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Dynamics of Cultural Diversity

What are some of the value differences and similarities of various national groups?

What is the impact of these values on the business environment?

What are the four dimensions of culture studied by Geert Hofstede? What is the cultural background of the United States (or a country of your choice)?

What are the main criteria for assessing business information? Are these criteria culturally defined?

Is there a close connection between corporate culture and intercultural communication?

Why is it necessary to understand the dynamics of culturally diverse teams in the global market?

Solution Preview

Please see response attached (as well as presented below- which has additional information updated October 28, 2008), as well as one supporting article. I hope this helps and take care.

RESPONSE:

1. What are some of the value differences and similarities of various national groups? What is the impact of these values on the business environment?

Value differences have to do with what different cultures see as most important for business transactions to be successful along various dimensions (i.e., behavior, appearance, communication styles, etc.).

Let's look at USA (the information is also provided in the attached analysis) and then I provide links for comparisons across nations.

USA EXAMPLE: Behavior

* Business conversation may take place during meals. However, many times you will find more social conversation taking place during the actual meal.
* Business meetings may be arranged as breakfast meetings, luncheon meetings, or dinner meetings depending on time schedules and necessity. Generally a dinner, even though for business purposes, is treated as a social meal and a time to build rapport.
* Gift giving is discouraged or limited by many US companies. A gracious written note is always appropriate and acceptable.
* If you do give a gift, it should not appear to be a bribe.
* An invitation for a meal or a modest gift is usually acceptable.
* If you are someplace with a line or queue, go to the end and wait your turn.
* Do not use or chew on a toothpick in public.
* Many public places and private homes do not allow smoking. In some areas laws have been passed to prevent smoking in public places.

Appearance

* Business suit and tie are appropriate in all major cities. Wear dark colored business suits in classic colors of gray and navy. For an important formal meeting, choose a white dress shirt, for less formal a light blue shirt will still give you a conservative appearance.
* Women should wear a suit or dress with jacket in major cities. Wearing classic clothing and classic colors of navy, gray, ivory, and white will ensure you give a confident and conservative appearance.
* Rural areas and areas with extremely warm summers have more informal wardrobe requirements.
* Women may wear a business dress, or skirt and blouse, in rural areas.
* Men may conduct business without wearing a jacket and/or tie in rural areas.
* The formality of a meeting, even in rural areas, may dictate a sports jacket and tie for men. The same formality will require a woman to wear a dress, possibly with a jacket.
* Casual clothing is appropriate when not attending a work related meeting/dinner. Building a casual wardrobe using classic lines and colors (navy, gray, camel, ivory and white) will give you a look that is stylish and professional even when you are relaxing.
* Clothing, whether formal or casual, should be clean and neat in appearance.
* Men may generally wear jeans or khaki pants with a shirt for casual attire.
* Women may wear comfortably fitting slacks with a casual shirt. Wearing jeans or shorts, even in a casual setting, may be inappropriate for the city. It is better to err on the conservative side if you are not sure.

Communication

* Good eye contact during business and social conversations shows interest, sincerity and confidence.
* Good friends may briefly embrace, although the larger the city, usually the more formal the behavior.
* Introductions include one's title if appropriate, or Mr., Ms, Mrs. and the full name.
* Business cards are generally exchanged during introductions. However, they may be exchanged when one party is leaving.
* A smile is a sign of friendliness, and in rural areas you may be greeted with a "hello" rather than a handshake.
* Ask permission to smoke before lighting a cigarette or cigar. Due to health concerns, you may or may not be given permission.
* Offer a firm handshake, lasting 3-5 seconds, upon greeting and leaving. Maintain good eye contact during your handshake. If you are meeting several people at once, maintain eye contact with the person you are shaking hands with, until you are moving on the next person. (Source: http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/us.htm).

(HYPER-LINKED IN ATTACHED RESPONSE)

For compaisons with other countries cultural values see Africa Argentina Australia Brazil Canada Chile China Colombia Costa Rica Ecuador Egypt El Salvador France Germany Great Britain Guatemala Hong Kong India Indonesia Italy Japan Mexico New Zealand Panama Russia Saudi Arabia Spain Taiwan United Arab Emirates United States Venezuela

These values effect the business decisions, because if mis-communication occurs the business deal may fail, or at the very least, be less effective thAn if culture sensitivity had been employed (e.g., don't use direct eye contact in a culture that values indirect eye contact, etc.). Go through each of the country, and if a business person from another culture ignores any of these values, then they are NOT being culturally sensitive.

2. What are the four dimensions of culture studied by Geert Hofstede? What is the cultural background of the United States (or a country of your choice)?

Actually, there are five dimensions of culture that Hofstede studied.

1. Power Distance Index (PDI) focuses on the degree of equality, or inequality, between people in the country's society. A High Power Distance ranking indicates that inequalities of power and wealth have been allowed to grow within the society. These societies are more likely to follow a caste system that does not allow significant upward mobility of its citizens. A Low Power Distance ranking indicates the society de-emphasizes the differences between citizen's power and wealth. In these societies equality and opportunity for everyone is stressed.

2. Individualism (IDV) focuses on the degree the society reinforce individual or collective achievement and interpersonal relationships. A High Individualism ranking indicates that individuality and individual rights are paramount within the society. Individuals in these societies may tend to form a larger number of looser relationships. A Low Individualism ranking typifies societies of a more collectivist nature with close ties between individuals. These cultures reinforce extended families and collectives where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group.

3. Masculinity (MAS) focuses on the degree the ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses some of the value differences and similarities of various national groups, as well as the impact of these values on the business environment. It also discusses the four dimensions of culture studied by Geert Hofstede and the cultural background of one country; the main criteria for assessing business information and if these criteria culturally defined. The connection between corporate culture and intercultural communication is then explored, as well as why it is necessary to understand the dynamics of culturally diverse teams in the global market.

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