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MGT 3190: Cross Cultural Management

Lecture 3 : Describing Culture - What it is and Where it Comes From

Week 3: Describing Culture What it is and Where it Comes From

Definition (s)
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Herskovitz (1948) Kluckhohn (1961) Hofstede (1980) Seagall (1999) Schein (1985 1990) Nancy Adler (2002) - book

Why Cultures Differ & Persist

Based on assumptions about a Societys interactions with its Environment (6 key assumptions) Why culture persists 1) Survival 2) Language 3) Religion 4) Other (Climate, Topography, economic systems & technology political boundaries) How is culture transmitted?

Concept of Culture
Implication explaining & Predicting behaviour (in Orgs) 1) 2) 3) 4) Nation v Society Society v Culture National Culture (limitations) Convergence, Divergence or Equilibrium (globalisation) 5) Organisational v National Culture 6) Orgn Culture v Corp Culture 7) Acculturation v Biculturalism 8) Multiculturalism & Race

Perspectives of Culture
1 2 5 7 Topical Behavioural Functional Structural 2. Historical 4. Normative 6. Mental

Key elements of culture are Significant re: our understanding of the r/ship b/w cultural issues and Global management 1. Culture is shared 2. Culture is learned 3. Culture is systematic & organised

Culture & Social Groups Describing Culture

Aim: Understand the
Culture is associated with Social Groups Implication: Boundaries & Non-members 1) In-Group v Out-Group 2) In Group Bias & Prejudice 3) Ethnocentrism

Administrative Issues
Seminar Classes are too large: Extra Seminar will be on Thursday 10am11am Block 17 Room 013 E-mail Me. Week 3 (Seminar 2): Submit 150/200 word Article Summaries (Articles 1,2 &3) Have you finalised your Enrollment? see Student Office Contact Hours Change:
Sunday Monday Wednesday Thursday 11:00am 1:00pm 11:00am 1:00pm 1:00pm 2:00pm 11:00am 12:00pm

Any Other Issues?

What is Culture ?

Perspectives of CULTURE
Type: Topical Historical Definition: Culture consists of everything on a list of topics, or categories, such as social organization, religion, or economy. Culture is social heritage, or tradition, that is passed on to future generations.

Behavioural Culture is shared, learned human behaviour, a way of life. Normative Functional Culture is ideals, values, or rules for living. Culture is the way humans solve problems of adapting to the environment or living together.


Culture is a complex of ideas, or learned habits, that inhibit impulses and distinguish people from animals.
Culture consists of patterned and interrelated ideas, symbols, or behaviours.

Diverse Definitions of Culture based on Kroeber and Kluckhohns 1952 survey. Adapted from Bodley, 1994.

Culture is the man-made part of the environment (Herskovits, 1948, p.17).
Material objects, ideas, social institutions
The classroom were in, the slides I show, the university you go to.

Values, language, way of life (music, art, etc) Historically transmitted pattern of meanings embodied in symbols (Geertz, 1973, p. 49). Culture: relatively organised system of shared meanings (Smith & Bond, 1998) But there are global subcultures (lawyers) (Triandis, 2002)

Hofstede (1980): the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group from another
Includes systems of values; and values are the building blocks of culture

This brings us back to shared meanings as to how to perceive the world, ourselves and others...

Behavioural Level Language Food Clothing Manners
Norms (Good & Bad) Communication style Attitudes Values (National Characteristics) Basic Underlying Assumptions -Core of culture (shared solutions (survive together) -Beliefs (deeply held)

Origins disputed
Most theories see the nation-state as a 19th-century European phenomenon, facilitated by developments such as mass literacy and the early mass media. Historians also note the early emergence of a relatively unified state, and a sense of common identity, in England, Portugal and the Dutch Republic.

Issues surround re political and ethic boundaries --- (e.g. Palestine, Kurdish people) Portugal best example of a nation state? (single nation living in a single country. Iceland (culture & language) & Japan (some minorities) also reasonable examples but they are island nations Lebanon video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ku6ysxaP8PU


Nation: The largest unit of a territorially bounded, multigenerational population, recruited largely through sexual reproduction, and organised around a common culture and a common social system (Rohner, p.131). - Elements of a national culture include; environment, history, institutions (family, religion, education, media, MNCs) Society: group of people who occupy a particular territory and speak a common language not generally understood by neighbouring peoples (Ember & Ember, 1996, p.21).
Every society has its own culture.


Culture: Label for all the many different features that vary from society to society and that compromise the independent variables (Segall et al., 1999, p. 5). Smith and Bond (1998) argued that a theoretical distinction between these concepts is meaningful, but not useful for research.
How can you study it?
What is the difference between Anthropology and Psychology?
Copyright 2008 Nathalie van Meurs

Why do Cultures Exist, Differ & Persist?

Assumptions of environmental interaction (Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck, 1961). 1) Limited number of human problems for which people at all times must find solutions (e.g. Societies decide how to feed clothe, educate, protect, etc... its people) 2) Limited number of alternatives to solve problems 3) All alternatives are present in a society at all times, but some are preferred over others 4) Each society has a dominant profile or value orientation but also has numerous variations or alternative profiles 5) In both the dominant profile and the variations there is a rank order preference for alternatives 6) In societies undergoing change, the ordering of preferences may not be clear

Why do Cultures Exist, Differ & Persist?

Time Arrogant Obama is always late
Swiss, Germans on time, USA, UK less so, Other examples?

Greetings http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cpHC5dgj1Y

The way culture is transmitted (Hall, 1966)

Religious values closely related to cultural values
Cannot be verified by empirical tests (Terpstra & David, 1985)

Influence dependent on: level of dominance, state sanctioning, importance of religion according to society in general, degree of religious homogeneity, degree of tolerance for religious diversity

Other Influences
Climate & Topography, indigenous peoples behaviours persist over time Economic systems & Technology impacts exchange between cultures Political Boundaries areas where interactions can/ can not occur

Hofstede (1983): Nations are political entities, varying in terms of education, legal system, employment relations systems, which influences interaction and conditions the way people think.
How is your sense of identity dis/encouraged Businesses are governed by national sovereignty

Researchers relied on nationality, without actually measuring ones cultural disposition.

One cannot describe the cultural profile of a sample of respondents until an agreed set of concepts and measures is available for the purpose (Smith & Bond, 1998, p. 40). What about sub-cultures (i.e. Canada French influence?)

Are Cultures Converging? Why/Why Not?

Are we becoming a world of Clones?

Globalisation: homogenising culture (Dunphy, 1997; Webber, 1969)
Internationalisation/world mindedness/hybridity

Response to rapid development maintains cultural diversity (Cole, 1973; Lincoln, Olsen & Hanada, 1978). The types of value change that have occurred are best thought of as specific functional adaptations to the requirements of contemporary societies (Smith, Bond & Kagitcibasi, 2006)


A sense of personal efficacy (antifatalism) Low social integration with relatives Egalitarian attitude towards others An openess to innovation & change The belief in sexual equality High achievement motivation Independence or self-reliance Active participation in social organisations Tolerance of, and respect for, others Cognitive and behavioural flexibility A future orientation Empathetic capacity A high need for information The propensity to take risks in life Secularisation in religious belief A preference for urban life High educational and occupational aspirations WHAT DO YOU THINK? (Yang 1988)

Human evolution involves both genetic transmission and cultural transmission (Boyd & Richerson, 1985).
Cultural transmission can happen from child to parent, genetic is always from parent to child. Cultural transmission can happen from nonbiological relation (incl. teacher etc.) to other Both cultural and genetic transmission involve environmental agents and involve adaptation.


WARNING: How do we use culture? To categorise people? As a diagnostic tool? Concept vs. Practical relevance

Do we use culture as an excuse?

To get out of certain duties To categorise others and judge them

How is race used in management?
Law Equal opportunities Census

Biologists and anthropologists now: race is not a useful biological concept at the human level.
External features are not reliable markers Minkov (2007): There are biological differences

Tous Parents; Tous Diffrents


Segall: Race, like gender, is a social construct. Belief in the existence of race, coupled with widely held beliefs in behavioral differences, is a powerful sociological phenomenon (Segall et al, 1999, p.23).
There are cultural differences, but no racial differences.
Is this true?

Our biological heritage interacts with experiences mediated through socialisation and enculturation.
Therefore: A study of human behavior that ignores culture does so at great risk (p.23). Think of your environment does it categorise by race, (sub)nationalities, or another marker?

Socialisation & Enculturation

Socialisation involves learning through teaching Enculturation involves learning with or without teaching we learn from whats available.
Socialisation is part of enculturation.

Enculturation + socialisation = intergenerational learning

Copyright 2008 Nathalie van Meurs

Importance of Critical Thinking

Have you ever done an IQ test?
Is it fair?

Genetic differences exist across human groups and this has biological consequences with cultural implications. It is possible to group humans into small clusters based on genetic patterns that are more prevalent in one group than in another. For example, Multiple sclerosis is typically associated with people of European descent BUT
Why are we still using race as social categories? http://news.independent.co.uk/sci_tech/article3067222.ece

How do you categorise people? Why?

Culture & Social Groups

The identification of social groups serves no purpose if no one is excluded.
Characteristics change as people come and go Membership helps determine self-perception Assumptions about in/out-group members

In-group Bias & Prejudice

Products from my country are better

What may lead to Prejudice?

Ethnocentrism Triandis (1994) characteristics of ethnocentrism
My culture is natural and correct Own customs are universally valid In-group norms, roles and values are correct Help, cooperate with, favour, be proud of in-group and be distrustful and hostile towards out-group

Organisational Culture
The internal attribute of the organization that is socially constructed, historically determined, holistic, and difficult to change (Hofstede, Neuijen, Ohavy & Saunders, 1990) Need to distinguish between the values of management and those of the majority of the organisational members. Routinised practices vs. norms and values (Hofstede et al., 1990). Are organisations then not just a subculture?
Person-Organisation Fit and Person-Nation Fit
Do you fit in with your university?

Organisational Culture v Corporate Culture

Schein (1990) extended his definition of culture to Organisational Culture: a) Pattern of basic assumptions b) Invented discovered or developed by a given group c) As it learns to cope with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration d) That has worked well enough to be considered valid and therefore e) Is to be taught to new members as the f) Correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to chosen problems Corporate culture: Why might be different?........How manage it?

Thought Provocation?

How is an Individuals culture as a member of an organisation formed?

How is an Individuals culture as a member of an organisation formed? Values individuals embody (at the workplace) are formed partially through their family, social and natural environment and partially through their professional, organisational and corporate culture

BUT what does this mean for culture and management? ....CW 1 What is cross cultural management (TIP: see Adler, 2002)

What kind of description is Culture is ideals, values, or rules for living A) Behavioural B) Normative C) Functional D) Mental