The world is chaotic. We need structure in order to make sense of it. Culture is what helps us to organize our world and to know how to respond to it. We learn how to relate to other people and how to respond to our environment from our friends and relatives, our teachers and through observation. People who come from different cultures have lived in different parts of the world and have experienced different societies or participated in different institutions (for example, schools or corporations). They are likely to have learned different values, beliefs, behaviors, expectations and norms than you have. As a hospitality manager you will be working with people who are different from you. The people you are managing or working with are very likely to be culturally different from yourself. Given the growth of international travel and business, many of your customers will have learned different ways of responding to their environment or relating to other people. Some of you may have the opportunity to work in another country. You will even find differences in corporate cultures when you change jobs. Even within your own geographical area you will find cultural differences. Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics, Anglo-Saxons, Easterners, Southerners, members of different religions and people who have grown up in different parts of the country are likely to have values, beliefs and norms different from each other. These cultural differences may hinder your ability to use management techniques that are effective for a specific culture. Effective management requires excellent communication and an understanding of your employees and customers. The larger the common ground you have with your employees or customers, the more likely it is for you to be effective - the greater the difference, the greater the chance for misunderstanding. The objective of this part of the course is to increase your ability to understand and work with people who may be culturally different from you.
As you work to understand different cultures it is important to remember these four principles: While it is useful to explore generalities and their implications, individuals do not always conform to general cultural stereotypes. Individuals may make conscious decisions not to conform to the values, beliefs and norms that they were taught. They may have varied experiences that change the way they interpret and react to their world and the people in it. Differences are not always culturally based. Some differences arise from individual personality differences and some come from personal, institutional or business factors. Understanding yourself and your own culture first gives you the mental set against which to study others. When we discuss cultures we do so on continuums – that is two extremes, rarely does any individual or culture fit on either extreme. There are gradations. To help you understand the concept of continuums, draw a line. On one end of the line write excellent and on the other end of the line write poor. Now, make a mark on the line that expresses how you felt about the last date you had. Would the mark fall in the same place for the first date you ever had?
A few comments on stereotyping may be helpful here. Stereotyping comes naturally. We have learned that stereotyping is bad, ignorant, and immoral. And indeed, stereotyping can be harmful when based on misinformation or when used to discredit another. However, it can also be used in a positive way to help us sort out confusion. Schneider and Barsoux in their book Managing Across Cultures, provide a very good explanation of why stereotypes are useful:
"Stereotypes represent 'mental files‘ that are used to help process new information by comparing it with past experience and knowledge." (p.12)
So if you meet someone from Japan, you are likely to think, "This is a Japanese" and you call up your mental image based on your experience and knowledge about Japanese people. Then you evaluate the present experience with one from the past and you reformulate your stereotype of Japanese people. The process helps you to simplify cross-cultural experiences.
The problem is not with the existence of stereotypes but the way in which you use them. If you assume that the person you are meeting is like your stereotype and do not allow new information to enter, you will distort the information you are receiving so that the stereotype does not change. Managers are ineffective in cross-cultural situations when they deny that they have stereotypes or when they get stuck in them. More effective managers use their stereotypes as a starting point and then continually revise them as they gain more experience.
The problem with stereotypes is that they conjure up an image and one is tempted to put the same image on every individual from the culture. It is better to think of your mental image of a specific culture as a prototype that will be adjusted and changed as more information is gathered.
A few comments on stereotyping may be helpful here. Stereotyping comes naturally. We have learned that stereotyping is bad, ignorant, and immoral. And indeed, stereotyping can be harmful when based on misinformation or when used to discredit another. However, it can also be used in a positive way to help us sort out confusion. Schneider and Barsoux in their book Managing Across Cultures, provide a very good explanation of why stereotypes are useful: "Stereotypes represent 'mental files‘ that are used to help process new information by comparing it with past experience and knowledge." (p.12) So if you meet someone from Japan, you are likely to think, "This is a Japanese" and you call up your mental image based on your experience and knowledge about Japanese people. Then you evaluate the present experience with one from the past and you reformulate your stereotype of Japanese people. The process helps you to simplify cross-cultural experiences. The problem is not with the existence of stereotypes but the way in which you use them. If you assume that the person you are meeting is like your stereotype and do not allow new information to enter, you will distort the information you are receiving so that the stereotype does not change. Managers are ineffective in cross-cultural situations when they deny that they have stereotypes or when they get stuck in them. More effective managers use their stereotypes as a starting point and then continually revise them as they gain more experience. The problem with stereotypes is that they conjure up an image and one is tempted to put the same image on every individual from the culture. You might think of your mental image of a specific culture more as a prototype that allows for variation around a set of core characteristics.
Stereotypes are particularly destructive when combined with an ethnocentric attitude. Ethnocentrism is the belief that one's cultural values and habits are better than those of another culture are. In reality, there is not one set of beliefs, values or norms that is better than others. There is,however, a set with which you are more familiar and consequently more comfortable. It is extremely important to recognize that other ways of thinking, believing and acting may be equally effective and valuable. The value of studying other cultures is to learn new ways of doing things. This will make you a more effective manager because you will be able to select the best method based on situational factors. To summarize the previous discussion, when we talk of cultural differences, we speak in generalities knowing that individuals are different and that few people fit on any one extreme end of the continuum. We can use the generalities to explain or understand differences but continue to adjust our mental image based on experience and knowledge.
It is very important to know the four principles for understanding other cultures. You should be able to write and explain each of these principles. If you can not, go back to slide # 3 and review these principles. In addition you should be able to explain how a manager can use the natural tendency to stereotype to his/her advantage. And, you should be able to define the term ethnocentrism and explain how an ethnocentric attitude will hinder your ability to manage.
Planning and organizing merger of Metal Box Company and Carnaud unsuccessful because they could not agree on organizational structure and strategy Decision to standardize insurance product of a British firm selling in Italy Directing –Dutch objecting to the company telling them to have fun Controlling – motivation problems with American trying to motivate French Management style – What is a considerate supervisor? Share or not share employees problems Objective, analytical, logical, consistent, impersonal, absolute and intellectual Versus subjective, synthetic, non-logical, inconsistent, personal, relative & emotional Representational and affective versus abstract and conceptual (self as part of the everything in the world versus self as a separate entity Teamwork versus individual effort by the leader in An American executive in Paris Business Practices Japanese feel they must make comments even if they like a proposal Differences in how letters are addressed Attack problem as a whole or separate it into pieces to attack it bit by bit
Differences results from a number of variables. Managers must understand the breath and depth of the variables and how they might affect management functions and style as well as business practices. Your team will prepare a country profile that includes all of the variables presented in Exhibit 3-1 on page 75
The study of cultural characteristics helps us to understand ourselves so that we can better understand others. This leads to the development of shared values, beliefs and norms that will help global firms achieve a competitive advantage. By contrasting our beliefs, norms and values to those of others we can better understand why someone might be doing something differently. We examine our own way of thinking and search for commonalities. The characteristics we will study may give you a better understanding of fellow workers, the people you will manage, your customers and the people who will manage you.
Discuss these questions with your team
Tell students these are in their study guide in the course pack. The concept of "power distance" was revealed by the Hofstede study. This dimension concerns how power is distributed in institutions, organizations and individuals. Cultures, in which power is distributed equally, exhibit a low power distance while cultures that condone special privileges for the power-holders and an order of inequality are considered to be high power distance cultures. Low power distance cultures minimize inequality, believe in equal rights, consider subordinates and superiors as equals On the other hand, in high power distance cultures, there is an order of inequality, those of superior rank receive special privileges, and subordinates are considered to be a different kind of person from the superiors. The power distance dimension is active not only in the business world but also in schools, organizations and even families. Hofstede determined that the country with the lowest power dimension was Austria while the one with the highest power dimension was the Philippines. The chart on the following slide depicts the relative power distance of a few cultures.
Many of you who will remain in Arizona after graduation will be supervising employees from Mexico. The high power distance ranking of this culture indicates that your employees may not be willing to openly disagree with their manager. They may prefer a boss who acts more like a father figure (paternalistic management style) because they believe that the boss should have the answers. They are less likely to question authority and may not expect to have the same privileges management has. Where would you put yourself?
Many of you who will remain in Arizona after graduation will be supervising employees from Mexico. The high power distance ranking of this culture indicates that your employees may not be willing to openly disagree with their manager. They may prefer a boss who acts more like a father figure (paternalistic management style) because they believe that the boss should have the answers. They are less likely to question authority and may not expect to have the same privileges management has.
The manner in which people adapt to their external environment is associated with how they deal with uncertainty. Americans are more willing to take risks and can live with a relatively high level of uncertainty. Other cultures become very uncomfortable with uncertainty and prefer predictability and control. They work to avoid risk by setting out specific rules and maintaining the status quo. The lower the uncertainty avoidance, the more important success is, the greater the uncertainty avoidance, the more important security is. Even within your own culture, I am sure that you know people differ in their willingness to take risks. High uncertainty avoidance is characterized by avoidance of uncertain and ambiguous situations. Tactics utilized to reduce the threat posed by such situations include the provision of greater career stability, the establishment of more formal rules, intolerance of deviant ideas and behaviors, belief in absolute truths and the attainment of expertise. As the level of uncertainty avoidance increases within a society so does aggressiveness, and a strong inner urge to work. In Hofstede’s study, countries which were assessed to exhibit the lowest uncertainty avoidance included Singapore and Denmark while those demonstrating the highest were Greece and Portugal.
Where would you put yourself on this continuum?
III. B. Individualism/Collectivism Another dimension discovered by Hofstede was that of individualism versus collectivism. Nations that display highly individualistic attitudes are comprised of a greater number of citizens who believe that their responsibility for support extends only as far as their immediate family while the social framework is tighter in collective societies. People in the collective cultures discriminate in-groups (relatives, institutions and organizations) and out-groups. Responsibility for care and loyalty extend beyond the immediate family to include all members of the in-group. Countries that rank highest in collectivism include Venezuela and Columbia and those that rank highest in individualism are the USA and Australia . The next slide shows the rankings of several countries based on Hofstede’s work.
This chart demonstrates the relationships of some selected countries on the individualism/collectivism continuum. In a collective society, an individual's identity is defined by the group - family or employer, social status where in an individualistic society one finds his identity within himself. The collective society relies on the group to make decisions where an individualistic society prefers individual decisions. The individualistic society prefers autonomy, variety, pleasure and individual security while the collective society focus more on what is good for the group. It is the collective culture that believe that the nail that sticks up will get pounded down while individualistic societies reward personal achievements.
Individualistic societies feel that people are responsible for themselves and their immediate family. In the collective society responsibility is extended to the larger part of the family including uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents. Collective cultures feel a strong loyalty to everyone in the extended family and feel that it is their responsibility to protect them. For example, individuals in a collective culture might feel that it is their responsibility to buy a car for a cousin who was in an accident and lost his means of transportation. The family will help the cousin who will be able to go to work and take care of other members of the family. Do you think your family would buy a car for your cousin if s/he needed one to go to work? Why or why not?
Individuals that prefer to avoid uncertain or risky situations appear to have a lower achievement motivation. They would rather stay in a job they know than be promoted to a job in which they might fail. Some think those with a lower uncertainly avoidance tendency lack ambition but in reality it is their fear of failure and their need for consistency that prevents them from seeking a higher paying job with more responsibilities. It is important as a manager to resist the temptation to judge them as lazy or incompetent. In countries such as Greece or Japan you are more likely to see considerably more older people in top level positions because of their preference for avoiding uncertainty. As a manager of employees with a high degree of uncertainty avoidance, you will want to provide very clear and specific instructions and be certain to enforce rules and procedures. You will find that employees with a high degree of uncertainty avoidance will become agitated if they believe that the rules are being broken. They prefer to avoid conflict and have a strong emotional resistance to change. The value of this type of employee is his/her dependability and tendency to stay with the same employer. Individuals that prefer to avoid uncertain or risky situations appear to have a lower achievement motivation. They would rather stay in a job they know than be promoted to a job in which they might fail. Some think those with a lower uncertainly avoidance tendency lack ambition but in reality it is their fear of failure and their need for consistency that prevents them from seeking a higher paying job with more responsibilities. It is important as a manager to resist the temptation to judge them as lazy or incompetent. In countries such as Greece or Japan you are more likely to see considerably more older people in top level positions because of their preference for avoiding uncertainty. As a manager of employees with a high degree of uncertainty avoidance, you will want to provide very clear and specific instructions and be certain to enforce rules and procedures. You will find that employees with a high degree of uncertainty avoidance will become agitated if they believe that the rules are being broken. They prefer to avoid conflict and have a strong emotional resistance to change. The value of this type of employee is his/her dependability and tendency to stay with the same employer.
Those with a high score on the masculinity dimensions (above 51) feel that women should be the nurturers. They think the most important thing is one's ability to perform. They live to work and are ambitious. They admire achievers. Those with a lower scores feel that men as well as women should be nurturers and that the quality of life is more important than achievement or material success. They work to live. Service is their motivation. They also sympathize with unfortunates. Where do you put yourself?
Americans and most westerners are used to a universalistic system that believes that all people should be treated equally. To ensure equal treatment, rules and regulations are followed without exception. Legal contracts are written and individuals are expected to abide by the terms of the contract. Once a deal is made all parties are expected to carry out their part of the bargain. Any changes must be agreed to by all parties involved. Penalties are assessed if terms of the contract are broken. However, other cultures prefer a particularistic system that focuses more on relationships than on rules or legal contracts. Under this type of system any party can modify the contract when circumstances change. For example, a company may have agreed to produce 500 croissant sandwiches a month and the other company has agreed to buy 500 a month. In a universalistic system a penalty would be attached if either party did not fulfill their end of the bargain but in a particularistic system the producer of the sandwiches might supply only 400 sandwiches because one of the workers was ill. The buyer would be expected to understand these special circumstances. Contracts are viewed more as guidelines that can be changed when it is convenient for either party. Individuals who believe in a particularistic system feel that what is correct and right is dependent upon the situation and on the individual.
This chart shows the differences found in Trompenaars’ study. While a very large percentage of Americans (93%) believe that rules should be applied equally to all people regardless of whether or not they are a friend, other cultures find it perfectly acceptable to change the rules so that they meet the needs of friends. A deal is a deal is only good in universalistic cultures while others believe that the deal can readily be changed to meet changing circumstances and needs.
III. C Achievement versus Ascription Trompenaars found a difference in the way people admired others. Those from achievement oriented cultures respect people based on what they have accomplished. People are admired and promoted for their actions and accomplishments. On the other hand, cultures with an ascription orientation base respect on the position a person holds, the school they attended or the family from which a person came. For example, in France, a highly ascriptive culture, 90% of all CEO have graduated from a “grande ecole”. Titles are used much more extensively in ascriptive cultures than in achievement oriented cultures. Ascriptive are more likely to promote people based on age and gender.
Trompenaars asked people to agree or disagree with the statement that respect is dependent upon family background. As demonstrated in the slide nearly all Americans and British people disagreed with the statement. However, a relatively large number of people from Hong Kong (42%) agreed that respect may not be based on achievement but instead on the family background of an individual. Do you think Americans respected John Kennedy, Jr. because of what he accomplished or because of his family? Do you feel any of the popularity of the current presidential candidate is based on the works of his father, George Bush? Would you have the same level of respect as a hospitality manager as a relative of Bill Marriott or Roy Crock would? What difference do you think the school you attended make in your career after you have been working in the field at least five years? University house and web students should discuss the issue of respect based on family background or name of the school you attended in the bulletin board. The first person may use any one of the three questions to begin the conversation. The second person must respond to the opinion of the first person and add another comment. The 3rd should follow suit and the 4th, who must be someone different from the one who synthesized the last question, should write a summary of the discussion. Remember you must swith the order in which you answer the questions.
Culture teaches people how they should look at the world around them. One aspect of how you think about your world is whether or not you have control - control of nature and control of what happens to you. Americans have a tendency to believe they can change the world, they can make things happen. This is a can-do culture. We even believe we can control the forces of nature - building dams to change the course of the flow of the water, creating habitats for wildlife etc. One way differences in the way people view their ability to control their world is to describe people as either having an internal locus of control or an external locus of control. People who have an internal locus of control feel they are responsible for controlling what is around them. Those with an external locus of control feel that the environment controls them and that there is little they can do to change what happens to them. The percentages in the slide show that most Americans feel that they can control their destiny. However, most people from Venezuela believe that they must accept what happens to them and not try to control it. demonstrates the differences in what people believe about their ability to control their own fate. Knowing that everyone does not believe they have control of their own destiny is important for managers who otherwise would not understand workers who seem to not take responsibility for their own lives. Do you believe you can control your life or do you believe you have to accept the ways things are? Is your life pre-destined? Do you have a fate over which you have little or no control? How do other people you know differ in their believes about controlling fate or destiny. University house and web students should write their response in the “My Cultural Beliefs, Attitudes and Values” file under (I.A.1)
This slide lists the cultural dimensions we have studied. Go back and review any of the concepts listed here that you can not explain. You should be able to describe yourself on each of these dimensions and compare yourself to others who may think and act differently. You should be able to describe the value of each way of reacting, acting and relating.
Transcript of "The role of culture in international management"
The Role of Culture in
HA 390 Module 2www.StudsPlanet.com
Helps us organize our world
Shared values, understandings, assumptions
and goals (values, beliefs, norms)
Learned from earlier generation
Imposed by present members of society
Principles for Studying Other Cultures
Individuals may not conform
Differences may not be culturally based
Understand your own culture first
– Few fall at the extremes, most are somewhere
in the middle
Can be misused
Belief that one's cultural values,
beliefs and norms are better than
those of another culture are
4 Principles for studying cultures
– Individuals may not conform
– Differences may not be culturally based
– Understand self first
– Natural, potentially useful or harmful
– Belief that one’s own culture is bestwww.StudsPlanet.com
Find several examples that demonstrate
how culture affects management
functions such as planning, organizing,
directing and controlling
Find examples of how culture affects
Find several examples of how business
practices differ across cultures
Prepare to present findings to class
Understand the ways culture can
Value different points of view
Develop shared values, beliefs and
What do you think?
Are subordinates the same kind of people as
Should the boss know all the answers?
Is it ok for the boss to have privileges such as
drinking coffee on the job that the front line
workers do not have?
Is it ok to call the boss by his/her first name?
Which type of boss do you think is best - one that
is autocratic, persuasive or paternalistic, or
High Power Distance
Order of inequality
Boss should know all
Low Power Distance
superiors are equals
Ok for boss to ask
Power Distance Comparisons
Average = 51
High Power Distance Employee
Wrong to disagree with the boss
Boss should know all the answers
Boss should have more privileges
What do you think?
Do you think it is ok for employees to disagree and even argue
with their boss?
Do you think time has a monetary value or it is something that
Do you prefer a boss who lays out the rules clearly and
specifically to you in written format or do you prefer one that
only sets out basic rules and assumes you will perform
If you needed a marketing plan, would you hire a hospitality
marketing specialist, a general marketing specialist or would you
do it yourself?
How do you react when your boss tells you s/he is going to make
changes in the way things are done?
Time is money
Need written rules
Believe in experts
Willing to take risks
Time is free
Prefer common sense
Logic and common
sense better than expert
High avoidance of risk Willing to take risks
Responsible for self
and immediate family
Identity based on the
Identity in the
provided by the in-
Affect of High Uncertainty
Avoidance on Employees
Rules, regulations, direction
Fear of failure
– May appear less ambitious
1. Do you live to work or work to live?
2. What are your feelings about who should do what at
home? How do you view the responsible of each
spouse for taking care of the children?
3. Do you feel a sense of responsibility to help when you
see a homeless person begging? What is your
philosophy on giving to the poor?
4. Would you take your family out of a home and
community they love where they are surrounded by
friends and family for a new position that offers you a
considerably higher salary?
5. How would you rank yourself on the
6. How do your feelings contrast with others you know?
What do you think?
Live to work
Quality of life
Concern for weak
Work to live
Men & Women
Disapprove of high
Average = 51
Focus more on
relationships than rules
Legal contracts easily
Reality is relative to
Focus on rules rather
Legal contracts should
Word and legal
One reality, one truth
A deal is a deal
Percent who prefer universalistic
How would the expectations of
employees from a particularistic
culture differ from those of a
Which system do you prefer? Why?
What is the value of each of these
What do you think?
1. Do you think Americans respected John Kennedy,
Jr. because of what he accomplished or because of
2. Do you think many people voted for our current
president because of his father?
3. Would you have the same level of respect as a
hospitality manager as a relative of Bill Marriott
or Roy Crock would?
4. What difference do you think the school you
attended make in your career after you have been
working in the field at least five years?www.StudsPlanet.com
Respected for what
Respect of superior
based on performance
Limited use of titles
Senior managers vary
in age and gender,
Respected for who
superior seen as
commitment to the
Extensive use of
are male, middle-
aged, qualified by
Respect depends on family background
Percent who disagree
What do you think?
1. Do you believe you can control your life
or do you believe you have to accept the
ways things are?
2. Is your life pre-destined?
3. Do you have a fate over which you have
little or no control?
4. How do other people you know differ in
their believes about controlling fate or
Locus of Control
Belief in one’s ability
to control fate
Respect for conflict
Focus on self rather
Discomfort with lack
Belief that something
outside oneself is in
Focus on other
Control Fate: Percent who believe
they are captains of their fate
S Korea Netherlands UK
Diffuse (High context)
/Specific (low context)
Diffuse (high context)
Context more important
Report conclusions at end
Specific (low context)
Direct, to the point
Words more important
stands regardless of
and important points
Cultural Dimensions Summary
Power Distance – how should the boss act
Uncertainty Avoidance – rules or
Masculine/Feminine – material rewards or
quality of life
Individualism/Collectivism – I versus we
Universalistic/Particularistic – treat all
equally versus do favors for friends
Cultural Dimensions Summary
Achievement/Ascription – respect for what
you do or respect for who you are
Locus of Control – I am in control of my
destiny versus outside forces are in control
Neutral/Affective – hide versus display
Diffuse/Specific (high/low context) – indirect
versus direct communication
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