NEED FOR CULTRUAL KNOWLEDGE
- Identify a specific topic of special interest to you from Chapters 1 & 2. (See selection from book beginning on page 2)
- Locate a current article [no older than two years from current date] that relates to your selected topic.
- Develop an Original Post. Please note that the first few lines of your original post MUST identify the topic/concept and cite the definition of your selected topic from the Wild & Wild 9th edition text as well as identify and include the page number where the topic/concept can be found. In addition, include the URL identification of your article location.
- Create a thoughtful [minimum] one complete, single spaced page, summary explanation of how the article relates to the specific concept/theory you selected. Use WORD to create your original written response and then copy and paste it into the discussion (I realize that the formatting will change in the discussion box) OR simply type your response into the discussion using the default font.
- Clearly, thoughtfully, and substantively explain why you selected this topic? What relevance the topic has for you? Focus on, what information did you learn from reading the combination of the text and your chosen article about this topic of which you were not aware prior to the reading both sources?
- **IMPORTANT: Based upon your readings in the text and the article, end your post with an original, applicable question directed toward your classmates intended to stimulate further discussion on the issue. Label your question: DISCUSSION QUESTION.
Need for Cultural Knowledge
A visual depiction of culture would resemble an iceberg. Cultural features that we can see are a very small portion of all that comprises it. The vast majority of a people’s cultural makeup remains hidden from view and below the surface. It takes knowledge, effort, understanding, and experience to uncover the essence of a culture and to develop a deep appreciation for it.
Avoiding Ethnocentricity Our thoughts can harbor subconscious, unintentional, and inaccurate perceptions of other cultures. Ethnocentricity is the belief that one’s own ethnic group or culture is superior to that of others. Ethnocentricity can seriously undermine international business projects. It causes people to view other cultures in terms of their own and, therefore, disregard the beneficial characteristics of other cultures. Ethnocentricity played a role in many stories, some retold in this chapter, of companies that failed when they tried to implement a new business practice in a subsidiary abroad. Failure can occur when managers ignore a fundamental aspect of the local culture. This can provoke a backlash from the local population, its government, or nongovernmental groups. As suppliers and buyers increasingly treat the world as a single, interconnected marketplace, managers should eliminate the biases inherent in ethnocentric thinking. To read about how companies can foster a non-ethnocentric perspective, see this chapter’s Culture Matters feature, titled “Creating a Global Mindset.”
Developing Cultural Literacy As globalization continues, people directly involved in international business increasingly benefit from a certain degree of cultural literacy—detailed knowledge about a culture that enables a person to work happily and effectively within it. Cultural literacy improves people’s ability to manage employees, market products, and conduct negotiations in other countries. Procter & Gamble (www.pg.com) and Apple (www.apple.com) may have a competitive advantage because consumers know and respect these highly recognizable brand names. Yet, cultural differences often dictate alterations in some aspect of a business in order to suit local tastes and preferences. The culturally literate manager who compensates for local needs and desires brings the company closer to customers and improves its competitiveness.
Globalization is causing cultures to converge to some extent. The successful TV show American Idol, where aspiring singers compete for a chance to become a celebrity, is one example of global pop culture. The U.S. show is one of 39 clones around the world based on the original British show, Pop Idol. The same company helped develop and market The Apprentice, another globally successful TV platform.2 But it is unlikely that the world will homogenize into one global culture in which all people share similar lifestyles, values, and attitudes any time soon. It seems that just as often as we see signs of an emerging global culture, we discover some new habit that is unique to a single culture. This then reminds us of the pivotal roles of history and tradition in defining any culture. Though cultural traditions are under continually greater pressure from globalization, their transformation will be gradual rather than abrupt because they are so deeply ingrained in society.
As you read through the concepts and examples in this chapter, try to avoid reacting with ethnocentricity while developing your own cultural literacy. Because cultural literacy is central to the discussion of many international business topics, you will encounter them throughout this book. In the book’s final chapter (Chapter 16), we explore specific types of cultural training that companies use to develop their employees’ cultural literacy.
Wild, John J.; Wild, Kenneth L.. International Business: The Challenges of Globalization (Page 44-45). Pearson Education. Kindle Edition.