Chapter 9 intercultural encounters by Hofstede & Hofstede
the Book Review on
Chapter Name: Intercultural Encounters
Chapter No. 09
Prepared by: Jobayda Gulshan Ara
Book Name: Cultures and Organizations:
Software of the Mind
Author: Geert Hofstede & Gert Jan
Intercultural encounter means an unexpected
or hostile situation
An intercultural encounter can be an
experience between people from different
countries or it can be an experience between
individuals from other cultural backgrounds in
the same country
Human history is composed of wars
Holy books of different religions genocide is
considered as order of God
“what is different is dangerous” believed by
war and peace represent intended conflicts.
unintended conflicts that sometimes arise during
Nobody wants unintended conflicts but all suffer
Avoiding unintended cultural conflicts - theme of
Countries & regions differ in more than their
Figure: Sources of differences between
countries and groups
Hofstede was given a acculturation curve
have four phases
• Phase-1 : Euphoria
• Phase-2 : the Period of Cultural Shock
• Phase-3 : Acculturations
• Phase-4 : the Stable State
Culture shocks are environment specific
This psychological reactions have four phases:
Phase-1 Curiosity: as like euphoria on the side of visitors.
Phase-2 Ethnocentrism: hosts will evaluate the visitor by the
standards of their culture.
Phase-3 Polycentrism: the recognition that different kinds of
people should be measured by different standards
Phase-4 Xenophilia: believe of hosts people that in foreigner
culture everything is better.
Ethnocentrism and xenophilia both are unhealthy for
intercultural co operations.
Language differences contribute to cultural
Language belongs to the
1. surface level of culture and
2. vehicle of cultural transfer
Language and Humor
One will miss a lot of subtleties of a culture if
he/she have no knowledge about the language of
One of this subtleties is Humor
In intercultural encounters the experienced
travelers knows that jokes and irony are taboo
until one is absolutely sure of the other culture’s
conception that what represent humor.
Popular media suggest that communication technologies
will make the world global village
The software of the mechanism can be globalized but
the software of the minds that use them not
Communication technology helps to increase the amount
of information but does not increase the capacity to
absorb this information
We process information according to our values
Most intercultural encounters two types:
Between local teachers and foreign, migrant or
refugee students and
Between expatriate teachers hired as foreign expert
or send as missionaries and local students
Intercultural problems can be based on institutional
Minorities depends on hard fact like: distribution of population,
economic situation of population groups and the intensity of their
It also depends on cultural values and cultural practices.
In nearly all cases of migrants and refuges moved from a more
traditional collectivist to a more individualist society.
The refugees and migrants called marginal people. The level of
marginality is different generations and genders.
National culture will affect negotiation process by
Power distance will affect the degree of centralization of the
control and decision making structure and the importance of
Collectivist will affect the need for stable relationships
between the negotiators.
Masculinity will affect the need for ego-boosting behavior
and the sympathy for the strong on the part of negotiators and
their superiors. They have a tendency to resolve conflicts by a
show of force.
Feminine cultures are more likely resolve conflicts by
compromise and to strive for consensus.
Effective intercultural negotiations demand :
an insight into the range of cultural values to be
expected among partners from another countries
Language and communication skills
Organization skills for planning and arranging
meeting and facilities
Skills for handling external communications
Acceptance of responsibility
Uncertainty Avoidance (weak)
Short Term Orientation
Developing New Markets
The solution may be two types of structure:
Matrix structure: Here every business unit have two
One coordinate particular type of business across all
Other coordinate all business units in the particular
Patchwork Structure: follow the needs of markets and
business unit cultures.
International Expansion can be distinguished in five ways,
in increasing order of cultural risk
I. The Greenfield Start
II. The International strategic Alliance
III. The Joint venture with a Foreign Partner
IV. The Foreign Acquisition
V. The Cross National Merger
Political processes and difference in Power Distance,
Uncertainty avoidance, Individualism-collectivism and
Larger power distance: centralization, lack of cooperation
between citizen and authorities and more political violence.
Strong Uncertainty avoidance: more rules and laws, more
government intervention in economy.
Individualism: concern with human rights, market capitalism
and political democracy.
Collectivism: group interests.
Masculinity: economic growth and competition and belief in
Femininity: Country welfare and world development
Intercultural encounters in the context of development
cooperation will be productive if there is a two way
Flow of Know-How:
Technical know-how: from the donor to receiver.
Cultural know how : about the context in which
the technical know how should be applied.
The acquisition of intercultural communication abilities
passes through three phases:
a. Awareness: it is the recognition of one that, I carry a
particular Mental Software because the way I was
brought up and the other also carry a different one for
equally good reasons.
b. Knowledge: It should follow awareness. If we
interact with particular culture we have to learn about
these cultures symbols, heroes and rituals but never
share their values.
c. Skills: It is based on awareness and knowledge and
Intercultural communication training courses are two
types: Expatriate briefings and awareness training.
Intercultural encounters is faced by both the visitors
and host people. Visitors face cultural shock and host
people face ethnocentrism and xenophilia. School
teachers and students, minorities, migrants, intercultural
organization face this encounters for intercultural co-
operation. Economic development and politics and
consumer behavior all are related to this experience. By
awareness, knowledge and skills one may adopt other
culture swiftly. The realization of our is, encounters are
not actually an enormous problem because by the
crisis situation one can learn better about a culture and
made a way for cope with the encounters and interact
with the culture effectively.