Culture and diversity

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Cultural diversity is a source of international competitive advantage. Critically evaluate:

« European powers fought over Africa’s resources, markets, and lands, with little regard for local cultures and citizens » (Griffin et al.,2003, p91). It is more important today for companies who want to move in a foreign country must adapt their own culture to the dominant one (in the chosencountry); at first to respect the nation, but also to enhance their competitive advantage through cultural diversity.
Lots of theorists as Ricardo or Smith mentioned ideas about the notion of culture in countries, influencing international business.

Different definitions of culture exist, because many theorists are, or were interested in that point: “Culture consists in patterned ways of thinking,feeling and reacting, acquired and transmitted mainly by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievements of human groups, including their embodiments in artefacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional (i.e historically derived and selected) ideas and especially their attached values. “ (Kluckhohn, 1951, p.86, n.5). (Hofstede, 2001, p.9). Tea time for example, is a traditionalvalue in Great Britain.
Culture is “transmitted and created content and patterns of values, ideas, and other symbolic meaningful systems as factors in the shaping of human behaviour”
(Kroeber and Parsons, 1958, p. 583)(Hofstede, 2001, p.9). Thus culture might be taught by someone who has already assimilate elements of culture.
Culture is “the collective programming of the mind that distinguishesthe members of one group or category of people from another” (Hofstede, 2001, p.9). Here, culture can be explained through religion. Believing in God or Yahve makes a difference between groups. “Rituals are collective activities that are technically unnecessary to the achievement of desired ends, but that within a culture are considered socially essential, keeping the individual bound within thenorms of the collectivity” (Hofstede, 2001, p 10), for example, religious ceremonies.
“Culture could be defined as the interactive aggregate of common characteristics that influence a human group’s response to its environment. Culture determines the uniqueness of a human group in the same way personality determines the uniqueness of an individual”. (Hofstede, 2001, p.10). “Culture is shared bymembers of the society and indeed defines the membership of the society”. (Griffin, et al., 2003, p85). Culture is a mean of acknowledgement between people and groups. People will recognize their group through specific, visible (or not) characteristics, constituting elements of culture.
First of all, the language: “the primary means used to transmit information and ideas” (Rugman et al., 2000,p.125), then, the religion: “Religions influence lifestyles, beliefs, values, and attitudes and can have a dramatic effect on the way people in a society act toward each other and toward those in other societies” (Rugman et al., 2000, p.128). Religions can have of course strong impact on every day life, but also on economy, and on the way people see work, money: “In United States, it is common to hearpeople talk about the Protestant work ethic, which holds that people should work hard, be industrious, and save their money” (Rugman et al., 2000, p.128). According to Weber, Protestantism is a religion which gives more the spirit of entrepreneurship, or a strong idea of working than any other cult. All those values are found in American culture: working hard to make money, and beingmaterialistic.
Values and attitudes are part of culture either, defined by “basic convictions that people have regarding what is right and wrong, good and bad, important and unimportant. An attitude is a persistent tendency feel and behave in a particular way toward subject”. (Rugman et al., 2000, p.128, 129). Values are old and transgenerational: in Asian countries, old people are the most respected,...
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