Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Powerful Role of Cultural Values in Cross Cultural Communication

Good Morning Cyberweek 2009 Participants,

First of all a sincere thank you to those of you who have completed the simulation exercise and sent me your scores scores. I am sending each of you a personal note with thoughts and comments on your scores and then of course the attachment of a portion of the chapter that I wrote for the ABA GUIDE TO INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS NEGOTIATIONS, Third Edition, May, 2009.

This morning I am highlighting the importance of being aware of the values that are the foundation of each culture in our world. Yesterday I wrote a simple introduction to the various aspects that support a culture. Today I am following up with some thoughts on the most powerful aspect, values. Values are at the core of what allows a culture to continue to reproduce itself in each of its members. Values inform all of the practices. In the past 30 years or so, extensive research has been done on culture and its values. One of the more widely used set of research findings is that done by Geert Hofstede and now his son, Geert Jan Hofstede. They describe through a look at "Dimensions of National Culture, Hofstede, p. 22, CULTURE AND ORGANIZATIONS). Their dimensions help describe a culture's values. Briefly the dimensions discuss 1. The attitude toward power and the comfort with proximity to power; 2. The way the individual is valued and/or the group; 3. The way that masculinity and femininity are valued or seen; 4. How the culture's members manage uncertainty and lack of clarity (ambiguity) in their daily lives.

I share this as the Hofstedes' work offers insight to the question I posed yesterday concerning the Swedish project manager in Jakarta, Indonesia. So with these brief thoughts on cultural values and some thoughts on the dimentions that describe culural values, I again ask, why do you feel that the Indonesian people who worked for the Swedish manager, did not respond positively to the invitation to dinner at the project manager's home?

I look forward to hearing from you. I wish you a good day from Paris.

Warm regards,


Jane E. Smith, Esq.
LiSimba Consutling Services, Inc.
Building Relationships for International Business Success

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