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CROSS CULTURAL ISSUES 1.0 INTRODUCTION In todays global environment, fierce competition exists in the business sector.

For companies to survive, they must find ways to protect themselves from the competition and position themselves to gain competitive advantage. Companies achieve this by different methods, such as expanding to international locations (foreign direct investment that benefits the value chain), mergers and acquisition, expanding sales to international markets. There are challenges associated with expanding to international locations especially in the area of culture as indicated by Geert Hofstede where, "Culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy. Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster. or succeeds. Leoni is a German headquartered company which seeks to improve its competitive advantage via internationalization. Leoni is a globalized manufacturing company, which was established in 1917. They have approximately 56,000 employees in 34 countries in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. The company financial situation if healthy with sales amounting to 2.96billion euros in 2010. They are a global supplier of wires, optical fibers, cables and cable systems as well as related development services for applications in the automotive, health care, communication and other industries. The company structure comprises of two business divisions, Wiring Systems and Wire and Cable Solutions. These divisions are further segmented into 18 business units in countries across the globe with each unit focusing on specific groups of customers. Their intention is to develop infrastructure to manufacture its product, using the local resources, distribution systems and new markets to gain competitive advantage With reference to appendix 1 (PESTLE analysis of Germany) indicates several factors against Leoni in the areas of corporate taxation, environmental initiatives and significant reduction in work force by 2030 posses several long term challenges. The internal organization analysis, appendix 2 indicates a healthy organization, meticulous emphasis on structure, skills, procedures and policy. The SOWT, appendix 3 highlights the challenges of the PESTLE and the strengths of the internal analysis. The summary of the SWOT sets direction to internationalize to new area to access Chinese Auto manufacture market, lower corporation taxes and long term workforce based on Germanys demographic challenges. 1 Cross cultural management is a significant aspect in internationalization and can determine if a company fails

CROSS CULTURAL ISSUES Hong Kong was chosen as they are currently the fastest growing Asian economy and is a part of the Chinese mainland making market access easy. Governmental policies the economic situation are both favorable. The objective of this paper is to understand the challenges of integrating the two cultures, determining the critical success factors and to recommend a framework to effectively manage the cultural diversity to gain competitive advantage. 2.0 Cross Cultural management Management is defined as the process through which the efforts of members of an organization are co-ordinated, directed and guided towards the achievement of organisational goals. Mullins, (2005). Culture as defined by Geert Hofstede is "the collective programming of the mind distinguishing the members of one group or category of people from another" based on the both definitions one can deduce cross cultural management as an understanding the cultural differences to derive a process to effectively coordinate the efforts of members of the organization to achieve the organization goals and objectives. To appreciate cross cultural management is one must first understand culture. The concept of culture is used as an explanation of the differences among human societies. Culture, in its wide ethnographic sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society Taylor, (1873). Several cultural framework have been developed by theorist such as Hofsteed, Trompenaars, Hall and Schein to describe traditions, value systems, myths and symbols that are common in a given society. These frame work serve to understand culture form both a national and organizational perspective and are further discussed in this paper under models of culture. It is said that the national culture influences the organizational culture, Trompenaars et al, 2006, therefore the definition of both national and organizational culture shall be considered. Form and organizational perspective Edgar Schein defines culture "A pattern of shared basic assumptions that was learned by a group as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way you perceive, think, and feel 2

CROSS CULTURAL ISSUES in relation to those problems." From a national perspective culture is defined by Geert Hofstede as "the collective programming of the mind distinguishing the members of one group or category of people from another". An analysis of the two definitions indicates that the programming of the mind at a national level can significantly influence the perception, thought process and feelings generated at an organization level. 3.0 MODELS AND THEORIES OF CULTURE From business integration perspective models of culture serve to highlight different aspects of societal beliefs, norms, and/or values between countries to better understand how one can integrate within a particular culture to harmonize the cultural integration for the purpose of competitive advantage. There are currently at least six models of national cultures that are referenced by various authors in the field of culture continue to be widely cited and utilized in the cultural research literature. These include models proposed by Hofstede, Hall, Trompenaars, Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck, , Schwartz, and House and his GLOBE associates. For the purpose of this paper specific focus shall be placed on Hofsted;s, Trompenaars and Hall. There are various levels of culture, namely national culture, societal culture and organizational culture. For the purpose of this paper national and organizational culture shall be the focus. National Culture is based on Hofstede (2001) which has five cultural dimensions. These dimensions are power distance, individualism versus collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity versus femininity and long term orientation, as shown in appendix 4. Hofstede developed a rating scheme to indicate depth the various dimensions specific to different countries as shown in appendix 5. Trompenaars (1994) also conducted a study to identify aspects of national culture. His work revealed seven cultural dimensions as indicated in appendix 6. He categorized the seven dimensions under three main headings; those arising from relationships between people, those involving the passage of time and those emerging from ones attitudes towards the environment. The seven dimensions are: attitudes to time, universalism versus particularism, individualism versus collectivism, emotional, specific/diffuse, achievement/ascription and internal environmental control/external environmental control. Edward T. Hall (1981), has proposed a model of culture based on his ethnographic research in several societies. His research broadly categorized a countrys culture into high or low context cultures. His research focuses primarily on how cultures differ in interpersonal 3

CROSS CULTURAL ISSUES communication, personal space and time. These three cultural dimensions are summarized in appendix 7. Schein (1992) presumes that organizational cultures can be explained and understood by looking at the core values and assumptions of a given culture and has categorized these into three levels. These are Artifacts which are the visible elements in a culture, Espoused value which values are the values normally espoused by the leading figures of a culture and finally Assumptions which reflects the shared values within the specific culture, see appendix 8 for greater detail. 4.0 CONVERGENCE AND DIVERGENCE The notion of convergence in the context of management suggests that successful management practices are transferable from one company in one country to another company in any part of the world. Convergence protagonist, Hickson et al. (1974) and Porter, (1986) argue that convergence is due to the improved communication, travel, technology, collaboration between organizations and nations and the integration of multinational corporations (MNCs) at a global level. From a divergence perspective it is suggested that because of cultural differences, universal management practices cannot be applied. This is supported by divergence protagonists (Hofsteed 1995 and Alder 1996) argue that employees are likely to exhibit a range of different attitudes and behaviors, this results in different implementations of the same management practice. For the purpose of this paper the author supports a divergence view of Leonis integration into Hong Kong based on the various theories previously discussed of national culture. Supporting analysis shall be discussed in later sections. 5.0 CHALLENGES AND BARRIERS FOR SUCCESSFUL INTEGRATION INTO HONGKONG Challenges to successful integration lay in the cultural diversities between Germany and Hong Kong. These differences shall be compared in Table 1 below and how these differences pose a challenge shall be further discussed.

CROSS CULTURAL ISSUES Table 1: Comparison of culture differences between Germany and Hong Kong based on the various cultural models. BARRIER Convergence and divergence Language Communication GERMANY Germany is universalistic and believes that ideas and beliefs can be applied everywhere without modifications. Predominantly speaks German LOW CONTEXT CULTURE HONG KONG THEORIST Hong Kong is particularistic and TROMPENAARS believes that circumstances dictate how ideas and practices should be applied. Speaks Chinese and English HIGH CONTEXT CULTURE HALL

Context surrounding the message is The context in which the message far less important than the message is important as the message itself. itself. The context provides the speaker The way something is said is more and listener with very little information important in communicating a relating to the intended message. message than the actual words that are used. People need to rely more on providing Communication is based greater message clarity e.g. written on long-term interpersonal message. relationships, mutual trust, and personal reputations. As a result, less needs to be said or written down Language precision is critical, How message is said is critical

verbal agreements, assumed Verbal agreements important as understandings, innuendos, and body well as body language. language account for little

SpacePersonal SpaceEnvironment Time

Values personal space

Low personal space requirement HALL may be attributed to high population density. Crowded environment is a fact of life Preference to open office space, comfortable with others close. Attributed to strong group bonds Polychronic: Simultaneous attention HALL to multiple goals; Integration of work and personal life; relative concept of time.

Preference to closed personal spaces

Monochronic: Sequential attention to individual goals, separation of work and personal life, precise concept of time

CROSS CULTURAL ISSUES BARRIER HRM practices GERMANY Individualist Culture Dimension HONG KONG Collectivist Culture Dimension THEORIST HOFSTEDE

Recruitment and Recruit based on person qualification Family member within organization and experience can influence recruitment process selection by recommendation Reward Management Promotion Team Work Decision making Rewards are based on individual contribution towards organizational goals Promotion are based on personal achievements Strong preference to autonomy and independence. Little value placed on relationship within a team. Low Context, decision making is done quickly and efficiently, by considering main points, details to be worked out later. Low Context, encourage disagreement and discussion Rewards are based on contribution HOFSTEDE of the team towards organizational goals Promotion based on seniority within HOFSTEDE the organization Preference to work in teams, forms HOFSTEDE strong bonds with team members, high emphasis on integrity of team High Context ,details are important and take longer to finalize decisions, may see low context style of quick decision making as unintelligent and unprofessional

Problem Solving Negotiations

open High Context avoid confrontation when views are different

Low Context, view negotiations as High Context, emphasize impersonal and focuses on economic relationships and a sociable goals atmosphere when negotiating Organizational structure in Germany Organizational structure in Hong allow the following: Kong allow the following: Decentralized decision making Centralized decision making


Hierarchal in nature but flatter to allow Hierarchal in nature but with many greater span of control levels to allow narrow span of control Strong role of staff experts Managers should have technical competence Staff organized by function Formalized structure Strong social versus task roles strong Control exerted through authority Generalist view, staff placed where see fit Informal, rely on personal relationships and paternalistic 6


Convergence and Divergence Based on Mullins and Hofstedes as discussed in cross cultural management above a divergent view is of management is required. Many of Germany and Hong Kong cultural dimensions form various theorist sits at extremes ends of the spectrum. Significantly different views and values can cause conflict if a universal approach is applied. Language Language can pose several challenges. Similarly pronunciated words can have significantly different and even offensive meanings in other languages. Language difference is a barrier to effective communication and can reduce efficiency.

Communication Based on Halls high and low context cultures there are several opposites in communication styles between Germany and Hong Kong. The different in values placed on language precision, context, medium of message preference can easily cause misinterpretation of messages the extreme differences can be considered as barriers to communication. Space Differences in space requirements can cause uncomfortable interaction where proximity is concerned, uncomfortable environments can reduce productivity. Time Germans can view Hong Kong polychromic time as being late, inefficiency in work as personal time can be spent working, failure to meet deadlines as several activities are worked on simultaneously with a relative view of time. 7

CROSS CULTURAL ISSUES Recruitment and Selection Germans can view recruitment in a collectivist society as nepotistic in nature and a form of corruption because of family member influence. Reward Management Application of individualistic type of reward system in a collectivist society can cause conflict as their culture promotes a team environment. Promotion Promotion practice based on individual contribution in Hong Kong and not seniority can cause erosion of hierarchy within a team as the senior members are undermined.

Teamwork Germans independent and autonomic working style cannot be applied in Hong Kong and they are team oriented, individualist styles will cause conflict in collectivist cultures. Decision making Hong Kong individuals can view Germans quick decision as unintelligent and not logical. Conflict can arise as they would presume the decision was not thoroughly reviewed. Problem Solving Germans may view Hong Kong individuals as not participative as they would avoid confrontation of different views. Negotiations Hong Kong individuals can perceive Germans as being arrogant in negotiation due to their impersonal attributes and focus on economic goals 8

CROSS CULTURAL ISSUES Structure Germany based on Hofsted dimensions has high uncertainty avoidance and low power distance, Hong Kong on the other hand is the opposite. These two cultural dimensions significantly impact organizational structure. The differences are shown in table 1 above. Application of the German type structure to Hong Kong will surely cause conflict and even culture shock as the differences are quite extreme. Hong Kong simply does not follow structure orientations of Germany and hence will cause considerable conflict because of differences of values and beliefs.

Culture Shock Culture shock as defined by oxford online dictionary as the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes. Both Germans and Hong Kong individuals can experience this condition as both sides will be exposed to cultural unfamiliarity. Inter-Cultural Teams Cultural differences can cause effective interaction within teams to be hindered as each society has a different set of assumptions and norms under which they tend to operate, DiStefano and Maznevski, (2000). Bringing culturally diverse teams can be problematic and the performance of the team can be marred by increased conflict, communication challenges and fragmentation. Sinclair et al., (2008) suggests that culture can add an additional layer of complexity to team working processes, creating additional challenges, these challengers are: misunderstandings as a result of differences in language and preferred communication style, differing perspectives, cultural norms, priorities and expectations, increased conflict and difficulties in creating an environment where all can contribute and the benefits of diversity can be leveraged.


Management challenges. Managers face many challenges when one has to manage individuals of different culture in a different country. Managers are exposed to differences in value system, cultural and behavioral norms. These differences can be easily misinterpreted and can cause conflict as different cultured interpret things differently. Managers are exposed to various personalities, which based on social differences can also cause challenges in management. Based on the Table 1 above barriers such as language, communication, space requirements, value of time and application of management practices all pose challenges in managing as discussed above. For the manage itself it is also difficult to adjust to the new environment and may experience culture shock especially in places where culture differences are at extreme ends of the spectrum, as Germanys and Hong Kong do, based on Hofstedes and Trompenaars cultural dimensions.

6.0 RECOMMENDATIONS Critical Success Factors From careful analysis of the barriers that can prevent successful assimilation into Hong Kong one can deduce that there are several factors that are critical for smooth integration. From a management perspective and the cultural dimensional theory of Trompenaars, Hofsteed and Hall the following critical success factors are inferred. Table 2: Critical Success Factors. Critical Success Factor Management Style Description From Hofstedes and Trompenaars collectivist dimension of Hong Kong the management style should be inherent of flexibility, credibility, integrity and one that promotes relationship building. Their view should also be divergence so as to have an appreciation of management through a cultural lens and cultural empathy of management in a cross cultural context. Hong Kong strong hierarchal structure requires a authoritative style of management. 10

CROSS CULTURAL ISSUES Critical Success Factor Adaptation to Communication styles Human Resource Management Alignment of Organizational Culture to national Culture Description Following Halls dimensions which from the barriers in Table 1 show significant opposites. It is therefore critical for managers to adapt to a high context culture dimension of Hong Kong Based on the barriers to human resource practices a human resource structure that supports the collectivist type culture of Hong Kong should be implemented Trompenaars, (1997, 2006) indicated structure is a manifestation of an organizations culture, and that national culture influences organizational culture. It can therefore be deduced that the organizational culture has to supports the structural attributes of Hong Kong as indicated in Table 1. The structure attributes from Table 1 was generated based on Hofstedes national culture dimension therefore the organizational culture shall be an aligned subset of national culture

The critical success factors along with to the barriers stated above shall be considered to develop the recommendation for Leoni to successfully integrate into Hong Kong. Considering the four critical factors of success, a manager is required to possess excellent communication skills, management style, knowledge of human resource practices and influential in creating the desired organizational culture for a collectivist society with high cultural context. It is therefore recommended that a regiocentric approach to management be applied. With this approach a manager from the host country (Hong Kong) shall be recruited to manage the operations. This will be highly advantageous and satisfy virtually all of the critical success factors. Being an individual from the host country there will not be any barriers to communication within the host country. The management style will be to what the Hong Kong workers are familiar with and the organizational culture will reflect the national culture and the head manager is inherently molded with the national culture. The regiocentric approach will also benefit since the host national is of similar culture of the various countries surrounding Hong Kong, this can benefit the organization as there not many cultural barriers to overcome when conducting business across close borders for the benefit of the value chain.


CROSS CULTURAL ISSUES Ethnocentric management was not considered as this is a convergence view. Polycentric is very similar to regiocentric, was not considered because it would not allow managers to deal with close cross border companies which can benefit the value chain. It is recommended that a human resource management principles be implemented solely based on the collectivist nature of Hong Kong. This will allow for effective team management, recruitment practices, promotion strategy and teamwork to be in alignment to national culture. From a managerial perspective working in the host country is relatively smooth as cultural similarities exist, however reporting to parent company may pose some challenges and an appreciation of cultural differences is required. One of the competencies required for internationalization is interpersonal skills. It can assist in building relationships on both lower and upper echelons of the organization both locally and internationally. It is required to have high levels of tolerance to cope with uncertainty; this is also a manifested form of flexibility an innovation. Patience and respect is highly crucial for international dealings as responses may be contradictory to the existing norms and beliefs. Cultural empathy, respecting behaviors and ideas of others will be an asset and a strong sense of self so as to make decisions without losing identity. A sense of humor is an asset as this assist in relationship building as well as a buffer to frustration and uncertainty especially in unfamiliar environment. Training to effectively manage across cultures will also be of value and should be done the initial stages for greater appreciation of culture and how it can manipulate management practices. Since organizational cultures are unique based on culture diversity and values of the company, Schein model can be used after Leonis integration to determine the organizational culture created. Form this data there may be a link between organizational effectiveness and culture as indicated by Kotter and Heskett, (1994). Based on the data collected mechanisms can be implemented to improve organizational effectiveness. 7.0 CONCLUSION. With a firm understanding of cross cultural management and the various cultural dimensions that exist, one can appreciate the challenges associated with management within a foreign cultural context. Based on the barriers examined and the critical factors for success, the author


CROSS CULTURAL ISSUES is of the firm opinion that once the recommended approach is implemented, successful integration of Leoni into Hong Kong shall be realized.


Appendix 1: PESTLE (Germany) POLITICAL Germanys political environment is stable, economic policy regarding the euro has greatly benefited Germanys manufacturing sector. Germany being an EU member as trade rights to other EU member states. Corporation taxes are relatively high approximately 15% Germany has access to interest rates of 1% as a member of the EU, this promotes favorable investor climate for capital investments, a healthy GDP of 3.5trillion euros in 2010, inflation rates remains low post 2009 global financial crisis between 1.1% and 2.4%. estimated annual growth rate for 2011 is 2.6%. Germany has one of the world's highest levels of education, technological development, and economic productivity. A generous social welfare system provides for universal medical care, unemployment compensation, and other social needs. . It is estimated that the population of Germany will decline from the current 82 million people to around 77 million people by 2050. Due to this demographic change, the available workforce aged 20-64 will shrink by more than six million by 2030, resulting in a marked shortage of skilled workers Germany ranks 13th, but it was quick to turn its economy green. Germany may be the world's greenest country. Germany has been setting standards in policy and technology that are making the world greener beyond its borders. green policy is merely good industrial policyaimed at putting German companies at the heart of what he says is a "third industrial revolution," driven by green tech and clean energy. Germany's achievements in science and technology have been significant and research and development efforts form an integral part of the country's economy. Germany has been the home of some of the most prominent researchers in various scientific disciplines, notably physics, mathematics, 13





CROSS CULTURAL ISSUES chemistry and engineering. For most of the 20th century, Germany had more Nobel Prizes in the sciences (physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine) than any other nation. A reliable framework of underlying conditions is one of the most important factors for business success. This is often understood to be merely fair dealings with partners and customers. However, a legal system that protects the rights of individuals and helps them to enforce these rights is just as important. Germany is a modern constitutional state. The systematically structures and balanced legislation creates security, because it uses transparent decision criteria that can be understood by all. The German legal system is a model for legal systems in many other countries.


Appendix 2: McKenzies 7 Ss Strategy. The strategy is to gain competitive advantage visa internationalization. They produce a quality product consistently with a motto of The Quality Connection to support claim of quality


Structure is formal and hierarchal however flatter with fewer levels, They have a decentralized decision making process and communication are consistent with low context cultures Leoni has a decentralized system, decisions are quick and decisive. Employees are recruited according to qualifications and rewarded based on individual performance. Leoni aims to provide the best solutions at the best possible prices and to maximize customers benefits. They offer attractive jobs and prospects for development to employees while increasing the company value through aboveaverage returns on investment Leoni recruit highly skilled employees for all aspect of the operations, there are training programs to enhance knowledge on manufacturing systems.


Shared values.



The Quality Connection is the motto and suggestive style. Selling to high end auto manufactures to create a brand name synonymous with quality.


CROSS CULTURAL ISSUES Staffing levels are adequate to conduct task at hand, they are generally satisfied and are committed and motivated to the organizational objective


Appendix 3: SWOT

Reputation Wide spectrum product range Heavily globalized High reputation customers. Environmentally friendly products. Strong Research and development. Large pool of international managers

Inability to access major Chinese automobile manufacturing market

Advancement in green technology Internationalization to new low cost centers Creation of new product line fund investment

High taxation by Germanys government based on economic climate High cost of going green significantly reducing labor force

Access of low interest rates which can be used to Long term threat of demographic change




CULTURAL DIMENTION DISCRIPTION HIGH/LOW SCORE INDICATORS This is the extent to which a society expects a high degree of power difference between levels in an organisation. A high score reflects a belief in an established hierarchy, while a low score reflects a belief in equal rights. This is the extent to which society willingly accepts ambiguity and risk. High score societies are risk averse.

Power distance (PDI)

The degree of equality, or inequality, between people in the country's society

Uncertainty avoidance (UAI)

Level of tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity. within the society - i.e. unstructured situations.

Individualism (as opposed Degree to which a society to collectivism) (IDV) reinforces individual or collective achievement and interpersonal relationships.

Societies high on this emphasise the role of the individual and expect people to take care of themselves and their immediate family. Low score societies are more concerned with the greater good of the group. A high score here reflects a society that holds values that in the West were traditionally male competitiveness, assertiveness, ambition and concern for material possessions. A low score 16

Masculinity (MAS)

Degree to which a society reinforces, or does not reinforce, the traditional masculine work role model of male achievement, control,




HIGH/LOW SCORE INDICATORS society would reflect a more nurturing orientation, emphasising consideration of others.

and power

Long-Term Orientation (LTO)

High score Indicates the country prescribes to the values of long-term commitments and respect for tradition. This is thought to support a strong work ethic where long-term rewards are expected as a result of today's Degree to which a society hard work. However, business embraces, or does not may take longer to develop in this society, particularly for an embrace, long-term devotion "outsider". to traditional, forward thinking Low score Indicates the values. country does not reinforce the concept of long-term, traditional orientation. In this culture, change can occur more rapidly as long-term traditions and commitments do not become impediments to change.



Appendix 5: HOFSTEDES CULTURAL DIMENSIONS OF COUNTRIS ACROSS THE GLOBE. Country Malaysia Guatemala Panama Philippines Mexico Venezuela China Egypt Iraq Kuwait Lebanon Libya Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Ecuador Indonesia Ghana India Nigeria Sierra Leone Singapore Brazil PDI IDV MAS UAI LTO 104 95 95 94 81 81 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 78 78 77 77 77 77 74 69 26 6 11 32 30 12 20 38 38 38 38 38 38 38 8 14 20 48 20 20 20 38 50 37 44 64 69 73 66 52 52 52 52 52 52 52 63 46 46 56 46 46 48 49 36 101 86 44 82 76 40 68 68 68 68 68 68 68 67 48 54 40 54 54 8 76



16 61 16 16 48 65


Country France Hong Kong Poland Colombia El Salvador Turkey Belgium Ethiopia Kenya Peru Tanzania Thailand Zambia Chile Portugal Uruguay Greece South Korea Iran Taiwan Czech Republic Spain Pakistan Japan Italy Argentina South Africa Hungary Jamaica United States Netherlands Australia Costa Rica Germany United Kingdom Switzerland Finland Norway Sweden

PDI 68 68 68 67 66 66 65 64 64 64 64 64 64 63 63 61 60 60 58 58 57 57 55 54 50 49 49 46 45 40 38 36 35 35 35 34 33 31 31

IDV 71 25 60 13 19 37 75 27 27 16 27 20 27 23 27 36 35 18 41 17 58 51 14 46 76 46 65 55 39 91 80 90 15 67 89 68 63 69 71

MAS 43 57 64 64 40 45 54 41 41 42 41 34 41 28 31 38 57 39 43 45 57 42 50 95 70 56 63 88 68 62 14 61 21 66 66 70 26 8 5

UAI 86 29 93 80 94 85 94 52 52 87 52 64 52 86 104 100 112 85 59 69 74 86 70 92 75 86 49 82 13 46 53 51 86 65 35 58 59 50 29

LTO 96

25 25 25 56 25

75 87


29 44 31 31 25

20 33


Country PDI IDV MAS UAI LTO Ireland 28 70 68 35 New Zealand 22 79 58 49 30 Denmark 18 74 16 23 Israel 13 54 47 81 Austria 11 55 79 70 Source: http://www.clearlycultural.com/geert-hofstede-culturaldimensions/power-distance-index/

Appendix 6: Trompenaars 7 Dimensions


What is more important rules or relationships?

The degree of importance a culture assigns to either the law or to personal relationships. In a universalistic culture, people share the belief that general rules, codes, values and standards take precedence over the needs and claims of friends and other relationships. In a pluralistic culture, people see culture in terms of human friendship and intimate relationships. While rules do exist in a pluralistic culture, they merely codify how people relate to one another. The degree to which people see themselves function more as a community or more as individuals. In a principally individualistic culture, people place the individual before the community. This means that individual happiness, fulfilment and welfare prevails and people take their own initiative and take care of themselves. In a principally communitarian culture, people place the community before the individual. Thus, it is the responsibility of the individual to act in ways which serve society. In doing so, individual needs are automatically attended. The degree to which responsibility is specifically assigned or is diffusely accepted. In a specific culture, people first analyse the elements 20

2. INDIVIDUALISM Do we function versus as a group or COMMUNITARISNISM as individuals?


How far do we get involved?



individually and then put them together, the whole is the sum of its parts. Peoples lives are divided accordingly and, only a single component can be entered at a time. Interactions between people are very well-defined. Specific individuals concentrate on hard facts, standards and contracts. A diffusely oriented culture starts with the whole and sees individual elements from the perspective of the total. All elements are related to one another. Relationships between elements are more important than individual elements.


Do we display our emotions?

The degree to which individuals display their emotions. In an affective culture, people display their emotions and it is not deemed necessary to hide feelings. However, in a neutral culture, people are taught not to display their feelings overtly. The degree to which feelings become manifested is therefore minimal. While emotions are felt, they are controlled. The degree to which individuals believe the environment can be controlled versus believing that the environment controls them. In an inner-directed culture, people have a mechanistic view of nature; nature is complex but can be controlled with the right expertise. People believe that humans can dominate nature, if they make the effort. In an outerdirected culture, people have an organic view of nature. Mankind is viewed as one of natures forces and should therefore live in harmony with the environment. People therefore adapt themselves to external circumstances. The degree to which individuals must prove themselves to receive status versus status simply given to them. In a culture with achieved status, people derive their status from what they have accomplished. Achieved status must be proven time and time again and status will be given accordingly. In a culture with ascribed status, people derive their status from birth, age, gender or wealth. Here status is not based on achievement but it is accorded on 21


Do we control our environment or work with it?


Do we have to prove ourselves to receive status or is it given to us?



the basis of the persons being.


Do we do things one at a time or several things at once?

The degree to which individuals do things one at a time versus several things at once. Cultures developed their own response to time. Time orientation has two aspects: the relative importance cultures assign to the past, present and future, and their approach to structuring time. In a sequential culture, people structure time sequentially and do things one at a time. In a synchronic time culture, people do several things at once, believing time is flexible and intangible.

Appendix 7: Halls Cultural Dimensions CULTURAL DIMENSION Communication: Extent to which the context of a message is as important as the message itself. CONTEXT Low context DISCRIPTION

Space: Extent to which people are comfortable sharing physical space with others.

Time: Extent to which people approach one task at a time or multiple tasksSimultaneously.

Direct and frank communication; message itself conveys its meaning. Example: Germany, USA High context Much of the meaning in communication is conveyed indirectly through the context surrounding a message. Examples: Japan, Hong Kong Center of power Territorial; need for clearly delineated personal space between themselves and others. Examples: Germany, U.S.A. Center of Communal; comfortable sharing personal space with others. Examples: Latin, Hong community Kong Monochronic Sequential attention to individual goals; separation of work and personal life; precise concept of time. Examples: Germany, USA Polychronic Simultaneous attention to multiple goals; integration of work and personal life; relative concept of time. Examples: France, Spain, Hong Kong

Appendix 8: Schein Levels of Culture 22

CROSS CULTURAL ISSUES LAYER Artifacts DISCRIPTION Artifacts are the visible elements in a culture. Artifacts can be recognized by people not part of the culture. Artifacts can e.g. be dress codes, furniture, art, work climate, stories, work processes, organizational structures etc. The outsider might easily see these artifacts, but might not be able to fully understand why these artifacts have been established. To understand this, outsiders can look at the espoused values in the culture.

Espoused values

Espoused values are the values normally espoused by the leading figures of a culture. Espoused values could e.g. be represented by the philosophies, strategies and goals sought realized by e.g. leaders. However, the values sought by leaders should be supported by some general and shared assumptions about e.g. how a company should be run, or how employees should be managed. If espoused values by leaders are not in line with the general assumptions of the culture, this might signal trouble. Assumptions reflect the shared values within the specific culture. These values are often ill-defined, and will oftentimes not be especially visible to the members of the culture. Assumptions and espoused values are possibly not correlated, and the espoused values may not at all be rooted in the actual values of the culture. This may cause great problems, where the differences between espoused and actual values may create frustrations, lack of morale and inefficiency. Core assumptions can e.g. be assumptions regarding the human nature, human relationships etc.


Appendix 9: Personal Experience of Working in a Multi-Cultural Team The students experience working with a multicultural team was a very challenging yet informative. The student, because of work high work commitment and working in an offshore environment missed 50% of classes and fell far behind in completion of assigned group 23


activities. The other members of the group were not pleased and verbally expressed their concerns of extremely poor contribution of the student. This personally was very challenging for me as it was not my intention to fall behind. It was very embarrassing for the student as they have a history of high contributions. The student agreed with the team of poor performance and the team re-assigned task which were agreed by the student. The student in an effort to make up for lost time as they say diligently pursued the assigned task. The student upon gaining knowledge on the subject matter realized that the tasks assigned were required to be built on the work done by other members. The student realized that within the team there was not a proper assessment of the overall task and the requirement for each section of the presentation. The student then initiated the review of all tasks with the group and all agreed on strategy forward. Based on the initial conflict there was one group member in particular who was most vocal in their dissatisfaction and continued to make subtle negative comments throughout the course. The said group member was indeed difficult and uncomfortable to work with. In an effort to keep the peace my interaction with in the group was humble and submissive. The student made several accommodations to the team such as group meetings at their house on numerous occasions and ensured every member was treated in a polite manner. After the forth meeting there was healthy comingling between all members and there were humorous discussions of the past unpleasant events. There are several key learnings attained by the student. Firstly, the requirement of proper coordination within the team, this is critical as work had to be completed in a sequential manner and by different members of the team. It also enforces the need to proper understand the task at hand to effectively coordinate and also the need to change strategy when new learnings are attained. Secondly, empathy was nonexistent. The team members were not willing to accept the circumstances that lead to the initial poor performance. It was simply do what u must to get the job done. The student believed that even if this is the case consideration should be given the circumstances to re-review the strategy going forward and the re-assignment of tasks.



Thirdly the continuous interaction over time strengthened the bonds within the team as each member gain familiarity and understanding of others. This was a huge benefit to the team, as members assisted each other in many ways to refine their presentation skills. Fourthly the skills of the individual members were understood over time, one member was strong in their analytical skills and this was used to the teams advantage in producing a flowing logical presentation. Another member was strong in technical knowledge, this benefited significantly as knowledge was shared to develop the team. An understanding of the strengths and weakness of the members can be used to determine strategy to complete task as well as the development of weakness by pairing work individuals with high and low strength areas. The levels of stress generated within the team, to bring members to expressively pronounce their dissatisfaction indicated the significant impact when members are not supportive. The tasked assigned were of reasonable difficulty and each member had their work cut out. A non supporting member made it very difficult to complete the objective and also raises the concern of fairness to other members as the reward is to be equally distributed. Finally what was most appreciated by the student was the fact that the team did not consider an automatic kick out. The other members attempted to resolve and reconcile the issue and set a path forward. The act of trying to work things out moving forward was most emotive to the student, an appreciation to resolve issues between members for the benefit of the final outcome.