Topics: Geert Hofstede, Culture, Cross-cultural communication Pages: 8 (2451 words) Published: February 21, 2013
Upon making the decision to manage a group of people in a foreign country, a manager must study the local culture and the differences between his culture and the new one. For this particular assignment the country of choice is New Zealand. For the manager to be truly effective in his new country, one must study the New Zealand culture. The manager has three years before he begins his new role and must prepare accordingly. Even though there is no available data for the future, one can study current major findings of reputable academic sources within the cross-cultural field.

To better understand the cross-cultural field, one must first define culture as a term. Geert Hofstede defined culture as “the collective programming of the human mind that distinguishes the members of one human group from those of another. Culture in this sense is a system of collectively held values.” Gesteland and Gesteland (2010) made a more relevant definition for the case in hand, they defined business culture as “a unique set of expectations and assumptions about how business people are supposed communicate, negotiate and manage.” Justin Paul (2011) stressed the importance that culture plays in the modern day business world. He stated that culture is very important to the practice of international business; it has an impact on everything from finance to accounting and from production to service.

Cross-cultural awareness is a key element in the repertoire of an effective modern day manager. In order to better understand cross-cultural management, one must study the academic findings of experts in the field, like Hofstede, Schwartz and other experts. Nigel Holden (2002) discussed that cross-cultural management can no longer be seen as “the management of the cultural differences”, but as the “managerial activity in a new geo-economy with its emphasis on global networking, organizational learning and knowledge management."

Hofstede's (1980) cross-cultural research is one of the most important cultural studies and it has been truly revolutionary in the field. The work on country rankings and their cultural dimensions have become an important method for understanding national culture and the influence it has on values and norms at the workplace. These cultural rankings were split into four main clusters, which became known as Hofstede's (1980) four dimensions of national cultural values and beliefs. These are as follows; Power Distance, Individualism versus Collectivism, Masculinity versus Femininity and Uncertainty Avoidance.

Adopted from: The Hofstede Centre (2013a), Countries [online], Available:

The dimension of Individualism vs. Collectivism reveals whether people’s view of the community is based on "me" or "us". Consequently, Individualism is where individuals are only expected to look after themselves and ones very close to them (The Hofstede Centre 2013b). Whereas, Collectivism represents a culture in which individuals can expect members of a group to look after them in exchange for loyalty. For a manager moving from Bulgaria to New Zealand, the cultural difference between the two nations with respects to this dimension is substantial. New Zealand is highly individualistic (with a score of 79) whereas, Bulgaria is highly collectivist (with a score of 30) (The Hofstede Centre 2013a). This means that this manager must forget his old habits of hiring and promoting people, based on the employees in the group but hire them because of their merits and achievements. Also employees in individualistic countries are more self-reliant, meaning the manager’s role would be to manage individuals and not groups. Employees would expect display of imitativeness to be noticed and rewarded (The Hofstede Centre 2013a).

Uncertainty Avoidance deals with the degree to which the social players feel uncomfortable with ambiguity and more specifically, whether a society tries to control the unknown...

References: Gesteland R. and. Gesteland M. (2010), India-Cross-Cultural Business Behavior: For Business People, Expatriates and Scholars, Copenhagen Business School Press, Holland.
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