Understanding Indian Culture for Successful Business

India is the seventh largest country in the world with a total area of 1.27 billion square miles and population of 1.3 billion people ( according to 2017 data). It is the Federal Republic. The primary language is Hindi with 41% of population using it, but specialists suggest that there are around 1654 different languages and dialects spoken in the country. English is used for business and politics.

Religion plays an important role in the life of Indians. The majority of the population is Hindu. It teaches self-discipline, meditation, and yoga.

Besides Hinduism, Islam is very popular in India with as much as 14% of the population using it. India-Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.commisceo-global.com/resources/country-guides/india-guide There is a noticeable societal separation into tiers called castes. They are given by birth and divide people into four main groups. The stratification is still very powerful in India although it is less restrictive in urban areas.

The family institution is extremely important in the country and family values are critical to people and respected a lot.

The main feature that families are still ver patriarchal with a man being ahead of the household. Women traditionally hold secondary positions and obey their fathers, husbands, and adult sons. Mostly women’s responsibility is caring for the kids and for their husbands and running the house. Even in the urban areas it is very common for several generations to live under one roof with all women helping raising the children. Male-dominated culture starts from the very beginning with male kids given more and better education and more opportunities and girls being viewed as a caregiver for the younger siblings and mothers helpers.

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Women’s rights are highly violated and in 2018 India wa named the most dangerous country for women. Thompson Reuters Foundation. (n.d.). The world’s five most dangerous countries for women 2018. Retrieved from http://poll2018.trust.org/ That aspect should be taken into consideration from the perspective of safety for the female workers from the US company as well as hiring local women

There are many social norms that foreign people should be aware about and follow. Indians use “given” names with people they are not familiar with or in the work environment and with family and friends they can use nicknames. You should not call an Indian person by his or her nickname unless you are asked to do so. Muslims do not have last names Indinbut they use the reference to their father instead. Indians use “namaste when greeting other people. That is a greeting gesture that is expressed by putting both hands together and bowing. Men can shake hands but men never shake hands with women. Indian culture is very hierarchical and privilege is always given to the older people and superior. Those people should also be greeted first. Personal space is very important for people and it is considered unacceptable and rude to stand closer than at arm’s length to another person. India Guide. Retrieved from http://www.commisceo-global.com/resources/country-guides/india-guide

The main important feature of business interactions and communications is that any international manager has to know in order to succeed in India is that personal relationship plays an outstanding part in any business relationship. Indian people will need to know you better as a person before they start talking business. That is why all business meetings start with small talk and it is very polite to ask people about their families, favorite pastimes, sports, hobbies etc. Many businessmen from Western cultures will try to shorten that phase not realizing that this process is one of the most important ones in the whole meeting. Unlike Americans, Indians are not straightforward and will not say “no” to a offer but rather “maybe” or “ we will think about it”. Being not direct themselves, Indians do not appreciate pushing, demanding or seeing anger or impatience in their business partners. The hierarchical system also exists in business The managers and bosses are treated with great respect are their decisions are unlikely to be questioned and argued.

Traditionally food is served on a tray or plate that can contain multiple dishes. People in India like different spices like cumin, turmeric, cardamon so the food often has a distinctive smell. A lot of Indians do not eat beef as the cow is considered to be a holy animal. About 20% to 40% are vegetarian. A lot of Muslims and women do not drink alcohol. In the restaurants the food is always served in hierarchical order: superiors and men first and women last. Indians love their traditional sports like came rides and cock fighting.

Country Standings and Indices

Hofstede Cultural Dimensions

Power Distance – 77. That indicator shows a huge gap between different groups of people. And that proves the highly hierarchical structure of Indian society. People with power are automatically more superior. For a business that will mean that managers will be almost solely making all decisions and they are highly unlikely to be criticized. Communication is top-down and mostly in the form of orders but not requests.

Individualism versus Collectivism-48.That indicator is closer to the middle. It shows that Indians do feel comfortable being a part of the group and therefore will be subject to groupthink and “go with the flow” just to avoid being rejected by a group. Personal initiative is not welcome. On the other hand, Hindu philosophy teaches people to live their own individual like in order to rebirth to something better. Those two opposing approaches interconnect in Indians.

Masculinity vs Femininity

India score 56 which means that the main focus in the country is given to caring for others, spirituality which is in case of India is driven by its main religion. Uncertainty avoidance – 40. That number is closer to medium-low which will mean that people are quite tolerant and not prone to take fast initiative, they will be more willing to stay within their comfort zone. For managers that will implicate that they will have to be more specific and exact in their orders and will need to be taken more responsibility and their employees will be more like subordinates rather than partners.

Long Term Orientation is 51. That dimension is also closer to the middle and that sows that people are looking towards the future and care about it but at the same time they do not devote all their time to that, they do enjoy life as it is at the moment and might not be making long term plans.

With a score of 40 ( out of 100), it is obvious that corruption in India is pretty high. That indicator shows the poor state of the country’s legal system and a lot of uncertainty for potential investors.

In 2018 India was ranked 57 in the Global innovation index. That grade is in the middle but we can trace a pattern of India continuously going up. It was ranked 60 in 2017 and 81 in 2015. Global Innovation Index Ranks India the 57th most innovative nation ( 2018, July 11) Retrieved from https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/indicators/india-maintains-position-as-top-it-exporter-lags-in-ease-of-doing-business/articleshow/64935501.cms That trend shows that there are more fresh and new ideas, and people are starting to think outside the box. There are more and more opportunities R&D, new unconventional ways of doing things, more people that take initiative

Although India in close to the middle of the ranking in the ease of doing business ( 100 out of 190), it is much lower on starting the new business ( 156) and especially dealing with construction permits ( 181). Those number show that there is a lot of bureaucracy, a lot will depend on “ knowing the right people “ and bribing the right people, a great amount of paperwork, and usually no guarantees of the positive outcome of the project.

Judging from the 68th position ( out of 137) http://thegedi.org/global-entrepreneurship-and-development-index/ in the global entrepreneurship index, it is obvious that people in the country are not free thinkers and are majorly go by the set rules and standards. Getting financing for a new project is usually very difficult.

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Understanding Indian Culture for Successful Business. (2021, Apr 26). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/understanding-indian-culture-for-successful-business-essay

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