Esame Cross Cultural management
2. Based on the Nora e Sakari case, provide an evaluation of the following
Which are the interests of Nora?
Which are the interests of Sakari?
Which are the alternatives to a negotiated agreement that Nora has?
(more than one.)
Which are the alternatives to a negotiated agreement that Sakari has?
(more than one.)
Firstly, let us try to analyse the Nora’s case.
Their principal interest is to buy and learn new capabilities and knowhow in technology from the Finnish
Company with the future aim of developing its own digital switching exchanges and related high tech
They want to get source of information from a firm that work in a more complex and competitive
environment. From this expansion process, they expect to improve their position in their market.
After have obtained this knowledge, they may grow faster and expand internationally with an advantage
They want the possibility to enter in a new Market; Asia would perfect cause of its very high Expected
growth of mobile telecommunication (1990-94) and even for the very low percentage of Mobiles/people
(from 1 to 11).
They hope that Malaysian workers would be efficient in manufacturing, maintaining and ensuring quality,
products and prompt delivery.
They don’t want that Nora would be able to “steal their” technological competences and know-how.
Both the firms have bargaining power, because they have alternatives.
Nora has the possibility to deal with other firms interested in this joint venture like the ones that
participated to the bid (Siemens, Samsung, AT&T) maybe with a potential partner that will fit more with
their conditions and moreover with their organizational, cultural and structural characteristics(they don’t
abandoned the possibility of a renegotiation with Sakari).
Another Possible alternative would be to “steal” knowledges, professional, competencies and high tech
materials from some Western competitor in order to develop their own best technology, which indeed is
their real final aim
Sakari alternatives are related to the research of another partner or maybe to acquire a strategic small firm,
geographically well placed, that fit better in terms of culture, capabilities and resources and then that can
lead them to apply their idea of business.
An interesting option would be to focus in other country like UK that could act as a springboard to enter in
the UE market or they may find another firm placed in Asia with easier negotiation clauses.
3. Consider all the cultural dimensions presented by Hofstede, Hall,
Schwartz, Trompenaars and others. According to your personal point of
view, which are the dimensions that can best explain differences among
cultures? Choose 5 of them, provide a description of each dimension
and support your choice
2. Until now, we have examined different theories about different cultural dimensions, with the aim of
describing the various cultures that are present around the world: Hofstede, Hall, Trompenaars, Schwartz,
These Theorists take into account many variables, and even if we have some points of convergence (like the
universalistic approach vs. the particularistic one, that is present more or less in each theories though), it is
not possible to make an objective theory because we have always to deal with subjective prospectives.
In my opinion, in order to try to develop a trustful theory, I would like to analyze two opposite cultures,
trying to discover which are the most clearly distinguishable dimensions present between them.
A clear example could be the one that put on one side the USA, and on the other side the China.
I would like to take this consideration as a starting point, in order understand which are the dimensions
that, in my opinion can best explain these differences among cultures.
Distribution of power and authority in society; Hierarchy- Equality, High-Low
This dimension want to explain how the power is distributed primary in a society: horizontal or vertical
relationships prevail. Even Hofstede pointed out a similar concept but, according to his idea, the degree of
power distance is “the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the
family) accept and expect that power is unequally distributed” .
In the more egalitarian states (like USA, Scandinavia, etc.) people tend to be distributed in the middle class,
subordinates can express their opinion to bosses, the information is shared at different levels and there is
Conversely, in Hierarchical countries such as China, India and etcetera; the society, considered as a whole, is
divided into distinct classes, where the upper ones own legitimate and stable power.
In general, subordinates feel very respectful to their superiors, and tend to always pursuing their will,
considering them as a sort of protector (paternalistic approach).
We must consider this dimension as notable, in particular if we are considering Business or negotiation
As an evidence, we can take the example of the interesting video seen in the classroom, focused on the
creation of an international work team, led by an English Manager who had to cope with people from
allover the world such as Chinese, Italians, Indians, Americans and more.
The Team Leader had to face many unpredictable problems in dealing with different cultures.
One of the most evident was the relationship with the Chinese person because, even if he looked very well
prepared in its subject, because of its culture he could not be able to take any kind of decision without the
permission of his Chinese Boss; he always had to call and make him aware of every fact.
Of course, this is not an insurmountable handicap but, firstly, to solve a problem you must be aware of it, as
clearly appears even in the video.
Centrality of individuals or groups as the basis
This dimension even if is one of the easiest to be comprehend, is also the most shared among different
theorists off course with various meaning but the substantiality is the same for everyone.
In general, this dimension wants to explain what the crucial backbone of a society is: individuals or groups?
According to some theories, this dimension must be considered as the other side of the coin of the power
orientation dimension, but from my perspective even if I recognize an evident relationship between them,
they must be considered separately.
In an individualistic society the focus is on the single member on his personal career achievements and
independence; of course groups exist but they are simply considered as a sum of different induvial and the
concept of making something together in order to share knowledge and doing something in a better way is
in most of the cases an utopia.
Conflicts are inevitable; there exist simply the need of managing them because the pressure on controlling
actions came internally. Clear examples of these kind of cultures could be Germany, Us, Argentina, etcetera.
A collectivistic society instead is characterized by opposite features: the focus of the society is based on
groups that must be motivated in order to better act, there doesn’t exist an individual thought but
moreover a collectivity one.
We must ensure most of the times that conflicts don’t happen because the pressure on controlling actions
come from outside and all individual have to fit into the group.
I think that this dimension plays a crucial role in managerial sets of problems of the big multinational
enterprises that, as a sake of necessity has to govern a variety of behaviors and cultures.
In Theory, in the inter organizational relationships, the presence of a strong individualistic spirit should
enhance a barrier vs the realization of collaborative agreements with foreign partners, instead the
collectivistic spirit should accelerate the creation process of collaboration systems. But reality is absolutely
not like this.
Most of the times Individualism brings to opportunism helping the easier creation of collaboration with
external partners with the aim of obtaining personal advantages.
On the contrary, the collectivistic spirit transform the group in a sort of clan bringing in some way
individualism in international relationships: who is perceived different from the group is often not well
As an evidence of that fact we can take the negotiation case of Raysun where, Indian mangers after have
felt their “diversity” in relation with American people ( standardised rules and “impoliteness”) immediately
left the negotiation room without completing any kind of negotiation.
Mechanism of personal and social control:
In universalistic cultures , rules apply equally to the whole ”universe” of members, regardless of
relationships, general rules, codes, values and standards must be followed with very rare exceptions. ”What
is good and right can be defined and always applied”, the aim is to simply find the best people able of doing
that determined task.
Clear examples of universalistic countries are USA, UK, Germany, Netherlands, etecetera
Particularist cultures pays attention to the obligations of relationships and unique circumstances.
Human friendship, extraordinary achievement and situations, the ”spirit of law” more important than the
”letter of law
EXAMPLE : You are a journalist who often writes restaurant reviews column for newspapers. A close friend
of yours has invested all his savings in his new restaurant. You have eaten there and you are asked to write
a review even for that particular restaurant.
The problem is that you think the restaurant is not very good.
Does your friend have some right to expect you to ignore bad comments in your review or does your friend
have no right to expect this at all?
Yes, he has some right to expect this (Particularism)
No; he has no right to expect this (Universalism)
In general terms this dimension even if is one of the most vague in my opinion is fundamental to better
understand deep differences between cultures and could bring many difficulties in the negotiation process
if the two parts have opposite visions.
As an evidence of that we can take the example of the video dealing with the building site in which the US
Manager (blond girl-absolutely Universalistic) had numerous problems in the work organization with the
Latin constructors (particularistic).
They know exactly how things go in “their World” and so they expected her to agree to a compromise in
order to get “difficult” supplies which are not easy to be found and more expensive than expected, but this
did not happened.
Use of time
The time dimension is considered notable by most of the theorists even if everyone gives different shade
and meaning, in my opinion the most complete dimension is the one that counterpoise:
Monochronic – where things are typically done one at a time, where time is segmented into precise, small
units, and where time is scheduled, arranged and managed (Clock time).
They value a certain orderliness and sense of there being an appropriate time and place for everything.
They do not value interruptions .
In such a culture, time represents a tangible commodity than can be spent, saved or wasted, and a
paramount value is placed on regimented schedules, tasks and “getting the job done”.
Clear examples could be the United States, Germany and Switzerland, to which could be added Britain,
Canada, Japan, South Korea.
Polychronic – where multiple things can be done at the same time, and a more fluid approach is taken to
scheduling time(flexitime). Such cultures tend to be less focused on the precise accounting of every
moment, and much more steeped in tradition and relationships rather than in tasks. Polychronic cultures
have a much less formal perception of time, and are not ruled by precise calendars and schedules.
Many Latin American, African, Asian and Arab cultures fall into this category, especially countries like
Mexico, Pakistan, India, rural China, the Philippines, Egypt and Saudi Arabia
Interactions between these two types can be problematic. As we have seen in class in the video “a world of
differences” where The English teamleader cannot understand why his Italian subordinate was so
interruptible by his boss’ phone calls and people stopping by.
Affective or neutral context: describes how cultures express their emotions.
In affective cultures like Italy people express their emotions more naturally, reactions are shown
immediately verbally and/or non-verbally by using mimic and gesture in form of body signals. They don’t
avoid physical contact and when they meet each other they look very enthusiastic speaking with loud
voices. In contrast neutral cultures like Japanese tend to hide their emotions and don’t show them in
public. Neutral cultures don’t express precisely and directly what they are really thinking which can lead to
misunderstandings and certain emotions are considered to be improper to exhibit in certain situations. It is
also considered important not to let emotion influence objectivity and reason in decision making. In general
they feel discomfort with physical contact in public and communicate in a more subtle way which makes it
difficult for members of other cultures to read between the lines and get the message.
“When doing business with neutral cultures it is recommended to ask for time-outs from meetings and
negotiations and put as much as you can on paper beforehand. „Neutrals“ tend to be reserved which
doesn’t mean that they are disinterested or bored. It is just a lack of emotional tone. You may experience
that the entire negotiation is very focused on the object or proposition being discussed and less on you as a
In comparison to „Neutrals“, members of affective cultures may have a tendency to overact, creating scenes
or getting histrionic, but it is suggested not to get confused but to take time-outs for a clear, sober reflection
and hard assessment. They don’t have made up their minds when showing their enthusiasm, readiness to
agree or vehement disagree. You can respond warmly their expressed goodwill. In contrast to neutral
cultures, affective cultures are focused on you as a person and not so much on the object or position.“ ₂
*₁,₂ Riding on the waves of culture“, Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner, page 79
This dimension could seems not so crucial in order to describe or identify one single culture but I decided to
insert it inside my personal theory according to my past experience.
I was in Boracay, Philippines attending a two months English course continuously meeting lots of people
coming from all-over the world. Everyone of course has his peculiarities but Green was different from
He was a Japanese quite important manager living in Tokyo and working in a big telecommunication
company. He was more or less thirty aged and even if he was spending, the only admissible vacation of the
year often instead of going out with other classmates he always had to work.
This person immediately caught my attention for his strange look. Then I started to spent more and more
time with him but his personality was still a mystery, he always looks with the same facial expression and
even if sometimes I was sure that he was having great time, maybe the best of its life, the maximum
expression he was able to show us was only a covered smile and in some way he even tried to hidden it like
he was feeling shamed.
+1 anno fa
I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher knught1 di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Cross Cultural Management e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore - Milano Unicatt o del prof Rana Yadvinder.
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