Cross Cultural Management Chapter 2

two (three) levels of the concept of cultures

(Iceberg model)

1. basic assumption:
basic assumptions are fundamental needs, such as hunger and thirst

2. values:
values are “broad preferences of one state of affairs over others” (what is right or wrong)
– behavior of individuals
– interaction between individuals

3. concrete products
artifacts and products are the observable reality of a culture, e.g. language and architecture)

The lower, non-observable layers of the ice berg determine the observable top. Values and basic assumptions are a central component of cultures. Cultural behavior relies on values and basic assumption


group vs. individual

culture is a phenomenon on group level. It does not characterize individuals. Cultural values and resulting behaviors refer to groups not to individuals.

The means of cultural pehnomena differ across goups

culture is strongly impacted by diffrent streams
Elements of culture originate from geographical, historical as well as technological and political aspects. But also social institutions in countries have a strong impact on cultural behavior

Forces on national level tend to lead to cultural homogenous countries
-> Focus on national culture

culture can be seen as a distribution
Culture can be seen as a distribution. There are two different approches. One can either focus on similarities or extremes (stereotyping)
On what depends the development of cultural vlaues?
An important factor which influences cultural values is the socioeconomic development within a country.
cultural diffrences within a single country
It is possible that multiple cultures coexist within a single country. Espacially in huge countries the cultural values vary from region to region and turn out to be more different the further away the regions are from eachother. (LA-NYC)
different mechanisms through which culture influences individuals
– selective perception
– cultural norms
– social perception
– perceived equality and ties
– stereotypic expectations
different functions culture fulfills
– orientation
– endowment with meaning
– identity establishment
– coordination
– management of complexity
– legitimation
Different levels culture exists in
– golbal culture
– national culture
– organizational culture
– group culture
– individual behavior, values, assumptions
culture on a global level
develpment of a global culture due to lower communication costs, increased travel, internet, etc.
culture on a organizational level
organizations have their own rules and values (corporate culture)
culture on a group level
different business functions have different “thought worlds”
Even they will work for the same company within the same building, a marketing department for e.g. will pursue different goals as an engineering department. But all of their goals are an important factor of success
national culture
– national culture determines environmental and working conditions in foreign countries as well as the collaboration with foreign employees in domestic companies

– national culture is one of the main reasons for adjustment of global business activities to different countries

– national culture is an environmental condition that barely can be influenced by companies

– national culture is a key challenge for multinational companies

reasons why national culture is a key challenge for multinational companies
– the impact of national culture on business acivities is not always obvious

– the impact of national culture is often only revealed in actual international business contacts

– national culture has been empirically proven as a main reason for the failure of international business activities

cultural dimensions
cultural dimension aim to identify differences between national cultures
Hall’s cultural dimensions
– cultures differ with regard to the strength of the network of relationships and the intermix of different areas of life

– the more different areas of life are interweaved, the more implicit information is assumed

– the more diffrent areas of life are separated, the more necessary ist explicit information to explain an issue

– Even within in the sam culture, differences with regard to the necessary amount of explicit information can exist

Hall’s first dimension


– hidden and implicit messages
– high importance of non-verbal communication
– clear distinction between in-goups and out-groups
– relationships are more important than tasks

– build loyality through small favors
– build relationships instead of adhering the process
– read between the lines
– conulst colleagues who are familiar with the culture

Hall’s first dimension


– clear and explicit messages
– verbal communication is more importan that non-verbal
– tasks are more important than relationships
– flexible group formation

– fulfill tasks efficiently and structure the process
– express whishes and opinions openly

Hall’s second dimension


Hall’s second dimension adresses diffrent attitudes with regard to privacy and territory
– privacy is an “invisible bubble” that sourrounds a person and should not be entered without permission
– territory refers to the space and objects that are considered to be personal property

Depending on culture, privacy and territory can have diffrent characters and include diffrent things.

Hall’s second dimension

(low distance)

– standing close to eachother
– physical contact
– few things that are considered to be private
– frequent long eye contact

– do not shrink back in case of physical contact
– do not stand too far from the other person in a conversation

Hall’s second dimension

(high distance)

– no physical contact in conversations
– avoidance of intrusiveness

– keep distance and avoid body contact
– adapt to the discussion partner’s scope

Hall’s third dimension


The perception and management of time differs across cultures.
Hall’s third dimension


– one task at a time
– focus on tasks
– high important of speed and punctuality

– inquire deadlines of tasks beforehand
– communicate delays openly

Hall’s third dimension


– focus on relationships
– many tasks handled simultaneously
– high potential of distraction

defer current tasks if something can be done collectively

Hofstede’s first dimension
Power Distance (PDI)


Power distance refers to the extent which members of a culture accept that power is distributed unequally

PDI is relevant to all kinds of social groups

a high degree of power distance implies that individuals accept an unequal distribution of power

Hofstede’s second dimension
Individualism vs. Collectivism (IDV)


Individualism refers to the strength of the relationship between the individual and the group

a high degree of individualism implies a loose realtionship

the degree of individualism significantly impacts how individuals interact in groups

Hofstede’s third dimension
Masculinity vs. Feminity (MAS)


Masculinity adresses the degree to which cultures adhere to traditional gender roles and the degree to which masculinity influences people’s behavior

In countries with high masculinity, men are expected to be assertive and determined

Hofstede’s fourth dimension
Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI)


Uncertainty avoidance refers to the extent to which a culture tolerates uncertainty.

culutres with a high degree of uncertainty avoaidance try to reduce uncertainty by making rules for every scenarion

Hofstede’s “fifth” dimension
long-term orientation (LTO)


long-term orientation addresses the degree to which a culture fosters traditional values
Trompenaars’ cultural dimensions
– universalism vs particularism
– individualism vs. communitarianism
– neutral vs. affective
– specific vs. diffuse
– achievement vs. ascription
– sequential vs. synchronic
– internal control vs. external control
differences in cultural dimensions
Ethnic diversity within a country can cause significant differences in cultural dimensions between ehtnic groups.

In addition to cultural differences between countries, ethnic groups and organizations, there are also cultural differences between functions within organizations.

GLOBE study
GLOBE = Global Leadership and Organizational Behaviour Effectiveness

1-3 dimension are extenisions to Hofstede’s dimensions
4. In-group collectivism
5. gender egalitariansim
6. assertiveness
7. future orientation
8. performance orientation
9. humane orientation

GLOBE vs Hofstede
– differences in objective and approach
– different purpose and design as well as data analysis
Criticism of dimensions
level of analysis: no destinction between the geographical borders of countries and culture [all]

theoretical foundation: no rational for the choice of cultural dimensions provided prior to the survey [ (Ha) (Ho) (G)]

representativity of sample: survey restricted to a certain subgroup in a country [ (G) ]

etic measurement: assumption that cultural dimensions have the same relevance in each country [ (T) ]

Ethnocentrism: Bias due to the researcher’s cultural background [ (T) (S) ]

Date of measurement: surveys are outdated [ (Ha) (Ho) ]

key results of chapter 2
The concept of national culture
– culture characterizes values that impact the behavior of individuals
– forces on national level lead to cultural homogenous countries
– cultures exist on global, organizational and functional level

cultural dimensions as a measure of differences between national cultures
– existence of five central theories of cultural dimensions ( Ha, Ho, T, S, G)
– significant differences in assumptions, approach and empirical analysis between the five theories and their deployment practice