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Facultat d’Empresa i Comunicació
Titular Facultad de Empresa y Comunicación
Faculty of Business and Communication
Culture and Business
-Observation, assumptions and (mis)interpretation.
2. Culture and cultures
- Meanings of culture
- Analysing cultures
- The age of dichotomies
Low Power Distance High Power Distance
Strong Uncertainty Weak Uncertainty
Long-term Short-term Orientation
A comparison: Greece and the US
A comparison: My Fat Big Greek Wedding
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6mAAky_5og&feature=related (2.30- )
Greeks: lots of gesturing, no silence, hugging, hitting each other, spitting, shouting, etc. Kinesics
Americans: rigid, no gesturing.
The Greeks stand closer than the Americans. Individual space doesn’t almost exist for the Greeks. Proxemics
Greek--- family-centred. The family participates in all the events and work in family business.
Marriage--- to perpetuate the family, the traditions, the background...
The family is just made of husband and wife. Even the son (Ian) seems to be apart. They don’t have
many things in common
The relationship between father and the rest of the family. The father doesn’t ask for advice to the
others. He feels responsible for the others. He’s the head of the house.
Ian’s parents let him choose his wife. They have a relationship of respect, but not of submission.
Male-centred society. The man is the head and the woman is the neck. Men just want women to get
married and make babies. Costa is the one who gives permission for everything that women want to
do: work, study, marry, etc.
Greeks—fear of changes, of the “different”. Thus, marrying a non-Greek is perceived as a potential
Americans- more tolerant towards diversity; no strong links with their tradition.
SVEN SVENSSON IS A SWEDISH BUSINESSMAN, LIVING IN LISBON. A Few weeks ago
he was invited by a Portuguese acquaintance, Antonio, to play tennis at 10 am. Sven turned
up at the tennis court on time, already in tennis gear and ready to play.
Antonio arrived half an hour late, in the company of a friend, Carlos, from whom he was
buying some land. They had been discussing the purchase that morning and had prolonged
the discussion, so Antonio had brought Carlos along in order to finalise the details during the
journey. They continued the business while Antonio changed into his tennis clothes, with Sven
listening to all they said. At 10.45 they went on court and Antonio continued the discussion
with Carlos, while fitting practice balls with Sven.
At this point another acquaintance of Antonio, Pedro, arrived in order to confirm a sailing date
with Antonio for the weekend. Antonio asked Sven to excuse him for a moment and walked
off court to talk to Pedro. After chatting to Pedro for five minutes, Antonio resumed his
conversation with the waiting Carlos and eventually turned back to the waiting Sven to begin
playing tennis at 11. When Sven remarked that the court had only been booked from 10 to 11
am, Antonio reassured him that he had phoned in advance to rebook it until 12 noon. No
Comment on the behaviour of the two businessmen.
What do you think they felt about each other’s behaviour?
“Por Regla General”
Kathy runs the library attached to a Finnish consulate in Spain. One day a student
asks about art schools in Finland. Kathy recommends a directory listing different
schools and colleges, and the student spends several hours looking through it and
copying down information. When Kathy starts closing the library for the day, the
student asks if she can check out the directory, since she won't be able to visit the
library again until next week. Kathy says that according to library policy, reference
books cannot be checked out. The student won't take no for an answer. She
persists and, in the face of Kathy's repeated refusals, grows indignant and finally
demands to see Kathy's supervisor. Kathy quietly and calm says, "It's the rule and
that's all," and holds the door open. The student leaves, muttering angrily about
How could Kathy have resolved such an encounter more gracefully?
Cultural dimensions (F. Trompenaars and Hampden-
Relationships with people
Attitudes to time
Attitudes to the environment
Internal control External control
Titular derivatives: Universalism versus
Business derivatives: Individualism versus
Reward individual performance Stimulate team cooperation
Business derivatives: Specific versus diffuse
The colleague argues:
You don’t have to paint the house if you don’t feel like it.He
is your boss in the company. Outside the company, he has
The subordinate argues:
Despite the fact that I don’t feel like it, I will paint the house
anyway. He is my boss and you cannot ignore it outside
your work either.
Business derivatives: Achievement versus ascription
What do you do?
Who are you? Argentina
• Family Egypt
Business derivatives: Sequential versus synchronous
Business derivatives: Internal control versus external
a. What happens to me is my own doing.
b. Sometimes I feel that I do not have enough
control over the direction my life is taking.
The age of dichotomies: solving dilemmas