University of Lethbridge
Course: MGT 3650 – B (Introduction to International Business)
Instructor: Dr. Rehana Afaqi
Three Approaches That Will Help in Comparing Cultural Differences
Emmanuel Makoni, Sonia Jerin & Laren Michel
Due Date: November 6th 2014
Introduction: There are around 196 countries in the world and the cultures and values differ between the different countries. There are still similarities in some of the culture traits. In today’s world people are more willing to engage in global business and for this reason they need to be able to adapt to the different cultures. As the cultures vary from country to country, people around the world may ...view middle of the document...
This is because ‘no’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘no’ in all situations. Therefore, others need to rely on the context in order to understand the exact meaning of ‘no’ (Peng 2012). Moreover, high-context communication involves the use of indirect, implicit, ambiguous words when speaking. In order to communicate successfully using high-context communication, listeners must infer the relevance of what the speaker said and listeners must also infer speakers’ intensions accurately to understand utterances correctly (William et. al 1996). On the other hand, speaking one’s mind and telling the truth in low-context communication requires that individuals be open with others. Openness involves revealing personal information about the self in communicative interactions, which is not the characteristic of high-context culture (William et. al 1996).
Hours of work for employees and leisure time also vary in high-context and low-context cultures. In low-context culture, the employees can work more comfortably and they have flexible times when it comes to work schedules. They usually have to work for 8 hours a day. Both men and women can work in the office and women can hold a senior post too. According to employees’ qualification and work experience, they get their position in the office. Gender is not considered a huge factor in obtaining a higher position. On the other hand, in high-context culture, employees always need to obey their boss and senior employees in the office. Moreover, junior employees of the office cannot come late in the office; they need to come as early as possible. However, boss can get into the office at any time they see fit. Compared to low-context cultures, employees of high-context cultures spend more hours in the office. They rarely get sufficient vacation time. People from high-context cultures often discriminate women in the working place. It is difficult for women to obtain senior positions in companies. For example, in Saudi Arabia, women cannot get the higher position in their professional life even though they are more qualified. They also need to cover their whole body when they go outside and society does not allow them to shake hands with male employees, due to their religious beliefs. Moreover, perceptions of work time were higher in high-context cultures such as Asia, Middle East and South America whereas perceptions of leisure/social time were higher in low-context cultures such as in North America, Western Europe (Manrai and Manrai 1995).
2. Cluster Approach: According to Peng (2012), the cluster approach identifies countries that have and share similar cultures together. There are three major systems of cultural clusters. The first set of cultural cluster is the Ronen and Shenkar. Management professors Simcha Ronen and Oded Shenkar proposed the Ronen and Shenkar cluster. In the Ronen and Shenkar there are eight classified clusters: Anglo, Arabic, Far Eastern, Germanic, Latin America, Latin Europe, Near Eastern and...