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Midterm Study Notes - Chapter 3-Differences in Culture

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University of Toronto Mississauga

MGT491 Midterm Notes Ch. 3: Differences in Culture N Business success in a variety of countries requires cross-cultural literacy N Cross-cultural literacy understanding of how cultural differences across and within nations can affect the way business is practiced N Underneath the cover of modernism, deep cultural differences remain N Ex. in China, guanxi relationships backed by reciprocal obligations, are central to getting business done o Wal-Mart usually does not allow unions but in China in order to build up guanxi it had to embrace unions, then it opened the way for the company to be successful in China N Important for foreign businesses to gain an understanding of the culture that prevails in those countries where they do business, success requires a foreign enterprise to adapt to the culture of its host country N A relationship may exist between culture and the cost of doing business in a country or region o Different cultures are more or less supportive of capitalism and may increase or lower the costs of doing business N Culture is not static evolves, but the rate at which is changes is different N Multinational enterprises themselves can be engines of cultural change in Mexico for example, Wal-Mart has changed the shopping culture of that nation, drawing away from small local stores and toward large self-service discount stores, hoping to do the same in China WHAT IS CULTURE? N Culture system of values and norms that are shared among a group of people and that when taken together constitute a design for living o Values abstract ideas about what a group believes to be good, right, and desirable o Norms social rules and guidelines that prescribe appropriate behaviour in particular situations o Society group of people who share a common set of values and norms Values and Norms N Values 574;L0.4390[9ZL9KL3ZKL.K,84.L09834728,70089,-OL8K0,3M:89L1L0 o ,3.O:084.L098,99L9:0894Z,7.43.05988:.K,8L3L;L:,O170042024.7,.97:9KM:89L.0 honesty, loyalty, social obligations, collective responsibility, role of women, love, sex, marriage, etc. o Invested with considerable emotional significance ex. people argue, fight and die over freedom o Values are often reflected in the political and economic systems of a society democratic free market capitalism is a reflection of a philosophical value system that emphasizes individual freedom N Norms 9K084.L,O7:O089K,9J4;0735045O08,.9L43894Z,7430,349K07 o Can be subdivided into two major categories: folkways and mores N Folkways routine conventions of everyday life, actions of little moral significance, social conventions concerning things such as the appropriate dress code in a particular situation, good social manners, eating with the correct utensils, neighbourly behaviour, etc. N Define the way people are expected to behave, but violation of folkways is not normally a serious matter. N People who violate folkways may be thought of as eccentric or ill-mannered but not usually considered evil or bad. N In many countries, foreigners can be excused for violating folkways initially. N Ex. attitudes toward time business people are very conscious about schedules, get irritated when time is wasted because someone is late or if they are kept waiting, talk about time as though it is money can be spent, saved, wasted or lost. In other cultures, time is more elastic, keeping a schedule is less important than finishing an interaction with people. Americans need to adjust their expectations of time accordingly in order to be able to deal with people who have different beliefs about this. N Include rituals and symbolic behaviour most visible manifestations of a culture, constitutes the outward expression of deeper values o Ex. Japanese executive will hold his business card in both hands and bow while presenting the card to the foreigner, bow is a sign of respect, deeper the bow shows more respect o To not respect the Japanese person and not examine the card and return the gesture with his own card, the American violates this important folkway and is considered rude. N Mores norms that are seen as central to the functioning of a society and to its social life N Much greater significance than folkways, violating mores can bring serious retribution N Include indictments against theft, adultery, incest, cannibalism N Certain mores have been enacted into law N Differences between cultures ex. in America, drinking alcohol is widely accepted, but in Saudi Arabia the consumption of alcohol is a violation of important social mores and is punishable by imprisonment. Culture, Society, and the Nation-State N Society a group of people who share a common set of values and norms; people who are bound together by a common culture N Nation-states are political creations, may contain a single culture or several cultures N At the other end of the scale are cultures that embrace several nations ex. Islamic society of citizens of many different nations in the Middle East, Asia and Africa N Even within American society and American culture, there are several societies and cultures African American, Cajun, Chinese, Hispanic, Indian, Irish, Southern N Even if a country can be characterized as having a single homogeneous culture, often that national culture is a mosaic of subcultures The Determinants of Culture N Social Structure N Language N Religion N Education N Political Philosophy N Economic Philosophy N Values and norms of a culture are the evolutionary product of the prevailing political and economic philosophies, social structure of a society, dominant religion, language, and education. N Chain of causation flows both ways factors such as social structure and religion clearly influence the values and norms of a society, but the values and norms of a society can also influence the social structure and religion SOCIAL STRUCTURE N Social structure refers to a so.L098-,8L.84.L,O47J,3L],9L43 N 2 dimensions are important when explaining differences between cultures o Degree to which the basic unit of social organization is the individual, as opposed to the group In general, western societies tend to emphasize the individual o Degree to which a society is stratified into classes or castes Some societies are characterized by a relatively high degree of social stratification and relatively low mobility between strata (ex. India), other societies are characterized by a low degree of social stratification and high mobility between strata (ex. America) Individuals and Groups N Group an association or two or more individuals who have a shared sense of identity and who interact with each other in structured ways on the basis of a common set of expectations about each others behaviour N Individuals are involved in families, work groups, social groups, recreational groups, etc. N While groups are found in all societies, they differ according to the degree to which the group is viewed as the primary means of social organization in some societies, individual attributes and achievements are viewed as being more important than group membership, in others the reverse is true. N The Individual: o Individualism is more than just an abstract political philosophy, in many western societies the individual Is the basic building block of social organization, reflected not just in the political and economic organization of society but also in the way people perceive themselves and relate to each other in social and business settings o Social standing of individuals is not so much a function of where they work as it is of their individual performance in whatever work setting they choose o Emphasis on individual performance in western societies has beneficial and harmful aspects
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