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Culture is a set of practices, ideas, beliefs, and customs which make a community or a society distinct from any other society. The culture of a society influences how the people talk, how they reason, and how they relate to each other (Mead & Andrews 2009). Culture may be adaptable to change in some communities, while in others it is not. However, it is evident that culture has and continues to undergo a transformation.
Culture and environment have shaped social, economic, and political development of various nations across the globe. In turn, culture also influences the life an individual leads in the society. This is attributed to the role that cultural practices play in imparting knowledge and passing societal norms from one generation to the other. Due to globalization, traditional nation-states have been forced to meet many new demands.
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Culture and technology
With the onset of technology, information and resources are surpassing geographical boundaries, hence reshaping the relationships between the states, citizens, and marketplace (Kotter & Heskett 1992). In particular, the expansion of the mass media industry has significantly impacted on societies and individuals across the globe (Schein 1992). Though advantageous in some ways, an increased accessibility has the ability to negatively influence a society. With easy distribution of information throughout the world, cultural sense, tastes, and values run the risk of being homogenized. Consequently, the power of identity of persons and societies may begin to wane.
Culture and globalization
Claxton and Mclntrye (1996, p. 360) recognize the value of understanding cultural differences in globalization. The recent years have witnessed an increased desire to align global activities with culture. The ‘social programming’ model, traceable to Hofstede, is a powerful tool for a cultural analysis. People attach different values and attitude towards work. It is critical for international companies to carry out cultural studies in the foreign countries before investing in those countries. This will enable companies strategically position themselves in such countries. By aligning strategies with the people’s culture, the companies receive broad and quick recognition in the foreign countries.
Management an culture
Culture has significantly influenced operations in companies. Organizations adopt different mechanisms of recruiting staff to promote diversity. Culture has also undergone a radical transformation encouraging a large number of people to use technology throughout their life. There has been an increase in the use of mobile phones and computers. Those who embrace the new technology slowly end up adopting new cultures (Schein 1992). Technology also follows the aspect of fashion. There was a time when Walkmans appeared fashionable but they were substituted by mobile phones. The technology may have a positive impact on the human life, but still it has negative impacts on the culture.
Cuture and religion
Some people, particularly those with strict religious beliefs, uphold that it is in the best interests of humanity in general that all people stick to a definite model of society. For instance, evangelical missionaries, such as the New Tribes Mission followers, work to sustain social changes that other people would consider harmful to cultural diversity by trying to change the remote ethnic societies to the Christian faith.
Today, communication with different countries has become more frequent than before. Many students, for example, choose to study overseas to experience culture diversity. They want to widen their horizons and build themselves. In the Chinese education, Chinese professors are the authorities and, therefore, command attention from students, and in return, students show immense respect to their teachers. This is unlike in the United States of America where students regard their professors as equals. The open discussion on diverse issues emanates from the academic freedom that the majority American institutions propagate.
A technology change alters people’s culture. Technological inventions are not absorbed into the culture but eliminate the existing cultural aspects. Religion, traditions, social beliefs, and morals take a new form due to the technological changes. This means that technological evolution leads to cultural evolution; thus, old cultures ultimately die. It is a collective phenomenon since it is partly shared by people living within the same social environment where the same culture is upheld.
Conflicts normally occur when cultures with different priorities try to work together since they exist in a different time line and can irritate one another in the course of work. Other challenge may occur due to the difference in the way people from different cultures view leadership, time, and status and in the way they communicate. The way people in an organization behave socially, for instance, if they support racism and other forms of discrimination, normally trickles down and affects the opportunities and improvement in services offered by the organization. For example, in the United States, during the times of segregation, African-American families were denied bank loans to use for housing and business activities, while the white family’s loans were approved. The remedy for social inequality is accepting one another in an organization as equal with a common aim of building up a well and successful organization (Shapiro 2004).
Knowledge of cultural differences is crucial in international business. It is essential that global companies take time to appreciate the cultural differences exhibited in different countries. Studies indicate that there exist considerable differences in the attitudes that people from different countries attach to different aspects of life. These cultural differences shape the work culture of the given people. For multinational companies, it is necessary to identify the cultural differences between countries; this enables avoidance of importation of a model from one country to another. The knowledge gained from the analysis of cultural differences provides companies with crucial information on what to do to be successful in the foreign countries.
For a company to conquer the global market, it should set strategies that appeal and respect different cultures. For proper and efficient administration, the cultural dimension of employees should be respected.
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