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Chapter 5. Culture, Management Style, and Business Systems. McGraw-Hill/Irwin. © 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Chapter Learning Objectives. 1. The necessity for adapting to cultural differences. 2. How and why management styles vary around the world.

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Chapter 5

Culture, Management Style, and Business Systems


© 2005 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.


Chapter Learning Objectives

1. The necessity for adapting to cultural differences

2. How and why management styles vary around the world

3. The extent and implications of gender bias in other countries

4. The importance of cultural differences in business ethics

5. The differences between relationship-oriented and information-oriented cultures



Recognize business culture, management values, and business methods and behaviors as important for success in international market

Knowledge of foreign business practices and successful business relations

Importance of developing friendship, human relations, and attaining a level of trust before beginning business negotiations

Thus, management style has to be adapted in international marketing

Need to recognize that patterns of thinking, local business tempo, religious practices, political structure, and family loyalty, are different and impact business transactions

open tolerance,




ability to adjust to varying tempos,


knowledge of the country,

liking for others,

ability to command respect, and

ability to integrate oneself into the environment

Required Adaptation

  • Adaptation is a key concept in international marketing
  • To successfully deal with individuals, firms, or authorities in foreign countries, managers should exhibit:

Cultural Imperatives, Electives

and Exclusives

  • Cultural imperatives are the business customs and expectations that must be met, conformed, recognized and accommodated if relationships are to be successful
  • Cultural electives relate to areas of behavior or to customs that cultural aliens may wish to conform to or participate in but that are not required
  • Cultural exclusives are those customs or behavior patterns reserved exclusively for the locals and from which the foreigner is barred and must not participate
“Master of destiny” viewpoint

Independent enterprise as the instrument of social action

Personnel selection and reward based on merit

Decisions based on objective analysis

Wide sharing in decision making

Never-ending quest for improvement

Competition yielding efficiency

The Impact of American Culture

  • Ways in which U.S. culture has influenced management style include, but are not limited to, the following:

Management Styles Around the World

  • Management values, and behaviors vary around the world.
  • Differences in the contact level, communications emphasis, tempo, and formality of foreign businesses are encountered from culture to culture.
  • Ethical standards and sales interactions and negotiation styles differ substantially.
Authority and Decision Making

Management Objectives and Aspirations

Communication Styles

Formality and Tempo

P-Time versus M-Time

Negotiations Emphasis

Management Styles Around the World

  • Cross-cultural differences influence management styles in the following areas:
Three typical patterns exist:

top-level management decisions,

decentralized decisions, and

committee or group decisions

  • 1. Differences in Authority and Decision Making
  • In high-PDI countries subordinates are not likely to contradict bosses, but in low-PDI countries they often do

2. Differences in Management Objectives and Aspirations towards:

Differences in Management Styles

Around the World

  • Security especially of lifetime employment
  • Affiliation and Social Acceptance by neighbors and fellow workers
  • Power and Achievement Orientation sought by managers
  • Importance of personal/family life over work and profit
According to Edward T. Hall, the symbolic meanings of time, space, things, friendships, and agreements, vary across cultures

“In some cultures, messages are explicit; the words carry most of the information. In other cultures ... less information is contained in the verbal part of the message since more is in the context”

Communication in a high-context culture depends heavily on the contextual (who says it, when it is said, how it is said) or nonverbal aspects of communication

Communication in a low-context culture depends more on explicit, verbally expressed communications

Hall places eleven cultures along a high-context/low-context continuum

3. Differences in Communication Styles

Differences in Management Styles

Around the World

Level of formality in addressing business clients by first name

Level of formality in addressing your boss by first name

Tempo or speed in getting “down to business”

Perception of time varies in many cultures

4. Differences in Communication Styles

5. Differences in Negotiations Emphasis

  • Differences with respect to the product, its price and terms, services associated with the product, and finally, friendship between vendors and customers

Differences in Management Styles

Around the World


6. P-Time versus M-Time

Differences in Management Styles

Around the World

  • M-time, or monochronic time, typifies most North Americans, Swiss, Germans, and Scandinavians
  • Most low-context cultures operate on M-time concentrating on one thing at a time
  • P-time, or polychronic time, is more dominant in high-context cultures
  • P-time is characterized by multi-tasking and by “a great involvement with people”

Women are not accepted in upper level management roles in Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latin American

Gender Bias in International Business

  • The gender bias against women managers exists in some countries
  • Gender bias poses significant challenges in cross-cultural negotiations

Business Ethics

Business ethics is complex in the international marketplace because value judgments differ widely among culturally diverse groups

Corruption varyingly defined from culture to culture

Existence of different levels of corruption, bribery, and fraud

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act 1997: Imprisonment for bribery

Bribery creates a major conflict between ethics and profitability

Voluntarily offered payment by someone seeking unlawful advantage



Bribery: Variations on a Theme

  • Payments are extracted under duress by someone in authority from a person seeking only what they are lawfully entitled
Involves a relatively small sum of cash, a gift, or a service given to a low-ranking official in a country where such offerings are not prohibited by law



Bribery: Variations on a Theme

  • Involves giving large sums of money—­frequently not properly accounted for—designed to entice an official to commit an illegal act on behalf of the one offering the bribe; involves breaking the law
employment practices and policies,

consumer protection,

environmental protection,

political payments and involvement in political affairs of the country, and

basic human rights and fundamental freedoms

Ethical and Socially Responsible Decisions

  • Areas of decision making where ethical issues arise:

A Framework for Ethical Precepts

  • Three ethical principles that provide a framework for distinguishing between right and wrong:

(1) Utilitarian ethics

Does the action optimize the “common good” or benefits of all constituencies? And, who are the pertinent constituencies?

(2) Rights of the parties

Does the action respect the rights of the individuals involved?

(3) Justice or fairness

Does the action respect the canons of justice or fairness to all parties involved?


Culture’s Influence on Strategic Thinking

  • Culture influences managers’ thinking about business strategy
  • The British-American “individualistic” view of capitalism typifies adversarial relationships among labor, management, and government
  • The “communitarian” form of capitalism in Japan and Germany are typified by cooperation among government, management, and labor, particularly in Japan
  • The Chinese emphasis on guanxi (one’s network of personal connections) is a kind of capitalism manifested by culture