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The Role of Cultural

Understanding in
IHRM

What is
Culture?

What is Culture?
The term Culture is usually

used to describe a shaping


process
That is, member of group or

society share a distinct way of


life with common values,
attitude and behavior that are
transmitted over time in a
gradual, yet dynamic, process.

As Phatak, (1995)
explains Culture
A person is not born with a

given culture, rather he or she


acquires it through socialization
process that begins at birth,
An American is not born with a
liking for hot dogs, or a
German with a natural
preference for beer, these
behavioral attitudes are
culturally transmitted.

Cultural
Environment
Language, religion,

values, attitudes,
education, social
organization,
technology,
politics, and laws of a
country

Culture shock
A

phenomenon experienced
by people who move across
cultures. They experience a
shock reaction (or
psychological disorientation)
when exposed to new cultural
experiences, because they
misunderstand or do not
recognize important cues

The Importance of
Cultural Awareness

Activities such as hiring, promoting,

rewarding and dismissal will be


determined by the practices of the host
country and often are based on a value
system particular to that countrys
culture.
A firm may decide to head up a new

overseas operation with an expatriate


general manager but appoint as the HR
manager a local person, who is familiar
with the host countrys HR practices. This
practice can sometime cause problems..

Tips to avoid
cultural missteps
Dont
view your culture as superior to that of
others
use the standards of your culture to
evaluate the advantages and
disadvantages of other cultures
make overgeneralizations about
countries and their cultures

Hofstedes
Dimensions
to
Culture
Power distance
Individualism
Uncertainty avoidance
Masculinity/femininity
Long-term/short-term orientation

(what is the commitment)


http://geert-

hofstede.com/pakistan.html

Hofstedes Dimensions to
Culture (Contd)
Power Distance
Power distance is defined as the extent to
which
the
less
powerful
members
of
institutions and organizations within a
country expect and accept that power is
distributed unequally.
Individualistic/Collectivistic

In Individualist societies people are supposed

to look after themselves and their direct


family only. In Collectivist societies people
belong to in groups that take care of them in
10
exchange for loyalty.

Masculinity/Femininity
The fundamental issue here is what

motivates people, wanting to be the


best (masculine) or liking what you
do (feminine)
Masculine believe on success,

achievement and competition,


where as feminine believe on quality

of life and care.


11

Uncertainty avoidance (tolerance


of unexpected events)
The dimension Uncertainty Avoidance

has to do with the way that a society


deals with the fact that the future can
never be known: should we try to
control the future or just let it happen?
The extent to which the members of a

culture feel threatened by ambiguous or


unknown situations and have created
beliefs and institutions that try to avoid
these is reflected in the UAI score.
12

Long-term/short-term
orientation

13

Education System
Nowadays

Dimensions
on Which
Cultures

The nature of people


How people relate to

others
(some people are very
formal than others)
Primary mode of activity
Conception of space
Time orientation

Impact of
Culture on
IHRM
Practices

Aspects of culture you


can see
Dress (Indian turban, Japanese

Kimono)
Food (The manner in which

food is selected, prepared and


presented and eaten)
Climate

Aspects of culture you can see


(contd;)
Communication style (Mr., Sir call

name)
What motivates people (third world
country motivate with money)
Role expectations (Asian and western
family culture role)
Negotiation styles
Non-verbal communication
Tempo of work
Attitude toward authority

Cross-Cultural
Differences in
the Workplace

How interviews should be


conducted (phone etc..)

How managers should act with


their subordinates

How training should be delivered

How people should be paid for work

Understandi
ng who you
are is the
first step in
beginning to
understand
who others
are.
What is your
cultural
baggage?

Western vs. Non-Western


Values
Individualism

Collectivism/

group
Internal self Hierarchy
control
External control
Pride
Saving face
Respect for results
Respect for
Respect
status
competence
Respect elders
Time is money
Time is life
Equality

The Culture & Business


THE UNITED KONGDOM
British business etiquette (Do's and Don'ts)
DO respect personal space. The British value their
space and keeping an acceptable distance is
advised.
DO remember to shake hands on first meetings. It is
considered polite to do so.
DO make direct eye-contact with your British
counterpart, however remember to keep it to a
minimum or it could be considered impolite or rude.
DON'T ask personal questions regarding your
British counterpart's background, occupation or
income.
DON'T underestimate the importance of humor in
all aspects of business in the UK.

The Culture & Business


GERMAN Business practices
First names are generally only used with family and
close friends and colleagues. Therefore, always use
last names and appropriate titles. You will often
find that colleagues who have worked together for
years still maintain this level of formality.
German business protocol requires that colleagues
should be greeted with a firm, but brief, handshake
on both arrival and departure.
In German business dealings, it is important to
provide solid facts and examples to back up
proposals, given the German preference for
analytical thinking and rational explanations.

The Culture & Business


THE USA (American business etiquette (Do's and Don'ts))
DO address your American business colleagues with a title,
such as Dr, Ms, Mr, or Mrs, and their last name when
meeting someone for the first time.
DO say please and thank you to everyone for even the
smallest kindness. Politeness is highly valued in the United
States and Americans will expect you to be as polite as they are.
DONT expect all companies to be the same. Business culture in

the US differs from company to company on many levels,


including industry, region and business structure. It is advised
to research as much as possible about the individual business
culture of your American associates before meeting with them.

DONT be offended or surprised if your American colleagues

cannot accept a gift. Gift giving is often discouraged or limited


by many US companies and therefore most employees are
unable to accept them.