Cultural Perspectives Of Doing Business In Croatia Cultural Studies Essay

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Culture refers to the following Ways of Life, including but not limited to: Language: the oldest human institution and the most sophisticated medium of expression. Arts & Sciences: the most advanced and refined forms of human expression. Thought: the ways in which people perceive, interpret, and understand the world around them. Spirituality: the value system transmitted through generations for the inner well-being of human beings, expressed through language and actions. Social activity: the shared pursuits within a cultural community, demonstrated in a variety of festivities and life-celebrating events. Interaction: the social aspects of human contact, including the give-and-take of socialization, negotiation, protocol, and conventions."

In order to make sure that people work together proficiently and together towards business objectives in a positive and motivating environment, they need to be aware of the existence and importance of both a corporate culture and international culture. In foreign countries, getting everybody to work together might not be very easy. Apart from language issues, different countries have different approaches to work. Some cultures take offense of certain comments. A Christmas party might not be seen too keen by non-Christian religions. Cultural sets of beliefs and differences cannot be easily changed or overcome. But it is important for any business owner or manager to be aware of them and how they impact their business. This will help to adjust to them and improve efficiency, profitability and success of business.

Problem statement

Culture is defined as the accepted norms and behavior of a group of people or community that also determines how business is done in the country. In the era of globalization, many businesses from developed countries have thought about either outsourcing to where cost is lower than their home country, or to manufacture their goods in another country to tap the demand of the huge population. Uppermost on their minds is the cost savings that could be achieved and the significant increase in market share in the country that they would like to operate in. Most businesses trying to operate outside their home country fail. Most of the time it's the failure to understand cultural differences in the countries that they operate in. This research paper was aimed at establishing different perspectives of doing business in Croatia.

Objective

The main objective of the research was to ascertain the cultural perspectives of doing business in Croatia. This objective was achieved through the following specific research objectives

To determine the major elements of dimensions of culture in Croatia

To ascertain how dimensions of culture are integrated by locals in business

To assess the difference in Croatian and US culture and Business

To determine the implication of US business wishing to be conducted in Croatia

Research questions

The objective of the research was arrived at by answering the following research questions

What are the major elements of dimensions of culture in Croatia?

How are dimensions of culture integrated by locals conducting business?

What is the difference in Croatian and US culture and Business?

What are the implications of US businesses wishing to be conducted in Croatia?

Significance of the study

The study provided an understanding of Croatian culture which is essential for doing business in Croatia successfully.

Literature review

Culture defined

From the perspective of a humanist, the one Mathew Arnold used the word "culture" to pass on to an ideal of individual human refinement, of the finest that has been thought and said in the world. This idea of culture is comparable to the German concept of building:

"...culture being a pursuit of our total perfection by means of getting to know, on all the matters which most concern us, the best which has been thought and said in the world"

A according to an anthropologist Kroeber and Kluckhohn culture can be defined as:

"Culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for behavior acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievement of human groups, including their embodiment in artifacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional (i.e. historically derived and selected) ideas and especially their attached values; culture systems may, on the one hand, be considered as products of action, on the other, as conditioning elements of future action"

 As a replacement for defining culture as a kind of knowledge, McGrew suggests that

"Culture can be viewed as a list of steps which include: (i) a new pattern of behavior is invented, or an existing one is modified. (ii) the innovator transmits this pattern to another. (iii) the form of the pattern is consistent within and across performers, perhaps even in terms of recognizable stylistic features. (iv) the one who acquires the pattern retains the ability to perform it long after having acquired it. (v) the pattern spreads across social units in a population. These social units may be families, clans, troops, or bands. (vi) the pattern endures across generations"

Shahla Arbabi Yazd defines culture:

"Culture refers to the following Ways of Life, including but not limited to: Language: the oldest human institution and the most sophisticated medium of expression. Arts & Sciences: the most advanced and refined forms of human expression. Thought: the ways in which people perceive, interpret, and understand the world around them. Spirituality: the value system transmitted through generations for the inner well-being of human beings, expressed through language and actions. Social activity: the shared pursuits within a cultural community, demonstrated in a variety of festivities and life-celebrating events. Interaction: the social aspects of human contact, including the give-and-take of socialization, negotiation, protocol, and conventions."

Business culture in countries in transition cannot be explained exclusively either by their heritage from communist times, nor by their recent path through the transition period. There are three identified types of culture that are of relevance (Ali & Alshawi, 2004a). These include; national culture- a set of core values that shape the behavior of individuals as well as the whole society, organizational culture (Adler 1997; Bagchi and Cerveny 2003) and lastly, there is the individual level of culture, as shown by Dorfman and Howell (1988) in their investigation into the effects of national culture on individual behavior, e.g. technology acceptance, which influences the customer behavior even in the opposite direction that the society culture is pushing.

The business culture of a particular country is the product of many factors from its past and present that are so peculiar that they cannot ever be fully and finally understood and explained.

Overview of Croatian culture

Croatia became a constituent republic of the Federative Popular Republic of Yugoslavia after the Second World War, which inherited the ex-Yugoslav kingdom with art governed by the canon of socialist realism and science and education governed by the canon of dialectic and historical materialism.

Self-management system was introduced in 1950s. Cultural and other public domains were decentralized and regulated on the level of the six constituent republics. Modernization and the global openness of the country brought various cultural influences. Ideological control over culture loosened, followed by a national movement in which cultural and educational institutions played a visible role. Despite the ensuing political repression the public policies led to greater autonomy of the republics in the federation. The current government was appointed in 2009, after the political shifts caused by resignation of the former prime minister (2004-2009).

Croatia is home to a blend of Greek, Roman and Byzantine influences, the majority of the population is Croats. Minorities include Serbs, Hungarians and Gypsies.

Though Croatia is a very young autonomous nation, its distinct culture has been driven by thousands of years of empires, kingdoms and civilizations. It is famed for its rich culture and natural beauty, with numerous national parks and a flourishing tourism industry.

Ethics

Ethics is the common agreed upon practice of different moral principles or values. It concentrates on the general nature of morals and the specific moral choice an individual makes in relationship to others. It represents the rules and/or standards governing the conduct of the member of a profession. The context of this inquiry will be ethics applied to business.

Religion

Croatians are mainly Roman Catholic, with small percentages of Uniates (Eastern Orthodox Christians, recognizing the pope), Protestants, and Muslims. Some pre-Christian elements have been integrated into Christian beliefs and practices. Other influences on Croatian religious beliefs and practices have come from European and Near Eastern cultures, from rural and urban traditions alike, resulting in an amalgam of different heritages. Sacred and religious aspects of traditional culture were neglected during the Socialist period because religion was relegated solely to the private sphere of life. The Catholic Church plays a large role in Croatian society. The clergy plays a pivotal role in the country's education and culture. Croatians are especially devoted to the Blessed Virgin. There are sanctuaries throughout the country built in her honor. Each village and town has a patron saint and that saint's feast day is celebrated with a procession and church ceremony. Some villages still have a traditional bonfire on their patron saints' day. Many professionals also have their own patron saint. Religion is a unifying factor of Croatian culture where most Croatians are Roman Catholic. Though religion is not discussed in the workplace, Catholicism has a large impact on everyday life and many businesses close for Roman Catholic holidays. Each town and city has a patron saint and celebrates the saint's feast day with ceremonies and festivals. The Catholic religion has also played a large part in Croatia's historical and cultural development and continues to be seen in everyday Croatian life. National Pride - Croatians are very proud of their country and heritage and take criticism very personally. Because of this, Croatians can come off as being haughty and pretentious and may seem arrogant to foreigners.

Nationalists

Croats are extremely proud of their heritage and culture and are thus staunch nationalists. They call their country "Our Beautiful Homeland" ("Lijepa naša"), which is also the title of the national anthem. The sense of nationalism comes both from their long and rich culture as well as a legacy of foreign invasion and control. Folklore plays a key role in preserving the culture. Life experiences are translated into verse, poetic songs, melodies, fairy tales, symbolic rituals, music, dance, costumes, and jewellery. Folksongs and poems often attest to the sentiment and regard between family members.

Social structure

The family is still the basis of the social structure. The extended family is the norm and relatives remain quite close with both the mother and the father's sides. The family provides its members with a social network and assistance in times of need. Even though it is becoming increasingly common for the nuclear family to have its own house, Croatians will take in elderly parents rather than send them to a nursing home. Weekends are considered family time. Few Croatians will allow business concerns to interfere with this important part of their lives.

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