MBA Management Cross Cultural Training

MBA Management Cross Cultural Training

Cross Cultural Training. This MBA paper discusses Cross Cultural Training and its objectives, Importance of intercultural training in globalization, Key intercultural skills for expatriate training, Types and benefits of intercultural training and determinants of cultural difference.


Inter cultural training is fast becoming a clearly important element in the world of global industry (Zakaria, 2000) This assignment discusses Cross cultural training and its objectives, Importance of intercultural training in globalization, Key intercultural skills for expatriate training, Types and benefits of intercultural training, Determinants of cultural differences, Differences across cultures in people and practices, Socio-Cultural aspects of expatriate adjustment and  Intercultural training issues.

Intercultural Training

Inter cultural training means “Any intervention aimed at increasing an individual’s capability to cope with and work in foreign environment” (Tung, 1981). It includes one to one discussion and imitation of the situations of other culture to understand the culture of host country.  In other way cross cultural training means “Formal methods to prepare people for more effective interpersonal relations and job success when they interact extensively with individuals from cultures other than their own” (Brislin and Yoshida, 1994). Definition of cross cultural training hence is wide to include differences in areas like linguistic skills, corporate manners, views and principles, social system, negotiating styles etc. of any culture. The benefits of inter–cultural training are (Zakaria, 2000);

  1. A distinct advantage for organizations
  2. By continuous changing home country mode to a socially adjustable and suitable culture
  3. By improving how to cope up with unpredicted events and by dealing with cultural shock in host country culture
  4. By decreasing uncertainty in expatriates while dealing with host country citizens
  5. Increasing expatriates managing skills by reducing stress and disorientation (Zakaria, 2000) So this is the instrument for increasing the corporate culture and follows constantly reviewing the activity of expatriates in the companies

Importance of Intercultural Training in Globalisation

Changing Nature of International Organisations

Because of increasing co enterprise and unions and the huge developments in minor to major businesses as significant contributions in globalisation. Due to shift in financial circumstances changed the way of organisations looking at the value efficiency of expatriates (Harris and Kumra, 2000)

Change in Host Location

Due to huge foreign direct investment in foreign countries and inter cultural improvements the demand of expatriate assignment rise between established countries with a drop in the percentage of managers moving from developed world to the Third World (Harris and Kumra, 2000)

Key Intercultural Skills for Expatriate Training

According to Hofstede (1980, p. 398) important intercultural skills are as follows:

  1. The ability to interconnect esteem
  2. The ability to be broadminded
  3. The ability to accept others ideas and views
  4. The ability to show sympathy
  5. The ability to be elastic
  6. The ability for giving chance to others in debates
  7. Patience for doubtfulness

Gudykunst and Hammer (1983) focused on types of cross cultural training approaches. According to them there are two approaches:

Experiential versus Didactic: This method is based on an observation that individuals, mainly grownups, study by performing the task. (Knowles, 1972, 1975, 1990; Tough, 1979) For effectiveness in this approach learner have to study the processes and tactics for their significance in their society; improve a positive approach to the concept which will bring positive outcomes for them and also for another (Richards, 1997). In the didactic (information giving) approach, based on the thoughts that a cognitive understanding is essential before people can interact with another culture. This can be done by information giving such as lectures, videos and group discussions.

Culture Specific versus Culture General: Culture specific training gives information and direction about culture where expatiate is moving soon for his assignment. Culture specific method includes methods like culture specific briefings, assimilation and readings, giving expatriate knowledge about the country (e.g. past and present situation, creed); important ethics, or what to do and what not to do in that particular culture. (Harris and Kumra, 2000)On the other hand, Culture general training is about providing information to the peoples which they can use in any new culture with anew  variety of know hows and developing expatiates with a set of expertise of how to deal with unknown cultures. Types of approach used in this include simulations and self-assessments (Harris and Kumra, 2000)

Types and Benefits of Intercultural Training

Pre Departure Training: This is the traditional form for intercultural training and it is conducted in the home country and organised about a month ago before departure. For better efficiency, the training should be given when the trainees are most motivated to learn (Selmer, 2009) For example, if a person is unable to concern learning about another culture may not benefit from pre-departure training. The duration of most Cross Cultural Training programmes is depends upon the cultural distance from home country to host country. For example between the West and China (Branine, 2005). This experience is called ‘‘tourist  phase’’ (Torbiorn,1982)

Post Arrival Training: Post arrival training is further beneficial when provided after expatriate coming back from host country to home country. (Gudykunst et al., 1996; Selmer et al., 1998). This takes around three to six months to start and focused on developments in the host country culture, world view, mentality, values, living patterns and social structure (Torbiorn, 1994). This training can take place at the host country, the home country or any other place. This is like ‘‘on site’’ training of expatriates. ‘‘on site’’ training supports to study innovative administrative measures, and help them adjust to the new cultural background.

Sequential Training: This training must be progressing in steps starting at pre departure and continuing to the post arrival phases which provides a complete direction for expatriate’s step by step improvement towards knowing the value and beliefs of the host culture. (Selmer, 2009) Sequential training has three pre conditions. First, expatriate’s encounters a much diverse societal atmosphere, that the expatriate has faced situations which were unknown before without any option. Then, the relocation to the overseas nation is within a short period of time. Third, expatriate Stays in the host culture for long time for situation to be restructured and the new behaviors to be taught (Selmer et al., 1998).

Content and Duration of Cross Cultural Training

Brislin (1979) has identified three different contents of Cross cultural Training as being cognitive, effective and behavioral in nature. The cognitive content matches to a distribution of information through discussions and other non-participatory resources. Cognitive content contain facts and figures important for real world measures, for example geographic knowledge, weather, accommodation, universities etc. The effective content aims at aggravating individual responses to learn how to deal with critical cultural situations.

Cross Cultural Training Dissertation
Cross Cultural Training Dissertation

The behavioral content aims at improving the communication style of participants for decent relationships with members of host culture and could enables communication with natives, shows an ability to show the interest to learn about overseas culture, supports expatriate to be well mannered (Eschback et al., 2001; Selmer, 2006). Duration of Cross Culture Training sessions are depending upon what training expatriate is getting ranging from one day or designed for few days or a month (Caligiuri et al., 2001; Gudykunst et al.). For example, language training from basic level to advance level reneging from one day to one month.

Benefits of Cross Cultural Training

Cross cultural training improves consciousness amongst people in order to promote clear lines of communication and better relationships. Cross Cultural Training should enable expatriates to determine appropriate cultural behaviours in the host country and suitable ways to perform their job tasks (Black and Mendenhall, 1990). Through Cross Cultural Training, expatriates may get familiar with unexpected happenings in the new cultural background and to reduce conflict due to unexpected actions and situations. Furthermore, it also shows that in the pre departure Cross Cultural Training, the training may help expatriates to create accurate outlooks with respect to living and working in the host country. (Black and Mendenhall, 1990; Black et al., 1991)

An Integrated Cross Cultural Training Model

This model relates the success of training to the development of acculturation. This supports expatriates to act very effectively and reduce stressful practices while facing the insecurity in overseas nations. This model defines acculturation as both a development and a state. For individual persons, family support and willingness to acculturate features added. The type of job assignment, length of assignment and type of training added in situational features. The main improvement in this model is the adding of extra critical process earlier cultural contact takes place, both of which are antecedents to the acculturation process. (Zakaria, 2000)

The new procedure is the moderating process which needs good training programs. The main purposes of this procedure are: adjust the individual and situational characteristics; decrease the culture shock like stress, disorientation, learning and skills deficits; accomplish improved acculturation results. Cross cultural training is important element. With the help of integrated cross cultural training program organisations gain benefits if training is provided in a proper way (Nixon & Dawson 2013)

Determinants of Cultural Differences

Pioneering study of cultures across modern nations done by Hofstede, Dutch social psychologist, in different cultures evaluated the outcomes and establishes forms of likeness and variance among the answers along these five dimensions. According to Hofstede (1981, in Hofstede, 2001) there are some magnitudes in to the cultural factors. These factors are as follows:

  1. Power distance index (PDI): This state to the degree of dissimilarity that exists – and is accepted – between persons with and without power. A high PD score shows that culture agrees an unequal circulation of power and people recognise “their place” in the system. A Low PD shows that power is shared and well distributed. It also means equality in the society members.
  1. Individualism (IDV): means specific point at which persons take care about them beyond family and with a very few close friends or stay incorporated into groups usually around the family.
  1. Masculinity (MAS) vs. feminism: means the circulation of emotional roles amongst the sexes. It opposes a tough masculine to tender feminine society. The assertive pole has been called ‘masculine’ and the modest and the caring pole called ‘feminine’.
  1. Uncertainty avoidance index (UAI): this deals with a culture’s open mindedness for uncertainty and ambiguity; which shows the states to man’s hunt for reality. It shows to what level a culture programs its members to feel in unstructured conditions. For example, uncomfortable or comfortable.
  1. Long term orientation (LTO):  This state that at what dimensions values and ethics age old works as opposite to short term customs and beliefs. Countries those are having a high Long term orientation score, bringing on social responsibilities and side stepping “loss of face” are count very significant.

Differences across Cultures in People and Practices

Many people behave significantly different in different situations because of their cultures differences. The motivational desires of the expatriates and executives differ from culture to culture. The driving force which causes peoples to do the job in India may not be the same for Chines peoples; international manager must understand the modifications in the people’s mode of doing work. (Neelankavil and James, 2012)

The manufacture services of organizations may be same through divisions but the mind-set of the people’s changes organizations to organizations. For example, Japanese management system like quality circles failed when they have applied into Indian organisations. Neelankavil, Mathur and Zhang (2012) study shows that in four countries for management development and motivational aspects in both different training found diverse management values, value dimensions and relative administration. India established a similar value to America than its neighbor country china though less geographic distance. For example, Drive and ambition were significant for American managers (91) for achievement which is not the instance for China (7) (Neelankavil, Mathur and Zhang, 2012)

Socio Cultural Aspects of Expatriate Adjustment

There is difference in Socio-Cultural and psychological adjustments in the concept of inter cultural adjustment (Searle and Ward, 1990; Ward and Kennedy, 1992, 1993; Ward and Searle, 1991). Socio-Cultural adjustment communicates the capability to successfully interact with the peoples of overseas country (Ward and Kennedy, 1996) which has been linked with objects that encourage and enable to learn other countries culture and acquire social skills. (Cross, 1995; Searle and Ward, 1990) The Socio-Cultural stressed on social behavior (Black and Mendenhall, 1991; Furnham, 1993; Klineberg, 1982).Psychological adjustment means person’s happiness in their new social backgrounds linked with persons emotions, cognitive views, and individual features (Ward and Kennedy, 1996). Black et al. (1991) discussed in their recommended model for international managers modification, difference in three types of modification is as follows:

  1. Modification towards expatriates work;
  2. Modification towards communicating with citizens of the host country;
  3. Modification towards social situation.


It is very important that for sending their expatriates to the host country must be aware of situations in an overseas. Managing with an overseas nation both administrative and national require well organized homework. A very well equipped cross cultural training will help the organizations to be ready for, with the fluctuations in the functioning policies, principles and ethics they are predicted towards the future. There is a degree of variance expatriate may see while moving to a host country. An organisation may face losses due to unorganized cross cultural training and that is the matter of great concern.

For preparing the expatriates for an overseas mission is equally advantageous for the companies and for international managers. In cross cultural training it is very important that which type of training program organisation using. A good organised inter cultural teaching program might help in uncertain circumstances; from this activity industry can get the best possible output from the international managers by taking care of the employee confidence and inspiration. Now from the above arguments we can say that inter cultural training is the main factor for success in international human resource management.


Black, J. and Mendenhall, M. (1990) Cross Cultural Training Effectiveness: A Review and a Theoretical Framework for Future Research. Academy of Management Review [Internet], 15(1), January, pp.113 136.

Brislin, R. and Yoshida, T. (1994) Intercultural Communication Training: An Introduction [Internet], Sage publication ltd., London.

Graf, A. (2004) Screening and training inter cultural competencies: evaluating the impact of national culture on inter cultural competencies. International Journal of Human Resource Management.

Graf A, Mertesacker, M. (2009) Intercultural training: six measures assessing training needs. Journal of European Industrial Training.

Harris, H. and Kumra, S. (2000) International manager development—Cross cultural training in highly diverse environments. Journal of Management Development.

Hofstede, G.S. (2001) Culture’s Consequences:  Comparing Values, Behaviours, Institutions and Organizations across Nations, 2nd ed.,   Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications Ltd., United Kingdom.

Interview by Powell, S. (2006) Geert Hofstede: challenges of cultural diversity, Human Resource Management International Digest.

Mathur, A, Zhang, Y, and Neelankavil, J. (2012), Critical managerial motivational factors: A cross cultural analysis of four culturally divergent countries, International Journal of Cross Cultural Management.

Neelankavil, and James P.(2012) ‘Determinants of Managerial Performance: A Cross cultural Comparison of the Perceptions of Middle level Managers in Four Countries’, Journal of International Business Studies.

Nixon, J. and Dawson, G. (2013) Reason for cross cultural communication training, Corporate Communications.

Selmer J. (1999) Culture shock in China? Adjustment pattern of western expatriate business managers. International Business Review.

Selmer, J. (2004) Psychological barriers to adjustment of Western business expatriates in China: Newcomers vs long stayers. The International Journal of Human Resource Management.

Selmer, J. (2005) Cross cultural training and expatriate adjustment in China: Western joint venture managers.

Selmer, J. (2009) Expatriate cross cultural training for China: views and experience of “China Hands”, Management Research Review.

Waxin, M. and Panaccio, A. (2005) Cross cultural training to facilitate expatriate adjustment: it works!

Zakaria, N. (2000) The effects of cross cultural training on the acculturation process of the global workforce. International Journal of Manpower.

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Hofstede and Trompenaars

How Do Different Cultures Affect Consumer Behaviour and Organisational Structure: An Inquiry Using Hofstede and Trompenaars Models

This study will analyse the effect of different cultural practices on consumer behaviour belonging to different cultures. Utilizing Hofstede’s cultural framework and Trompenaars dimensions of cultural framework, this study will exhibit the cultural differences create differential impacts on organizations and structural changes associated with them. Furthermore, theoretical frameworks constructed by other behaviourists as well as psycho-sociologists will be discussed in brief to determine the stimulant triggering consumers to consumer goods. How far cultural orientations are effectively managing consumer behaviour and how much these orientations are making organisations to adapt to specific set of practices in local context will be studies Moreover, this study will argue that cultural differences affect not only the behaviour of consumer but lead the managers to change their decision making style and to make strategic decisions on the basis of consumers’ choice.

Culture: What It Holds for Consumers

Culture consists of collective elements and practices which provide a conduit for perception, judgment, calculation, correspondence, and action amongst those who share a historical period, a language, and a geographic location according to Arnolds and Thompson (2005). Culture is a prevailing power in regulating human behaviour and shaping their values in the formation of their collective actions. According to the authors, the culture is comprised of a commonly-accepted set of behaviour models that are transported and well-preserved by the members of a specific society through different means. Cultural values touch almost every facet of human life according to Mourali et al., (2005). The cultural value scheme includes cultural fundamentals that the people of a particular region have in common with the group to which they belong as observed by Luna and Gupta (2001). From the start of an individual’s actuality, the personal experiences the profits and restrictions of a particular culture, and those profits and limitations may become a leading stimulus upon consumers’ purchasing choices.

Hofstede’s Model of Cultural Dimensions: Analysis of Consumer Behaviour and Organisational Ethos

Hofstede’s (1984) study entitled as ‘Culture’s Consequences’ investigates into the field of studying multinational companies and international organizations. Hofstede collected and analysed data collected from different countries to formulate concrete theoretical framework for the analysis of culture on various aspects of organisation. Through that data analysis, he concluded that “organizations are culturally-bounded” implying that structure and functions of organisation are deeply affected by the culture in which it functions. Hofstede used the analysis to create different “dimensions of culture”, the consumer behaviour and organizational styles have been discussed below.


This cultural dimension developed by Hofstede expounds that the kind of relationship an individual has with him or herself and with others in every culture. In societies where idea of individualism is of paramount importance, most of the individuals are expected to take attention and upkeep of themselves and their immediate family. In this kind of culture the consumer behaviour is self-dependent, which implies that societal values are of less significance for their consuming habits. In these cultures the management style revolves around the self-efficiency which is driven by motives of promotions and development. However, in collectivistic-oriented societies which are, by and large traditional societies, focus has been on societal good and community’s welfare as observed by Yeniurt and Townsend (2003). In these cultures, consumers’ behaviour is largely dependent on societal approval for the consumption of goods and services being offered by various companies. Moreover, the organizational styles are deep rooted into efficiency, but they also take into consideration the cultural values. In these cultures, individuals are merely regarded as the members of groups who are expected to look after them in give-and-take for allegiance to organisation. Furthermore, Yeniurt and Townsend (2003) are of the view that in collectivistic culture, there has been greater chances of innovation as these cultures are better equipped to trap organizational energies.

Uncertainty Avoidance

According to Hofstede (1991), this dimension mainly deals with the necessity to formulate rules and regulation for prescribed and proscribed behaviour of people against their sense of uncertainty. Hofstede observes that countries marked with political stability and strong sense of cultural identity score low on this dimension as they feel usually secure. However, countries like those of Latin America score high on this dimension because people (consumers) feel insecure about political climate which adversely affect their collective psyche. In these states, organisations usually rely on ad hoc practices as they could change or wind up their business owing to uncertain prevailing conditions. Consumers in these states are quite inactive as they do not indulge into buying spree out of trust problems.

Power Distance

This dimension unravels the costs of discrimination found in the authority and power relations within a specific society according to Hofstede (1991). It adversely affects the hierarchy and reliance relationships in the outline of family and organisations. For example in patriarchal societies, power within a family rests on the male. His decisions will be regarded as the most influential with regard to what is to be bought. Applying similar analogy at organisational level, in such societies the organisational structure is predicated on gender relations which value more to male workers.


Hofstede (1991) through this dimension points the in masculine cultures the dominant values are success and achievement. The implication of this dimension at organisational level incorporates that in masculine societies organisations prefer to focus on success and achievement and its structural style is male-dominated which propels the values of competition, progress and organisational efficiency. However, contrary to this finding, the feminine cultures put a great of emphasis on the concern for others. In this situation, organisation mainly focuses on social responsibility which forms the part and parcel of their organisational ethos. At consumer level, it would certainly imply that countries which have concerns for other will pay less heed to consumer values; whereas culture which puts lot of significance to success and achievements in terms of their financial strength and professional success, these states (or cultures) will put more emphasis on consumption values.

Long-Term Orientation

This dimension in Hofstede Model envisages the bringing forth attributes which are oriented towards futuristic prospects by long term awards (Hofstede, 1991). Hofstede in his later studies proposed that long-term versus short term dichotomy is more useful for his theoretical construct. The societies having long-term collective vision usually rely on deferred gratification patterns. Their main thrust is on saving for the future; therefore consumer behaviour in those societies is usually tilted towards lower levels of consumptions. According to Hofstede (1991), this pattern is usually found in emerging economies like China and India. At organisational level, there is an increasing tendency towards competition in these cultures which focus on long-termism.

Hofstede Trompenaars
Hofstede Trompenaars

Trompenaars’ Dimensions of Culture Framework

The main dimensions of culture framework defined by Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner and summarized by Trompenaars and Woolliams (2003) are predicated on four cultural typologies which are as follow:

The Incubator Culture

According to Trompenaars and Woolliams (2003), this culture resembles like a leaderless and shudderless team. It implies that prevalence of informal relations and low level of centralisation at organisational level. In this culture, the role and responsibilities are not well defined and there can be serious infringes on the overall organisation’s motivations.

The Guided Missile Culture

This cultural typology is mainly task oriented with high level of centralisation and low level of authority (Trompenaars and Woolliams, 2003). The authors are of the view that ‘… rational culture is, in its ideal type, task and project oriented. ‘Getting the job done’ with ‘the right man in the right place’ are favourite expressions. Organisational relationships are very results oriented.’ It shows that Guided Missile cultures have strict sense of responsibility. In these cultures, the managerial style is based on problem solving solutions and managers are in full charge of authority. In these types of organisational culture, the level of adaptability is very high, therefore these organisations are best suited to work in multi-cultural framework.

Family Culture

Family culture is an inverse form of the Guided Missile culture—marked by high degree of authority consolidation and low level of formalisation according to Trompenaars and Woolliams (2003). The employees of organisations marked with such kind of cultural ethos revolve around the core of authority. But like family, there are little rules and therefore there is less room for bureaucratic style. All which matters most is the will of the authority, which is a rule unto itself. In these organisations, managers have little or no say. They remain at the mercy of top slots. There remains a permanent contest amongst organisation’s members to remain as close to authority as possible.

The Eiffel Tower Culture

According to Trompennars and Woolliams (2003), the Eiffel Tower Culture is marked with strict centralisation and high level of formalisation. This culture is highly oriented towards role fulfilment which makes employees of an organisation largely adhere to the organisation’s main motives and business slogans. The whole organisation and its energies are directed towards pre-defined sets of goals and ambitions.

Consumer Behaviour: A Melting Pot for Cultural Effects

The study of the dealings and consumption involve the procedure when people choose, buy, utilize, or dispose of products, services, designs, or experiences to satisfy needs and desires is known as consumer behaviour according to Solomon et al, (2001). From the definition above, consumer behaviour can be viewed as a course that encompasses the issues that affect the consumer before, during and after a purchase. But cultural values operate at each level in imperceptible way. Culture is more than an environmental or collective influence. People were imagined within a culture. Culture is in the heads of people while consuming things which influences their behaviour. To comprehend culture’s effects on consumer behaviour, culture must be incorporated in different aspects of consumer behaviour theory. Preferably, different theories of consumer behaviour are proposed within cultures by studying people’s behaviour within each nation.

Cultural Differences and Consumer Behaviour

At psychological level, the mental approach and general mindset of a consumer which he has begotten towards a product for making rational choices is known as the consumer decision-making style. However, it is well understood by Bennet and Kassarjian (1972) long before the initialization of systematic study that consumer decision-making style hinges upon an unvarying configuration of operative and cognitive responses to their needs and societal approval of these decisions. Moreover, the culture has also been proven to have a greater impact on individual attitudes and values according to Hofstede and Hofstede (2005). Hofstede and Hofstede (2005) pioneered the study of culture and its impact on various aspects of management and business related management practice. The Hofstede Model, which has been elaborated in the following paragraphs has been regarded a mould to study the impact of culture on management practices as well on the consumer-oriented decisions regarding consumption.

Furthermore, Sproles and Kendall (1986) devised three different ways to approach consumer decision making process, which includes consumer typology approach, psychographic approach which is also known as lifestyle approach and, lastly, consumer characteristic approach. The authors elaborated the consumer typology approach categorises customers according to the retail investment and the types of consumers which usually get into particular type of consumption pattern. The consumer psychographic approach hinges upon the overall lifestyle of the consumer. For example, a consumer with middle class lifestyle will tend to emulate the life style of the elite within his or her specific income. In the same, vein consumer characteristic approach depends on the detailed study of different traits and characteristics of consumers, which involves the study what consumer is looking after. Moreover, characteristic approach also underlines the cognitive positioning of consumer towards buying the specific product through their motives as observed by Westbrook and Black (1985). The authors are of the view that pre-defined mental constructs are important stimulants of general human behaviour which, in turn, also affects consumers’ behaviour as they are of the view ‘hypothetical and unobservable psychological constructs postulated to explain both the energized and directive aspects of human behaviour.


The study shows that culture has deep effects on the consumer behaviour as well as organisations’ structure which, in turns, affect organisations’ efficiency. The prevalent mode of cultural values best describes what kind of consumer behaviour and what kind of organisational goals have been embedded into them. Moreover, the study further suggests that an organisation with flexible rules with an adaptive style of operations is best suited in today’s world of multi-cultural workplace when the role of employees especially managers is also becoming complex in the face of global assignments.


Arnould, E. J. and Thompson, C. J. (2005), Consumer Culture Theory (CCT): Twenty Years of Research, Journal of Consumer Research, 31:4, 868–882

Bennett, P. D., and Kassarjian, H. H., (1972), Consumer Behavior, Chicago: US, Prentice-Hall

Hofstede, G., and Hofstede, G.J., (2005), Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. 2nd Edition, US, McGraw-Hill

Hofstede, G., (1984), Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values, New York: US, Sage Publications

Luna, D. and Gupta, S.F., (2001), An Integrative Framework for Cross-Cultural Consumer Behaviour, International Marketing Review, 18:1, 45 – 69

Mourali, M., Laroche, M., and Pons, F., (2005), Individualistic Orientation and Consumer Susceptibility to Interpersonal Influence, Journal of Services Marketing, 19, 164-173

Solomon, M. R., Polegato, R and Zaichkowsky, J.G., (2001), Consumer Behaviour: Buying, Having, and Being, Toronto: Canada, Pearson Education Canada

Sproles, G.B. and Kendall, E.L., (1986), A Methodology for Profiling Consumers’ Decision-Making Styles, Journal of Consumer Affairs, 20:2, 267-279

Trompenaars, F. and Woolliams, P., (2003), A New Framework for Managing Change Across Cultures, Journal of Change Management, 3:4, 361–375

Westbrook, R.A. and Black, W.C., (1985), A Motivation-Based Shopper Typology, Journal of Retailing, 61, 78-103

Wong, N. Y., and Ahuvia, A. C., (1998), Personal Taste and Family Face: Luxury Consumption in Confucian and Western Societies, Psychology and Marketing, 15, 423-444

Yeniyurt, S., and Townsend, J.D., (2003), Does Culture Explain Acceptance of New Products in a Country?: An Empirical Investigation, International Marketing Review, 20:4, 377-396

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International Intercultural

International Intercultural Management

The intercultural dinner is an interesting concept which helps gain insights into the various aspects of a culture. It is important to understand food and life style as well as personality aspects in order to form a better understanding of the culture of a nation (Hamel, 2007). I met all of the group members for dinner and all of us brought a dish belonging to different cultures. I brought Hummus which is a popular dip made from smashed chickpeas and tahini with other seasonings. China and Saudi Arabia were other two predominant cultures which were presented at the dinner. The learning and outcomes of this dinner was that culture is an extremely important aspect which impact management as well. As we discussed cultures, we were able to understand how history, lifestyle and exposure to globalization impacts them.

Culture of Iraq

Iraq is located in the Middle East Asia. Iraq is predominantly an Islamic country (A Country Study: Iraq, 2010). This makes it important to understand the laws of Islam and the preaching’s of Quran or Prophet Mohammad (Abdul-Jabar, 2002). Prophet Mohammed has been a very popular Prophet not only among the Muslims or the followers of Islam but also among several religion researchers, philosophers, diplomats and other people. Their culture and thought on food is that food is a blessing given by God. They believe in rich food which is enriched with nutrients and contains fruits, nuts and even meat. The teachings of Prophet led to his popularity growing from time to time and there are nations like Arabia, Pakistan and India where Islam is popularly preached and forms one of the main religions (Abdul-Jabar, 2002). Prophet Mohammed is as popular as Jesus Christ in America and United Kingdom. Similarly the food and cuisine of Iraq is also popular all around India, Pakistan, Arabia and other Eastern countries. Though the economy of Iraq is not very stable, it has a very rich culture (A Country Study: Iraq, 2010).

The revelations of God, received by Prophet Mohammad included the will of God and the principle of submission to God’s will (Musharraf, 2012). Prophet Mohammad narrated these principles to the people. The revelations of God include the Apostle of Peace which propagates love and brotherhood (Abdul-Jabar, 2002). So the people of Iraq believe in being good hosts and serving food generously to people that visit them. This is also an important part of celebrations of festivals like Id and Bakrid. Considerations of prestige and family strength are important values of the culture of Iraq (A Country Study: Iraq, 2010).

In Medina there were eight different tribes which had several conflicts among themselves. These led to them inviting Prophet Mohammed as a neutral negotiator and resolve these conflicts (Musharraf, 2012). So the  food habits and lifestyle varies significantly among different sub groups in Iraq itself (A Country Study: Iraq, 2010).

Iraq does not have political stability and such elements like instable political situation, poor economic conditions and war has led to deterioration of life and business, but their culture still remains extremely rich (A Country Study: Iraq, 2010). The texts of the “Quran” play an important role in formation of the texts of several other religions including Judaism (Abdul-Jabar, 2002). It has also greatly influenced middle-eastern ethics and common beliefs as it is one of the oldest religions practiced (Abdul-Jabar, 2002).

Comparison of culture of Iraq with China and Saudi Arabia

Culture refers to the values and lifestyle adapted by a society. The post-globalization era has been a time of merging of cultures and this leads to one culture impacting another and understanding these influences is extremely important in the present times as they impact the management of human resources in multi-national corporations (Dauber, 2012). Culture refers to the several lifestyle elements like food, dressing, sports, entertainment and several such factors along with the values like uncertainty tolerance or emotional involvement and independence, openness and several other faiths (Greenfeld, 2013). Culture is shaped through the interaction of people and their ideas as well as ideologies (Schein, 2004).

The comparison of cultures of these countries has been based on two models – one being Hofstede’s cultural framework and another being Hall’s cross cultural framework. These models help understand the similarities and differences between the cultures of Iraq, China and Saudi Arabia.

Hofstede’s cultural framework

The culture of Iraq does have several similarities with that of Saudi Arabia but is very distinct from that of China. Hofstede’s cultural framework helps evaluate cultures based on five cultural and behavioural parameters as explained below.

International Intercultural Management
International Intercultural Management

Fig 1: Comparison of culture of Iraq with the cultures of China and Saudi Arabia, based on Hofstede’s cultural framework

Power Distance

This refers to the extent of importance and influence of hierarchical relations in a culture. It reflects the degree of unequal allocation of power and psychological detachment that is accepted in a country. Power distance in China is high (National culture – Iraq, n.d.). Subordinate-superior relationship tends to be polarized and hierarchical ranks are followed strictly. Power distance is extremely high in Saudi Arabia and Iraq (National culture – Iraq, n.d.). Inherent inequalities, centralization of decision making and bureaucratic hierarchy marks the culture of Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Uncertainty avoidance

Uncertainty avoidance refers to the risk appetite of the culture of a country. Hofstede refers this as “what is different, is dangerous” (Khastaret,, 2011). China is low on uncertainty avoidance (National culture – Iraq, n.d.). Adherence to laws and rules in China are flexible and adapted on situational basis (Country Profile: China, 2008). Iraq and Saudi Arabia are very high on uncertainty avoidance (National culture – Iraq, n.d.). The rules play an important role in all aspects of life. People of Iraq and Saudi Arabia are bound to abide by the stringent codes of belief based on Islamic preaching. They are intolerant of modernisation and influence of western cultures.

Individualism vs collectivism

This dimension reflects the relative importance that a company places on interests of an individual or a group (Ryh-Song and Lawrence, 1995). China, Iraq and Saudi Arabia are collectivistic society (National culture – Iraq, n.d.). Individualism is found to be very low because the cultures are relationship driven. In China relationship needs to develop before doing business (Hatch, 1993). The traditional root of Chinese culture is Confucianism. Confucianism focuses on long term orientation, thrift and perseverance (Ryh-Song and Lawrence, 1995).

Masculinity vs femininity

This dimension reflects the importance of the level of dominance of masculine values for achievement of the organizational goals. Chinese, Iraq and Saudi Arabia cultures have more of Masculinity aspects than femininity (National culture – Iraq, n.d.). Chinese often prioritise work over family and leisure (Country Profile: China 2008). In Iraq and Saudi Arabia, the leaders in the organisation are decisive and assertive. Conflicts are often resolved by confrontation.

Long term orientation

The Chinese culture has a high long term orientation and Iraq and Saudi has a short term orientation (National culture – Iraq, n.d.). The Chinese are comparatively more employer oriented and the employee retention rate in China is higher in comparison to other countries (Bu and Xu, 2000). Cultures of Iraq and Saudi Arabia immensely respect and follow traditions. Propensity to save is low as Shariah law and Islamic banking does not encourage savings (Aggarwal and Tarik, 2000).

Hall’s Cross Cultural Model

Hall presents a popular cross cultural framework and when we apply that to these 3 cultures, they have been found to be extremely compatible. The Hall’s model is based on cultural awareness, cultural adaptation and effective management of the elements of personal, social and cultural aspects in present times of multiculturalism (Schneider and Barsoux, 2003).

Cultural Awareness

Awareness is high in Iraq and Saudi Arabia when compared to China. But in present times technology enables people everywhere to find information easily.

Cultural Adaptation

The model explains that multiculturalism is an important element of present times and seamless communication and technology promote it and the same can be observed in various cultural texts as well and in present times of globalization (Schneider and Barsoux, 2003). The adaptation of these elements is based on cultural adaptation, which is high in China as compared to Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Management of Cross Cultures

This can help create effectiveness and better competency (Schneider and Barsoux, 2003). It can help bring teams together and also create an environment that is suitable for work and helps create several competencies. It also helps ensure that there be effective balance between operational and strategic level planning and organizing.

Comparison of leadership styles in these countries

Leadership behaviour in organizations is demonstrated through taking initiatives, considering broader roles and helping the organization achieve better progress through focus on improving the overall organizational performance (Pillai,, 1999). This is evident in China when compared to that of Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Leadership in Iraq and Saudi Arabia

In case of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, senior levels of management focus on overall performance of the organization and its competitive position. In order to create effective business development, leaders focus on operational efficiency as a whole and deal with managers who actually communicate with the team members. Leaders at the senior management levels set goals and targets which help in ensuring that the organization is able to form the common vision (Hofstede,, 2002).

Authoritative style of leadership is focused on the creation of authority. The leader is mostly expressing the authority and passing the judgment during using such style leadership. The management communication follows a top down approach (Zaharna, 1995). This is evident in the day to day organizational activities in several of the local organizations. This is evident in Iraq and Saudi Arabia where in the rules and regulations are extremely strict and stringent. It is important that the authoritative style of leadership be based on mutual understanding and acceptance in order to avoid conflicts and retaliation (Smith,, 2007).

In case of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, religion and political systems have a great impact on the leadership style used in these countries (Smith,, 2007). It forms an essential impact on the styles in which the government and the public sector is managed. It also impacts the various business ideologies and set of ethics followed in these organizations (Smith,, 2007).

The culture of Saudi Arabia and Iraq is based on  the preaching of Prophet Mohammed. In discussing the leadership style of Saudi Arabia, it would be relevant to evaluate the leadership style of Prophet Muhammad. Prophet Muhammad can be considered as a transformational leader (Musharraf, 2012). His teachings and public speeches have inspired thousands of people to do things for greater good of mankind (Musharraf, 2012).

Intellectual Stimulation: Prophet Muhammad not only inspired them for good deed and good thought, he also made is followers aware of following the right path. He increases awareness about what is right and good.

Individualized Consideration: the followers of Prophet Muhammad were trained by Prophet himself (Musharraf, 2012). He guided them to become leaders in their own ways.

Inspirational Motivation: He motivated his followers to spread Islam fearlessly.

Charisma or idealized influence: Prophet Muhammad can be considered an ethical charismatic leader. He had a unique vision for his followers and a long run perspective. His high ethical and moral values, forgiving nature and optimism for future showed direction to the followers (Musharraf, 2012).

Leadership in China

A futuristic measure is ensured in case of leadership in China. It assists the organization to take futuristic decisions and helps in implementation of the firms’ long term plans or strategies (Management in the People’s Republic of China in comparison with the West: Convergence, divergence or crossvergence?, 1997). Mostly, all organizations follow some core values according to their business strategies to serve the customers with better products and services  (Hirst & Thompson, 1996). The mission and vision creates an alignment with the strategic planning of the organization. These values impact the leadership as the leaders of the organization or the top management form these and ensure that they are effectively passed on to the subordinates (Management in the People’s Republic of China in comparison with the West: Convergence, divergence or crossvergence?, 1997). But this is not the case in present day multinational organizations as they belong to globalized environments. In this way the leadership styles used in organizations in China are compatible with the trends in leadership in several of the globalized countries and this helps them take benefit or advantage of globalization to propagate economic development. Leadership in China has been considered as effective and has been used to benchmark leadership strategies in several of the multinational firms all around the world (Management in the People’s Republic of China in comparison with the West: Convergence, divergence or convergence? 1997).

Future Trends

Transformational leaders are those who influence others based on the usage of participation with all of the other members of the team. In this way they are able to accept the leader as a part of the team (Wade, 2013). This form of leadership is coming up rapidly in all of the countries including Iraq, Saudi Arabia and China. In case of democratic leadership, it is crucial that there be consideration of opinions of everybody. A leader requires ensuring that things are understood by the people who are to actually implement them. He should be very careful about the client requirements as well as the need of the project (Wade, 2013). This is not consistent with the cultures of all the three countries and may not be adopted in the near future.


To conclude, culture forms an extremely important part of all nations and the global culture as well   (Albala, Ken, 2011). Culture is an extremely important factor that affects the business environment of an international business. It is important for present day organizations, especially multinational organizations to reform their policies in order to suit the present day need of these organizations. It is important that the business environment is well researched and cultural change adaptation strategies are formed for the purpose of creating better synchronization with the cultural changes. It is extremely important that there be effective balance among the culture and the dynamic environment around the world in the present times of globalization. It is also important that the focus on the required changes in organizational environments be made slow and steady in order to ensure smooth transitions.


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