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1 Cross Cultural Communication in Business 2 Program outline 1.Introduction to culture & cultural differences 2.Challenges in cross cultural communication.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Cross Cultural Communication in Business 2 Program outline 1.Introduction to culture & cultural differences 2.Challenges in cross cultural communication."— Presentation transcript:

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2 1 Cross Cultural Communication in Business

3 2 Program outline 1.Introduction to culture & cultural differences 2.Challenges in cross cultural communication 3.Understanding cultures – culture models

4 3 1 - Introduction to culture & cultural differences

5 4 "Cultural differences" "For a German and a Finn, the truth is the truth. In Japan and Britain it is all right if it doesn't rock the boat. In China there is no absolute truth. In Italy it is negotiable." Richard D. Lewis

6 5 Culture = Human mental programming Personality Culture Human Nature Inherited & learned Learned Inherited Universal Specific to group or category Specific to individual Source: G. Hofstede

7 6 Nature of culture Learned Culture is acquired by learning and experience Shared People as a member of a group, organization, or society share culture Transgenerational Culture is cumulative, passed down from generation to generation

8 7 The iceberg of culture Languages (verbal & non-verbal) Languages (verbal & non-verbal) Explicit behaviours Habits & traditions (food, housing, clothing, health…) Explicit behaviours Habits & traditions (food, housing, clothing, health…) Know-how (communication codes, tools..) Know-how (communication codes, tools..) Institutions (collective organizations modes: family, education Institutions (collective organizations modes: family, education Norms (Dos & don'ts) Norms (Dos & don'ts) Values Mental state & cognitive processes (perception, learning, knowledge, memory…) Mental state & cognitive processes (perception, learning, knowledge, memory…) Explicit Implicit Conscious Unconscious

9 8 Manifestations of culture: different levels Values Symbols Heroes Rituals Practices Source: G. Hofstede

10 9 Manifestations of culture Symbols: words, gestures, objects that carry a particular meaning which is only recognized by those who share the culture. Heroes: persons, alive or dead, real or imaginary, who possess characteristics which are highly prized in a culture and who thus serve as models for behavior. Rituals: collective activities, considered socially essential. Values: basic assumptions about how things should be in society.They are convictions regarding right or wrong, good or bad, important or trivial. Learned implicitly. Cannot be discussed. Practices: what is visible to an outsider. Source: G. Hofstede

11 10 Americans as other see them… India: Americans seem to be in a perpetual hurry. Just watch the way they walk down the street. They never allow themselves the leisure to enjoy life; there are too many things to do. Turkey: Once we were out in a rural area in the middle of nowhere and saw an American come to a stop sign. Though he could see in both directions for miles and no traffic was coming, he still stopped! Colombia: The tendency in the US to think that life is only work hits you in the face. Work seems to be the one type of motivation. Ethiopia: The American is very explicit; he wants a yes or a no. If someone tries to speak figuratively, the American is confused. Iran: The first time my American professor told me, I dont know the answer, I will have to look it up, I was shocked. I asked myself, Why is he teaching me? In my country a professor would give the wrong answer rather than admit ignorance. Source: N. Adler., 1991

12 11 Brazil?

13 12 French: logical, cartesian, elitist, authoritarian, proud French: logical, cartesian, elitist, authoritarian, proud Germans: rigid, methodical, obsessed with order & privacy, unemotional, territorial Germans: rigid, methodical, obsessed with order & privacy, unemotional, territorial Americans: superficial, Frontier Spirit, materialistic, over-optimistic Americans: superficial, Frontier Spirit, materialistic, over-optimistic Italians: loud, macho, impatient, over-emotional, talkative, unorganized Italians: loud, macho, impatient, over-emotional, talkative, unorganized British: imperialistic, Island mentality, principled, class-conscious, conservative Stereotypes… Chinese: quiet, hardworking, enigmatic, smiling, cruel Chinese: quiet, hardworking, enigmatic, smiling, cruel

14 13 First approach to culture The way you live The way you live The way you view things The way you view things The way you communicate The way you communicate Customs, habits, traditions Food & its meaning Music, clothing Religious practice Health practice Child raising Family structures & relationships Customs, habits, traditions Food & its meaning Music, clothing Religious practice Health practice Child raising Family structures & relationships Beliefs, values Spirituality Perceptions Attitudes Expectations Beliefs, values Spirituality Perceptions Attitudes Expectations Meaning of language Interaction pattern Communications Verbal & non-verbal Meaning of language Interaction pattern Communications Verbal & non-verbalCultureCulture

15 14 USA Japan Arab 1. Freedom 1. Belonging 1. Family security 2. Independence 2. Group harmony 2. Family harmony 3. Self-reliance 3. Collectiveness 3. Paternalism 4. Equality 4. Age/Seniority 4. Age 5. Individualism 5. Group consensus 5. Authority 6. Competition 6. Cooperation 6. Compromise 7. Efficiency 7. Quality 7. Devotion 8. Time 8. Patience 8. Patience 9. Directness 9. Indirectness 9. Indirectness 10. Openness10. Go-between10. Hospitality Diversity of values & differences in ranking

16 15 Common problems… There are a number of problems that all cultures try to address & bring solutions to: relation to nature relation to others relation to power relation to rules relation to activity relation to emotions relation to space relation to time Source: N. Prime, 2001

17 16 Cultural answers through different solutions… Culture, is the mechanism that allows to select an attitude, an interpretation, a solution as the one that makes sense « de facto », when facing a situation ( decision, relationship, emotion…) Nathalie Prime, 2001

18 17 Universal problems & cultural responses Source: N. Prime, 2001 Universal Problems Cultural responses Relation to natureDominationSubjugation Relation towards others IndividualismCommunautarism Relation to powerHierarchyEquality Relation to timeMonetary timeLiving time Relation to rulesUniversalismParticularism Relation towards activity DoBe Relation to spacePrivate spacePublic space Relation to emotionsExteriorizationNeutralize

19 18 Values, beliefs & behaviors Values, Beliefs Values, Beliefs FILTER Situations

20 19 Cultural conditioning (1) As a leader of of cross-cultural team, Ms. C. is having difficulties managing Mr. H., one of the foreign member of the team. He promised to compile a report by the deadline she set, but he didnt. When she talks to him about it, he won't look her in the eyes. Whats happening? Can you identify the two cultures that Ms. C. and Mr. H. belong to? Source: CCL, 2002

21 20 Cultural conditioning (2) Ms. C. suspects that Mr. H. is either very disorganized or doesnt respect her as a leader… His unwillingness to make eye contact looks like evasive behavior to her. Source: CCL, 2002

22 21 Questions… Do you understand your own cultural background & conditioning? Do you approach cross-cultural communication with an awareness of how differences may affect communication? Do you have the attitude that « different » is bad, inferior, or wrong? Are you aware of ways that you stereotype others? Arte you willing to adjust your communication in order to be more effective? Source: CCL, 2002

23 22 Anticipate & Adapt to Cultural differences Examine your own cultural conditioning Watch for discomfort that can signal cultural differences Recognize & modify your communication Source: CCL, 2002

24 23 What do we know about culture? Things they do not see Things they do not see Things they see Things they see Things I see Things I do not see Source: Jouard, 1964

25 24 Culture? "Collective Programming" Starts from birth, is reinforced in school & by education Relates to values & core beliefs Displayed in attitudes & behavior Some visible characteristics: Customs, behavior Some less visible ones: Values, beliefs

26 25 2 - Challenges in cross cultural communication

27 26 Opening a meeting Germany Formal intro. Sit down. Begin. Finland Formal intro. Cup of coffee. Sit down. Begin. USA UK France Japan Spain/ Italy Number of minutes Number of minutes Informal intro. Cup of coffee. Jokes. Begin. Formal intro. Cup of tea. 10 min small talk. Casual beginning. Formal intro. Cup of tea. 10 min small talk. Casual beginning. Formal intro. 15 min small talk. Begin. Formal intro. 15 min small talk. Begin. Formal intro. Protocol seating. Green tea. 15/20 min small talk. Signal from senior member. Begin. Formal intro. Protocol seating. Green tea. 15/20 min small talk. Signal from senior member. Begin. 20/30 min small talk while others arrive. Begin when all are there. 551010151520202525 Adapted from Richard D. Lewis

28 27 Behavior & cultural differences (1) A foreign manager is conducting an annual performance review with one of his direct reports. He begins the session by discussing all the areas in which the employees performance meets or exceeds goals. The employee listens attentively with serious and thoughtful expression. But when the manager begins to discuss weaknesses and problem areas, the employee starts smiling. The sterner the managers tone, the broader the employee grins. The employee does not comment on anything the manager says or defend or explain. The manager becomes angry because he believes the employee is mocking him and treating the evaluation as a joke. What do you think is happening? What does the employees smile may mean for him/her? Source: CCL, 2002

29 28 Cultural differences: J. meets Y. (1) J. goes to the airport to meet Y. The two men had talked several times on the phone but had only met once before. When Y. spots J. in the baggage area, he enthusiastically embraces him and kisses him on both cheeks. J. feels uncomfortable and hopes that nobody he knows has witnessed this greeting. Source: CCL, 2002

30 29 Cultural differences: Ms H. & V. (1) When Ms. H presents her proposal at the meeting, V. reacts strongly. He pounds on the table and questions her in a loud voice. When Ms. H casts her eyes down in embarrassment, V. seems to get more excited. He leans across the table and jabs his hands towards her face. Source: CCL, 2002

31 30 Negotiation & cultural differences (1) Tom in London & Hitoshi in Tokyo both like Armani suits, football, Beethoven, & good French wines. But Tom recently spoke for days with Hitoshi, his potential business partner and yet the barriers between them were never broken. The deal did not get closed. What is your assessment of the situation? Source: CCL, 2002

32 31 Discomfort & cultural differences (1) Why doesnt he/she says yes or no? In one culture, an indirect signal may signal indecisiveness, while in another culture it signals deference & respect. Why he/she always staring at me? In one culture staring can signal aggressiveness or intimidation, while in another culture direct eye contact shows attention & esteem. Why does he/she have to be right in my face whenever he/she talks to me? In one culture the range of personal space can be much smaller than in another culture. Source: CCL, 2002

33 32 Discomfort & cultural differences (2) Why doesnt he/she tell me if he/she doesnt understand something? In one culture,asking questions is accepted as an effective tool for communication, while in other cultures questioning superiors may signal insolence. Why doesnt he/she sit there smiling when I am talking about his performance problems? In one culture smiling during a discussion about performance problems may signal contempt and disinterest, while in another culture a smile may reflect sincerity and attention. Why does he make a joke about everything? In one culture, a joke can signal lack of confidence or seriousness, while in some others it's a sign of deference. Source: CCL, 2002

34 33 Cultures We think our minds are free… But be careful to distinguish between appearance and reality And remember that every culture is viewed by the others through their own "cultural spectacles"

35 34 3 -Understanding cultures – culture models 3 - Understanding cultures – culture models

36 35 Edward Halls Silent Language 5 silent languages: Time Space Material goods Friendship Agreements

37 36 Past Present Future Over Immediate tasks, separated & identified Plans for next months/years Time: Linear vision (1)

38 37 Adapted from Richard D. Lewis Anglo-Saxons, Germans, Swiss, Scandinavians Time: Linear vision (2) Action oriented Time dominated: "time is money" & cannot be "wasted" Focus on one thing at a time… & within schedule

39 38 Adapted from Richard D. Lewis Far-East, Asians Time: Cyclical vision Past provides background Circling around the problems & "walk around the pool" before making decision Time is precious But one needs plenty of time to look at details of a deal and develop the personal side of a relationship

40 39 Time: Vision from … The more they can do at the same time, the happier they are Not interested in schedule & punctuality Focus on the human side of things: meeting, business & relationship are more important Time is event, personality related It can be "used, manipulated, stretched..." Latins, Arabs Adapted from Richard D. Lewis

41 40 Monochronic vs. Polychronic behavior Monochronic Polychronic Time is crucial Punctuality Get to the point A then B then C then D Time is an asset Time is crucial Punctuality Get to the point A then B then C then D Time is an asset Time is not ours to manage Events have their own time A & B or C, D or B Talk business, but also football, food, friendship Time is not ours to manage Events have their own time A & B or C, D or B Talk business, but also football, food, friendship Task, linear Task & Relational, circular

42 41 Space Availability of space use of space: physical & personal; ex, USA – wide open space, frontier spirit & Japan – limited space, island mentality readiness to make contact, nature & degree of involvement with others: keep distance, suspicion of strangers; ex, Europe vs. USA

43 42 Adapted from Richard D. Lewis Material goods Use of material possessions North America: indication of status, level of success: car, house, money… Other cultures: Japan, Middle-East, not viewed as important – emphasis placed on other elements: taste, harmony, friendship…

44 43 Friendship Formed quickly with neighbors, coworkers North America Takes more time, lasts longer, goes deeper and implies obligations Asia, Middle-East Adapted from Richard D. Lewis

45 44 Agreements How to view law, rules, practices & informal customs? Need for a written agreement, binding – North America, Northern Europe Oral, handshake, with trust sufficient - Asia, Arabs Adapted from Richard D. Lewis

46 45 Communication process Sender Encoding Channel (medium) Channel (medium) Decoding Receiver Feedback (clarify, confirm…) Feedback (clarify, confirm…) symbols words pictures gestures… symbols words pictures gestures… INTENT & MEANING INTENT & MEANING EFFECT & INTERPRETATION EFFECT & INTERPRETATION

47 46 Explicit & implicit communication Low Context Low Context High Context High Context Explicit Communication Explicit Communication Implicit Communication Implicit Communication Swiss North Americans Scandinavians French British Italians Germans Latin Americans Arabs Japanese

48 47 Hofstedes model 5 dimensions of culture: 1.Power distance 2.Individualism vs. collectivism 3.Feminity vs. masculinity 4.Uncertainty avoidance 5.Long term orientation

49 48 Power distance Defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally. G. Hofstede Low High Social integration Little concern for hierarchical status Social integration Little concern for hierarchical status Social differential Significant concern for hierarchical status Social differential Significant concern for hierarchical status

50 49 Power distance: Sweden… Source: G. Hofstede

51 50 Impact on management... Power distance Type of management structure Decision process Flow of information Inequalities/equalities Formalism Status

52 51 Individualism vs. collectivism Individualism pertains to societies in which the ties between individuals are loose; everyone is expected to look after himself and his immediate family Collectivism pertains to societies in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong cohesive ingroups, which throughout peoples lifetime continue to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. G. Hofstede Low High Collectivity Concern for group harmony versus personal achievement Collectivity Concern for group harmony versus personal achievement Self-determination High concern for achievement & personal growth Self-determination High concern for achievement & personal growth Individualism

53 52 Individualism vs. collectivism Employee/employer relations Decision making Conflict management Impact on management...

54 53 Feminity vs. masculinity Feminine: focus on - work to live, quality of life, relationships… Masculine: focus on - live to work, material success, money… Low High Nurturing relationships Little concern for control, decisiveness, assertive behaviour or competition Nurturing relationships Little concern for control, decisiveness, assertive behaviour or competition Controlling relationships Assertiveness, decisiveness and competitive behaviour Controlling relationships Assertiveness, decisiveness and competitive behaviour Masculinity

55 54 Impact on management... Feminity vs. masculinity Masculine societies will value: competition, speed, strength and wealth promotion emphasis on individual responsibility open & hard conflicts Feminine societies will value: equality, security, peace and nature cooperation, work conditions emphasis on collective responsibility conflict management through discussions

56 55 Uncertainty avoidance Defined as the extent to which the members of of a culture feel threatened by uncertain or unknown situations. G. Hofstede Low High Informal relationships Little regard for structure & control Informal relationships Little regard for structure & control Formal relationships High regard for structure, rituals and procedures Formal relationships High regard for structure, rituals and procedures

57 56 Impact upon management... Uncertainty avoidance LOW few guidelines, few rules relativist attitude risk taking, initiative HIGH strict guidelines, a lot of rules, process need for an absolute truth employment stability important roles for experts

58 57 Hofstedes results 20 countries

59 58 Cultural dimensions PDIINDMASUAI Brazil 69384976 USA 40916246 France 68714386

60 59 Cultural comparison: Brazil, USA, & France

61 60 A Synthesis of Country Cultures A Synthesis of Country Cultures NORDIC Finland Denmark Sweden NEAR EASTERN Turkey Greece Iran ARAB Oman Bahrain Abu-Dhabi Saudi Arabia GERMANIC Austria Germany Switzerland FAR EASTERN Malaysia Singapore Hong Kong Philippines Indonesia Taiwan INDEPENDENT IndiaJapan IsraelBrazil ANGLO United Kingdom Canada United States Ireland South Africa LATIN AMERICAN Argentina Mexico Chile Peru LATIN EUROPEAN France Belgium ItalySpain

62 61 Managing cultural differences: tips Map – Bridge - Integrate MAP Understand the differences Cultural values Leadership style Personality Thinking style Gender BRIDGE Communicate across differences Approaching with motivation & confidence Decentering w/o blame Recentering with commonalities INTEGRATE Manage the differences Building participation Resolving conflicts Building on each others ideas

63 62 Communicating across cultures: « guidelines » Speak clearly & more slowly than usual Pronounce your words clearly & enunciate carefully Use the simplest & most common words in most cases Avoid slang & colloquial expressions Use visuals Confirm your spoken communications by memos, e-mails, letters, faxes Source: CCL, 2002

64 63 Conclusion Culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy. Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster. But if we really want to globalize, there is no way around them so we better take them for what they are. Geert Hofstede Culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy. Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster. But if we really want to globalize, there is no way around them so we better take them for what they are. Geert Hofstede

65 64 Bibliography When cultures Collide – Richard Lewis – Nicholas Brealy Riding the waves of cultures – Fons Trompenaars & Charles Hampden-Turner – McGraw-Hill Cultures & Organizations – Geert Hofstede – McGraw-Hill Managing Across Cultures – Susan Schneider & Jean-Louis Barsoux – FT Prentice Hall Ù The end


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