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CULTURE & WORKCultural diversity and its impact on business ethos and practise All generalizations are false All generalizations, including this one, are false Some generalizations are true Some generalizations are true, some of the time While it is impossible to predict behavioral style for a given group, it may be helpful or useful to be aware of certain particularities in order to understand people from that group, adapt our behavior and select an appropriate strategy.
CULTURAL GROUPS We can classify cultural groups in different ways Ethnic National Regional Urban Religious Professional Corporate
CULTURAL HOMOGENEITY Within a given cultural group, there are common values, attitudes and behavior. For example, Germans share these concepts : Order Logic and Clarity Scientific truth Seriousness Work ethic Consensus Linear time
CULTURAL STEREOTYPES A given cultural group also holds ideas about other cultural groups. Here ’s the typical Brit ’s view of Europeans : FRENCH SPANISH ITALIAN BRITS IRISH DUTCH GERMANSTYLISH 37 07 30 09 01 05 04ARROGANT 29 14 12 14 07 04 48SEXY 21 08 19 04 05 02 01DEVIOUS 19 09 10 06 16 02 12EASYGOING 10 27 20 27 30 15 03GREEDY 10 07 07 12 03 02 09COWARDLY 08 03 12 02 10 00 02BORING 08 07 06 13 09 13 11EFFICIENT 06 03 05 26 05 24 41LAZY 06 23 13 16 11 01 01HARDWORKING 05 12 10 29 22 28 38CLEVER 02 01 01 06 02 04 08BRAVE 01 03 02 25 07 06 08
INTERCULTURAL CONFLICTIt isn ’t easy for people to reach agreement, even within a given culture. When people from different cultures come together to negotiate, intercultural difficulties are superimposed on interpersonal ones. Here are some potential sources of misunderstanding and conflict : Language & communication Behavior Time & space Attitudes & values Power & decisionmaking Work practises
THE FRENCH Language & communicationCourteous - formal - rationalist - complex - abstract - critical - contentious - evasive - touchy. BehaviorFormal - mistrustful - polite - arrogant - cynical - not very pragmatic - can be rigid - egoistic. Time & spaceTIME : nonlinear - may not respect agendas, schedules, deadlines - slow implementationSPACE : respect privacy - territory closely guarded. Attitudes & valuesWork ethic underdeveloped - competitive drive relatively recent - highly valued welfaresystem - proud - consider themselves competent & efficient - opinion counts more than facts- can be contemptuous - security not risk - poor customer service. Power & decisionmakingTechnocratic & centralized - slow - insufficient delegation - position a function of credentials- functional & departmental responsibility sometimes ignored - subordinates accept elitisthierarchy as being in the nature of things - decisions may be made with lateral consultationonly - predominance of political concerns. Work practisesTeamwork insufficient - inadequate reporting - form over substance - accept surprises.Bureaucratic - performance not always monitored - slow evaluation & promotion - territory akey factor - procedural control may stifle initiative - information retention - tend to say no.Meetings often ill-planned & too long - tend to rationalize failure - lack foresight.
THE AMERICANS Language & communicationLoud - informal - direct - simple - concrete - idiomatic - polite - don’t like silence - curious. BehaviorCasual - trustful - polite - abrasive - opportunistic - pragmatic - naive - egoistic - humorous . Time & spaceTIME : linear - agendas, schedules, deadlines - fast implementation - future oriented.SPACE : large personal space - respect privacy. Attitudes & valuesWork ethic - competitive drive - risk - success - utilitarian - entrepreneurial - self reliant -independent - patriotic - competent - effort rewarded - innovative - egalitarian - contractual& litigious - ignorant of other cultures - customer service - professionalism. Power & decisionmakingAuthority earned - empowerment - position a function of performance - strong functional &departmental responsibility - accountability - frank exchange between managers &subordinates - flat hierarchy - decisions made with both vertical & lateral consultation -predominance of financial concerns - concern for stakeholder interests. Work practisesTeamwork - tight reporting - substance over form - dislike surprises - meetings short &productive - brainstorm - performance monitored - rapid evaluation & promotion - planning -procedural control doesn’t stifle initiative - information exchange - tend to say yes.
THE GERMANS Language & communicationFacts - precision - detailed information - logical argument - don’t like interruptions, smalltalk,misunderstanding, simplification - compartmentalize arguments - direct & frank - respectful. BehaviorSerious - humour out of place at work - calm - sensitive to criticism - formal interpersonalrelations - respect rules & procedures - think before acting - unimpressed by Latin flair. Time & spaceTIME : linear - punctual - agendas, schedules, deadlines - fast implementation – plan ahead.SPACE : privacy important - don’t like standing too close - organized home & workspace. Attitudes & valuesHonest, sincere, reliable, conscientious, efficient, loyal. Intolerant of mistakes - perfectionistsinflexible when they believe they’re right, but will look for common ground. Power & decisionmakingFlat - authority not automatic, depends on performance - frank exchange betweenmanagers & subordinates - upward mobility - strong middle class - middle management -partnership - distrust elites - decision preceded by intense discussion & lateral consultation. Work practisesTeamwork - meetings - cooperation - delegation - decentralization - detailed planning -don’t like surprises - subordinates supervised, advised, instructed if needed - don’t interrupttasks - problems minimized by procedures - training - managers fair to employees - expatscan persuade HQ to change if needed - look for & criticize defects - quality - deadlines - price.
THE BRITS Language & communicationConcrete - mistrust abstraction & rationalism - information exchange - understatement -2-way communication - qualification & reserve - don’t like interruptions, open conflict - canbe vague & evasive but expect straight answers. BehaviorEasygoing - casual & courteous - calm but politely arrogant - humour - pragmatic. Time & spaceTIME : linear - punctual - agendas, schedules, deadlines - fast implementation - plan ahead.SPACE : respect privacy - don’t like touching or standing too close (except in the pub !). Attitudes & valuesWork ethic - sense of duty - utilitarian - success oriented - consider themselves reliable,hardworking & efficient - competitive - ethnocentric. Power & decisionmakingTop-down but delegation - position a function of performance - frank exchange betweenmanagers & subordinates - strong functional & departmental responsibility - decisionrequires consultation, accurate & reliable data - predominance of financial concerns. Work practisesTeamwork - supervision - planning - don’t like surprises - tight reporting - substance overform - work task-centred & achievement-motivated - performance monitored - rapidevaluation & promotion - procedural control not incompatible with individual initiative -cost containment a key goal - meetings should be short, efficient & solve problems.
THE TURKS Language & communicationCourteous - ambiguous - opinionated - touchy - contentious - evasive. BehaviorFormal - mistrustful - astute. Time & spaceTIME : nonlinear - may not respect agendas, schedules, deadlines - slow implementation.SPACE : closeness - touching. Attitudes & valuesWork ethic underdeveloped - opinion counts more than facts - conservative - honour -sensitive - patriotic - family - Islam - resent pressure - relationship. Power & decisionmakingTop down - centralized - slow - insufficient delegation - position a function of credentials &status - subordinates accept elitist hierarchy as being in the nature of things - decisions maybe made with lateral or no consultation - predominance of political concerns. Work practisesTeamwork insufficient - inadequate reporting - form over substance - accept surprises.Bureaucratic - performance not always monitored - slow evaluation & promotion - territory akey factor - procedural control may stifle initiative - information retention - tend to say no.Meetings often ill-planned & too long - tend to rationalize failure - lack foresight.
HOW DO THEY MEASURE UP ? PARAMETERTechnical culture FinancialFormal man CasualCartesian mind BaconianAbstract word ConcreteComplex message SimpleCredential criterion ResultJustice ethics UtilityAutonomous role Team PlayerUniversalist world view Ethnocentric
FRENCH & US ENGINEERS Academic Greater mastery of pure science Stronger in applied research Research State-funded research provides Corporates & Universities set up security but low remuneration technology partnerships Mobility Stays a long time in same firm Will leave if opportunity arises Teamwork Education system isolates researcher Adept at sharing information and so he is less communicative working in teams Problems Takes a global & complex approach. Oriented towards project-based Abstract & theoretical outlook does work that solves marketplace not always produce solutions that problems faced by corporates fit the marketplace Flexibility Rigid Flexible Presenting Exhaustive Focused Business Difficulty in adopting profit ethos At ease in sales & marketing environment
CULTURAL VALUESHere is a list of work-related values shared by many cultures, but the order of priority differs from one to another. How do you rank them ? Group consensus ► Competition ► Reputation & prestige ► Security & family ► Self reliance ► Time ► Relationships ► Openness & directness ► Formality ► Hierarchy & seniority ► Efficiency ► Freedom & risk ►
CORPORATE CULTURE Matters are complicated still further when a corporate culture is added to the equation. Differing corporate values may be a problem in joint ventures or subsidiaries and have to be adjusted to take account of local values. Define LISI corporate culture :
MERGING CORPORATE CULTURES Acquired company embraces Assimilation acquiring firm’s culture Acquiring company imposes its Deculturation culture on acquired firm Both cultures combined into a Integration new composite culture Merging companies retain Separation separate cultures
TRANSCULTURAL SKILLS What skills are required when you step into a different cultural environment ?DO DO DON ’TObserve & respect Speak briefly Talk too muchTolerate ambiguity Exchange data InterruptRelate to individuals Listen AttackReserve judgement Question BlameAdapt to difference Respond Score pointsEmpathize Look for clues Threaten
PROBLEM SOLVING Understanding intercultural conflicts isn ’t easy.Solving them is difficult - most people don ’t even try ! Here ’s a 5 step method : Describe the problem as understood in both cultures Analyze it from the two cultural perspectives Identify the source of the problem from each viewpoint Solve the problem through synergetic strategies Determine if the solution is working interculturally
12 NEGOTIATION PARAMETERS NW Europe SE Europe Preparation high low Structure/Agenda/Protocol high low Time management high low Openness & Directness high low Conflict & Emotion low high Relationships low high Listening & Feedback high low Ambiguity low high Empowerment high low Position gap low high Contractual detail high low Packaging flexibility high low
WORLD COMPETITIVENESS SCOREBOARD 2004 * USA 100 Iceland 86 Denmark 84 Finland 83 Luxembourg 83 Ireland 80 Sweden 79 Austria 78 Switzerland 78 Netherlands 78 Norway 75 Germany 73 UK 72 Belgium 70 Estonia 68 France 67 Spain 67 Portugal 58 Slovak Republic 57 Hungary 57 Czech Republic 56 Greece 56 Slovenia 55 Turkey 55 * www.imd.org
WORLD COMPETITIVENESS SCOREBOARD 2005 Iceland 85 Finland 83 Denmark 83 Switzerland 83 Luxembourg 80 Ireland 78 Netherlands 77 Sweden 76 Norway 76 Austria 75 UK 69 Germany 68 Belgium 67 Estonia 66 France 64 Czech Republic 60 Hungary 60 Spain 59 Slovak Republic 58 Portugal 52 Greece 50 Slovenia 49 Italy 46 Poland 39
WORLD COMPETITIVENESS SCOREBOARD 2006 Iceland 90 Denmark 86 Switzerland 83 Luxembourg 82 Finland 81 Ireland 81 Norway 80 Austria 79 Sweden 77 Netherlands 76 Estonia 71 UK 71 Germany 69 Belgium 68 Czech Republic 63 France 60 Spain 58 Slovak Republic 57 Hungary 57 Greece 54 Portugal 53 Slovenia 52 Bulgaria 51 Italy 44