Characteristics of Culture
Culture is the collection of values, customs, behaviors, beliefs and attitude that distinguishes on society from another one. The culture is important in order to show how firms should operate in the different societies.
- Culture reflects learned behavior, that is transmitted fro, one member to another
- The elements of culture are interrelated. Ex: because japan has a group oriented culture, jobs are for life.
- Because culture is a learned behavior, it is adaptive: the culture changes in response to external forces that affect the society. * - Culture is shared by members of the society and defines the membership of the society. *
Elements of culture
The framework that determines the role of the individuals in the society, the stratification of the society and the individuals mobility.
Individuals, families and groups
All societies involve individuals living with families or working in groups but the definition of family and group is different everywhere. ( ex: us nuclear family, Saudi Arabia: extended family)
The importance of family matter in business. Ex: in Us nepotism is not well viewed but it’s the contrary in Saudi Arabia.
Cultures also differ in their views of the individual relative to the group. Us: individualism is taught to people since early in the education( development of individual talent etc.…). Group focused in Japan.
Societies differ in their social stratification, the way they categorize people in societies from their birth to death. Ex: Indian caste makes it hard for people from lower casts to climb socially.
Multinationals should adjusts to these social stratifications and be carful in highly stratified societies ( never hire a someone from a a group that doesn’t usually does the job asked)
Social mobility is the ability of individuals to move from one stratum to another. SM higher in less stratified societies ad the contrary in highly stratified societies. Social mobility’s ( or lack of it) often affects individuals’ attitudes toward such factors as labor relations, human capital formation etc.
Language is the primary delineator of cultural groups because it is an important means by which the society’s members communicate.
Language organizes the way members of a society see think of the world: it filters observations and perception and therefore can very unpredictably affect messages sent by other cultures.
In addition to shaping one’s perception of the world, language provides important clues about the cultural values of each societies ( pang mogo in Korean means “ eat your meal” and the simple word “Pang” means rice: hence the eat a lot of rice there )
There is also a lot of language diversity in certain countries such as India but to facilitate communication: official language is English
Business people who work in a lot of countries should adjust their marketing and business practices to the different cultures and more importantly to their language.
Language as a competitive weapon
Linguistic ties often crate important competitive advantages because of the ability to communicate. ( examples: Spanish companies such as telefonica doing business with Latin America.
Since the end of WW2 the lingua franca is English for international. Some companies initiate English as their discussion language.
Even with that, there are some cultural misunderstandings.
But the dominance of English gives an advantage in international commerce to people who have English as a native language. However, students must be more exposed to other foreign languages.
Some linguistic differences can be overcome with translation: translators must be careful to translate the meaning of the overall sentence more than the words.
Back translation is also a commonly used technique to ensure good translation.
Some companies teach their employees the