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What is Culture?
Culture in general is concerned with beliefs and values on the basis of which people interpret experiences and behave, individually and in groups. Broadly and simply put, “culture” refers to a group or community with which you share common experiences that shape the way you understand the world.
The same person, thus, can belong to several different cultures depending on his or her birthplace; nationality; ethnicity; family status; gender; age; language; education; physical condition; sexual orientation; religion; profession; place of work and its → corporate culture .
Culture is the “lens” through which you view the world. It is central to what you see, how you make sense of what you see, and how you express yourself.
Cultural intelligence (CQ) is your capability to grow personally through →continuous learning and good understanding of diverse cultural heritage, wisdom and values, and to deal effectively with people from different cultural background and understanding… More
Western cultures promote an independent social orientation that values autonomy, self-expression, and individual achievement. Eastern and Latin American cultures promote an interdependent social orientation that values harmony, relatedness, and success of the in-group.
Four Cultural Dimensions
Cultures – both national and organizational – differ along many dimensions. Four of the most important are:
Directness (get to the point versus imply the messages)
Hierarchy (follow orders versus engage in debate)
Consensus (dissent is accepted versus unanimity is needed)
Individualism (individual winners versus team effectiveness)7
Failure to identify cultural issues and take action can lead to a culture shock. In order of priority, the most often found symptoms of culture shock are3:
Not coping with culture shock symptoms when they appear can lead to a very negative situation.
Cross-Cultural Communication Challenges
Culture is often at the root of communication challenges. Exploring historical experiences and the ways in which various cultural groups have related to each other is key to opening channels for cross-cultural communication. Becoming more aware of cultural differences, as well as exploring cultural similarities, can help you communicate with others more effectively. Next time you find yourself in a confusing situation, ask yourself how culture may be shaping your own reactions, and try to see the world from the other’s point of view.
Case in Point DuPont
A US-based multicultural team at DuPont gained around US$45 million in new business by changing the way decorating materials are developed and marketed. The changes included new colors that team members new, from their experience within other cultures, would appeal more to their overseas customers.6
Building Trust Across Cultural Boundaries
Cultural differences in multicultural teams can create misunderstandings between team members before they have had a chance to establish any credibility with each other. Thus, building trust is a critical step in creation and development of such teams… More
Respecting Differences and Working Together
Anthropologists discovered that, when faced by interaction that we do not understand, people tend to interpret the others involved as “abnormal”, “weird” or “wrong”5.
Awareness of cultural differences and recognizing where cultural differences are at work is the first step toward understanding each other and establishing a positive working environment. Use these differences to challenge your own assumptions about the “right” way of doing things and as a chance to learn new ways to solve problems.
Case in Point Eye Contact
In some cultures, looking people in the eye is assumed to indicate honesty and straightforwardness; in others it is seen as challenging and rude. In USA, the cheapest, most effective way to connect with people is to look them into the eye.
“Most people in Arab cultures share a great deal of eye contact and may regard too little as disrespectful. In English culture, a certain amount of eye contact is required, but too much makes many people uncomfortable. In South Asian and many other cultures direct eye contact is generally regarded as aggressive and rude.”8… More
Harness the Power of Diversity
Diversity is a specialized term describing a workplace that includes people from various backgrounds and cultures, and/or diverse businesses.
An important but widely overlooked principle of business success is that integrating opposites, as opposed to identifying them as inconsistencies and driving them out, unleashes power. This is true on both a personal level (the balanced manager is more effective than his or her peer at one end of the control spectrum) and on team and organizational level as well. >>>
6 Attributes of Successful CEOs
10 Rules of Effective Listening
By: Linda Eve Diamond
Maintain eye contact. In the US, not making eye contact has the connotation of someone untrustworthy. But realize, too, that steady eye contact in some cultures is considered impolite or aggressive… More
Discover Opportunities: “Why? What If?” Questions
Guidelines for Multicultural Collaboration…
Concepts Related to Bridging Cultural Differences…
Ten-Step Yoga Approach to Conflict Resolution…
Tao of Influencing People…
Tao of Creativity…
Tao of Value Innovation…
Management by Consciousness…
Case in Point General Electric (GE)…
Case in Point Coca-Cola…
Case in Point Steelcase…
Case in Point HP…
Case in Point A Female Color…
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