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Business Customs: United States vs. Europe

Need some help so that I can prepare a response discussing how office or business customs and practices can differ by country.

1. Compare and contrast the business customs of the United States to Europe.

2. Using research and/or sociological theory to support your answers, would you say that there are underlying differences in the way that people regard work and quality of life between the United States and European countries?

3. What would you say those differences are?

4. What is your own perspective on the work culture in the United States?

Please include references. Thank you for any assistance.

Solution Preview

Let's look at some differences that you can look at for your comparisons for your one page paper. I also added some extra information at the end of this response for consideration, and links for further research.

RESPONSE:

1. Need some help in preparing a 1 page paper discussing how office or business customs and practices can differ by country.

a. Compare and contrast the business customs of the United States to Europe.
b. Using research and/or sociological theory to support your answers, would you say that there are underlying differences in the way that people regard work and quality of life between the United States and European countries?
c. What would you say those differences are?
d. What is your own perspective on the work culture in the United States?

"Culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy. Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster." - Dr. Geert Hofstede (http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/hofstede.htm).

Individualism and egalitarianism are two important elements in American culture that have significant effects on their business netiquettes. In America, for example, individualism and egalitarianism cultural elements are different than European countries more collective cultures. For example, according to Geert Hofstede, the United States has a high level of individualism in its society, than most European countries. This means Americans show more self-reliant behaviors and, aside from themselves and close family members, tend to form loose bonds with other people. American culture emphasizes and practically awards those who take the initiative and those whose goals are towards personal achievements. This differs from Europe. As well, in contrast to Europe,in US, status and age doesn't matter much and what are looked at are one's personal achievements (http://www.guideto.com/united-states-/how-to-practice-business-etiquette-in-united-states). Europe has lower individualism with a more collectivist nature with close ties between individuals. In business, the focus is more collective and what is best for the company, where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their work group as opposed to individual focus, However, each individual is still responsible for their own skills and performance, but as it relates to the collective (http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/hofstede.htm).

In America, egalitarianism or the concept of equality is important, as Americans believe that they should be provided with equal rights, equal social obligations, and equal opportunities. Equality, however, is still based on individual achievements. In Europe, there is less focus on the concept of equality, as it is more collective (not all countries). In other words, Americans feel and believes that working hard and doing their best deserve success and better financial gains. In Europe, it is more about just doing the job expected, and then going home and not working extended hours as is custom in United States. This concept of equality influences how Americans treat people that are richer, older, and authority figure. Americans generally don't show much respect to people who are financially and/or socially higher in status. Professional titles are very seldom used and people prefer calling each other by their first names (http://www.guideto.com/united-states-/how-to-practice-business-etiquette-in-united-states). European companies are opposite. For example, Italian companies often have a rigid hierarchy, with little visible association between the ...

Solution Summary

By responding to the questions, this solution discusses how office or business customs and practices can differ by country e.g. United States vs. Europe. It provides a comprehensive comparison (e..g office and business customs, cultural differences, quality of life, etc.) references and links for further research.

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