Cultural Difference And Cross Cultural Communication Commerce Essay

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Cultural difference is one of the main factors which leading to cross-cultural communication and cross-cultural management has failed. Cross-cultural management refers to enterprise-related interaction between different cultural groups in the contradictions and conflicts arising in the process taken when the culture of integration measures.

In the multinational company, a variety of organizations constitutes are complicated, with different language, different level of education, work objectives and religious beliefs and with different cultural backgrounds of individuals, these managers or employees from different countries who have different management methods and work experience. How to carry out effective cross-cultural communication, coordination and management can directly influence the effects of the operation within the enterprise. Outside the enterprise, multinational companies should not only meet the needs of consumers from different cultural backgrounds, but also to adapt to the host country's customs, the legal system. From the practice of some prominent multinational enterprises shows that people from different cultural backgrounds, because of their different values, behaviors so that can result cultural conflict, which one of the important reasons leading to the failure of multinational operations.

In the field of cross-cultural management, foreign scholars have conducted systematic cross-cultural management research, these researchers have proposed various analytical model, for cross-cultural dimensions, cultural management, cultural patterns and so on have done an in-depth exploration and research. They tried to study the national culture, and from different angles has developed a systematic analysis of cultural dimensions and based on these cultural dimensions and classification system to explain these cultural elements and carry out cross-cultural comparison, find out the characteristics of different cultures, so that people in the cross-cultural management process to play a different cultural excellence of the Department, effective management. These studies cross-cultural enterprise management provided a very useful way of thinking about the different national culture framework and cut into perspective.

1. Hofstede and Trompenaars cross-cultural theory

Cross-cultural management is not a new thing, it originated in the ancient international trade and business exchanges. Cross-cultural management as a science, which is the late 20th century, in the United States gradually formed and developed. It is study of under cross-cultural conditions, how to overcome the conflict in different cultures to carry out efficient and carry out the effective management, aimed at how the different forms of culture in designing practical organizational structure and management mechanisms. The most rational allocation enterprise resources, particularly that enterprise can maximize the extraction and utilization of enterprise human resource potential and its value so that can increase the business to maximize overall efficiency.

1.1 Hofstede theory

The 20th century, 60 years, Hofstede in IBM over 40 different countries, 116,000 employees conducted an opinion poll, the subsequent two to three decades Hofstede also ongoing study on research of the management style and working environment. Hofstede's assumption is that most of the staffs of IBM have similar educational background, personality traits, so they answer the same question can more fully reflected the impact of culture. Based on this logic, Hofstede's research results in 1980 (Culture's Consequences) proposed a five dimension: Power Distance, Uncertainty, Individualism/Collectivism, Masculinity/Femininity, long-term orientation.

Hofstede make cultural metaphor of man mental programming, the individual's internal thinking, feeling and potential patterns of behavior and pointed out that in this sense at the level of culture, "only partly determine people's behavior."

View of this, as defined by Herskovits, culture is a group of shared value system. The character of culture of a group like the individual characteristics. At the same time, Hofstede also believes that culture is evolving. Geographical differences, different levels of economic development and the change of other social factors, which can effect individuals or groups from a cultural integration into another culture. Similarly, cultural, other scholars have also been defined as "artificial creation, the concept of recognition by others, it gives people with aggregation, thought about their own and face the outside world, a meaningful environment, passed by the previous generation to the next generation".

1.2 The contents of Hofstede theory

Power distance. Power distance refers to a state agency or organization of the power smaller members who expect and accept the level of the fact that unequal distribution of power. Greater the degree of acceptability, which indicating that the higher of the power distance, otherwise it would be lower.

Individualism / collectivism. Individualism / collectivism refers to a person how to look at themselves and others, as well as social relations, society is concerned about interests of the individual or concerned about interests of the collective.

Masculinity / femininity. Masculine refers to the dominant values of society on the self-confidence and get money and other material information on the extent of stress; feminization refers to the dominant values of a society of work and quality of life of the degree of concern.

Uncertainty avoidance. Uncertainty avoidance refers to when a community to consider their own interests are uncertain events and ambiguous environmental threats, through formal channels to prevent and control the degree of uncertainty.

In1988, Hofstede and the Chinese University of Hong Kong professor Michael Bond together with traditional Confucian cultural values, based on 22 countries and regions in Southeast Asia conducted an empirical study. He proposed a "dynamic theory of Confucianism" (Confucian Dynamism), also known as "long-term orientation" values.

1.3 Trompenaars theory

Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner (1997) classified cultures along a mix of behavioral and value patterns. Their research focuses on the cultural dimensions of business executives. In their book "Riding The Waves of Culture" (1997), Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner identify seven value orientations. Some of these value orientations can be regarded as nearly identical to Hofstede's dimensions. Others offer a somewhat different perspective.

1.4 The contents of Trompenaars theory

In their theory, consists mainly of seven value dimensions identified were:

Universalism versus particularism. Companies from universalistic cultures negotiating with a potential joint venture partner in China must recognize that relationships matter and take time to develop. They form the basis of the trust that is necessary in order to do business. In a particularistic culture, contracts are only a rough guideline or approximation.

Communitarianism versus individualism. Communitarianism versus Individualism: Companies from individualistic cultures such as the USA will face difficulties in introducing methods of individual incentives such as pay-for-performance and individual assessment in subsidiaries in communitarian cultures.

Neutral versus emotional

Defuse versus specific cultures

Achievement versus ascription

Human-Time relationship

Human-Nature relationship

For example, the universality and specificity in this context, refers to the object of study in the face of a specific issue, what will be your solution. Universal means that deal with problems are using the same principles and methods; but specifically refers to specific people or things according to the problem, using different methods. For the emotional and neutrality, instructions issued by those who act in a given scenario whether the interaction involved in emotional, whether it should be to express emotion. This is primarily focused on the evaluation of the relationship between people, such as the relationship between mother and daughter is an emotional relationship, but between the salesperson and the customer is a neutral relationship. People in different countries in this dimension of performance is also different, such as among the Chinese people pay attention to the feelings of a nation, in the United States, it is more emphasis on individuals, often among people to maintain a neutral.

Culture and cultural achievements of ownership refers to a different environment, a particular problem in conclusion, is the emphasis on the impact of individual efforts of the problem is still biased towards the surrounding environment. Similarly, other aspects can also be explained by different cultural backgrounds of the differences in people's behavior.

Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner by more than seven levels of research, that cultural differences only exist, but there is no "right" or "wrong", "good" or "bad", and cultural differences manifested in different cultures choice to solve the problem in different ways.

2. From Chinese culture to see the inadequacy the Hofstede theory

With China as the background of the study, Hofstede's cultural research there are three inadequacies: (1) does not take into account the dynamic development of culture; (2) with two sub-method to distinguish between the national culture of the approach is too radical; (3) does not take into account the political systems and historical changes and other non-cultural factors on the impact of culture.

(1) The static nature of culture.

Make these characteristics contrast with the reality of China, will find these descriptions are not fully consistent with China's status quo. These descriptions may be more suitable for China's 20th century, 80 years before the case, that is, Hofstede to carry out its cultural research era. China carried out reform and opening up, from a planned economy to a market economy transformation, the whole society has changed, we should not use a static vision of Chinese culture. Hofstede research that revealed a key weakness: the static nature.

Hofstede on culture studies, in fact assume that culture is static, continuous. He believes that the national culture and professional culture is eternal, and is the result of early socialization. In fact, because the impact of cultural factors such as geography, history and common experience, etc. will change, the culture also will change. It is not static, but dynamic and evolving.

Beford reform and opening up in China, the dominant state ownership, between individuals and enterprises have a close relationship, enterprises are responsible for employee' houses, medical care and pension etc. and all the staffs of life are closely related to the enterprise which seems to be an extended family. This point is consistent with Hofstede's findings, is typically characterized by a culture of collectivism. However, with 20 years of continuous deepening of reform and opening up, China's economy has undergone tremendous cultural and political changes. State ownership is no longer accounted for the dominant position of the national economy, the emergence of a large number of private enterprises, a large number of foreign-owned and joint ventures have emerged, not only changed the economic situation in China, but also is gradually changing Chinese culture.

(2) The cultural dichotomy

At the same time of individualistic tendencies in the young generation to enhance, the older generation to a large extent still preserved a strong collective tendencies. During the same period, in the same kind of culture, two different tendencies exist, which testifies to a cultural dimension is not a dichotomy, such as the culture is not a collectivist culture of individualism. To the various cultural dimensions of Hofstede are divided into two absolute extremes, the countries surveyed according to the various cultural dimensions of the bipolar classification. This is undoubtedly a little too radical.

The status quo of China's proved Hofstede cultural dimensions dichotomy that some biased to a culture solely on the basis of their cultural dimensions of the index is defined as individualistic or collectivist culture, and may lose sight of the culture that exist Contrary to the cultural tendencies. A cultural dimension of the poles may exist in the same culture, but at different times and in different circumstances different from the proportion between the two.

(3) Cultural's unitary interpretation

Hofstede almost want to tried to explain differences in national culture all the different countries, differences in management style that affect the national management of national cultural differences in key factors. For example, in positive strong country, management methods focus on more the tasks are completed, rather than foster social relationships. Incentive will be earned on the amount of money and material basis rather than based on the quality of life.

In fact, from China's situation, such as allowing state-owned assets to withdraw from certain sectors, encourage the development of private enterprises, encourage foreign investment and the establishment of joint ventures, the national economy had a tremendous impact , but also to the changes in Chinese culture has provided preconditions. People no longer over-dependence on countries and organizations, individualism tend to strengthen, the relationship bond between people are not as close than before. China's institutional change directly to changes in management, but also influence the changes in Chinese culture.

3. A Comparative Analysis of Sino-US culture

Cross-cultural management theory that cultural differences led to different countries, differences in management mode. In the Hofstede and Trompenaars cross-cultural theory, based on the specific conditions from the United States and China proceed from their own culture and at different levels, including the origins, values, characteristics, interpersonal relations, behavior patterns, the Sino-US culture, a simple comparison, thus further explore the different cultures under the influence of the Sino-US business and cultural characteristics, to illustrate the different cultural systems under the corporate culture differences.

Sino-US culture, belong to different cultural system, the formation of their cultural background, ethnic composition, values, and so there is a big difference. The United States is the world's largest nation of immigrants, the ethnic composition of the complex so that it does not have a common ground of the national culture; while China is several thousand years of splendid culture of ancient civilizations, for thousands of years the whole nation deeply the impact of Confucian culture, with emphasis on ethics, the pursuit of harmony, emphasis on culture as a whole and other features.

Table 1 respectively from the attitude towards nature, human relationships, moral standards, of expression, ways of doing things, behavior, ways of thinking in terms of these seven Sino-US culture to do a simple cultural differences is deep-rooted, and it is obvious. As in the treatment of the relationship between human and nature, Sino-US two peoples have a different attitude. The U.S. nation is the attitude of the war, making the Americans shown in the life of the characteristics of restless and a strong sense of competition. The Chinese people have shown harmonious, the attitude of rest, which is emphasized in traditional Chinese culture, "the harmony between man and nature" is the same.

Table 1 Comparison of Chinese and American culture

Comparison of dimensions 



The attitude towards nature



Human relations



single standard    






Way of doing things




Legal guide


mode of thought  



3.1 American Enterprise cultural characteristics

First, most of U.S. companies with clear corporate values, for enterprise development direction. Compared with traditional oriental culture, American culture has obvious nature of war and strong sense of competition, stress acting on purpose, that national characteristics are reflected to the enterprise culture, manifested as a clear values.

Second, the emphasis on individual roles, self-centered individualism is obvious. In the United States, individualism has been playing to an extreme, extreme focus on prominent individuals, to pursue individualism. Thus, the U.S. corporate culture shows the most important performance management system, more emphasis on people, respect for human values. That is, to respect for individual values, individual choice under the premise of maximizing human potential and creativity, in order to promote personal development and contribute to social progress.

Third, the innovative spirit is another prominent characteristic of American companies. This is the American risk-taking and innovative national character reflected in the corporate culture.

Fourth, emphasize on rational thinking, Americans have a strict and institutionalized management. In which strict rules are the essence of U.S. companies.

3.2 Cultural characteristics of Chinese enterprises

First, pay attention to ethics, the ethical performance of an extremely strong. China's traditional culture is the most profound impact of Confucian culture. Chinese people always attach importance to kinship, people's ethical values, moral consciousness has become an important principle of social life, so Chinese companies showed strong ethical colors.

Second, keen to cultivate a spirit of union and solidarity of the collective spirit of cooperation. Focus on the traditional Chinese Confucian culture, "Ceremony", focusing on "peace". Therefore, the corporate culture in modern China, also attaches great importance to harmony, and emphasis on staff a sense of belonging, stressing the interest of the enterprise, honor.

Third, the corporate culture, personality is not clear-cut implementation of the system is incomplete. Most enterprises lack the characteristics of corporate culture, the lack of the typical employee behavior can guide the concept of enterprise culture, mostly derived from the social and cultural phenomenon, leading to no characteristics in terms of corporate culture.


In modern society, interact with the outside world are essential for everyone, and Hofstede's and Trompenaars cross-cultural theory, for us to understand cultural differences and more effective cross-cultural management and communication provides a new perspective. At the same time, in order to engage in cross-cultural field of theoretical research and practical application to open up a new era, led management of a scientific revolution, the result is make a new culture and management paradigms popular in theoretical circles