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Cross Cultural

Communication
BC - 1
The growing importance
• Globalization
Satisfying customers’ needs
Gaining additional business
Getting along with co-workers
Hiring Good People
Avoiding misinterpretations
Impacts the way strategic moves are presented.
Influences management, decision making, negotiations
Culture makes international business difficult or easy
Main features of culture:

Culture is shared
Culture is intangible
Culture is confirmed by others
Culture is dynamic
Key Features
• Cultural Etiquette –
the manners and behavior that are expected in a given situation
• Cultural Stereotypes –
our beliefs about others, their attitudes and behavior
• Ethnocentrism –
looking at the world from a perspective shaped by our own culture
• Relativism –
all cultures are good
Cultural sensitivity
Self-reference criteria
Cultural Intelligence
Universal cultural variables

• Kinship
• Economy
• Recreation
• Religion
• Politics
• Education
Diverse Dimensions
• Hofstede Model
Hofstede's cultural dimensions theory is a framework for cross-cultural communication, developed by Geert Hofstede. It
describes the effects of a society's culture on the values of its members, and how these values relate to behavior, using a
structure derived from factor analysis.
Hofstede’s cultural dimensions

• 1) Power Distance
• 2) Uncertainty Avoidance
• 3) Individualism
• 4) Masculinity
• 5) Long-term orientation
• 6) Time Perspective
Power distance - The extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and
organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally
• Uncertainty avoidance – The extent to which members of a society
feel threaten by uncertain or unknown situations.
Uncertainty Avoidance

Weak uncertainty avoidance Strong uncertainty avoidance


Culture defined

Uncertainty: normal feature of life Uncertainty : continuous threat


and each day is accepted as it comes that must be fought Hofstede’s dimensions

Low stress – subjective feeling of well-being High stress – subjective feeling of anxiety
1) Power Distance
Aggression and emotions must not be shown Aggression and emotions may be shown at
proper times 2) Uncertainty Avoidance
Comfortable in ambiguous situations and with
unfamiliar risk Fear of ambiguous situations and of 3) Individualism
unfamiliar risk
There should not be more rules than necessary
Precision and punctuality have to be Emotional need for rules, even if they never 4) Masculinity

learned work
5) Long-term orientation
Tolerance to innovation Motivation by Precision and punctuality come
naturally
achievement Implications
Resistance to innovation Motivation
by security Criticism
Uncertainty Avoidance

High Culture defined

Greece
Japan Hofstede’s dimensions

France 1) Power Distance


Korea
Desire for stability

Arab Countries 2) Uncertainty Avoidance


Germany Australia
Canada 3) Individualism

US UK 4) Masculinity
India
Denmark 5) Long-term orientation
Singapore
Implications

Low Criticism
Individualism

Culture defined

Hofstede’s dimensions

1) Power Distance
Individualism – The tendency of people to look after themselves and their
2) Uncertainty Avoidance
immediate family and neglect the needs of society
3) Individualism

4) Masculinity

5) Long-term orientation

Implications

Criticism
Individualism

Low individualism High individualism


Culture defined

Individuals learn to think in terms Individuals learn to think in terms


of “we” of “I” Hofstede’s dimensions

High-context communication Low-context communication


1) Power Distance
Diplomas provide entry to higher status Diplomas increase economic worth
groups and/or self- respect 2) Uncertainty Avoidance

Relationship employer- employee is perceived Relationship employer-employee is a contract 3) Individualism


in moral terms, like a family based on mutual advantage
Hiring and promotion decisions take Hiring and promotion are supposed to be 4) Masculinity
employees’ ingroup into account based on skills and rules only
5) Long-term orientation
Management is management of Management is management of
groups individuals
Implications
Relationship prevails over task Task prevails over relationship
Criticism
Individualism

High Culture defined

Australia Hofstede’s dimensions


US
UK 1) Power Distance
Canada
2) Uncertainty Avoidance
France
Germany 3) Individualism
Spain Japan
Mexico Italy 4) Masculinity
Korea
5) Long-term orientation
Singapore

Implications

Low Criticism
Masculinity

Culture defined

Hofstede’s dimensions

1) Power Distance
Masculinity – The tendency within a society to emphasize traditional gender
2) Uncertainty Avoidance
roles
3) Individualism

4) Masculinity

5) Long-term orientation

Implications

Criticism
Masculinity

Low masculinity High masculinity


Culture defined

Dominant values: caring for others Dominant values: material success


and preservation and progress Hofstede’s dimensions

People and warm relationships are important Money and things are important
1) Power Distance
Sympathy for the weak
In family, both fathers and mothers deal with Sympathy for the strong 2) Uncertainty Avoidance

facts and feelings In family, fathers deal with facts and mothers 3) Individualism
Stress on equality, solidarity , and quality of with feelings
work life Stress on equity, competition among 4) Masculinity
colleagues and performance
5) Long-term orientation
Managers use intuition and strive Managers are expected to be
for consensus decisive and assertive
Implications
Resolution of conflicts by compromise Resolution of conflicts by fighting them out
and negotiation
Criticism
Masculinity

High Culture defined

Japan Hofstede’s dimensions

Mexico
1) Power Distance
Germany
UK 2) Uncertainty Avoidance
US
Arabia 3) Individualism

France
4) Masculinity
Korea
Portugal 5) Long-term orientation
Denmark
Sweden
Implications

Low Criticism
Long- term orientation

Culture defined

Hofstede’s dimensions

1) Power Distance

2) Uncertainty Avoidance
Long- term orientation – A basic orientation towards time that
values patience 3) Individualism

4) Masculinity

5) Long-term orientation

Implications

Criticism
Long- term orientation

Culture defined
Short- term orientation Long-term orientation
Hofstede’s dimensions
Respect for traditions Adaptation of traditions to a modern
context 1) Power Distance

Little money available for investment Funds available for investment


2) Uncertainty Avoidance
Quick results expected
Perseverance towards slow 3) Individualism
results
Respect for social and status obligations 4) Masculinity
regardless of cost Respect for social and status obligations
within limits 5) Long-term orientation
Concern with possessing the Truth
Concern with respecting the
demands of Virtue
Implications

Criticism
High-context culture and the low-context culture
- Edward T. Hall
 Higher-context culture
Many things are left unsaid, letting the culture explain.
Afghans, African, Arabic, Brazilian, Chinese, Filipinos, French, Indian, Indonesian, Italian, Russian …
 Low-context culture
The communicator needs to be much more explicit and the value of a single word is less important.
Australian, Dutch, English, German, New Zealand, United States …
Ways that High and Low Context Differ
 The Structure of Relationships
High: Dense, intersecting networks and longterm relationships, strong boundaries, relationship more important than task
Low: Loose, wide networks, shorter term, compartmentalized relationships, task more important than relationship
 Main Type of Cultural Knowledge
High: More knowledge is below waterline - implicit, patterns that are not fully conscious, hard to explain even if you are a member of that
culture
Low: More knowledge is above waterline - explicit, consciously organized
Eye Contact

In USA, the easiest, most effective way to connect with people is to look them into
the eye.
Most people in Arab culture share a great deal of eye contact and may regard too
little as disrespectful.
 In English culture, a certain amount of eye contact is required, but too much makes
many people uncomfortable.
 In South Asian and many other cultures direct eye contact is generally regarded as
aggressive and rude.
Gesture
•A motion of the hands, head or body to emphasize an idea or emotion.

USA=OK JAPAN=MONEY

RUSSIA=ZERO BRAZIL=INSULT
Same Gestures can be treated differently in different cultures
Relation Varies
• Time
• Space
• Odors
• Frankness
• Social hierarchy
• Workplace values
• Social behavior
• Language
Solutions

• Research
• Know yourself and your company
• Be aware of stereotypes
• Adapt to audience
• Be open to change