Importance of culture in International Business

Terrorism, development of cultural assault, gender inequalities, poverty and diseasesâetc. has powered societies to become more opaque, uncertain about their future. Because the 11th of September 2001, the social issue has been imposed at the forefront of political concerns. The Johannesburg World Summit on the theme Lasting Development in 2002 has recognized the importance of culture and determines culture as the 4th pillar of development.

Moreover, with the increase globalization, national corporate ethnicities are under heavy

pressure to adapt regional thinking directly into their management strategies. The current activity of international exports and imports turn out with the next question: what is the importance of culture in international business?

Corporations planning internationalization might face many legal and ethnical barriers when planning their market admittance strategies. Those barriers are quite ambiguous as cultural dissimilarities stem from numerous cultural variables such as materials culture, social company, religion, language, appearance and popular culture. These factors have to be efficiently implied to local corporate culture. Culture impacts in many business practices from day-to-day operational processes, like discussions, management, selecting, communication and performance evaluations. One of the biggest challenges when operating business globally is understand and benefit from cultural differences. In fact, many businesses have didn't enter new markets and ethnic understanding is essential for every organization to avoid misunderstandings, bad associations, inefficiency or cost and succeed in industry.

The first part of this newspaper will be specialized in determine the culture and its different elements. The next part will determine the fundamental factors to succeed abroad; and finally, the newspaper will propose further tips for culture businesses.

What's culture?

High and low context cultures

The culture (from the Latin cultura stemming from colere, signifying "to cultivate") is a term that has different meanings. It can be defined as the socialization process, in mention of the friends, the education of parents. . . etc who play a veritable role in the people life. The strategy can have different passions (geographic, mindset, sociologic. . . ).

The important elements of culture for the business world are: the terms, the religious beliefs, the prices, the traditions and the history and each of them are essential.

Source: The knowledge exchange »

The major components of culture

The language

The terminology is one of all important key to comprehend a culture. You will discover over 3, 000 languages and as many as 10, 000 dialects worldwide. Because of this, English dialect is chosen as the business language so that an official terminology to connect between societies. "See APPENDIX 1"

The religion

Religion can have an impact on international business through influencing a culture's worth and attitudes toward entrepreneurship, utilization and social group. The impact will vary depending on the durability of the dominant spiritual tenets. International managers should be aware of the differences among religions. For example Islam, followed by one-quarter of the world's people, has a huge impact in Muslims' life. Why is it influential is the fact that it governs all facets of life for a Muslim including financial, cultural and communal aspects- through the Sharia (regulation of Islam). At an individual level, female is circumscribed by spiritual principles-by a code of carry out for interpersonal relations-in sociable and monetary activities. Religious beliefs is paramount in every regions of life. The Muslim lives in a social structure that is designed by Islamic ideals and norms of moral carry out. "See APPENDIX 2". Another example with Macintosh personal computer Donald's: Inside the Gulf Arabic countries, the organization will propose alternatively hallal products, but in UK that will be somewhat products like the "winter feast" at basic of bacon, emmental, chorizo, tomato, steak. . . "See APPENDIX 3"

The education

Education takes a significant part in our life as it transmits any guidelines, behaviour and skills, either at children or people. From generation in technology, the customs and manner are transmitted from daddy to son. Education gives us the knowledge of the surroundings that surrounds us. It offers us a point of view of taking a look at life. Education is the foundation of culture and civilization. It is instrumental in the development of our beliefs and virtues. Education cultivates us into older individuals, individuals capable of planning our futures and taking the right decisions.

2. 1. 2. Basic components of culture

2. 1. 2. 1 The worth and attitudes

Culture also affects and shows the prices and attitudes of associates of society.

The beliefs and attitudes are convictions that people have regarding what is good and bad, right and incorrect, important and unimportant. Beliefs effect culture, for example, Russians believe that McDonald's food is superior to their own; that is a value judgment. In the same way, France champagne manufacturers know that US customers consider France Champagne products are of high quality (value).

The manners and customs

The customs are normal; dictate how things are to be done. For instance, in Arab countries, it is considered bad manners to attempt to shake hands with a person of higher power unless this individual makes the first gesture. In US, it's the contrary. The example,

Michelle Obama, better half of U. S. President Barack Obama, places her arm around Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at the reception at Buckingham Palace in London. Whereas, a protocol dictates that coming in contact with the Queen of Britain is a major no-no.

Finally, Customs also dictate the way companies advertise and market their products, for example, in the US, orange juice is recognized as a breakfast time drink, however in France, it comes as refreshment because the People from france don't drink orange juice with breakfast time.

Also, Macintosh Donald's proposes any selections different totality, for example, in Spain; the merchandise changes than in France.

The legislations and politic

In many countries, laws are believed like powerful and the countries' insurance policy must be modified, but however the change of laws and regulations is evidence because the planet changes all the days.

For example, Egypt ratified CEDAW with lots of reservations. This supposed that Egypt decided to only follow some, however, not all of the convention articles. The inequality of women was a significant premise of the shari'a, the Muslim system of religious law. Additionally, the patriarchal culture of the united states stood as a potential barrier to putting into action the convention.

However, in their 2001 survey, the Egyptian delegation happily declared that it got passed a new family rules that allowed women to divorce their husbands unilaterally.

The regulation was justified in terms of Egyptian "culture and religion. " Rather than view the convention as an external law that could displace local ethnic worth, proponents of regulations argued that Islam actually supported gender equality, according to "Merry, Sally Engle. 2003"

This example shows the difference between two sexes.

The technology and materials culture

The materials culture results from technology and shows how a society can plan its monetary activity. Internet is an extremely useful tool which permits to transmit a lot of information as cultural information for example. It's a tool, which is employed to aid the exchange of ideas, data. . . etc. Actually, individuals can explore new civilizations by using internet without going out of their residence. The satellite or the Compact disk, again, is another example that express the importance of the technology in the procedure of the culture.

The aesthetic

Aesthetics refers to behaviour towards beauty and good flavour in the music, fine art. . . of the culture. The expressions can mean different things according to the countries. Addititionally there is the advertising related to sex that are prohibited in few countries like Saudi Arabia or Iran within the occidental countries, they can do of advertising upon this theme.

It's the same thing for the creation of something because the organization must choose the colour, the name and the icons, in keeping with the mores of country. We can not do anything without watching countries.

The Hofstede's theory

In 1974, Hofstede conducted a study in IBM subsidiaries predicated on 13, 000 questionnaires. In one country to some other, respondents are similar in all respects except nationality. HOFSTEDE lower into four main dimensions of the standards by which countrywide cultures differ:

Power distance: it is one of the "measurements national civilizations". It shows the range of reactions from various countries to the essential question of how contemporary society tolerates unequal circulation of electric power in organizations and establishments.

In countries where power distance is short, there's a limited dependence of subordinates with their superiors and a inclination for appointment (interdependence between superiors and subordinates). The psychological distance between them is relatively small: subordinates easily plan and contradict their superiors.

Uncertainly avoidance: signifies the scope to which a contemporary society seems threatened by uncertain and ambiguous situations and will try to avoid by giving greater career balance, in establishing more formal guidelines, etc.

Individualism: indicates a society in which the links between individuals are lost: each is supposed to care for himself and his immediate family. The collectivism, on the other hand, shows a world where people are since delivery embedded in a strong and cohesive group, which protect them throughout their lives in trade for unquestioned commitment.

If the utilization of the name "Employee of the Month" to reward a particularly deserving worker is most likely more likely to improve production in the Western world countries, this politic is catastrophic in Asia, where the community calls for precedence over the individual. For when there is a winner, there is a loser.

Masculinity: expresses the extent to which the dominant prices in contemporary society are "masculine", such as placing onward, the hard temperament men, the tastes for money and the material goods, rather than the matter of others or the grade of life (values called "female").

In synopsis, the collectivism and the individualism dimensions has generated significant amounts of research. The energy distance aspect was closely linked with it in Hofstede's research and was here provided as resulting in vertical and horizontal sorts of collectivism and individualism.

Example: Power Distance Comparison

Average = 51


Many of you who will remain in Arizona after graduation will be supervising employees from Mexico. The high power distance ranking of the culture suggests that your employees may well not be happy to openly disagree with their manager. They may prefer a supervisor who acts similar to a father physique (paternalistic management style) because they assume that the boss must have the answers. They may be less likely to question authority and may well not expect to have the same privileges management has.


Individualistic societies feel that people are in charge of themselves and their immediate family. Inside the collective culture responsibility is long to the larger area of the family including uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents. Collective civilizations feel a strong devotion to everyone in the extended family and believe that it is their responsibility to protect them.

The talents and weaknesses of Hofstede's model

The advantages are:

The model is dependant on a data of 30 years (1980) no study since was not realised because it considers that the results are always of actuality, and has been done on such a big test (116, 000 respondents).

The four sizes have deep ethnic values which permit to make significant comparisons between national cultures.

The questions asked to the respondents relate to issues of importance to international managers.

There isn't other evaluation because this model is considered as the best.

The weaknesses are:

In few countries, there are several civilizations and it's difficult to judge these countries like the USA, Spain (Catalan, Basque, and Castilian), Belgium (Flemish and France).

To conclude, the important dimension of ethnic variation has been uncovered by Hofstede. We can tell that the proportions have generated plenty of research and also have been highly influential in the whole public. "See APPENDIX 4"

The importance of culture in International Business

3. 1 Be performed through the culture

The main managers try, in using culture as a leadership tool, to promote incredible performance through three key managerial tools.

Tool: Selecting and hiring people for culture fit

A company must pick the best employees. The method of select them will need, in accounts, the person-culture fit in addition to person job fit. For example, Jaguar sees prospects who can bring change as a chance, not a threat and also have a love for excellence. Furthermore, language will constitute any characteristics that your difference between individuals who are, and aren't, successful at Jaguar.

The company garnered a lot of encounters and in recruiting people whose skills fit their entry-level jobs, it will allow to future employees to obtain multiple jobs within the firm. All these new entrances provides a better culture fit.

Cross cultural management

Tool: Leadership and Communication; Two important secrets for the companies.


For a company, a group (team) can be considered as strength by the democratic and participative factors. At the opposite aspect, the individualism can be seen as an extremely chaotic politic. Corresponding to "Ronald W. Clement", the importance of a authority is to deal with organizational culture. The goal is that alternatively than changing culture directly, firms must work with and through the existing culture to enhance the organization. The key objective is to improve the company.

Example: Culture and leadership over the World

The GLOBE Reserve of in depth studies of 25 Societies is the second major publication of Earth (Global Authority and Organizational Behaviour Performance), a cutting edge, large scale task on international management research displaying contributions from nearly 18, 000 middle managers from 1, 000 organizations in 62 countries perhaps the largest task of its kind ever undertaken.

This volume effectively reveals a complex collection of global research dealing with the culture of particular countries, leadership qualities within those countries, and advice on how professionals should conduct business in countries other than their own. Source: THE WORLD E book: Edited by Jagdeep S. Chhokar, Felix C. Brodbeck and Robert J. House


This point is inescapable because the dialect can be the visible factor to communication and to cooperation. We are able to know that British is spoken by 5. 6 % of the world society (Third after the Mandarin 14. 4 % and the Hindi 6 %). Source: www. census. gov.

English is the official business language, utilized by the AMERICANS, the English, the Australians and the Neo Zealand. . . etc.

Now less people learn others vocabulary than English. But also for few businesses, the words is primordial and the acquisition of another vocabulary is essential; so, it's at this time that the culture have a role because the negotiation will must package with any concepts which value the culture of country. For instance, all discussions with India, China or Arabic countries take, in condition, the culture.

Sign a sales contract between two countries can bring some problems because of culture difference. The finalisation is, then, very hard and sometimes demolished. That is called the culture clash. For instance, Words can have different meanings in a terminology, as per the "Rugman's Book", the Japanese word hai does indeed indicate "yes" but it often means "yes, I am aware what you are saying" not "yes, I agree with what you say". 'Stating No' may not imply 'No' when translated. Many misunderstandings can be compounded because straight uttering 'No' is known as very polite in Japan. The Non-Verbal Communication: Customers of a population communicate with one another using more than words. Research shows that 80% of all information is sent between people by means other than language. Non-verbal communication includes facial expressions, hands gestures, intonation, eyeball contact, and body placement and body good posture.

Managing ethnical differences

After analysing the factors that influence the company activity, we is now able to determine the making decision strategy used by the international marketers.

Not all markets are considered nearly as good promising market segments (further), we need to adapt cultural details. We are able to cite as example the punctuality, it considers as vitally important in few countries as Germany, Swiss, or Australia where if you have a meeting at 10. 00am and you reach 10. 06am you are believed late. We are able to considered, indeed, this analyse as essential because the culture dominate. Culture can and does indeed influence the business sector in several parts of the globe to function in distinctive ways.

Another example, Vietnam has the special features like the primacy of personal interactions, community soul and the idea of face still exert affects, at both individual and group on every day behaviour, the mentality, the thinking, perceive things, to determine communication. In a nutshell, these are points which are likely to cause misunderstandings and tensions or issues in the interpersonal communication that are questioning the Vietnamese and overseas managers.

The presentation of the business cards at USA is totality different than Japan. The social factors provides at an influence business relationships. Source: BBC news

Moreover, in every human civilizations, the decisive reality in the command is the fact it is determined by the obedience of people. To reach at a typology of control styles, we must cross the size of individualism get back of electricity distance. We can distinguish five varieties of command:

Large electric power distance, with very mentality Community: most third world countries. Autocratic style, made suitable by the support of the family.

Fairly high power distance, with community mentality: others countries of third world and Japan. Style marginally less autocratic, more specific initiatives.

Fairly high electricity distance, with individualistic mentality: the France and other Latin countries of European countries. Paternalistic style, moderated by the individualism of subordinates.

Distance hierarchical average, with mentality individualist: Anglo-Saxon countries. Style Advisory, the effort to consult the bottom originates from the supervisor.

Low power distance, with an individualism way: germanophone countries and Scandinavia. Style participatory, in appointment with the group

This analyse is vital to understanding the cultural approach.

The ramifications of cultural dimensions on ethical department making

Ethical decision making (EDM) between Taiwanese and American sales agents was compared to determine variations in EDM within Hofstede's ethnical framework. The cultural typology of Hofstede, which includes culture's major components and a number of work-related worth such as individualism and vitality distance, has been widely used in several management and marketing contexts.

Some recent studies discovered a similarity between your deontological norms of Taiwanese and American sales people. Lastly, Hofstede's ethnic framework was found useful in evaluating the effects of culture on EDM.

This example between Taiwan and People in the usa shows well the EDM.

Moreover, there are what to respect as honest behaviours to many moral decision making. We can illustrate it through a schema, according to "Svend Hollensen":

Most ethical Heart of morality

High dedication to ethical questions

Practical standard Adherence to the law

Some determination to ethical decisions

(Usage of common sense)

Least moral Just adherence to the law

(Low dedication to moral decisions)

Not ethical:

Unacceptable Not following the law

Ethical behaviour

We can establish a rank as per the next six major issues:

Political relations with environmental coverage, taxes, bribery. . .

Industrial relationships with infrastructure development, technology transfer and research.

Customer relations with the product quality, advertising, prices, after sales.

Employee relations with norms such as non-discrimination, training, intimate harassment, protection and payment. . . .

Economic relationships including local reinvestment, the taxation, the financial. . .

Organizational relations with the proper alliances and rivalry (competition).

Recommendations and Conclusion

The marketing of the twenty first hundred years is characterised by brief product life circuit and severe competition for the same customers in the market. Exploring the country culture before stepping into the market is regarded as an indispensable opportinity for companies to remain competitive successfully and effectively against competition and to achieve long-term competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Today, there a wide range of countries seeking to impose their cultures through the international business. However, if the countries don't want to face at the culture clash, they must change their politics business. After analyzing the results, we can say that the international business development rely not only in companies, but the countries as well.

Countries must accomplish the relationships with other countries and become more open-mind. They have to open their borders and make an effort to understand the culture of the neighbours. All these issues must be studied off by countries to build up international business. Furthermore, understanding the culture is fundamental for businesses making decision. If you want to select a focus on group then you must understand their behaviour and lifestyle. Therefore, there is a need of more empirical research to better understand the culture. In addition, Hostede construction has 30 years old and the elements commence to become obsolete. We need more recent data to analyse the culture about the world.

To sell successfully to international customers, companies require culturally hypersensitive adaptations to services marketing products and advertising. We are able to evaluate through the graph that the socio-cultural variables are distinct for everyone countries. The company success depends in the business commitment to comprehend the culture of the united states. It needs to understand the internal culture but also figure out how to connect their skills in an area culture that will never change these principles. The culture is very consequent for the international business.



Source: www. census. gov


Source: www. census. gov


Source: Flickr


Source: Geert Hofstede: Sage Publications, 2001; www. geert-hofstede. com

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