This essay aims to explore benefits and disadvantages for managers to use sophisticated stereotypes. Stereotypes provide international managers an advantage of ‘first guess’ about cultural behaviors in countries and organizations so that they can develop appropriate strategies to cope with cross-cultural problems. However, it causes three drawbacks. If stereotyping is judging a group of people on the basis of theoretical concepts, it will be called ‘sophisticated stereotyping’ (Osland and Bird, 2000).
The greatest benefit is sophisticated stereotype offers basic cultural knowledge, and is useful for managers to guess about cultural behavior in a country. Therefore, it is used as assistant tool in building unitary organizational cultures. The tourist firm relied on Hosftede’s framework. Because Japanese are collectivistic while Danish are individualistic, the Danish director had to consider whether provide guidance to Danish staffs or strict control to Japanese staffs, instead using individual competencies for all employees.
Another example, the audio-visual firm took a chance of gender differentiation between Denmark and Japan to recruit suitable talents for their Tokyo office because it knows Japanese prefer masculine values. Hence it can say that sophisticated stereotypes can be a helpful weapon in implementing cultural management strategies. In contrast, sophisticated stereotypes cannot capture paradox which is the first disadvantage. In particular, if there are no exact cultures as described, people who depend on generalization studies cultural barriers will get confused.
However, people who are acquired with cultural differences via their knowledge and experiences will be able to foresee what is most important and the best thing to do in foreign countries. Second, theoretical studies in national cultures are not sufficient to intercultural business context because international business embraced various cultures across borders. However, such scholars as Hofstede, Hampden-Turner and Trompenaars, Hall have studied in a single-national culture. Furthermore, sophisticated stereotypes do not describe potential cultural changes in intercultural encounters.
These scholars had conducted researches for at least 19 years ago. Corporate cultures might change over time as a consequence of changes in perception and modern societies. In this case, national generalizations are useless to fit to intercultural encounters. Thus, managers merely gain insight into multi-cultural management by their experience and new approaches. In conclusion, because of above risks, sophisticated stereotypes merely are useful at the starting point for managers to guess cultural behaviors. Moving beyond sophisticated stereotypes, they need to make incremental changes by using their own knowledge to manage cultural issues.
Courtney from Study Moose
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