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International Management

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International Management

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  Download Cultural Matrices
Cultural Matrices

Doing Business Internationally: Resource Book
Cultural Dimension U.S. Culture Foreign Culture:  How do I capitalize on strengths and similarities? How do I resolve and manage differences?


Brief and uncomplicated. Firm handshakes with smile are typical among both men and women. Combining a title ("Miss," "Mrs.," "Dr.," etc.) with surname shows respect. Female businesswomen are addressed as "Ms." Typical American greeting consists of "Pleased to meet you" or "How are you?" Expected response to this question is a perfunctory "Fine, thank you," and not a detailed description of one’s state of health. Once acquainted, people address each other by their given names; the informality is a sign of friendliness.    SIMILARITIES:


Social Tips and Conventions


Overseas visitors are expected to speak English. There is usually a 2-foot distance between individuals when speaking. Looking into face or eyes of person is proper. Frequent eye contact conveys honesty, strength, personal warmth. Americans value independence, freedom, individualism. Americans are frank and outspoken – often offer opinions on any subject. Americans are very patriotic; most agree that U.S. is one of the world’s greatest countries. Opening conversation should focus on persons, not business; humor may help to open door to more useful topics. Sports are a good discussion topic. Americans enjoy a good sense of humor, including sarcasm.    SIMILARITIES:


Customary Business Practices


Firm appointments should be arranged in advance. Conducting business during meal is common. Reconfirming appointment on day before meeting is appropriate. Americans value and expect punctuality. Short, casual discussions are good in introductory meeting. Americans will want to know visitor’s corporate status and about his/her company. Business discussions come quickly after small talk. Even in teams, Americans are individualistic. Negotiations discussed openly and seriously. Decisions are made at varying levels. Innovative, efficient, and clear presentations are valued. American lawyers tend to draw up exceptionally detailed documents and contracts – the intent is to clarify and caution rather than to insult. Dark suit with tie is acceptable business dress for man; business women wear skirt suits and smart dresses. The woman is equal to man and must receive equal treatment. Her opinions and judgments should be taken seriously.   SIMILARITIES:


Business Entertaining


Accepting or rejecting American coffee is proper. Gifts may embarrass Americans in a business setting. Business discussions will often take place from about 12:30 P.M. until 2:00 P.M. Dinner is main meal of day and usually begins between 7:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M. Business luncheon meetings and dinners in restaurants generally require a suit. Americans enjoy socializing in small or large groups for almost any occasion. An invitation to an American’s home is relatively rare and is a sign of friendship and approval; spouses are usually included in event. Small gifts to host are appreciated upon reaching house, and sending a short, informal note to host (after event) is appropriate. In restaurants, tips of at least 15% are expected.    SIMILARITIES:


Dining Out


Americans eat with fork in the hand with which they write. When knife is not being used for cutting or spreading, it is laid on plate or table. When knife is used, fork is switched to other hand. Some foods are eaten with the hands. Table manners are informal, and speeches do not usually occur at table. Napkins are placed on lap. Resting elbows on table is considered rude. Left hand often rests in lap during meal. Toasting is casual and rare, but appreciated. Drinks may be served before or during meal. Guests are expected to stay for a moderate period of time after meal to visit with host. Always ask permission to smoke.   SIMILARITIES:


Public Customs


Very little that one says or does in innocence is taboo in the United States. Appearance is important – know what clothing is appropriate for each occasion. Cleanliness is emphasized. Public display of affection is common. Poor posture in sitting or standing is not appropriate or polite, although it is quite common.    DIFFERENCES:


Doing Business Internationally: The Guide 
Cultural Dimension U.S. Culture:  Foreign Culture: How do I capitalize on strengths and similarities? How do I resolve and manage differences?


Humans are superior to and set apart from the environment. Have ability to change it. Try to control and shape nature. View of dominance through pragmatic intelligence. Ideas are levers of change and men and women are capable of profound change.    


Strong value of time as a limited resource that must be spent wisely. Fast pace, and single focus orientation with emphasis on the present. Time is money.




Value action and results over words, e.g. "put your money where your mouth is". Define selves by measurable accomplishments. Diligent work ethic. Emphasis on decisiveness even if decision is not ultimately the best. Get to the "Bottom Line".    


Emphasis on accomplishment rather than relationship. Business comm. Is often informal, direct and instrumental. Conflict often considered as positive leading to progress. Not overly emotional, very opinionated, practice persuasiveness.    


Private space orientation, expect very little touching, strong eye contact. Give firm brief handshakes.    


Acceptance of hierarchical business structure maintains professional distance from subordinates. Even if not at the top of the hierarchy one can still question proposals. View challenges as opportunities, Show respect to superiors.    
Human Relationships


Emphasis on the individual: performance and achievement. Decision making individualistic rather than consensual. Rugged individualism. Rewards based on performance rather than need, group membership, heritage or personal connections.    


Highly competitive. Material success and achievement is stressed. Risk taking is rewarded.    


Tendency toward legalism, although a low value on structure. Little fear of uncertainty. Stress flexible structure and empowerment. Highly detailed contracts and agreements to cover all contingencies. Policies are framework.    


Inductive and linear. Practicality, efficiency and correctness supported by logic and evidence.    


Hofstede's Four Dimensions
Cultural Dimension U.S. Culture Foreign Culture:  How do I capitalize on strengths and similarities? How do I resolve and manage differences?
Individualism - Collectivism


(91) Most individualism of any country with a small power distance. Everyone takes care of himself or herself. Identity is based on individual. Involvement with organizations is calculated. Value standards apply to all.  
Small Power Distance -

Large Power Distance


(40) Relatively Small Power Distance. Inequality in society minimized. Superiors are accessible and on equal footing. Equal rights. Change is accomplished through redistribution of power. Weak uncertainty avoidance.    
Risk Taking - Risk Adverse


(46) Uncertainty is inherent in life and should be accepted. Conflict and competition can be constructive. There should be as few rules as possible. Little nationalism. Belief is placed in generalists and common sense.  
Masculinity - Femininity


(62) Men should be relatively assertive. Sex roles in society are clearly differentiated. Men dominate society. Performance is what counts. You live in order to work. Money and things are important. Ambition provides drive.   


Understanding Global Cultures: Metaphorical Journeys Through 17 Countries
Cultural Dimension "American Football" Foreign Metaphor:  How do I capitalize on strengths and similarities? How do I resolve and manage differences?
Group versus Individual Focus The team wins based upon the individual's actions.


Competition in business  Aggressiveness of the players, teams, and fans


Specialists versus Generalists Special Teams


Person's worth based upon the job/position that you have.  "Hogs" - example of players trying to fit in to the squad's culture.


Task-oriented; planning is viewed positively Huddling-planning of the strategy for the game. 


People like to be evaluated so that they know their position in the company, their bottom line.  The player must improve their "numbers" before negotiating their contract for improvement of benefits.


Level of cultural sensitivity Rugged, fan-fare, pageantry, hostile    



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