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Chapter 04
Sociocultural
Forces
McGraw-Hill/Irwin
Copyright © 2012 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
LO1
What Is Culture?
1. Culture is learned; we are not born with culture.
2. Aspects of culture are interrelated.
3. Culture is shared, patterned, and mutually
constructed through social interaction.
4. Culture defines the boundaries of different
groups.
4-2
LO1
People Live within
Cultural Frameworks
• Sociocultural:
– Description of the
social world through
which we observe the
effects of culture
• Ethnocentricity:
– Assumption that
one’s own culture is
superior to other
cultures
4-3
LO2
Culture Affects all
Business Functions
• Marketing:
– What motivates people to buy and what do they prefer to buy?
• Human Resources:
– What are the local Sociocultural motivators of employees?
• Production:
– How do people work in groups? How do groups acquire resources?
• Accounting & Finance:
– Controls are based on the perception of trust in people
– Formal controls – compliance through rules and sanctions
– Informal controls – compliance through social norms
• Preferred Leadership Styles:
– Relationship between leader and followers
• Hierarchical? Lateral? Paternalistic? Heroic?
4-4
LO2
Hall’s High and Low Context
• Cultural
classification based
on communication
styles and context –
the relevant
environment beyond
explicit
communication (body
language, speaker’s
location, order of
speakers, etc.)
• High Context Cultures (HC)
– Implicit and indirect communication;
Context is critical
– Polychronic (simultaneous activities;
multi-tasking)
– Asia, Latin America, Middle East
• Low Context Cultures (LC)
– Explicit communication, direct and tothe-point
– Monochronic – linear, tangible, tied to
“Time is money,” uses schedules
– North America
4-5
LO4
Hofstede’s Five Dimensions
• Individualism-Collectivism
– Degree of group integration within cultures
• Power Distance
– Expectation and acceptance of unequal power distribution
• Uncertainty Avoidance
– Comfort with uncertainty
• Masculinity-Femininity
– Distribution of roles between genders
• Long-Term Orientation/Confucian Dynamism
– Level of perseverance in overcoming obstacles not overcome
with will or strength
4-6
LO5
Trompenaars’ Seven Dimensions
• Universalism vs. Particularism (rules vs. relationships in
regulating behavior)
– Unversalist – concepts apply to everyone
– Particulartist – context determines which rules apply
• Individualism vs. Communitarianism
– Communitarianism – the group benefits from actions
• Neutral vs. Affective (unemotional vs. emotional)
– Display of emotion
• Specific vs. Diffuse
– Private life: small in specific vs. large in diffuse—undifferentiated
from public life
4-7
LO5
Trompenaars’ Seven Dimensions
• Achievement vs. Ascription
– Status based on what a person does vs. who a person is
• Attitudes towards Time – 2 aspects
– Focus on past, present or future
– Actions sequential (linear) or synchronous (polychronic)
• Attitudes toward Environment
– In harmony with nature or in control of nature?
4-8
Sociocultural Aspects of Culture
LO6
• Effects of culture shown in:
The details
– Aesthetics
are on
pages 71
– Religion
to 77 in the
text.
– Material Culture
– Language
– Gift Giving
– Societal Organization
4-9
Aesthetics
LO6
• A culture’s sense of
beauty and good
taste expressed in
everything, incl:
–
–
–
–
–
Art
Drama
Music
Folklore
Dance
• Material Culture or
Artifacts
– All human-made
objects
– How people make
things (technology)
– Who makes what
and why (economics)
4-10
LO6
Language is both
Verbal and Nonverbal
• Every culture has language and dialects.
• Verbal language distinguishes cultures from each
other.
• Not understanding the language is a barrier
• Even attempt to speak the language important
• English the “Language of Business”
• Many prefer to speak their own language
• Speaking the native language yields competitive edge
4-11
LO6
Nonverbal Language
• HCs use unspoken
language more than LCs
• Gestures are a common
form of cross-cultural
communication.
• BE CAREFUL –
gestures do NOT mean
the same across
cultures!!
• Physical space is a
component of
language:
– Work space issues:
•
•
•
•
Open vs. private
Size
Location
Placement of superiors
and subordinates
– Conversational space:
• The comfortable distance
between people
4-12
LO6
Special Focus: Gift Giving
• Gift Giving Issues to Consider:
– What is an acceptable gift in the culture?
– What is the role of the gift? What does it
represent?
– When is it given?
– How is it to be presented?
– Should it be wrapped? What is acceptable
wrapping?
– When should it be opened?
– Will the gift be seen as a bribe?
4-13
GLOBAL gauntlet
• When in Rome,
Should you “Do as
the Romans
do”…and feel
comfortable about it?
• When in another
country, should you
comply with local
practices and social
customs?
• What about local laws?
• What do you do when
local laws, norms or
customs conflict with
those from your home
country?
4-14