The business world has crossed borders since before the time of Christ, but technology has increased communication exponentially over the past few decades. These advancements have allowed not only communication but understanding as well. The understanding and openness to new cultures and ideas are essential in order to improve networking and aid companies in conducting research and development of global products. It is crucial to recognize the distinctive dimensions of the way a culture as a whole thinks and acts for what may be customary and natural in a workplace of one country may be considered peculiar or even distasteful to another. Geert Hofstede has composed one of the most inclusive studies of how values in the business world are subjective to each culture.
Hofstede’s five dimensions of national culture are able to give insight to a manager transitioning into a new country, such as an American conducting business in the Indian workplace. A good place to start would be comparing the power distance between the two cultures. For example, India has a high score on the power distance scale, meaning individuals appreciate hierarchy and have an understanding that not all life was created with equal rights. In the workplace this translates to formal interactions with management and employees expect to be given specific instructions with each task. An American manager may find this difficult to adapt to since the United States has a fairly low score on Hofstede’s power distance scale. The American culture believes every individual has equal rights in every aspect of life, including the work place. This concept promotes communication among all individuals in the chain of command and is generally very informal. The new manager may have to adjust his methods of communication as well as learn to delegate tasks with precise instructions.
Also noted is whether a culture is seen to be collectivist or individualist. India, a collectivist society, looks out for...
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