Culture in International Business Essay

Submitted By kaydiggs
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Culture in International Business
Kauwana Diggs
Herzing University

Because business is conducted within the context of society, it is important to address culture. Culture is what distinguishes one society from another by its beliefs, customs, attitudes and collection of values. When we study and learn culture, we begin to understand why people behave the way that they do. It also helps us to understand how to build relationships that are needed to have a successful business venture. Basically, each culture determines the rules of the society. For companies that desire to do business in other societies should learn the rules of the foreign culture. “The basic elements of culture are social structure, language, communication, religion, and values and attitudes. The interaction of these elements affects the local environment in which international businesses operate (Griffin & Pustay)”. Every society contains a social structure. That structure determines how the society is constructed and the roles that individuals play. It also determines their mobility within that society and social stratification. Members of society consist of families and individuals that live, work and function together. In many countries, the traditional family unit consists of the father, mother and their children. However, over time, parental roles have changed to also include same sex parents. In some societies, the standard family includes the extended family members such as uncles, aunts, cousins and in-laws. Some common families are defined as tribes and clan groups. “All human societies involve individuals living in family units and working with each other in groups. Societies differ, however, in the way they define family and in the relative importance they place on the individual’s role within groups. The U.S. view of family ties and responsibilities focuses on the nuclear family (father, mother, and offspring). In other cultures, the extended family is far more important. Arabs, for example, consider uncles, brothers, cousins, and in-laws as parts of their family unit to whom they owe obligations of support and assistance. Other societies utilize an even broader definition of family. For instance, Somalia’s society is organized in clans, each of which comprises individuals of the same tribe who share a common ancestor (Griffin and Pustay, 2015).” Because of these different social attitudes, we can recognize that family is important in business. In some cultures, such as the United States, Nepotism is discouraged. Unlike in Arab owned companies, family is critical and relatives are often hired. As well as in Chinese culture, relatives hold import managerial positions and it is not frowned upon. It is expected. They also supply capitol from personal accounts to support the business. According to Griffin and Pustay:
Cultures also differ in the importance of the individual relative to the group. U.S. culture, for example, promotes individualism. Schools try to raise the self-esteem of each…