A Cross Cultural Awareness Project Management Essay

The paper highlights cultural differences between Austria and the United Kingdom in behavior and reflects on differences in underlying values by utilizing Hofstedes cross-cultural dimensions. The paper examines the bounds in the usage of cultural dimensions in pattern and seeks to excite a more brooding attack towards civilization, when utilizing cultural dimensions.

Andreas Figlhuber 8631932


One of the most important treatments in international selling is about cultural differences and how deductions derived from these differences influence concern determinations. In a genuinely globalised universe, big transnational endeavors every bit good as small- and moderate-sized companies are take parting in international selling activities. For a big bulk of concerns international dealingss are important for success in the market place. However, the instance of a significant proportion of economic systems being more interlinked to and hang togethering on each other than of all time earlier does non connote that cultural differences are inexistent or irrelevant. Quite the antonym can be considered as the existent state of affairs. Awareness of cultural features of internal every bit good as external stakeholders frequently is a cardinal success factor in international selling. ( Tse, et al. , 1988 ) However, so far, there has merely been important treatment about cultural differences of evidently highly different civilizations, such as Germany and China or the United States and Arabia. Nevertheless, besides for concerns moving in comparatively similar cultural environments, cognizing the elusive cultural differentiations can be indispensable for successful concern activities.

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Myself being an exchange pupil from Vienna, Austria, at the University of Manchester, I have encountered assorted cultural differences whilst sing the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, non all of the ascertained differentiations can be considered as significant and do non needfully reflect deep traveling differences in values. However, some of the cultural unsimilarities had been more important and there is strong grounds that these can be ascribed to differences in the cardinal cultural believes of the British and my ain cultural marker. Particularly in the country of daily conversations strikingly different behaviors are discernible, when comparing the Austrians and the British. This besides led to legion deductions for international gross revenues dialogues in a concern to concern ( B2B ) scene.

As a consequence, this essay will analyze cultural differences between the United Kingdom and Austria and associate these to the specific state of affairss of dialogues between Austrian and British concern spouses. From a theoretical position the essay will be structured harmonizing to the Iceberg theoretical account, spliting civilization into a seeable and an unseeable portion. ( Brake, et al. , 1995 ) Using Hofstede ‘s ( 1991 ; 2005 ) cultural dimension theory, a brief general overview of cultural differences between Austria and the United Kingdom will be given. However, on the one manus, Hofstede ‘s cultural dimensions describe those facets of civilization which can be categorised as, harmonizing to the Iceberg theoretical account, unseeable portion of civilization. On the other manus, behavior, rites, imposts and manners in dialogues between concern spouses frequently represent seeable parts of civilization, when classified harmonizing to the Iceberg theoretical account. Nevertheless, the seeable parts of the Iceberg theoretical account are reflected in the unseeable fragments of the model. Therefore, the essay will analyze the connexion of the different behavior in international gross revenues dialogues on implicit in cultural differences. Thereby specific cultural incidents will be analysed, by utilizing a research journal. The research journal will be used to reflect on the peculiar state of affairs and to foreground the alone cultural facets of each incident, which can barely be covered by a cultural theory that uses a templet for analysis. ( Nadin & A ; Cassell, 2006 ) Therefore, the essay seeks to turn to the undermentioned inquiries: What typical cultural differences in international gross revenues dialogues between Austria and the United Kingdom be? What jobs or misunderstands could originate from these differences? And make these differences in behaviors reflect on differences in values?

Culture analysis

Comparing the Austrian and the British civilization harmonizing to Hofstede ‘s cultural dimensions show depending on the dimension both, important and minor cultural differences. Figure 1 illustrates the cross-cultural dimensions of Austria and the United Kingdom diagrammatically in a saloon diagram. Equally far as power distance ( PDI ) is concerned, both states show a comparatively low value. Austria scores 11 points, which indicates people in Austria find independency and equal rights highly of import and seek to avoid hierarchies wherever possible. Britain besides scores comparatively low, with 35 points. Peoples in the United Kingdom believe that inequalities should be minimized. Sing individuality ( IDV ) Austria every bit good as Britain can be considered as individualistic states, even though the United Kingdom ( 89 points ) scores significantly higher than Austria ( 55 points ) . In the Austrian civilization persons are expected to take attention of themselves. However, the Austrians show a instead collectivized mentality, when it comes to issues associating to shut household members. Yet, among civilizations that have been explored during Hofstede ‘s research, Britain is one of the most individualistic 1s. Peoples are extremely concerned about singularity and personal fulfillment. In footings of maleness ( MAS ) , both states scored relatively high, with somewhat more feminine inclinations in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, in both civilizations success plays an highly of import function. Equally far as uncertainness turning away ( UAI ) is concerned the most cardinal cultural difference between Austria and the United Kingdom can be noticed. Whilst Austria ( 70 points ) shows high uncertainness turning away, Britain ( 35 points ) demonstrates higher credence for uncertainness. Austrians, on the one manus, tend to keep stiff codifications, show a strong desire for regulations, are comparatively immune towards new thoughts and invention and prefer to take determination after careful analysis. On the other manus, people in the United Kingdom tend to utilize relatively shorter clip skylines and alteration programs as new information emerges. Nevertheless, Britons besides desire clear definite ends, even though they might hold fewer jobs in altering the attack towards it. As respects long term orientation ( LTO ) , Austria ( 31 points ) every bit good as Britain ( 25 points ) can be considered as short term oriented. In both civilizations history and tradition every bit good as speedy consequences play of import functions. ( Hofstede, 1991 ; Hofstede, 2005 ; Itim Culture and Management Consultancy, 2012 )

Figure: Cross-cultural dimensions of Austria and the United Kingdom ( Itim Culture and Management Consultancy, 2012 )

True, Hofstede ‘s cross-cultural dimensions theory has some failings ; nevertheless, the theory is well-applicable for this research. One could reason that Hofstede ‘s theory would disregard the factor of intra-country cultural differences and that a cosmopolitan attack to civilization would non be appropriate. In add-on, the survey was originally merely based on IBM employees and an influence of the corporate civilization on the consequences on the survey could non be ruled out. ( Cavusgil, et al. , 2011 ; Hill, 2011 ) Nevertheless, on the one manus, the criticised points are non needfully relevant for this paper as intra-country differences in these two comparatively little states are instead negligible and a cosmopolitan attack to civilization is necessary for this analysis and will be counterbalanced through the usage of the research journal. Furthermore, the basing on IBM employees leads to a focal point on concern civilization. On the other manus, Hofstede ‘s research has some major strengths, such as a clear focal point on the underlying values in a civilization and a big sample. Furthermore, except LTO – which is non highly relevant for this paper due to the high similarity between Austria and the United Kingdom in this dimension – the consequences are based on sophisticated information analysis.

Situation analysis: the instance of cultural differences in international selling dialogues

After holding given an overview about the major cultural differences in values, an analysis of the seeable facets of the Austrian and British concern civilization has to be conducted to demo unseeable features are reflected in the seeable 1s. As argued by Schein ( 1980 ) , rites, imposts, parlances and other sorts of behaviors can reflect implicit in cultural values. As a consequence, analyzing behaviors in concern state of affairss gives us the chance of deriving a deeper apprehension of the subjacent civilization. Therefore typical cultural differences in all phases of concern meetings and international gross revenues dialogues will be discussed. Furthermore, assorted surveies have argued that the national civilization is act uponing the dialogue manner. ( Chaisrakeo & A ; Speece, 2004 ; Lin & A ; Miller, 2003 ) This supports the statement that cultural analysis and the development of understanding for different civilizations can be important to success in international gross revenues dialogue.

A genuinely celebrated and for other civilizations apparently ubiquitous seeable characteristic of the British civilization is Smalltalk, which can with high likelihood be ascribed to differences on the dimensions UAI and MAS. Of class this is besides a significant portion in concern negotiations in the United Kingdom, particularly in the beginning of the conversations. British concern people use little talk for the creative activity of a comfy ambiance and for guaranting of a positive attitude on the relationship degree towards the opposite number and frailty versa. Particularly surprising for legion Austrian concern people, is how Britishers are able to hold an so aroused conversation about subjects, themselves would likely sort as nothingnesss. Diary entry 4 describes one of these state of affairss. Even though, get downing concern negotiations with little talk is besides recommended in legion dialogue constructs in German linguistic communication ( e.g.Fisher, et al. , 2009 ) , Austrian concern people frequently struggle prosecuting in little talk at the beginning of meetings. Sometimes this is even acquiring to a point where negotiants do non even pull off to prosecute in one minute of little talk, but start straight with the dialogue. A celebrated parlance in the German-speaking universe provinces when translated to English: “ The work comes foremost, the pleasance comes afterwards. ” It can be assumed that this parlance represents the strong embedding of masculine values with high uncertainness turning away. These masculine values are represented by the strong impulse to work hard and present consequences. Besides the British civilization is extremely success driven and defined by public presentation aspiration. However, the survey provides grounds for the statement that, high maleness combined with high uncertainness turning away in the Austrian civilization, leads to a certain grade of bitterness to any signifiers of holds at the beginning of concern negotiations, including little talk. At the same clip, the United Kingdom has a well lower mark on the dimension UAI. Consequently, this factor could be an account for this difference in the attacks towards gross revenues dialogues.

Yet, the account for the inclination of British concern people towards understatement and modesty compared to clear mentioning of accomplishments and built-in attempts among Austrians is non every bit obvious. Particularly, since both civilizations are success oriented and driven with high tonss on the dimension MAS, it could be assumed that showing those would be the norm. However, whilst it is so standard to overly indicate out – particularly the ain – accomplishments and even more the attempts accompaniment with them in Austria, the British by and large exercise restraint. As demonstrated in diary entry 6, in the United Kingdom maximally a elusive remark seems to be appropriate, despite merely hiting insignificantly lower than Austria on the dimension MAS. Nevertheless, there are legion factors comprised in this dimension and, accordingly, the reading of the different has to take the different factors into history comprised in the maleness dimension. Modesty and understatement are typical values represented in societies with feminine inclinations. However, overall the United Kingdom still shows relatively strong masculine inclinations. The facet of showing besides some feminine does non overturn the strong social penchant for accomplishment every bit good as stuff wages. What is more, it is decidedly common to exemplify success and accomplishment, yet in a low and modest manner. Hall ( 1976 ) would depict the British a more “ high context ” civilization, than Austria, i.e. it is more important how and in what contextual context is something expressed. Besides other research supports the statement of the United Kingdom being a instead high context civilization, compared to other northern European civilizations. ( Campbell, et al. , 1988 )

Similar behavior can be observed in the mode of offering unfavorable judgment. Whilst Austrians tend to squarely flat unfavorable judgment against their opposite numbers, Britons usually show restraint. Diary entry 3 and 6 describe subjective differences in the British manner of giving review. After presentations, including presentations in gross revenues dialogues, it is common pattern in Austria to advert entirely what was perceived negative and even quibble over undistinguished inside informations for a 1 could reason unreasonable long clip. This reflects the basic strong belief that positive facets do non hold to be mentioned or that they can be put aside after short notice. As a consequence, it would eventually be possible to concentrate on betterment potency as Austrians would reason. As already mentioned, on the contrary, people in the United Kingdom prosecute an attack, which could look to be really different for some other civilizations. Courtesy and politeness drama an indispensable function in the society and inordinate criticising is non perceived as such behavior. Therefore, it is non atypical for Britishers to be proverbially fulsome in praising person, but, at the same clip, sometimes advert even significant points of unfavorable judgment merely as a side note. Looking at the consequences of Hofstede ‘s research this might look surprising, since the importance of maintaining face is by and large instead of import for collectivized civilizations. However, there is strong grounds that the tonss on the cross-cultural dimension have to be interpreted otherwise in this instance. As antecedently mentioned niceness takes on an of import function in British society. It is hence merely common pattern to offer unfavorable judgment in a really polite manner, dying of non piquing person. This issue is humorously demonstrated in the “ Anglo-EU Translation Guide ” ( Anon ) , which can be found on legion cyberspace sites.

Furthermore, what must non be forgotten is that people in the United Kingdom by and large maintain more distance to other persons, than Austrians. The mentioned distance should non be confused with sociability, since set uping contacts is something perfectly natural for most British people. At the same clip, there is an interior demand to maintain personal infinite and make non acquire adumbrate excessively rapidly. For Austrians it is non needfully common pattern to prosecute in a insouciant confab, without any specific affair. However, if the proverbial ice is one time broken a more intimate relationship would be pursued. Consequently, the manner Britons interact with aliens is frequently perceived challenging by Austrians, particularly when the expected intensifying of the relationship after first contacting is missing, such as demonstrated in research diary entry 7. The German bookman Alexander Thomas ( 1991 ) describes this phenomenon as cultural differences in interpersonal distances. This means that different civilizations see different information to be private. Whilst for Austrians an innervated confab could already be appreciated as a instead private conversation, a British individual will non needfully experience the same. Obviously, this difference can take to misinterpretations, and the case is supported by the statement that legion cardinal European business communities describe it as easy to do contacts in the United Kingdom, but have troubles in escalating these. However, since this does non mention to underlying values of a civilization, but instead to different definitions of a construct within the civilization, it is non needfully the instance that this cultural difference is represented on a cross-cultural dimension.

Decision, managerial deductions and restrictions

Sum uping, the described cultural differences between Austria and the United Kingdom are partially reflected by differences in values ; nevertheless, non needfully all of them. Whilst the survey provides the grounds that the different perceptual experience of little talk at the beginning of international gross revenues dialogues reflects differences in cultural values, other differences can non be affiliated to differences in value that easy. The inclinations of British compared to Austrian people, towards understatement and modesty every bit good as maintaining interpersonal distance are non precisely reflected by differences in values. It could be argued that showing oneself with higher consideration of the context and hence making so in a modest manner is seen as a value itself.

For Austrian and British directors it is of import to cognize and understand cultural differences before come ining international gross revenues dialogues. Particularly, in international gross revenues dialogues where cultural differences are objectively instead little, it is frequently assumed that there would non be any cultural differences, and, as a consequence, version would non be necessary. However, it can be seen as extremely improbable that this premise proves to be true. As above described, there are important cultural differences and a deficiency of cognition in this field of research can take to failure in a peculiar dialogues or in the worst instance even destroy the concern relationship and hence ruin hereafter concern chances. Consequently, it can do sense to take part in preparations for intercultural and dialogue accomplishments, as this can better public presentation of negotiants. ( ElShenawy, 2010 )

What is more, this research has deductions for the usage of cultural dimension in pattern. As described in the paper there can be important cultural differences in behavior, even though tonss on the cross-cultural dimensions are reasonably similar. This is chiefly because each cultural dimension comprises a immense assortment of different factors and consolidates them into one mark. Consequently, they instead give an overview about cultural differences, in comparing to another civilization. Furthermore, Hofstede ‘s research in peculiar focal points on the implicit in cultural values. Therefore, it aims to a greater grade on understanding another civilization, but foretelling behaviors. Furthermore, as argued by Brewer & A ; Venaik ( 2012 ) cultural dimensions – and cross-cultural surveies – purpose at the description of the norm. However, each single thinks and behaves otherwise and hence cultural dimension do non needfully work on the single degree.

Finally, some of import restrictions to this paper must non be forgotten. First, the paper is based on observations which have been written down in research journal. Consequently, even though objectivity was aspired after, a deformation of the consequences in ground of my ain cultural marker every bit good as my single sentiments can non be wholly ruled out. However, a structured attack has been used to reflect on the observation and diary entries for minimising this consequence every bit much as possible. In add-on, the research in this paper is entirely based on qualitative informations. Hence, farther probe will be necessary in this field of survey, including quantitative analysis. However, it was the clear purpose of this paper to concentrate on qualitative research, for avoiding a carelessness of facets lying out of the quantitative templet.

Appendix: Research journal

Diary entry 1 ( 04/11/2012 ) : I find it really interesting that harmonizing to my sentiment there are about no litter on the street. In Austria, there are at least 20 times more litters findable on the street. After holding done some research on the cyberspace, I have come to the premise, that there could be a connexion to terroristic onslaughts in the yesteryear and a bomb could be hidden in a public litter. As a consequence, the British authorities might be of the sentiment that a spot of waste on the street is better than a bomb in the litter. A few easy discernible factors support this premise. First, there are no litters on topographic points that are typically the mark of terroristic onslaughts ( e.g. develop Stationss ) . Second, litters are ne’er positioned on crowded musca volitanss, but ever a few metres off from a crowded topographic point.

Diary entry 2 ( 05/11/2012 ) : Toilet paper dispensers are sometimes a spot different in the United Kingdom. Some of them are similar to the 1s in Continental Europe, with a normal axial rotation that is positioned without any covering below the dispenser or at least the terminal of the paper hangs out of the dispenser slackly. However, sometimes you have to draw the paper through a small hole. As a consequence on piece of paper will be separated about automatically. On the one manus, I think this is really convenient. On the other manus, I see the disadvantage that the paper is crumpled up. This makes me believe of a docudrama, I have seen a twosome of old ages ago, where a German lavatory paper maker was explicating that it would be common pattern in Great Britain to crumple up toilet paper before utilizing, whilst Continental Europeans fold the paper. Unfortunately, I have ne’er dared inquiring one of my British flatmates on this affair. Nevertheless, for a toilet paper or toilet paper dispenser maker this cultural difference would take to of import concern deductions.

Diary entry 3 ( 05/11/2012 ) : Today, I have listened the first clip to two presentations in a seminar, held by two other pupils. The presentation accounted for 25 % of the class, covered one chapter in the text book ( about 20 pages ) and was supposed to take about 20 proceedingss. However, one of the presenters was so ill prepared. He was tardily for the seminar and had to go forth once more as had forgotten to publish out his hand-out, which was of awfully hapless quality. Consequently, he started 10 proceedingss to the terminal of the seminar. As a consequence it was non possible to cover everything he planned to, in half of the clip. Besides the presentation slides were designed and structured in inaccurate manner.

The class leader ‘s remarks were that his clip direction has non been “ optimum ” and the presentation could hold been better structured and designed. Nevertheless, besides some positive facets were mentioned by the class leader. It was obvious that the class leader was non precisely satisfied with the presentation of the pupil ; still, nevertheless, he attempted to make non do him look like a sap. I besides inconspicuously listened to the conversation they had afterwards, whilst everyone left. No rough unfavorable judgment either.

Course leader in Austria normally do non even advert a batch of positive facets, after first-class presentations. After a presentation like the one described above, a class leader would hold about enjoyed humiliating that individual in forepart of the category.

Diary entry 4 ( 10/11/1012 ) : Today, I could listen to two British adult females in London, who were so making rather excited little talk about the conditions. True, the conditions in the United Kingdom is more interesting than in Continental Europe. However, little talk – besides with aliens – instead seems to be by and large common pattern here.

Diary entry 5 ( 10/11/2012 ) : Compared to Austrians, Britishers can be described where disciplined when it comes to line uping. Particularly, interesting from point of position is the changeless pooling of waiting lines in supermarkets and other stores. In Austria, there is a separate line after each teller ‘s desk. It is hard to state if that is an look of the British feel of justness. Cipher should hold an advantage from taking a faster line.

Diary entry 6 ( 19/11/2012 ) : After holding had a twosome of times a group meeting for a group essay, I observed two interesting things: understatement of the ain accomplishments and restraint when it comes to review. While we were chew the fating during interruptions we were besides about how good we would be making at university, the British pupils in the group by and large instead unostentatious their ain accomplishments, from my point of position. Even though, they had some, as I thought, impressive accomplishments and success narratives to speak about, they merely mentioned them really subtly. This sort of restraint was besides discernible when they levelled unfavorable judgment. True, I was likely a spot ill-mannered when I criticized their work in a comparatively direct manner and did non advert really much what they did good. It seems to be common pattern in the British civilization to minimize and be modest, every bit good as non being excessively rough when it comes to giving review.

Diary entry 7 ( 21/11/2012 ) : I already heard about the construct of interpersonal distance a twosome of times. Particularly in cross-cultural surveies there was frequently mentioned that some civilizations ‘ sense for interpersonal distance was comparable with a “ Prunus persica ” and some was comparable with a “ coconut ” . While the “ Prunus persica ” portions a spot more personal information right from the beginning, the “ coconut ” by and large portions personal things merely with people more familiar. At the same clip, the “ Prunus persica ” has a difficult rock, where it is really hard to acquire indoors ; while the whole “ coconut ” is unfastened once you are through the difficult shell. As a consequence cultures that are comparable with a “ Prunus persica ” portion more information at the beginning, but it is more hard truly acquiring to the nucleus and hence escalate the relationship. On the contrary, civilizations that are comparable with a “ coconut ” necessitate some clip to construct up at least some trust until they portion some information at all.

I do n’t desire to wholly hold with this metaphor, nevertheless, it would someway be possible to depict the British civilization instead as “ Prunus persica ” and the Austrian civilization as “ coconut ” . Personally, I was surprised how rapidly people in the United Kingdom acquire near with each other. Nevertheless, seemingly this rating consequences from my ain cultural marker. Britishers do non acquire close rapidly. What the portion right from the beginning is merely still “ public ” information, i.e. the fruit flesh of the Prunus persica and non already the rock in the center. As a consequence, there is more attempt necessary to accomplish a truly intense relationship

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