Volume 7: The Impact of Culture in Business

The Impact of Culture in Business
There are still many people around the world who think that business is just about core business principles and making money. They assume that issues like culture don’t really matter Business Environment. These issues do matter—in many ways. Even though people are focused on the bottom line, people do business with people they like, trust, and understand. Culture determines all of these key issues.
The short Video really shows and proofs how Culture is been practice and abused by many base on ethnics.

The influence of cultural factors on business is extensive. Culture in any environment impacts how employees are best managed based on their values and priorities. It also impacts the functional areas of marketing, sales, and distribution in that environment. Infact It can affect a company’s analysis and decision on how best to enter a new market.
When we are dealing with people from another culture, you may find that their business practices, communication, and management styles are different from those to which you are accustomed. Understanding the culture of the people with whom you are dealing is important to successful business interactions and to accomplishing business objectives. For example, you’ll need to understand

  • How people communicate;
  • How culture impacts how people view time and deadlines;
  • How they are likely to ask questions or highlight problems;
  • How people respond to management and authority;
  • How people perceive verbal and physical communications; and
  • How people make decisions.
To conduct business with people from other cultures, you must put aside preconceived notions and strive to learn about the culture of your counterpart. Often the greatest challenge is learning not to apply your own value system when judging people from other cultures. It is important to remember that there are no right or wrong ways to deal with other people—just different ways. Concepts like time and ethics are viewed differently from place to place, and the smart business professional will seek to understand the rationale underlying another culture’s concepts.

For younger and smaller companies, there’s no room for errors or delays—both of which may result from cultural misunderstandings and miscommunications. These miscues can and often do impact the bottom line.

Another private example are my employees, I have 68 employees in my Company, and they are all from different Country, yet I have to take my time to study each person ethnicity and make them understand the cultural method which is been used and practice in the present location that my Company is situated, and this has really helped me a lot to achieve many of my Goals and aspiration.

An important feature of culture is that it is learnt and not inherited. Culture lies somewhere between individual personality and human nature because these two traits are unique for every individual, the behavior in-between these two extremes is identical to groups as it is learned and acquired through others. A culture is also “shared” i.e. it exists in groups and societies, beliefs of an individuals can be classified as “ideas” but do not necessarily form part of the overall culture.

Another crucial example is the UBER APP which riders are using for transport purpose, Uber started from one Country but as today they are in more than 80 Countries and they are progressing, if Uber hasn’t be able to concentrate on the Culture of each environment of their Operation, they wouldn’t have excel the way they are.

Low and High Context Cultures
In an increasingly connected and inter-dependent world, the effective communication is not only to becomes more important.
Ironically, it is often not dissimilar languages that cause the greatest problems but rather much more mundane and harder to detect cultural differences. One such difference is that of a high context culture versus a low context culture.

A low context culture is one in which things are fully (though concisely) spelled out. Things are made explicit, and there is considerable dependence on what is actually said or written. A high context culture is one in which the communicators assume a great deal of commonality of knowledge and views, so that less is spelled out explicitly and much more is implicit or communicated in indirect ways. In a low context culture, more responsibility is placed on the listener to keep up their knowledge base and remain plugged into informal networks.

Low context cultures include Anglos, Germanics and Scandinavians. High context cultures include Japanese, Arabs and French.

The implications are obvious. Interactions between high and low context peoples can be problematic. For example:

Japanese can find Westerners to be offensively blunt. Westerners can find Japanese to be secretive, devious and bafflingly unforthcoming with information.

French can feel that Germans insult their intelligence by explaining the obvious, while Germans can feel that French managers provide no direction.

High context cultures are vulnerable to communication breakdowns when they assume more shared understanding than there really is. They are strongly inclined to indirect methods of communication. This is especially true in an age of diversity.

Low context cultures, on the other hand, are not known for their ability to tolerate or understand diversity, and tend to be more insular. The explicitness with which they communicate can often cause offence and resentment.

The point, of course, is that in an age of diversity these cultural differences are just as likely to appear across a desk as they are across borders. Don't assume a common geographic location guarantees a common heritage.

The general terms "high context" and "low context" (popularized by Edward Hall) are used to describe broad-brush cultural differences between societies.

High context refers to societies or groups where people have close connections over a long period of time. Many aspects of cultural behavior are not made explicit because most members know what to do and what to think from years of interaction with each other. Your family is probably an example of a high context environment.

Low context refers to societies where people tend to have many connections but of shorter duration or for some specific reason. In these societies, cultural behavior and beliefs may need to be spelled out explicitly so that those coming into the cultural environment know how to behave.

  • Less verbally explicit communication, less written/formal information
  • More internalized understandings of what is communicated
  • Multiple cross-cutting ties and intersections with others
  • Long term relationships
  • Strong boundaries- who is accepted as belonging vs who is considered an "outsider"
  • Knowledge is situational, relational.
  • Decisions and activities focus around personal face-to-face relationships, often around a central person who has authority.
EXAMPLES: Small religious congregations, a party with friends, family gatherings, expensive gourmet restaurants and neighborhood restaurants with a regular clientele, undergraduate on-campus friendships, regular pick-up games, hosting a friend in your home overnight.

  • Rule oriented, people play by external rules
  • More knowledge is codified, public, external, and accessible.
  • Sequencing, separation--of time, of space, of activities, of relationships
  • More interpersonal connections of shorter duration
  • Knowledge is more often transferable
  • Task - centered. Decisions and activities focus around what needs to be done, division of responsibilities.
EXAMPLES: large US airports, a chain supermarket, a cafeteria, a convenience store, sports where rules are clearly laid out, a motel.

The Structure of Relationships
HIGH: Dense, intersecting networks and long term relationships, strong boundaries, relationship more important than task.
LOW: Loose, wide networks, shorter term, compartmentalized relationships, task more important than relationship The main type of Cultural Knowledge
HIGH: More knowledge is below the waterline - implicit, patterns that are not fully conscious, hard to explain even if you are a member of that culture
LOW: More knowledge is above the waterline - explicit, consciously organized The culture differences is not a problem, but where the problem lyes is when there is a problem in doing things that others didn't accept.


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