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While studying diversity and intercultural management, I learned about the essence of culture, its uniqueness for every nation and for every representative of a particular nation. In my essay Iââ‚¬â„¢m going to discuss differences regarding collectivism and individualism.
Culture is human behaviors that include thoughts, communications, languages, practices, values, customs, rituals, manner, and religions to transmit to the succeeding generations. People learn culture. We know culture is essential feature. Many qualities of human life are transmitted genetically - an infant's desire for food, for example, is triggered by physiological characteristics determined within the human genetic code. An adult's specific desire for milk and cereal in the morning, on the other hand, cannot be explained genetically; rather, it is a learned (cultural) response to morning hunger. Culture, is learned behaviors common to a given human society.
Today's businesses are complex entities. However, one fundamental principle of success remains constant - the need for communication.Communication manifests in various forms, both verbal and non-verbal. One area of increasing concern for businesses is how to nurture and maintain effective intercultural communication between employees. As workforces become increasingly multicultural and businesses continue to expand overseas, the homogenous workforce has become a thing of the past. The cultural diversity of businesses necessitates that internal communication now takes note of the intercultural element if it is to be truly effective. Management today have to ensure that they are understanding and being understood across cultural boundaries.
1) What is culture?
Culture is everything. Culture is the way we dress, the way we carry our heads, the way we walk, the way we tie our ties. It is not only the fact of writing books or building houses.
For the company who plans to go abroad to the international markets should have wide knowledge of intercultural. People interacting on the international stage for both the business and work should be conscious to culture as it may often lead to misunderstanding to negative consequences. There are many well documented incidences of losing business deals because of intercultural awareness. So personnel working globally in the business field should have the intercultural knowledge whether it is for import, export or general trade. Personnel working in those sectors should have knowledge of communicating, thinking, meeting, negotiating etc.
2) Collectivism vs Individualism
Collectivism is theory and practice that makes some sort of group rather than an individual. The fundamental unit of political, social, and economic concern belongs to this category. Collectivists insist claims of groups, associations rather than individuals. As an example we can take cooperative organizations which deals in groups rather than single.
Individualism is concept of dealing single, as the term refers. Individualism holds that a human being should think and judge independently, respecting nothing more than the sovereignty of his or her mind; thus, it is intimately connected with the concept of autonomy. Individuals as far as possible deals with their own interest in economic and moral matters. As an example we can take banks, dealing with single person.
The individualism thinks of oneself whereas collectivism thinks for the groups. Similarly, in case of care taking individualism takes care of oneself where as in collectivism care is taken as a whole in groups. Collectivism speaks of cooperation where as individualism speaks for his or her interest. Individualism incorporates the idea of self interest. The decisions taking process is quick in individualism but it takes time in collectivism. Individualism says let me do it were as collectivism says let us do it. Let us discuss with example of individualism-an exporting company (wheat) from Russia. When wheat exporting company exports its product in an international market, the importing company deals with single. It evaluates the each company products separately. It deals with that particular company until they both benefit from each other. But when suddenly the importing company finds problem with the quality its rejects that particular company among several company and deals with the remaining. This does affect only a single company but not the whole. Similarly, let us take an example of carpet exporting company of Nepal which is a good example. A decade back the carpet companies were good exporter in the world. They were good in quality and the demands were too high in EU-states and other countries. But when the importer countries started talking about child labor they found most of the company using child labor and as a result it did not affect only a single company but it affected as a whole. So as a result now all the carpet company has faced a massive problem.
In international cross culture, there are a lot of people which means a greater interaction between people from the different countries. So within the business environment the understanding and coping with different cross cultural people is critical and ensure its success. So cross culture is important to minimize the possibility of misunderstanding and causing offence for business deal. The personnel like directors, managers, salespeople and consultants are required to have well understanding in different cultures .The language used should be clear and easy understanding by both the sides. Same with the body language, emotions, presenting style, technology use, using figure etc. Similarly, it affects in cross cultural advertising. Colors, number, values and images also play a vital role in intercultural business environment. Within the business environment, understanding and coping with intercultural differences between people is critical to ensuring that interpersonal communication is successful.
3) Mistakes concerning culture differences
Many people make mistakes of trying to fit other people into their cultural molds; this is the cause of individualism. In an international business environment this will be of great failure in achieving business deal in multicultural situation. Countries like Holland, Finland, Poland etc. belongs to individualism where as countries like India, Pakistan, Vietnam etc. belongs to collectivism. Collectivism country does not want to go for a business meeting as a single. They sit in a group with different level of personnel and discuss on a matter to find a solution. This process may involve a long step before starting a discussion and also takes a long time for decisions. This often leads to failure of business. Where as individualism business when needed to discuss on a subject matter they can sit and start to take decisions within a short period of time. This is useful in most of the business dealings. The advent of the global economy is changing the fundamental nature of our governments, businesses, organisations and populations. In short, we are no longer constrained by state boundaries but have all become part of an interdependent international network. One of the key changes this has triggered is the need to communicate effectively with different people in different languages and from different cultures. It is now realised that linguistic and cultural knowledge are two of the most significant areas of knowledge that companies must come to acquire if they intend to integrate, progress and succeed in the marketplace.
In conclusion, it can be said that culture affects everything we do, say, read, hear and think. The impact of culture is huge. Collectivism somehow denotes collection of people and their ideas where as individualism can simply be said as idea of a single. In collectivism it is hard to make understand to all the attendants whereas in individualism it is easy to understand. So, in an international business environment both the collectivism and individualism should be clearly understood. The globalization of markets, the internationalization of companies through operations of mergers, acquisitions, partnerships or alliances have created an economic landscape where the intercultural aspect has became a daily reality for many persons in charge. Companies are increasingly working with individuals coming from different cultures. Therefore, they can no longer ignore the impact of cultural differences on their activities on an international scale. The intercultural situations in a company do not constitute a new phenomenon but the concern of understanding them is recent. In order to better understand the concept of cultural diversity, it is first necessary to determine what culture is. There are many definitions. For certain authors, culture is "a lifestyle which draws its roots from History"; others speak about a "collective mental programming". One generally perceives culture as "a collection of values, attitudes and behaviors shared by individuals and groups and based on deep sub-conscious perceptions". These perceptions are "cultural" because they are acquired (and not innate) and create models that they are shared and transmitted from generation to generation.