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Dr. Balbir B. Bhasin. BUS 300 International Business Culture. What is Management?. “Management is a form of work that involves coordinating an organization’s resources - human and capital – to accomplish organizational goals.”. Levels of Management.

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Dr. Balbir B. Bhasin

BUS 300

International Business Culture


What is Management?

“Management is a form of work

that involves

coordinating an organization’s

resources - human and capital –

to accomplish organizational



Levels of Management

    • 1. Top management
    • 2. Middle management
  • 3. Supervisory management

Functions of Management

  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Staffing
  • Leading
  • Controlling

Roles of a Manager

Interpersonal - leader, figurehead,


Informational - monitor, disseminate,


Decisional - allocate resources,


problem solving


Management Skills

Conceptual skills - decision making,

planning, organizing

Human relations skills - understand people,

motivating, collaborating

Technical skills - able to get a particular

job done


What is International Management?

“Process of developing strategies,

designing and operating

systems, and working with

people around the world

to ensure sustained

competitive advantage”


What is International Business?

    • “Profit related activities
  • conducted around national
  • boundaries, ever changing”.

What are the variables affecting the

management function?

  • National variables - economic system,
  • legal system, political system
  • Socio-cultural variables - religion, education,
  • language
  • Cultural variables - values, norms, beliefs
  • Attitudes - work, time, individualism,
  • materialism
  • Response - motivation, productivity, ethics,
  • commitment

Chapter 2

Culture & International Business


What is Culture?

  • Set of commonly held values
  • A way of life of a group of people
  • Includes knowledge, belief, art, morals,
  • law, customs and habits
  • Everything that people have, think and do
  • as members of their society
  • An integrated system of learned
  • behavior patterns that are characteristic
  • of the members of any given society

Cross Cultural Myths

  • Myth One:We really are all the same
  • Myth Two: I just need to be myself and
  • everything will be okay
  • Myth Three: I have to adopt the practices
  • Of the other culture to succeed
  • (Adapt rather than adopt)

US Values & Possible Alternatives

  • Beliefs - control vs. destiny
  • Change - action vs. accept
  • Attitude - practical vs. dreams aspirations
  • Approach/work ethic - hard work vs. luck
  • Promises - keep vs. perhaps
  • Time - depends on priorities
  • Obligation -company or family
  • Employment - short term vs. lifelong
  • Meritocracy - best person vs.
  • Other considerations

Stereotypical American

(as seen by people of other countries)

  • Inconsiderate of other people’s cultures
  • Racially prejudices
  • Ignorant of other countries
  • Shallow, immature, naïve
  • Violent, aggressive
  • Generous, forgiving
  • Always in a hurry
  • Outgoing, friendly
  • Informal
  • Loud, rude, boastful
  • Hard working
  • Arrogant, proud, insensitive
  • Innovative
  • Extravagant, wasteful,
  • Confident they have all the answers

Culture is Learned

  • “Culture is transmitted through
  • the process of learning and
  • interacting with one’s environment
  • rather than through the generic
  • process”
  • Primary Socialization
  • Cultures and Subcultures
  • Secondary Socialization

Culture Universals

  • Common problems and common features
  • Economic systems
  • Marriage and family systems
  • Educational systems
  • Social control systems

Cultural Change

  • All cultures experience continued change
  • Cultural change is a selective process
  • Cultural change through borrowing
  • Cultural change through innovations
  • Cultural diffusion


  • Tendency for people to
  • behavior by their own standards
  • The belief that own culture is superior
  • All people in all societies are ethnocentric
  • to some degree
  • Ethnocentrism can contribute to prejudice

Chapter 3

Communicating across Cultures



What is Communication?

  • Process of sharing meaning by transmitting
  • messages - words and behavior”
  • Critical factor in cross cultural management
  • Need for effective communication to: give
  • information, share ideas, give orders, and to
  • motivate
  • Interpersonal issues: leadership, motivation,
  • group interaction, negotiation

Barriers to Effective Communications

  • Semantics - different words have different
  • meaning to different people: fix, fag, shag
  • Jargon - technical terms
  • Acronyms and Abbreviations - culture,
  • military
  • Perception - interpreting information,
  • distortion
  • Emotions - breakdown in communication

The Need to Understand Language

    • There is a close relationship between
  • language and culture
    • 2. Language is a precondition to success
  • in international business
    • Languages helps in understanding
    • culture
  • 4. Second language is first step to learning
  • third and fourth language
    • 5. Learning other languages helps us
  • appreciate our own language (and culture)

What is Language?

      • Language is “a symbolic code of
      • Communications
      • Meanings attached to any word are
      • totally arbitrary
      • Major languages of the world are:
  • Mandarin, Spanish, English, Bengali,
  • Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese,
  • German, Wu

The Influence of Culture on Language

  • The vocabulary of a language depicts
  • what is considered important in that
  • culture
  • Industrialized societies have more
  • Technological terms
  • Example: 7 words for bamboo in South
  • India but none for snow

The Influence of Language on Culture

  • Language influences perception,
  • categorization and worldview
  • Language reflects values of the group
  • Example “individualism” in the US – so
  • many words pertaining to “self”
  • In Japan. “we” always comes before the
  • “I” indicating the “collectivist” approach

Language Key Points for Business

  • The US is the only country where business
  • people don’t think its necessary to learn a
  • foreign language
  • Is it easier to speak or understand a foreign
  • language?
  • Comprehension is a function of speed
  • Is it easier to speak or write a foreign
  • language?
  • Is there an international language of
  • business?

Avoiding Misunderstandings Across

Language Barriers

  • Recognizing the symptoms: blank stares,
  • unnatural stopping points in conversation,
  • feeling of “not connecting”
  • What to do: explain the message in several
  • different ways, use visual aids, slow down,
  • avoid slang and idiomatic expressions, listen
  • to the other person’s entire message…don’t
  • assume anything, keep good notes, follow up

High Context vs. Low Context Cultures

Low context cultures: task oriented,

communication is specific, elaborate, direct

and unambiguous. Swiss, German, American,

French, British

High context cultures: based on relationships,

rely on communication that is: indirect,

ambiguous, nonverbal, and the context.

Japanese, Chinese, Arab

In between: Italian, Spanish, Greek


Chapter 4

Communicating across Cultures

The Nonverbal Dimension


Function of Nonverbal Communication

  • Helps convey feelings and emotional states
  • Elaborates on verbal messages
  • Governs the timing and turn taking
  • between communicators
  • Concerns:
  • 1, Same nonverbal cue carries different
  • meanings in different cultures
  • Different nonverbal cues carry the same
  • meaning in different cultures

Nonverbal Cues

  • Facial expressions (smiles, frowns)
  • Hand gestures
  • Posture
  • Touching
  • Scents or smells (perfume)
  • Color symbolism
  • Clothing, hairstyles, cosmetics
  • Artifacts (jewelry, fly whisks)
  • Graphic symbols
  • Silence

Non- verbal Language

  • Touching – U.S. vs. Latin America
  • Space – U.S. vs. Japan
  • Queues: U.S. vs. China vs. Britain vs. Japan
  • Dress – U.S. vs. Europe vs. Japan
  • Silence – U.S.: a gap that must be filled
      • - Japan – preferable to conversation

Nonverbal Language

  • Eye Contact: intermittent in U.S., Intense,
  • Unbroken in Arab countries, Very little in
  • Japan
  • Para Language: um, er, ah, hai
  • Smiling,
  • Head movements: Bulgaria, India
  • Arm Movements: Italy vs. Japan
  • Posture: U.S. vs. China
  • Handshakes

Cultural Variables

  • Stereotyping - assuming that all have same
  • attributes
  • Language - literal or poor understanding
  • Kinesic behavior - posture, gesture, facial
  • expression, eye contact
  • Oculesics - behavior of the eye during
  • communication
  • Proxemics - effect of proximity and space
  • Paralanguage - how something is said
  • Time – mono-chronic or poly-chronic
  • Context - in which the communication
  • takes place


  • Distance preferred by middle class US:
  • Intimate distance - body contact to 18”
  • Personal distance -18” to 4 feet
  • Social distance - 4 feet to 12 feet
  • Public distance- 12 to 20 feet

How to Manage Communication Effectively

  • Develop cultural sensitivity - be aware of self
  • and the other!
  • Careful encoding - use proper words, gestures
  • Selective transmission - use proper medium
  • Careful decoding of feedback - careful
  • interpretation of message
  • Seek feedback - ask, verify, follow-up


  • “When you shake hands, look them straight
  • In the eye and give ‘em a good firm grip”
  • Asia Mid East: gentle handshake
  • Mexico/Latin America: palm slip/grasp thumb
  • Never shake hands with a woman in the
  • Middle East and parts of India
  • Staring at someone is intimidating and
  • disrespectful in many areas of the world,
  • especially Japan
  • Slight bows are appreciated in Asia
  • Presenting business cards?


  • Touch: Middle East, Latin America, Italy,
  • Greece, Spain/Portugal, Russia
  • Don’t Touch: Japan, U.S., England,
  • Scandinavia, Northern Europe, Australia
  • Middle Ground: France, China, India


  • Where to place hands when eating?
  • US: Beneath table
  • Europe: On top of table
  • Eyes: “Closed” in Japan indicates concentration
  • Eyelid pull in France and England
  • Arms: Folded arms – universal defensive
  • posture
  • Hands on hip – aggressiveness in Asia,
  • along with finger pointing
  • Feet: Remove shoes in Japan, India, Asia
  • Do not show the soles of shoes in the
  • Middle East

Chapter 5

Contrasting Cultural Values


Hofstede’s Value Dimensions

(IBM data collected on 100,000 individuals in 40 countries)

Power distance - extent to which subordinates

accept authority

Uncertainty avoidance - threatened by

ambiguous situations, prefer formal structure,

feel safe and secure

Individualism vs collectivism

Masculinity - assertiveness, materialism

Femininity - concern for society, others


Trompenaar’s Findings

Obligation - universalism, pluralism

Emotional in relationship - neutral, affective

Involvement in relationship - specific, diffuse

Legitimization of power and status –

based on achievement and competency

or based on position, age or education


Five Universal Problems

  • Human nature orientation: innately good
  • or bad?
  • 2. Man-nature orientations: mastery or
  • harmony?
  • 3. Time orientation: past, present or future>
  • 4. Activity orientation: individual’s
  • accomplishment or personal traits?
  • 5. Relational orientation: individualism or
  • collectivism?

Cultural Dimensions

  • Individual-Collective dimension: the self
  • first or the community?
  • 2. Equality-Hierarchy dimension: differences
  • in power or status or equality?
  • Tough-Tender dimension: what is success-
  • material comforts or relationships?
  • Uncertainty-Avoidance dimension: the
  • need for un-ambiguity and predictability
  • of the future?
  • 5. Time dimension: tight or loose?

Time Dimension

Single Focus (American Western Europe,

Industrialized Asia): one task at a time; meet

deadlines, “Let’s get to work”, “Time is


Multi Focus (Southern Europe, Latin America,

Middle East): Simultaneous tasks, completion \

of task based on strength of relationship,

delays are expected, commitments are not

Written in stone


Environment Dimension

Control Cultures (Western Societies): “Go for

it”, “Life is what you make it”, “The future can

be planned for”

Harmony Cultures (Asian Cultures): “Don’t

rock the boat”, “Go with the flow”

Constraint Culture (Latin America, Middle

East): “It’s a matter of fate”, “You take what

life gives you”


Action Dimension

Doing Cultures (American):

“God helps those who help themselves”

“If at first you don’t succeed, try again”

“Who are you?” Answer with job title

Being Cultures (Latin America, Africa,

Middle East, Southern Europe):

“Who are you?” Answer with family

description or philosophical outlook


Competitive Dimension

Competitive Cultures (U.S., Western Europe,

Hong Kong, Mexico, Argentina, Japan):

“Winner takes all”

“Predominantly materialistic”

“We live to work”

Cooperative Cultures (Scandinavian

Countries, Some Latin Countries, Some

European Countries, Parts of Asia):

“We’re in this together”

“We work to live”


Individualistic and Collectivist Cultures

Individualist: USA, UK, Italy, Scandinavia,

France, Germany

Intermediate: Israel, Spain, Japan, Argentina

Collectivist: Brazil, Turkey, Mexico,

South America, Much of Asia.


Chapter 6

Negotiating Across Cultures



  • “a process between two or more parties aimed
  • at reaching a mutually acceptable agreement”
  • Goal - to bring about a win-win situation
  • where all parties benefit
  • Process: preparation, relationship building,
  • exchange of task related information,
  • persuasion, concession and agreement.

Variables in the Negotiation Process

  • Competitive process or problem solving
  • approach?
  • How negotiators are selected - best qualified?
  • How are persuasive arguments presented?
  • Rational or emotional?
  • Motivations? Personal, family, company,
  • country?
  • Ability to take risk?
  • Decision making process - individual or
  • collective?
  • Trust - handshake or legal document?

Effective Strategies for International


  • Concentrate on long term relationships
  • Focus on interest behind the positions
  • Avoid reliance on cultural generalizations
  • Be sensitive to timing
  • Remain flexible
  • Prepare carefully
  • Learn to listen
  • Be patient!

Eight Recommendations for Success

In Global Negotiations

  • Do pre-work with the other side if possible,
  • possibly using cultural go-betweens
  • Develop a strategy to deal with the language
  • barrier
  • Use visual aids extensively, but check with
  • cultural expert
  • Be prepared for long negotiations
  • Decide on strategy for obtaining a written
  • agreement, where acceptable
  • Know your walk away point
  • Avoid ethnocentrism


  • Expect less confrontation in high context,
  • collectivist cultural settings
  • But, face is more important within the
  • culture than outside it
  • “Disrespectful” out-of-group behavior
  • does not carry as many social issues
  • as the same behavior within the
  • cultural group
  • Agents or third parties can be helpful when
  • confrontation may be expected

Chapter 7

Coping with Culture Shock


What is Culture Shock?

It is the “unpleasant consequences

of experiencing a foreign culture”

Results in:

confusion, surprise, disgust,

panic, rejection, loss of self-esteem,

and inability to function effectively


Manifestations of Culture Shock

  • Homesickness
  • Boredom
  • Withdrawal
  • Irritability
  • Marital stress
  • Stereotyping
  • Hostility
  • Inefficiency
  • Physical un-wellness
  • Depression

Process of Adjustment: 4 Stages

  • Honeymoon stage: unrealistically positive
  • feelings and approach
  • Irritation and hostility: problems arise and
  • become insurmountable
  • Gradual adjustment: Passing of crisis
  • and gradual recovery
  • Biculturalism: Full recovery and ability
  • to function effectively in both cultures

Minimizing Culture Shock

  • Choose to stay at home and not enter IB
  • Select the IB arena where adjustment
  • can be made more easily
  • Have a realistic understanding of issues
  • and likely problems
  • Learn cross cultural coping skills –
  • language, religion, history, social
  • environment
  • 5. Approach issues as opportunities to
  • learn and grow

Monochronic People

  • Do one thing at a time
  • Concentrate on the job
  • Take time commitments seriously
  • Are low context and need information
  • Show great respect for private property,
  • seldom borrow or lend
  • Are accustomed to short term relationships

Polychronic People

  • Do many things at once
  • Are highly distractible and subject to
  • interruptions
  • Consider time commitments an objective
  • to be achieved, if possible
  • Are high-context and already have info
  • Borrow and lend things often and easily
  • Have tendency to build lifetime
    • relationships

Chapter 8

Developing Global Managers


Global Management Goals

  • Maximize long term retention of
  • international managers so that company
  • can develop a top management team with
  • global experience
  • Understand, value and promote role of
  • women and minorities in order to maximize
  • underutilized resources, and
  • 3. Work effectively within local labor laws

The Need to Develop Global Managers

  • Difficult to control geographically
  • dispersed operations
  • 2. Need for local decision making independent
  • of home office
  • 3. Suitability of managers from alternative
  • sources

Staffing Alternatives

  • Ethnocentric staffing - fill staff position
  • from HQ
  • 2. Polycentric staffing - local managers,
  • host country nationals
  • 3. Global staffing - recruiting the best
  • within and outside the country
  • (transpatriates)
  • 4. Regio-centric staffing - from the region

Training Global Managers

  • Area studies - history, geography, politics,
  • economy
  • 2. Language training
  • 3. Sensitivity training
  • 4. Field experiences )host family, immersion)
  • 5. In-country training

Developing Skills for Global Managers

  • Communications skills
  • Personality traits
  • Motivation
  • Family circumstances
  • Cross cultural training

Managing Process for Global Managers

  • Preparation
  • Adaptation
  • Repatriation - reverse cultural
  • shock
  • 4. Transition - mentor program

Developing Global Management Teams

Objective - “how to develop and empower

intercultural groups and task forces at all

levels of an organization to achieve set goals.

Synergy advantages: different perspectives,

share experiences, share technology

Disadvantages: language problems,

different management styles, complex decision

making process