Understanding USA Culture Report Examples
Every nationality comprise of the unique features of culture that play an important role in strengthening the organizations. Culture is an integral part of the lives of people because it plays an essential role in influencing their values, loyalties, and beliefs (Uddin, Luva and Hossain, 2013). The countries having culture of small power distance between the upper and lower management provide more benefits to the organizations in terms of the accountability and empowerment as compared to the countries where the organizations’ management focus on maintaining larger power distances. Further, the cultures that strongly avoid the uncertainty ensure more precision.
An understanding of the motivation and driving force of people belonging to different cultures in an organization can pave the way to the development of the particular internal culture of the organization in accordance with the culture of the country. This can be analyzed with the help of an example that if an organization with the culture of collectivism starts business in any other country where individualism is considered, the company will certainly face several issues. An effort to impose the beliefs and values of the home country will usually pave the way to the frustration and incapability to attain the targeted and aimed goals. It is essential to understand the values and temperament of the local people. The organizations should consider three main characteristics while selecting the expatriate employees; these characteristics are agreeableness, openness, and emotional stability.
Moreover, nowadays the cultures are becoming politically and economically connected, and the whole world of business is becoming global. So, increased cross-cultural collaboration, and communication is required in order to make progress in the global economy. The companies should take care of the cultural sensitivity in order to build competencies at international level. To have the knowledge of the influence of the cultural differences is a major key for ensuring the success in the international business. The importance of the culture can be analyzed by considering the culture of the United States and comparing it with the culture of Denmark and Germany.
Culture of the United States and Its Comparison with Denmark and Germany
The culture of the United States of America is becoming diverse. The country is racially and ethnically diverse because of the significant migration from different countries having different races and ethnicities. Further, the country comprises of the people belonging to different languages, religions, social, cultural, and economic groups. The white, black, Alaska natives, Asians, Amerindians, Pacific islanders and native Hawaiian are living in the United States, and are also working in different organizations. Moreover, Protestants, Mormons, Roman Catholics, Jews, Buddhists, Christians, and Muslims are freely practicing their religion in the United States. There is no official language of the United States, majority of natives speak English
The English that is spoken in the United States is called American English, and the American English along with the Canadian English forms a group of dialects, which is called North American English. Additionally, Spanish is considered as the second most spoken language in the United States (Schleppegrell and Colombi, 2005). The Government of the United States is constitution based federal republic. The American culture comprises of the liberal and conservative elements, political structures, religious and scientific competitiveness, moral elements, risk taking attitude, freedom of expression.
There are some definite ideological principles in the American culture such as egalitarianism, and believe in democracy and freedom. America is an individualistic country. The people of America prefer individualism, and American dream is a clear representation of individualism in the United States. Americans prefer individualism because they want to have a high standard of living and better life than their elders or parents. The American Dream is a belief that every individual can attain a good living standard away from the poverty irrespective of the status. Because of the symbolic nature and flexibility of the American culture, the researchers characterize the U.S. culture as American exceptionalism and mythical identity.
Moreover, Americans regard time and consider it money, they spend as well as save time in the similar way as they save and spend money. The phrase that Time is Money is famous in America, and time is considered as a most essential commodity. Further, in America the values and the characteristics of the personality are ascribed on the basis of time. For example, people who come on time are considered as reliable and good people who can be trusted. Nuclear family system is preferred in the United States. Males and females are considered equal. Since, Americans are supporters of individualism so they feel proud in individual success and accomplishments, and they may or may not care for sharing the sources of happiness and success with their elders. The natural resources in the United States include coal, lead, copper, rare earth elements, gold, mercury, silver, petroleum, tungsten, zinc, bauxite, natural gas, timber, uranium, iron, nickel, and potash etc.
Further, America is globally known for the fast food. The trend of fast food started from America. People living in America belonging to different religion select and eat the food according to their choice and according to their religion. For example, Muslims consider some food as halal and some food as haram, and they do not eat haram food. Jews prefer kosher food. Most people in America prefer restaurants and other food points for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Comparatively, In Denmark the dinner and breakfast is generally eaten at home, but lunch is not eaten at home because of the work, and usually people take lunch that is made at home with them while going to work.
Moreover, just like America Denmark is also a country of great diversity as many ethnicities and people of different religions are living in the country. The ethnic make-up in Denmark represents Turkish, German, Somali, Inuit, Faroese, and Scandinavian people. Muslims, Roman Catholics, Protestants, and Evangelical Lutheran are the religions in Denmark, 95% people living in Denmark are Evangelical Lutherans. Denmark’s culture has a rich artistic as well as intellectual heritage. Majority of people in Denmark speak Danish. Further, German is considered as official language of region named Nord-Schleswig where majority of people speak German. The government of Denmark is, however, a constitutional monarchy having democratic system that is founded on a unicameral parliamentary system. The government affairs are controlled and regulated by a Cabinet of Ministers that is controlled by a Prime Minister. The Prime Minister and the Cabinet are accountable for their acts to the Parliament of Denmark. Further, like American society, Demark is also an egalitarian.
The egalitarianism is indicated in their language in which the words and phrases that represent neutrality towards gender are used. People of Denmark prefer collectivism, as they prefer to work in the form of groups. They are, however, modest about their success and accomplishments. They are more anxious about the group instead of their own needs at individual level. In Denmark, males are more actively engaged in the activities related to rearing child as compared to America, and women have freedom to work in any organization. The natural resources in Denmark are limited to the chalk, clay, agricultural land, peat, lignite, and lime. The economy of Denmark rely heavily rely on the international trade, where industrial exports comprise of 75% of the total exports, and agricultural exports comprise of 15% of the total exports. Further, if comparison is made between America and Germany then it becomes evident that like Germany is also a diverse country because different people from different ethnicities and religion are living in the country. German, Italian, Turkish, Greek, Russian, Spanish, Polish, and Serbo-Croatian are living in the country. Further, Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Muslims are found in Germany. German is the official language of Germany, and it is the first language of about 95% of the population (Clyne, Norrby and Warren, 2009).
The German government is, however, federal republic. Germans are individualistic as they emphasize on the individual rights, personal success and achievements. They expect from each other to satisfy their own wants, needs, and requirements. They consider group work essential but every individual has the right to express his/her opinion. People have loose relationships in Germany because they are living in the individualistic country where nuclear families are given importance instead of the extended families. Germany is the chief producer of lignite in the entire world, and also comprises of rich resources of iron ore, salt, timber, potash, uranium, natural gas, nickel, and copper.
Use of Theoretical Frameworks for Describing Leadership in America, Denmark, and Germany
The leadership in the United States, Denmark, and Germany can be described effectively by considering frameworks presented by Hofstede and Hall.
Hofstede has divided the culture into four major dimensions which are:
Power distance index indicates the degree to which the less authoritative and less powerful people of the institutions and organizations consider that the power is distributed ineffectively and unequally (Phillips and Gully, 2013). The power distance is low in the United States; it is also low in Denmark and Germany. The organizations in these countries ensure equality, and give incentives and rewards for the good performance of employees so that constructive culture can be formed within organizations.
Individualism/Collectivism indicates the extent to which people are integrated into the groups (Sitkin and Bowen, 2013). It also represents the extent to which the individuals and their self-interests are emphasized by the society. Individualism is high in America because people feel proud in individual success and accomplishment; it is also high in Germany, but low in Denmark because people in Demark favor collectivism, they consider group benefits instead of the individual benefits.
Masculinity/feminity represents the extent to which materialism and forcefulness are given important in the society (Schermerhorn, 2011). Further, it describes the distribution of values and roles between males and females. Females in the feminine countries enjoy same values, and roles as the males in the masculine countries. They are competitive as well as assertive but less as compared to the males so in such counties a gap is present between the values of men and women. Masculinity is moderate in the United States as both men and women are given equal chances and rights; it is low in Denmark, but high in Germany.
Uncertainty avoidance is the degree to which the society accepts and tolerates uncertainty, risk, and ambiguity ( Schermerhorn, 2011). Uncertainty avoidance is low in the United States as the country encourages innovation through uncertainty and risks. But, uncertainty avoidance is high in Germany and Denmark. People in Germany and Denmark try to minimize the risks and chances of unusual and unknown situations by implementing and following the laws, rules, and regulations.
Moreover, Hall has focused on
high/low context concept
polychronic versus monochronic time orientation
Hall’s framework of high context cultures and low context culture is also used in order to understand different cultures. The distinction is, however, based on the methods of communication of the messages in each culture; the messages are transmitted in the context or explicitly (Soares, Farhangmehr and Shoham, 2007). The polychronic/monochronmic time orientation indicates the methods in which the cultures manage and structure time.
Low Context and High Context Culture
The low context cultures are individual oriented, heterogeneous, encourage conflict for productivity, solution oriented, procedural, i.e., follow the govern behaviors, encourage diversity and variation, and risks (Andrews, 2001). The high context cultures are homogeneous, discourage deviance, they are risk-averse, non confrontational, and group oriented. The interaction in the low context culture is verbal, explicit, and direct whereas the interaction in the high context culture is non-verbal, implicit, and indirect (Ferraro, 2007). The low context cultures are task centered whereas the high context cultures are relation centered. The social structures are decentralized in the close context culture, but they are centralized in the high context cultures. The United States, Denmark, and Germany indicate close context cultures. This is because of the fact that the business outlook is competitive, work approach is task oriented, work style is individualistic (in United States and Germany, and in some organizations of Denmark also where employees consider individual achievements), the decision process is rule-oriented, logical, and linear, communication is verbal as well as non-verbal, change is readily accepted, knowledge is conscious, explicit, and transferrable.
Polychronic versus Monochronic time orientation
Polychromic and monochromic explains the concept of time and describes how projects are structured and processed in accordance with the time (Liu, Gallois, Volcic and Gallois, 2010). The United States, Denmark, and Germany are monochromic cultures because they consider time as money; they consider time orientation in an effective manner and process the tasks consecutively and in a sequential manner. They give importance to logistics, data, and the detailed plans, their major aim is to stick to the timetables, keep the appointments, and achieve the best results, and they focus on long term time planning.
In a nutshell, the companies that want to conduct business in the United States should understand the cultural context of the business prevailing in the United States because understanding the culture will help in overcoming the ethnic and racial divisions, it increases the knowledge about the system and method that is preferred by the residents of the country, and assists in making effective decisions that can pave the way to the success of the organization. For example, America is an individualistic, low context, and Monochronic country, so the company that wants to conduct business in America should avoid becoming high context, polychronic, and collectivistic.
Andrews, D.C. (2001). Technical Communication in the Global Community. New Jersey: Prentice Hall
Clyne, M., Norrb, C., and Warren, J. (2009). Language and Human Relations: Styles of Address in Contemporary Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Ferraro, G.P. (2007). The Cultural Dimension of International Business. New York, Pearson Education
Liu, S., Gallois, C., Volcic, Z., and Gallois, C. (2010). Introducing Intercultural Communication: Global Cultures and Contexts. London: SAGE Publications Limited
Phillips, J., and Gully, S. (2013). Organizational Behavior: Tools for Success. Canada: Nelson Education Limited
Schermerhorn, John R. (2011). Exploring Management. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons
Schleppegrell, M.J., and Colombi, M.C. (2005). Developing Advanced Literacy in First and Second Languages: Meaning With Power. New York: Routledge
Soares, Ana M., Farhangmehr, M., and Shoham, A. (2007). Hofstede's Dimensions of Culture in International Marketing Studies. Journal of Business Research, 60: 277–284
Sitkin, A., and Bowen, N. (2013). International Business: Challenges and Choices. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Uddin, M.J., Luva, R.H., and Hossain, M. (2013). Impact of Organizational Culture on Employee Performance and Productivity: A Case Study of Telecommunication Sector in Bangladesh. International Journal of Business and Management, 8(2): 63-77
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