Geert Hofstede and Michael Bond’s framework states that cultures vary according to 5 dimensions. A Chinese can easily accept his life’s circumstance more than an American. Not questioning why one is poor and distancing one from things he knows is impossible to acquire. It also illustrates the different roles of men and women in some cultures. Most countries in Asia are patriarchal in nature, therefore men are given more importance that women, similarly Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner’s framework analyzes the importance of status ascribed or achieved eminent in some countries.
In South Korea, for example, a younger man cannot drink his wine until the oldest person in the table drinks his first. Such behavior is considered an insult to the older man. A man and a woman having the same position in a Korean company may not have the same opportunity for promotion where as the man will be given more consideration. Living things to chance and believing in destiny is a part of culture as opposed to avoiding uncertainties according to Hofstede and Bond.
Kissing a loved one in public is a normal behavior in a western country but in others it is offensive. As illustrated in Richard Gesteland’s framework, culture is based on time flexibility, ability to express emotions and following formalities. Meeting a client on time in the U. S. matters but in the Philippines it is considered normal to be late for an hour.
In the business world knowing your client is the first step in closing a deal for client satisfaction is given utmost priority in any industry. Although they have varying opinions and generalizations as to the behavioral changes and to where decision making lies, whether one culture is strongly governed by traditions or attachments, gender or affinity, all five scholars agree that knowing the nature of a client’s culture and its influences is crucial to a business’ success.
Therefore if it requires businessmen to don a turban and take the heat just to ensure that the partnership with an Arab oil company will push through or fight in a judo match to ink a deal with a Japanese software manufacturer, they would be wise to do so if they want to see they business relationship to prosper. Conclusion The world is getting smaller everyday. Globalization is no longer a thing described in books or discussed as inevitable for it is “now”. What used to be on top in business is now obsolete and what used to be only a dream is household name.
Communication is being on track and having an open understanding to different cultures is one way of achieving effective communication. More than learning another language, one needs to know why different cultures think and react differently to a given situation. Emotions maybe universal but showing emotions are not. Dealing effectively with people begins in accepting and respecting their culture.
Thomas Lenartowicz & Kendall Roth, A Framework to Culture Assessment. Journal of International Business Studies, vol. 30, 1999
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