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American Business Culture. The American Experience and Value System Personal Qualities Communication Protocol Mores and Morality The Business Climate. American Business Culture. Political Correctness Employer-Employee Relations Salary and Benefits Socializing Negotiations.

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american business culture
American Business Culture
  • The American Experience and Value System
  • Personal Qualities
  • Communication
  • Protocol
  • Mores and Morality
  • The Business Climate
american business culture2
American Business Culture
  • Political Correctness
  • Employer-Employee Relations
  • Salary and Benefits
  • Socializing
  • Negotiations
the american experience
The American Experience
  • Searching for the American Dream
    • Dislikeofcentralized systems which limited personal development
    • The importanceofsuccess
      • Material success as a measureof personal development: U.S. consumerdebt: $14 trillion
      • Success is individual—individualism vs. feudalism
      • The emphasisoninitiative vs. govtintervention
indvidualism positives and negatives
Indvidualism: Positives and Negatives
  • Creates a need to performbecausepeopleareevaluated & rewardedonindividualperformance.
    • Make youcustomer a performer—”youwill save yourcompany X $ and increaseitslatteralcommunication.”
    • Rememberthestrain and worrythat Americans are under.
indvidualism positives and negatives5
Indvidualism: Positives and Negatives
  • Self-improvementmania—Americans want to be better so show themhowyourproductwill make themseembetter.
  • The negatives includethefeelingthatfailure is individualinspiteofthefactthatoften it is theresultofcircumstances—especiallytoday.
positive thinking
Positive Thinking
  • Positive thoughtsarerewarded and negative thoughtsoftenpenalized.
    • Americans canfail to seethesituation in a criticallight and over-estimatewhattheyarecapableof—especiallysinceindividualperformance is the basis oftheirsurvival.
    • Analysis/criticismcan be viewed as negativism. Thus self-deceptioncanresult.
positive thinking7
Positive Thinking
  • A contradiction given the present situation
    • The American economy is in shanbles, 7 million jobs have been lost and Americans areworriedabout losing theirjob.
    • Yettheyareexpected to be positive, whichmayhelpthemkeeptheirjobs, whiletheirsituation is theopposite.
positive aspects of american business
Positive Aspects of American Business
  • Relatively limited government regulation—pro business orientation
  • Favorable tax structure
  • Access to venture capital—pro risk
  • Can-do spirit which encourages entrepreneurship
  • Huge consumption-oriented market
the mood in the u s
The Mood in the U.S.
  • Main St.
    • Desparation: loss of jobs, homes, homelessness
    • The greatest fear: loss of job, home and health insurance
    • Rising anger against Wall St.
    • Nickle and Dimed
    • A state of denial
negative aspects of american business culture
Negative Aspectsof American Business Culture
  • Tremendous pressure
  • Job insecurity
  • Highly competitive—”Swim with the Sharks without being eaten alive”
  • Short term thinking
  • Hype
  • Wall St. mentality—quick profits, little responsibility, gambling, moral hazard.
personal qualities
Personal Qualities
  • Assertiveness
  • Loyalty—in spite of job insecurity—Corporate downsizers fire 1/3 of staff
  • Team player--informative
  • Outgoing—sociable & enthusiastic
  • Confidence
  • Toughness, drive & dedication
communication style
Communication Style
  • Informal
    • First names and nick names
    • Joking and bantering (one-upsmanship)
    • Extrovert behavior (highly respected)
    • Uncomfortable with silence—the Japanese weapon
  • Time is money--be brief
  • Conflict and confrontation accepted
  • Exhibit confidence—hype?
  • Dress--formal in business, informal socially
  • Time--punctual in business, 20 minute rule socially
  • Limited gift giving (Christmas)
  • Achievement based respect, not seniority
  • Not as rigid rules as Asia and perhaps Europe
mores and morality
Mores and Morality
  • The importance of religious affiliation
    • 2/3 go to church regularly
    • Churches and civic organizations are meeting places for making connections
  • Puritan tradition-- Sexual modesty (at least publicly) is a must
  • You must appear to be moral, but morality does not always extend to business dealings--i.e. Enron, Tyco, etc.
  • Stock options and huge salaries
    • 300 times the average worker-$12 million is the average for C.E.O.s in Fortune 500
    • In order to justify these, C.E.O.’s are tempted to cook the books.
    • 1970-2000 over 700 companies were caught doing this aided by auditors.
    • Billions of $ have been stolen from the public—employees and stockholders
the new religion
The New Religion
  • Positive thinking and attactions
    • Masschurcheswherethecongregation is motivatedratherthanpreachedthe gospel.
    • The message is thinkingpositively and God willrewardyou.
      • ”I believe God wants to giveusnicethings.”
      • ”Think like God. Thinkbig. Thinkincrease. Thinkabundance. Think more thanenough.”
      • Corporate religion, religiouscorporations.
political correctness
Political Correctness
  • Conservative and distrust of social democracy
    • Life is a jungle, creates initiative
    • Best not to tout the value of social democracy
  • Harassment is the kiss of death
  • Avoid discussing politics
  • Labor relations--union membership is frowned upon: Walmart
salaries and benefits
Salaries and Benefits
  • Paid vacations--2-3 weeks
  • 50 hour week not uncommon
  • Unpaid overtime for managers
  • Meritocracy, not seniority
    • Never ask about one’s salary
  • Health insurance--must be negotiated
  • Most benefits must be negotiated--no free lunch
  • Voluntary organizations are often meeting places
  • Americans are joiners--Rotary Club, etc.
  • Gentleman sports--tennis, squash, golf, hunting, alpine skiing are meeting places
  • Smoking is frowned upon
  • Expected to adapt to American values
topics of conversation
  • Sports—know thesituationofthelocal teams. TV programs
  • American accomplishments
    • Both as a nation and theaccomplishmentsofthecompanywithwhichyou’re dealing
  • Findcommoninterests—hobbies
    • Getthemtalkingaboutwhattheyare in to
  • Taxes in Norway—they’ll love it
topics of conversation21
  • AvoidmentioningtheNorwegiansocialwelfare system and thatNorway is #1 onthe UN human developmentindex and thatthe U.S. is #13.
  • Avoidmentioninghealthcare reform and howpopularObama is in Europe
    • In fact just avoidpoliticalissues, regulation& collective governmental responsibility.
  • Tough negotiators
  • High/Low balling is common
  • Keep your bottom line a secret
    • Your opponent will be looking for it
  • Americans may promise more than they can deliver
    • A result of high expectations
    • Hype is common
employer employee relations
Employer--Employee Relations
  • Short-term thinking
    • The quarterly report
    • The basis of fat bonuses for execs
  • Layoffs and firings
    • Increases stock value
    • Creates a loyalty dilemma
      • No job security, no loyalty
      • It’s a jungle out there
  • Informality does not mean concern
e e relations continued
E-E Relations Continued
  • Teamworking is important
    • Requires good communication skills and information sharing
  • Bosses can be tough and demanding, but performance is rewarded
    • You must showcase yourself to be promoted
  • Teamworking and competition for promotion--a contradiction?
norwegians europeans perception of americans
Norwegians’ (Europeans’?) Perception of Americans
  • Loud
  • Naïve—Optimism vs. skepticism?
  • Assertive/boastful
  • Open
  • Friendly
  • Superficial/uniformed