAMPLE: If we take example of polygyny and compare its significance in American

and Saudi Arabia culture, it has different impacts.
• In America, polygyny is not allowed.Us government only dos not negate it,but
also take legal actions if a person marries two women at a time.It is related to legal
system.This concept also relates to economy in the sense that if a person marries two
women at a time,he would have more children and would have a burden on him.
• On the other hand in Saudi Arabia, polygyny is rooted into their culture.It is also
related to their religion. It is based on the fact that a man should marry women if he has
wealth to support his family. Also, it refrains him from indulging into sin of Adultery. If a
man commits adultery, he gets penalty for that from legal and religious perspectives.

So different cultures have different concepts which affect their

legal,social,cultural,religious systems.We can not separate one aspect from the society.

Technolog Governmen
y t


Marriage Religion


All Aspects of culture are inter connected to each other

The concept of integrated culture helps us to better understand why culturally different
people think and behave the way they do. When we say that all cultures are perfectly
integrated, we conclude that
every idea or behavior is factual and morally defensible, provided that it performs a
function for the well-being of the society but it does not mean that all cultural practices
are equally worthy of tolerance and respect.

EXAMPLE: Some practices e.g. homosexual relationship being considered legal is

morally indefensible within any cultural context. To be certain, cultural anthropologists
have sometimes been overly nonjudgmental about the customs of people they study.
But, as Richard Barrett said that if anthropologists start viewing other cultures by
relating to their own culture, there is a possibility that they will misprepresent other

If cultures are in fact coherent systems, with their constituent parts interrelated with one
another, it follows logically that a change in one part of the system is likely to produce
concomitant changes in other parts of the system. The introduction of a single
technological innovation may set off a whole series of related changes.

The concept of integrated culture has several important implications for international
business people. If we understand that the parts of a culture are interrelated, we will be
less likely to view foreign cultures ethnocentrically. Rather than pulling out a foreign
cultural item from its original context and viewing it in terms of how well it fits into our
own culture, we will be reminded to view it from within its proper cultural context.
When we try to understand a cultural feature in terms of its own cultural context, we
realize that how all cultures tend to be logical and coherent systems. Such an approach
leads us to the inescapable conclusion that no cultures are inherently
better or worse than any other, only different.

To view cultures as integrated wholes is not a value-laden philosophical explanation for

any type of behavior except destructive or inhumane. Instead, such an approach allows
us to understand more fully why a particular cultural item is found in a society, even if it
violates our sense of personal morality. It can also help explain the nature of cultural
change. When systems are integrated, changing only one part of the system is often
Such an understanding would be critical for responsible international businesspeople
interested in expanding their markets into areas where their products (and perhaps
ideas and behavior patterns associated with
these products) are unknown. Some seemingly harmless commercial products could
have profoundly disruptive effects on the very fabric of the society. By knowing the
nature of the interconnectedness of the parts of a particular culture, the far-sighted,
humane, and ultimately successful international businessperson will be able to predict
the harmful effects of a product in that cultural environment.

Cultural anthropologists have developed the general concept of culture and an
of those basic traits and processes shared by all specific cultures.
There re some of the basic characteristics that all cultures share,which are :

• Culture is learned behavior.

• Culture influences biological processes
• Culture is shared: the group transcends the individual and thus defines
membership of the society
• Culture is compelling: individuals are not aware that their behavior is determined
by culture.
• Culture is interrelated: each facet of culture may not be understood in isolation,
meaning that the culture must be studied as a complete entity
• Ethnocentrism: People think tat their culture is superior to others
• Cultural universals: Some features are common in all the cultures.

It is assumed that an awareness of the concept of culture is necessary for an

understanding of any particular culture.To arrive at statements that hold true for all
cultures, anthropologists are operating at a relatively high level of generalization.
Because these generalizations are constructed from thousands of cultures in the
world, there will be times when generalizations do not always match perfectly with
reality. In no way does that fact invalidate the usefulness of the concept. They are
generally valid descriptions of what happens most of the time. But even when
differences appear, the concept is still useful as a stimulant to further investigation.
When moving to the level of a specific culture, it is equally important to avoid overly
firm thinking. Anthropological statements about a particular culture are
generalizations about what most of the people do and think most of the time.. Each
culture must strike a balance between individual self-interests and the needs of the
total society. Although culture has strong influence on behavior, people are free to
go against their cultural norms. It is indeed the rare person in any society who
complies totally with the social rules. Cultural anthropologists have made the
distinction between ideal behavior (what society says people should do) and actual
behavior (what people in fact do). The consequences of this fact are that in any
given culture it is likely that individual variations in thought and action can be
observed. The observable variations in behavior are contained within socially
acceptable limits. One of the tasks of the anthropologist—or any other cultural
observe, is to determine where the cultural limits are. It is the description of these
variations in behaviors within limits that constitutes the patterns of any specific

Moreover, cultures are complex networks of features, some of which change rapidly
and others of which are much more resistant to change. Thus, when encountering
another culture, some features will appear quite like one’s own cultural features,
whereas others will seem exotic and strange.

Culture is composed of values, ideas, beliefs, and behavior patterns that are more or
less shared by a group of people and that are passed down from generation to
In short, we should be able to know the facts hold true for
all cultures of the world, and the implications of those generalizations for international
business. It is impossible for anyone to master all of the specific cultural facts about
the thousands of cultures found in the world today. Thus, a more conceptual approach
is needed. The concept of culture, and its important general facts can be usefully
applied to any cross-cultural situations. The importance of these cultural
generalizations for the conduct of international business should be understood by all
the business people. A manager must realize the significance of culture to international
business. Culture is one of the most challenging elements that managers face
international business. Managers must have cultural literacy, or detailed knowledge
about a culture that enables people to live and work within. They should realize the
fact that cultural differences provide opportunities for organizational success. That is,
when people from two different cultures work cooperatively in an atmosphere of
mutual understanding and respect, the outcome can be more productive than either
group working independently. It is also important to understand that cultural
differences can be used as assets rather than burden when multinational corporations
form task-oriented teams based on cultural diversity. Also, because of the learned
nature of culture foreign workers, lacking certain job-related skills at the present time,
are perfectly capable of learning those skills in the future, provided they are exposed
to culturally relevant training programs