What Is The Ethnographic Method Commerce Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

As we know most of the people in the world has different manners and ways to see the world, the reason is because they are from different locations around the world, they have different appearances and physical features as well according to the nation that they belong to.

The Ethnographic Method analizes all the aspects that are related to the life style of the people; such as behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, the way of dressing and so on. 'Typically, the ethnographer focuses on a community (not necessarily geographic, considering also work, leisure, and other communities), selecting informants who are known to have an overview of the activities of the community.' http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/garson/PA765/ethno.htm - Ethnographic research.

It is useful also to find out behaviors and perceptions, depending on what people use, what they do and what they say in a determined context.

This fieldwork that 'descirbes a particular culture' - Marvin Harris and Orna Johnson, 2000 is really important to consider when you are going to start an alliance between your company and another that belongs to another nation. It means to another culture. The point is that if you want to have international relations with people you have to know at first how their culture works or even your business would go down easily.


This study has different perspectives:

1. Holistic Perspective: it is explained according to how members of the group understand a picture and make it comprehensive interrelated with a context.

2. Multiple perspectives and realities: it is the non-judgmental perspectives like:

a. Insider´s perspective: is the way to understand situations and behaviors, to feel part of a group and understand what happen and why. It is the Participation observation ethnographic_research.pdf pag. 2. it is when you do not belong to a group but you are inside to see how everything works.

b. Native perspectives: it is useful to understand why people do what they do, use and say. It is when you belong to the group and you feel part of the group.

3. Emic vs Ethic perspectives: two perspectives to understand the cultural system. The Emic perspective studies all the intrinsic cultural distinctions that are meaninful to the members of a society like supernatural beliefs. That means how the members percieve the world.

The ethic perspective studies all the extrinsic concepts and categories that have meaning for scientific observers like the growth of the population per year. http://interactiva.eafit.edu.co/ei/adjuntos/descargar.do?id=1760619 slide 14. That means how the non-members perceive the behaviors related to the culture that belongs the group.

Also this study of all of these behaviors can be more comprehensive considering other aspects that belong to them as a group and those give to the research reasons to understand since another point of view, like:

a. symbols and rituals

b. Sciences of application

c. Techniques-Interviews

d. Resources-data

Current Questions:

¿How Ethnographic research can be used for international business?

Nowadays ethnographic research has become as an important tool in the study of international business. Because with the topic of Globalization most companies want to internationalize making new customers abroad and growing as much faster as they can, it is when the ethnographic method have an important role, is when people worry about the other´s culture. They try to make a deep study of their behaviors, traditions, attitudes in order to know how they could focuse their products to be sold to them.


a. Virtual Teams : it is a group of people that joint in order to work together between many countries this job could be a distance but they have to know about each other culture and through internet they can have a good communication.

b. Global Enterprise Experience : it is a nice tool to meet people around the world, work with them giving solutions to many issues at the same time knowing about each other like different kinds of management depending on the culture as an example.

Some useful links:



Diversity definition

is the set of similarities or differences that make diverse a group of people from the other. This distinctiveness can be by a group of visible dimensions:

· Gender

· Race

· Ethnicity

· Age

· Disabilities

· Dress

· Religion

· Physical attributes

Invisible Dimensions:

· Skills

· Education

· Political views

· Marital or partnership status

· Work life experience

· Socio economic status

· Parental status

· Beliefs

Core Dimension:

· Personality

· Work style

· Personal truth

· Sexual orientation

Diversity Main Issues

1. Gender diversity: in order to avoid discrimination that is the main issue to gender diversity, because in some countries there is an unequal payment between women and men; depending on the work hours mostly women have a lack of job hours, due to maternity leaves, low positions for women.

2. Race diversity: there is a high level of discrimination of black people in Europe for example; it would be prohibited by legislation. This kind of discrimination is made by jokes on television, by internet, or even on the street. Also it can be felt on the income differences.

3. Age diversity: the issue is explained by the existence of mixture of four human generation (Maturity, Bloom, Gen X and Millennial) working for the same team, it means, for the same company in the same area, it means there would be a gap between them at the workplace due to they do not have the same knowledge level.

4. Religious diversity: the company members could be from different religious system, so they would have different beliefs (holiday, eastern, praying time, dress codes, so on), ways to dress and eat than others. If the partners do not know anything about it, it will have conflicts between them.

5. Employees with disabilities: in companies where there are employees with a kind of disability, the company has to have a variety of accommodations that are special equipment that make easy their commitment otherwise not feeling any discrimination.

6. Sexual orientation diversity: there can have sexual preferences, fear of managers and co workers, not feeling welcome or comfortable at the workplace.

It is quite important to get a cultural identity, because it makes you different from the other, even though, it is fairly important to understand the diversity for other, it means that people have to take into account to respect the other's vision, being aware of the other's ambiguity. Developing open minded skill make people more conscious about the diversity issues. Through these actions, people can develop a cultural intelligence that is followed by the ability and consciousness about diversity.


¿Do you think the entry and integration of new members to the European Union are processes that promote diversity or on the contrary, strive to homogenize the European Society?

The entrance of new states to the European Union is a procedure that encourages cultural diversity between them. They belong to a macro nation that is the European Union, even though; they join it adopting new cultural codes. They implement different laws that become them as European Union 'citizens' still being from other culture. This integration promotes diversity to the European Union, because, they acquire a commitment in the treatment of third-country nationals, reasons like migrations and minority issues are the attention for these 'citizens'.

'Migrants and the members of a new minority see a danger in being stigmatized as being 'different', whereas persons belonging to an (old) minority group see a danger in not being recognized as being 'different' from the majority'(1) Who is Managing Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in the European Condominium? The Moments of Entry, Integration and Preservation.Page 719.


1. Toggenburg, Gabriel N. 2005. "Who is managing ethnic and cultural diversity in the European Condominium? The moments of entry, integration and preservation". Journal of Common Market Studies 43 (4) 717-38.



Culture is defined as all values, beliefs, traditions shared by a group of people either a nation or an organization with the main objective to clear boundaries from other groups, to get an identity that enforce their roots belonging to the group. People develop their own way achieving their interests in order to get unitary objective; through working together as a team helping each other. They like to work together having same expectations, goals, reasons, beliefs, results, values and norms.

In the organizational culture there are two types of members; one who has a high position in the organization making in him a consistent culture built by the company. And another who has a low position in the company that makes in him an adaptability, which means, when the organizational culture goes following a business strategy that all the company's members have a participation and work for it.

There are some factors that have an influence in the decision making for organizations, these factors are clearly explain as internal factors and external factors.

Internal Factors: is the set of all the internal resources that the company has. These factors are like the internal organizational structure, all the physical resources like machinery, equipment, etc, and the Organizational culture.

Organizational Culture: it is defined as according to the text International Management: Cross Cultural Dimensions, is the organizational structure and rules, values, feelings, norms, it says the entire 'organizational climate'.

External Factors: is the set of all the facts that affect the organization since abroad. These factors are the economic behavior, the market, the customer behavior and his decisions, laws and regulations, religion system, financial system and the National culture.

National Culture: it is defined as the culture that belongs to a national group and all the influences on the behavior that may have as individual members. The culture mentioned before is based on a particular culture that only belongs to the group not to other. It is characterized for being learned and thought since generation to generation inside a group. It is represented by the core of values built by the group. And it is the main characteristic that differentiates a group from the other.


It is a great example to describe one of the most important goals for organizations in order to have an image prestige and recognition by the customers as an organization that works for the environmental responsibility, human rights, education, and so on.

A clear example of Corporate Social Responsibility is LEONISA with their campaign abouth Prest Cancer

Ordinary questions

¿Is there a corporate culture in every organization? Can it be modified?

How does is affect processes that require a deep organizational change? (Ex. mergers, acquisitions, etc.)

Culture is built by a group of people and it is passed and teach from generation to generation shared by people that work together for a goal, so they have a working behavior as a core of norms created by the organization. It can be modified in the way that the creators who are in high positions in the company can adjust the organizational culture from all the external factors that are related to the organization, such as the market behavior, the religion, etc. Even though, they modify it in the way they are improving to give a good product to the customer that reach their needs as customer in order to obtain as much customer as the organizations can. They are willing to cross frontiers and change some positive aspects that help the organization to gain success.

Each organization may have a different corporate culture from other, which is based on the ways to dress, the space that they have to leave either for a customer or an executive, the punctuality; in general all the stuff included on the code of conduct followed by a core of values that the company can modify if is necessary having account that it is not going to affect the company's vision and mission.

Nowadays, multinationals want to go abroad looking for being recognized around the world.

As an example, in 1990 was the Indian Liberalization, which gave a chance to enter for all the foreign companies there. Even though, Mc Donald's entered to India in 1996 by Joint venture. It took six years to study the emergent market of India, due this, Mc Donald's had to adjust to the Indian culture, since changing their menu for vegetarian food.

I suggest to see the following video to understand what it happened for this organization: http://www.foxbusiness.com/search-results/m/25183541/mcdonald-s-in-india.htm


Mead, Richard. 2004. International Management: Cross-Cultural Dimensions London: Blackwell Publishing. Chapter 1 and 4



Diversity can be explained in a variety of scenarios for this case in the workplace. Managerial staff must contemplate such diversity as an opportunity. There are many aspects to take into account that may have differences or similarities in the people that belong to the diversity in a workplace. These are:


Parental status


National origin

Field of work



Sexual Orientation



Thinking style

Socioeconomic status

Job classification

Diversity is everywhere, there is diversity in:

Workforce Diversity (Development, Recruitment)

Workplace diversity (Organizational insights, Work integration)

Marketplace diversity (Suppliers, franchises, customers)

Managing Cultural Diversity

In order to manage cultural diversity is really important to consider at first:

Organizational Culture

Human Resource

Women's career involment



Cultural Differences

Educational programs


Also, managing diversity has some benefits that help to understand why it is important for the organization.

· Higher creativity in decision-making: as a result of diversity, there are diverse ideas and opinions that may help to take a good decision making.

· Better understanding and serving of customers: Creation of products that is appealing to a broader customer base. Those products are innovative in order to satisfy customer needs.

· More satisfied workforce: the workforce is no longer discriminated. Employees that feel that they are discriminated are less committed and motivated.

· Higher stock prices: Investor's perception about management practices like affordable prices.

Lawsuits: companies that announce settlements for discrimination lawsuits.

· Higher company performance: there is a positive relation between the members mostly for racial diversity and firm performance.

· HRM efficiency

· Decision making, problem-solving, creativity and innovation

· Cross cultural capabilities

· New products/services and marketing strategies


ž Tendency to be attracted by those who are similar

ž Faultlines: It is an attribute that divides the group (organization) into subgroups:

- By age, gender, experience

ž Reduce the cohesion of the team

ž Norms need to be established.

ž The presence of stereotypes: those stereotypes can lead to unfair decision making, which is used to make about particular individuals.

ž Example:

- Women are relationship oriented

- Men are more assertive

- Result: the male candidate is hired for a managing position because he is supposed to be more assertive.


1.¿Is diversity management at IBM a source of competitive advantage? ¿why?

IBM is one of the fifty companies that are committed to diversity. In this case, the loyal function of those businesses plays an important role to diversity which is a tool for organizational culture which represents a source of competitive advantage. Increasing a diverse workforce and affairs with a diverse set of stakeholders provides firms a competitive advantage, which means low cost with a strong commitment.

2. ¿Do you think the IBM case reflects a strong organisational commitment to diversity? ¿why?

According to the document "The business case for commitment to diversity", IBM case represented a large contribution giving a commitment to the issue of diversity. The commitment was in 1995 when the 'CEO Louis Gerstner formed eight executive-level task forces which focused on attracting members of different minority groups, keeping them engaged, and retaining them'.

Bonus question:

¿Do you consider managing diversity a key success factor in the performance of virtual teams?

Conference: Virtual Teams and International Business

Dr. Eoin Higgins PhD

It was explained the definition of Virtual Teams at first: 'groups of people working together'. Those teams do not have a communication face to face at all; they make use of technology as a way to get a good contact between them. These teams are from different locations each location has different resources, which means each member of a team has to cross boundaries as a challenge.

As an interesting aspect that is related to the subject, he mentioned about multiculturalism in virtual teams which means that each member of the team has to know the other´s culture at first before to get a commitment. It is better than do not know anything about the partner who you are going to have a connection with in business for a long time. Managing diversity is totally connected to virtual teams for all the reasons given before. As a conclusion managing diversity is an important tool factor to the performance, even to the commitment that manager's staff must take into account for virtual team's mission.


1. Slater, Stanley F., Weigand, Robert A., Zweilein, Thomas J., 2008. "The business case for commitment to diversity". Business Horizons 51: 201-209.

2. Conference: Virtual Teams and International Business by Dr. Eoin Higgins PhD


'Voluntary and involuntary movement of people from one place to another', those people work as migrants in the country that is not their country home. Sometimes they work illegally without formal documents when as desperate way they move trying to find better opportunities to live, such as good income that can afford their needs.

Canada, The United States, England and Spain are examples to this situation. Most of the people that migrate to those destinies are looking better conditions, the most common reasons are:

· Expatriates business people

· Better levels of income

· Better conditions to live for their family

· Looking for peace

They decide to choose those destinies for many reasons additionally because those countries have a high economic level and are known as developed countries, which is the main reason. Migrant workers are the result of economic crisis in the third worlds, it means, undeveloped countries, so many people have decided to look for a better future in big cities.

As a consequence each country has a set of laws or treatments for those people that work as migrants, avoiding to use discrimination on it, even though, native people are not aware of this situation, in some cases they are xenophobic not allowing them since using public transportation to enter into a company. In the case that they were allowed there are other people that do not let they were treated as normal persons.

Nowadays we see on TV many aggressions that native people make to migrants in the subway in Spain for example, that is the same case for companies in those countries, because as soon as they know that the person is from an undeveloped country an the worker is migrant, they hire them as hard workers, like cleaners for example. This kind of jobs is which a native person is not available to make, because of the big effort that he has to do for less payment. As a consequence we see that there is a limited opportunities to work for a migrant worker with less benefits rather than native people.


· Electricians

· Cleaners

· Drivers

· Cashiers

· Constructors

· Waitress


The controls and laws that governments of those developed countries are based on not allowing people enter to their countries so; they select who can access and who do not like Visa system.

Otherwise, when visa is not given to a person, he or she tries the illegal way. They cross the borders illegally in the worst situation leaving their health at risk of death. Many illegal immigrants suffer hypothermia in the mountains and dehydration in the deserts. Most of these borders are guarded by police officers who control the illegal pass.


· Social and economic exclusion

· The attraction generated by the developed countries

· The need of these countries of counting with migration

· The internal armed conflicts

· Natural disasters


1. ¿Do you think the Points System in Canada is meant to protect the country's sovereignty? Or ¿is it just a deliberated form of discrimination? ¿Why?

"Points system" was implemented in 1967, in Canada, which highlights the immigrant's skills. With this system Canada make a selection on the immigrants that have special skills and economic level in order to keep up the volume of its immigration.

In this context, Canada uses this mechanism to protect the country's sovereignty. The reason that they give is because of the need of skilled people that contribute to Canada's economy. 'Canada may once again become a destination of choice for the skilled and educated workers of these societies as they seek to relocate'


1. Verbeeten, David. 2007. The Past and Future of Immigration to Canada. Journal of International Migration & Integration, 8(1): 1-10.


It means someone who goes abroad temporarily and is hired by a multinational company, in order to work successfully achieving the overseas needs like looking for expanding its customers and consequently its recognition in foreign countries.


· Ability to work and live successfully in a foreign environment

· Open minded person

·Knowledge of company's marketing strategy, mission and vision

· Capability to make international affairs


· Organizational learning

· Improvement on organizational strategy

· Transfer of new skills and knowledge

· Completion of the job assignment


Even though, being expatriate may have some many issues, which do not allow the achievement of the assignments because of, most of them have familiar ties that do not let them leave thinking about their assignments only.

Expatriate has expectation to go back because he misses his family or even because he is not ready to be opened to change. Another issue is that it represents a high cost for the company or maybe there is a high cost of failure.


1. INDIVIDUALS: the individuals have their own interests being expatriated rather than the company has. They look for powerlessness, good corporate citizen, and career development.

2. COMPANY: The company`s interests are dedicated to develop short-term objectives and new competencies to bring home.

3. INDUSTRY: Its interests are focused on building industry and national expertise. It is looking for transference of cross-cultural skills.


The person who will send to other country committed with the company`s assignments is going to overtake a process which would change his or her life. He or she has to adjust the foreign country's culture to his culture avoiding a failure occasioned to the cultural crash.


Before choosing an expatriate of the multinational company is important to consider:

· Make sure to do an appropriate selection criteria

· The person's preparation on it

· Career planning- succession plan

Then the selection would be easy:


- Technical skills and knowledge

- Cross cultural awareness + interpersonal skills

Success factors:

- Job factors

- Relational dimensions (cultural empathy, flexibility=

- Motivational state

- Family situation


- Language skills

- Technical knowledge and skills

- Cross-cultural training


Explain one of the causes for expatriate assignment failure and provide 3 recommendations to address it.


Inability of spouse to adjust

Difficulties with new environment

Personal or emotional problems

Other familiar problems

Lack of technical skills

According to these reasons for failure the recommendations are involve to:

Hire people with international traveling experience

To make an excellent selection process

To offer good compensation plans (living, transportation, and education for children)


Inkson, Kerr et al. 1999. Expatriate assignments and overseas experiences - contrasting models of international human resource development. Journal of World Business. 34: 351-368

• China

• Hong Kong

• Japan

• Macau

• Mongolia

• North Korea

• South Korea

• Taiwan


RELIGION: the most important religions practiced by East Asian people are Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shinto.


} Liberation from Japanese rule - 1945

} Creation of government - 1948

} Korean War - 1950

} Agricultural economy

} Low GDP per capita, even less than Mozambique or Senegal


} Accelerated growth in economy

} Improvement of products quality

} Change from a poor country to an industrialized one

} Changes in the labor market: qualified jobs

} Increasing international market share


• There are shared characteristics between the Japanese and Koreans

• Cultural factors differentiating Chaebol from Keiretsu:

- Layoffs

- Authoritarian

- Family owned


It is a state-lead economic model. The big Winners are: Samsung, Hyundai, LG, Kia, and Daewoo. These big companies are recognized worldly by their high revenues from exports.

The Chaebols are large conglomerate family of controlled firms in South Korea. These companies have strong ties with government agencies, and also they have privileges access to credits with the government banks.


} Scale Industrial conglomerates

} High impact in economic growth

} Access to new technologies

} Improvement on processes quality

} Great power holders


List the main similarities and differences of Japanese and Korean management styles.


· A wider set of cultural norms in each society is a powerful force for differentiation across borders.


· Both develop management styles based on finding a model in developed countries.

· Both belong to common cultural heritage: Confucianism and Buddhism.

· Sometimes Koreans look like Japanese more than Korean. Marketing - Korean- corporate brand.


Lee, Jangho, Thomas W. Roehl, & Soonkyoo Choe. 2000. What Makes Management Style Similar and Distinct Across Borders? Growth, Experience and Culture in Korean and Japanese Firms. Journal of International Business Studies, 31(4): 631-52.

Publicado por Alejandra Cano en 21:03

0 comentarios:

China is defined as a socialist country with a market economy


· Wariness of foreigners (Chinese people only trust in their families)

· Confucian culture (education, moral, and relationships)

· Pictographic Language

· Agricultural activities (farming)


· Collectivist

· Hierarchical

· Relationship oriented

· Holistic


The Chinese organizations are working following eight important elements:

1. Guanxi (Personal Connections): Chinese place a premium on individuals' social capital within their group of friends, relatives, and close associates.

2. Zhongjian Ren (The Intermediary): In the United States, people tend to trust others. In China, suspicion and distrust characterize all meetings with strangers.

3. Renji Hexie (Interpersonal Harmony): Importance of harmonious relations between business partners.

4. Shehui Dengji (Social Status): Casualness does not play well in a country where the Confucian values of obedience and deference to one's superiors remain strong.

5. Zhengti Guannian (Holistic Thinking) : The Chinese think in term of the whole while Americans think sequentially and individualistically.

6. Jiejian (Thrift): Save their money, a practice known as jiejian. Chinese negotiators will pad their offers with more room to maneuver than most Americans are used to, and they expect both sides to make concessions on price.

7. Mianzi ("Face" or Social Capital): In Chinese business culture, a person's reputation and social standing rest on saving face.

8. Chiku Nailao (Endurance, Relentlessness): The Chinese are famous for their work ethic. They prize relentless hard work.


They were to:

- Cultivate themselves morally

- Show filial piety and loyalty where these are due

- Cultivate humanity, or benevolence

- Behaves on the basis of mutual trust and benefit and seeks cooperation and win-win solutions. He/she associates business with guanxi, friendship and trust


· Corruption: It is a deeply-rooted custom

· Energy shortcuts: there is a lack of capacity in energy resource

· Internal Robbery: Stealing ideas, designs and products from other organizations

· Labor instability: It is difficult to find qualified personnel


¿What is the relevance of Guanxi and the existence of Chinese business networks as supporting factors to the internationalization process of Chinese companies?

Nowadays Chinese organizations have become more globalized, due to contemporary strategies used to internationalize such as strategic alliances, Joint ventures all franchises all of them with Western countries, that is the reason Guanxi's relevance is not much high to help internationalization process of these companies.

Nevertheless, the Guanxi system has been used as a business strategy in the implementation of internationalization by MNCs and HRM in Taiwan.

Guanxi meaning according to the text "Is Guanxi still working, while Chinese MNCs go global? it means "a friendship with unlimited exchange of favors", it says that the Chinese culture is described as a culture based on the harmony on personal relations. They matter close relationships; it means they worries about the other's stability.