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Tu-53.

1360 Cross-cultural Management

TU-53.1360 Cross-cultural Management

Marko Oksanen, 65108S Ida Lehmuskoski, 64740J Monika Schulz, 78227E Mal Pavie, 78303E Tanja Kolm, 60945P

Oksanen, Lehmuskoski, Schulz, Pavie, Kolm

Tu-53.1360 Cross-cultural Management

Contents
1 2 INTRODUCTION .............................................................................................................................................. 1 GROUP MEMBERS .......................................................................................................................................... 2 2.1.1 2.1.2 2.1.3 2.1.4 2.1.5 3 4 Marko Oksanen ...................................................................................................................................... 2 Monika Schulz ........................................................................................................................................ 2 Mal Pavie ............................................................................................................................................. 3 Tanja Kolm............................................................................................................................................. 3 Ida Lehmuskoski..................................................................................................................................... 3

GROUP DYNAMICS......................................................................................................................................... 4 OUR PERCEPTIONS OF THE ARTICLES................................................................................................... 5 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 UNIVERSALISM VS. PARTICULARISM ........................................................................................................... 6 COLLECTIVISTIC VS. INDIVIDUALISTIC......................................................................................................... 8 DIFFUSE VS. SPECIFIC CULTURE ................................................................................................................... 9 AFFECTIVE VS. NEUTRAL CULTURES .......................................................................................................... 10 ASCRIPTION VS. ACHIEVEMENT.................................................................................................................. 10

CHALLENGES IN UNDERSTANDING CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN BUSINESS ......................... 11 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 CHALLENGES IN BUILDING FUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS .......................................................................... 12 DIFFERENCES IN TIME-ORIENTATION ......................................................................................................... 13 ENVIRONMENTAL DIFFERENCES................................................................................................................. 13 DEVELOPING THROUGH THE CHALLENGES ................................................................................................. 14

THE IMPACT OF DIFFERENCES............................................................................................................... 14 6.1 6.2 NEGATIVE IMPACT ..................................................................................................................................... 15 POSITIVE IMPACT ....................................................................................................................................... 15

7 8

CONCLUSION ................................................................................................................................................. 17 SOURCES ......................................................................................................................................................... 18

APPENDIX 1: RECORD OF OUR MEETINGS.................................................................................................... 19

Oksanen, Lehmuskoski, Schulz, Pavie, Kolm

Tu-53.1360 Cross-Cultural Management

1 Introduction
This is a group-assignment made in course Cross-cultural management TU-53.1360. In this course we study how cross-cultural factors affect organizations, management and leadership. This assignment was based on the articles Resolving International Conflict: Culture and Business Strategy by Fons Trompenaars and Low- and High-Context Communication Patterns: Towards Mapping Cross-Cultural Encounters. Every member of our group has European background. This made the discussions of the topics more challenging, because we did not find any vast differences. On the other hand everybody in our group had to use a foreign language to communicate with each other, which made it very difficult for someone to dominate the discussion. It is always more challenging to express oneself with a foreign language. Sometimes people even descend into struggle with words and expressions, which creates nervousness. This has a big influence over the communication process and as a whole; it also has an immediate effect on person's willingness to use a foreign language. Also different accents increase the challenge to both come across and to comprehend other people. Even though it would seem logical to imagine that as the technology will develop we need less understanding about the cultures. As technology develops, we do not need to confront the other people face to face. The articles still want to highlight that: Face-toface dialogue plays an essential role in establishing and maintaining the relationships. Technology is only a support mechanism for personal contact. 1

Low- and High-Context Communication Patterns: Towards Mapping CrossCultural Encounters 1 Oksanen, Lehmuskoski, Schulz, Pavie, Kolm

Tu-53.1360 Cross-Cultural Management

2 Group members
2.1.1 Marko Oksanen
Marko is a 22 years old student in the Helsinki University of Technology. Marko studies Information and Communication Business as a major. Marko has lived his entire life in Finland, but has got his education in Swedish. Marko speaks fluently Finnish, Swedish and English. Besides noting the minor differences between the Finnish and the Swedish speaking minorities cultures, his travels has given some insight in Swedish and American culture. Marko works currently as software engineer in a company where there are people also from Indian culture. He took this course to get a better understanding of the differences between cultures and because he thinks understanding different cultures will be very important in a multinational world.

2.1.2 Monika Schulz


Monika is an Erasmus exchange student from Hanover, Germany. She has lived two months in Finland and is studying Management and Industrial Engineering at Helsinki University of Technology. Her nationality is German, but she was born in Poland. When she was six years old she migrated with her family to Germany. She has of course had contact and experience with different cultures- as Germany is known as a country with a lot of different cultures and nationalities. She chose to participate in this course of Cross-cultural management because of her belief that a lot of conflicts between different people from countries having different cultures can arise because they have different mental models, different ways to express their selves etc. To recognize those differences, helps us to communicate and especially understand people from different cultural backgrounds. Nowadays almost every big company has international relationships and business partners and therefore a fluent communication without misunderstandings is crucial. Understanding the reactions and way of thinking of people from different cultural backgrounds, gives us means to deal with situations that arise within different people.

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2.1.3 Mal Pavie


Mal is French and he is 21 years old. He is in fifth year in the Forest Products department in HUT. He has already been confronted with other cultures because his stepmother is from Madagascar. He also travelled abroad: in Scotland during one week eight years ago. Because he likes Scandinavian countries, he is now in Finland for a semester. He had some lectures in Pyry in Vantaa which is a consulting firm on the forest industry. He chose the cross-cultural management course because he wanted to know better the issues and the characteristics of other cultures such as Norway, Sweden, Finland and Germany.

2.1.4 Tanja Kolm


Tanja studies Telecommunication in Helsinki University of Technology for the sixth year. She is 25 years old. Tanja has lived her whole life in Finland, but because of her Ukrainian mother she has relatives also in Ukraine. Tanja has travelled pretty much in Europe and during the high school she spent also one year as an exchange student in French-speaking Belgium. Besides Finnish, Tanja speaks also English, French and Russian. She took the course Cross-cultural Management, because she is interested in issues related to different cultures and people, and thinks that in the business it is today necessary to understand what can cause conflicts between people from different countries and how to resolve them.

2.1.5 Ida Lehmuskoski


Ida Lehmuskoski is a fourth year student at the Helsinki University of Technology. She is studying at the department of Electrical and Communications Engineering. Last summer she spent in Toronto working for one of Canada's largest national law firms, Gowling Lafleur Henderson. Toronto is one of the world's most diverse cities, as about 49 percent of the population were born outside of Canada. Also the work environment was very multicultural and taught her a lot. She took this course because she is interested in learning more about cross-cultural communication.

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3 Group dynamics
Our group is very equal and equitable among all the five members. Personal opinions and experiences were shared openly and everybody showed their interest and respect to each other. We also had pretty good preconceptions of our group's cultural backgrounds. At first it was challenging to find a functional way of action because the assignment was open to various interpretations. We agreed that it is considerably easier to work with an assignment that has clear and detailed instructions. We approached the assignment by discussing it carefully before we started the actual work. It was important that everybody expressed their thoughts on the subject and this way we were able to lay a foundation for an open and solid atmosphere. The article 'Low- and High-Context Communication Patterns: Towards Mapping Cross-Cultural Encounters' emphasizes that dialog is fundamental to relationship building. The same article also elicits the importance of high-quality dialog with organizational actors. When the quality of dialog is high and the relationship among the members of the organization is positive, the issues and concerns facing them tend to be more openly addressed. This describes exactly the ulterior motive behind our group's action. Though the conversations within our group members can be characterized as highquality dialog, we all come from low-context cultures (Finland, Germany and France). Our low-context background became evident by the directness of our communication habits. The article 'Low- and High-Context Communication Patterns: Towards Mapping Cross-Cultural Encounters' introduces Brown and Levinson's theory which suggests that the level of directness during communication is highly related to perceptions of threats and maintenance of an individual's public image. Among low-context cultures a direct mode of behaviour is perceived as the norm of interaction. The theory is supported by Morley and Shockley-Zabalak who also claimed that low-context cultures tend to use a competitive communication style. That is true in some situations but in our group we were not able to directly impugn each other, since all the opinions were very subjective.

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Tu-53.1360 Cross-Cultural Management We also considered how our cultural backgrounds appeared in the way we were processing the assignment. In conclusion, our cultures have many similarities and the only outstanding factor was the language; we were all using a foreign language to communicate with each other. Besides the different languages we use, our group dynamics is pretty similar to any Finnish, French or German assignment group that we have previous experiences of. One difference that was noted was that German people tend to analyze matters more systematically than the French and Finns. We all agreed that it is considerably easier to work with an assignment that has clear and detailed instructions.

4 Our perceptions of the articles


The first point we want to mention is that in both articles there was a very strong division of cultures. Trompenaars distinguishes between seven dimensions of how people behave in different cultures towards each other: universalism vs. particularism, collectivism vs. individualism, affective vs. neutral relationships, specificity vs. diffuseness, achievement vs. ascription, orientation towards time, internal vs. external control. The article of Kakabase et al. deals with the different communication styles that consist in different cultures. Therefore the authors distinguished between high and low context cultures. In low context cultures the speaker gives a large amount of explicit information to specify their meaning. In contrast to high context cultures high amounts of programmed information are used to provide the context. So high context persons are slow in getting to the point and are not very specific. In high-context cultures people are deeply involved with others they are also called relationship cultures. But we think that there is also something between these two and that the distinction should not be so strict. We prefer the distinction of Michael Gates between linear-active cultures (Germany, Finland), reactive cultures (China, Japan) and multi-active cultures (France). Linearactive cultures tend to be polite but direct and that they stick to facts. Multi-active cultures are characterized through impatience, showing emotions, interruptions during conversations and that people often tell the truth. Reactive cultures tend to listen very carefully to the speaker and they are rather diplomatic than direct. 5 Oksanen, Lehmuskoski, Schulz, Pavie, Kolm

Tu-53.1360 Cross-Cultural Management We came to the conclusion that within every culture there exists both- high and low context and that the cultures are never at one or the other end of the scales. The organization or environment we are in, have a strong influence on our behaviour. For example Germany is seen more as a low context culture. But it always depends on the circumstances that surround us. When we are among our family and close friends, we behave in another way than at school or at work. For example in Germany you can find low context culture in business life, but high context culture at home. Both cultures can be found in every culture. Which is more dominant culture is depending on the circumstances. But nevertheless, we agree that it is possible to say whether a culture is more low or high context. When we consider the whole culture- that means behaviour at work and among friends and family. When we consider this, Germany and Finland are in our opinion definitively low context cultures. The article of Kakabase et al. has made it clear that the behaviour of people toward each other (relationship between people) depends of the communication style and the other way round. So people from high-context cultures have rather a collectivistic behaviour, whereas people from low-context cultures tend to be more individualistic. The level of relationship, trust and cohesion between the people influence their communication.

4.1 Universalism vs. Particularism


Another dimension was the distinction between universalism and particularism. Universalist societies tend to feel that general rules and obligations are a strong source of moral references. Universalists follow the rules and laws even when friends are involved. For particularists circumstances and the relationship to the people that are involved is something that affects the rules. Particularists would consider that their friends have some right to ask their friends to protect themselves and their family from a punishment if the circumstances were correct. Finland, France and Germany are all more universalistic. In the article there was said that especially protestant countries are universalistic. But another explanation could be the cohesion with family and friend. In some cultures strong relationships exists with family members and the value is different.

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Tu-53.1360 Cross-Cultural Management In the articles, there was an example of a car crash caused by a friend:
You are riding in a car driven by a close friend. He hits a pedestrian. You know he has going at least 35 miles per hour in an area of the city where the maximum allowed speed is 20 miles per hour. There are no witnesses. His lawyer says that if you testify under oath that he was only driving 20 miles per hour it may save him from serious consequences.

It presented universalists as the group of people, who believe that there is a right way of acting, which is not depending of the circumstances. We all agreed that the principles of universalism get clearer to notice, when the heaviness of the delict increases. In the example of the accident, when a person has been injured or even killed, everybody of us would say the truth independent of who has caused the accident- friend, family member or stranger. In the example, the differences between answers were measured by the alternatives that your friend has no right or he has some right to ask help from you. The two options are not opposites of each other. The question can be asked more clearly by asking can there exist such a circumstances that the universal truth is not the right thing to do. The key point is information. Can there exist such information about the event that says your friend is innocent, even though he could not necessary be proven to be innocent. If there is a possibility -and we think that there always exists a possibility, even if really absurdthen your friend has some right asking for your help, depending on the circumstances. A clarifying example, would be if your friend would have absolute certain information that this pedestrian threw himself in front of your friends car in hope of insurance money and compensation. In studying the results of the answers we noted that if we combine countries and cultures we make huge stereotyping. There are major differences between cultures within a specific country. A good example of different cultures within a nation is the need to distinguish between young and old people. The sense of feeling that something is wrong because it is against the law is much dependent on the age of the person in question. We discussed the subject and came to think that older generations in Finland have had much more respect of the law and rules, only because of the rules them self. However as there has been a time, when the rules of Finland were not rules that Finnish people have made 7 Oksanen, Lehmuskoski, Schulz, Pavie, Kolm

Tu-53.1360 Cross-Cultural Management themselves there has always been criticism among Finnish people. This criticism becomes more apparent within younger generations. For example many younger generations have been raised in a culture where they can download any music or videos from the Internet for free. This has been stated as illegal and punishable in current legislation, but few people have the feeling that they are doing something wrong. We think this is caused to some extent, because of the society lacks means to control the legislation, but there are also people who think the government have no right in forbidding the downloading. This is typical behaviour of people who have very particular views of things.

4.2 Collectivistic vs. Individualistic


In individualistic cultures the concentration is on the benefit and well-being of the individual. Whereas in collectivistic cultures common goals and objectives are aimed. Industrialized countries have a more individualistic culture whereas developing countries have predominantly collectivistic cultures. With the economical growth the individuality is rising and the importance of social cohesion (family and friends) is increasing. In developing countries the importance of family is important to deal with the daily problems- children are often seen as a retirement provision. In Finland, Germany we have definitively individualistic cultures. In the article of Trompenaars it is written that France has a more collectivistic culture. But after the discussion in our group and from the experience of our French group member, we came to the result that France is not a very collectivistic culture. Also the high developed economy in France has driven the people there to become more and more individualistic in their behaviour. But it is possible that the author meant that France is collectivistic because the French are not so open to learn and speak other languages- they try to protect in some kind of way their language. The experiences of our group members that have already been in France were that the people there don't like to speak English and that you are better served in a restaurant when you try to speak French instead of English. As described above low-context cultures are more direct and explicit in their way of conversation with others. In contrast high-context cultures are more indirect and implicit 8 Oksanen, Lehmuskoski, Schulz, Pavie, Kolm

Tu-53.1360 Cross-Cultural Management in their communication. According to the article of Kakabase et al. high-context cultures are rather collectivistic and low-context cultures are rather individualistic. The direct and context-free style of the interactions in low-context cultures can be seen as the need of people to present themselves as individuals. In contrast, in low-context cultures the communication partners tend to be indirect and ambiguous and not to tell directly what is bothering them- they expect that people will know what is going on in their minds without making it explicit.

4.3 Diffuse vs. Specific culture


We can also distinguish cultures in the level how far people get involved with private life within their work place. A distinction is made between diffuse and specific cultures. Diffuse cultures tend to mix their private life with duties at work. In those cultures the boss has the authority to command the employee doing whatever tasks he likes. In specific cultures there is a strict separation between work and private life. In France, Germany and Finland we can observe a more specific culture. Nobody in those countries would be expected to paint the house of the boss, like it was mentioned in the article. But we think that it has also something to do with the dominated kind of work you can find in these countries. In these industrialized countries the service sector is predominant. Whereas in countries like China and Nigeria- that are more diffuse cultures- a lot of people work in the agricultural and industrial sector. So the imagination that somebody who is working at the field can also paint the bosses house is not so absurd. In Germany, France or Finland nobody that is working in the service sector is expected to paint the house of the boss except f there is a special private relationship. Furthermore it is also connected with the growing individualism in industrial countries and so that people don't help one another so much. In countries like Germany the people that are living in the same neighbourhood don't help each other- there is a high separation. In the article of Kakabase et al. those cultures where the people are highly involved were called relationship cultures. Those are mainly high-context cultures. So there is again- a connection between the behaviour of people towards each other and their communication style. Diffuse cultures are rather high-context whereas specific cultures are rather low-context. 9 Oksanen, Lehmuskoski, Schulz, Pavie, Kolm

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4.4 Affective vs. neutral cultures


Cultures can be also distinguished on how people show emotions towards other people in a conversation. Affective people tend to show their emotions during a conversation. Affective people will give a direct emotional response to the speaker- they will confirm the speaker whether they have the same feelings about a certain topic or not. Emotionally neutral people will always give an indirect response and are often seen as ice cold because they don't show their feelings. In contrast, affective people are often seen as out of control and inconsistent. In the article of Trompenaars Germany is listed as a rather affective culture. But when we define the affective people as persons that show their emotions very impulsively- we don't think that Germany is an affective culture. In Germany the people will show their communication partners if they agree with certain points or not, but they will not tell it in a very emotional way. Rather they will tell it very directly and rationally. France can be seen as a more affective culture. French show their emotions during a conversation more directly than for example Germans or Fins do. An expression for the heartiness of French people is also that it is common to great each other with a kiss- that is not so common in Germany and Finland. People in Finland and Germany are more reserved towards other people. They don't usually greet each other with kisses, they rather shake hands. So the Trompenaar's definition of an affective culture is not very clear and doesn't fit with the experiences of our group members.

4.5 Ascription vs. achievement


Nations have different strategies to develop their economies. We can distinguish between ascription and achievement. We thought the differences were visible in that ascription orientated cultures, the status is the thing that is valued and gives you the right to command other people. In achievement orientated cultures, the status only indicates your achievements and the achievements are the things that are valued. But it is not always easy to distinguish if somebody has achieved his or her position because of ascribed status or achievement. The orientations are very connected with each other. In western cultures it is not possible to achieve a high position without a long working experience. So achievement is tightly connected with age, education and money. The 10 Oksanen, Lehmuskoski, Schulz, Pavie, Kolm

Tu-53.1360 Cross-Cultural Management status that you have in a company is often both achieved and ascribed. You get an ascribed status that you have also achieved. The differences become apparent, when somebody has a status you think he has not achieved. If you come from a more achievement orientated as USA, you can quickly become frustrated if you think you or someone else can do the things better than your boss. We also noted that in our cultures leaders that are younger than the employees are less accepted by those. Especially the generation of our parents has problem to be under the control of somebody that is younger than them selves. But it helps to accept those leaders when they perform competent despite their young age. We noted that in France, Germany and Finland we are moving towards a more achievement orientated culture, because of the increasing criteria of education that is required in being ascribed to a position in a working place. We also think that even in achievement-orientated cultures there are certain things that influence the ascription to a position. Genders, age and personal relations matter. In some fields, it is still more difficult for a woman to get the same position as a man even if they have the same performance. From our experience in Germany, France and Finland both a certain age and performance play a role in achieving a certain position. This is pretty clear as both are connected with each other- it is not possible to achieve a high position without long working experience. It is pretty clear that achievement is connected with age. To make efforts and so achievements, we need to become specialists and develop certain skills and knowledge- and that takes its time. When a student has just graduated from university and starts his or her first job, he or she has a lot of theoretical knowledge, but no life experience to handle situations that have not been described at university.

5 Challenges in understanding cultural differences in business


According to Trompenaars, a culture can be represented like an onion with an outer layer linked to the explicit culture and a core linked to the implicit layer. It is easier for us to see the explicit culture in our every days life. The conflicts come often from the

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Tu-53.1360 Cross-Cultural Management implicit culture because we interpret peoples values, norms and their whole way of thinking at the first glance to be similar with our own implicit culture. In the confrontation between two different cultures, there are three different kinds of dilemmas. First can be composed of the bilateral relationship between people, second deals with time-orientation and the third one is about the environment.

5.1 Challenges in building functional relationships


As we started to parallel the points that may lead to dilemmas to our group's experiences, the way we address people was the first thing that was brought up. In Germany and France people often call older and less familiar people by surname and address them more formally and respectfully, whereas Finns unceremoniously use even nicknames when they address e.g. their teachers. Especially in cross-cultural communication the lack of polite manners can easily lead to conflicts and may complicate the relationships between people. Our manners are often quite deep-rooted and it requires a lot of effort to change and perfect them. Monika mentioned as an example, that in some parts of Germany schools allowed students call teachers by their first names and to those students it was very difficult to switch back to the preceding and more polite style. One possible way to prevent gratuitous misunderstandings is to agree on mutual ways of action beforehand, at least in some organizations this can be viable. Person's impressions and attitude tell much more than the actual words that he is saying. It's important to keep a good attitude in all the cases. In our group's experiences this is emphasized especially in interviews for a job. An excellent diploma and education background is not enough; social intelligence and competence are also required. The first contact is the most important one. To ensure a successful outcome, people should get to know and understand different cultural manners; greeting for instance is very significant.

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5.2 Differences in time-orientation


Different cultures have various ways to perceive time, which easily leads to conflicts. The first example deals with the length of breaks. When Ida was working on a project in Canada last summer, her Canadian project partners took every day extra long breaks and didn't seem to put that much effort on the project as Ida was used to in Finland. We can easily think that this only means a lack of motivation because e.g. in Finland people tend to be hardworking and through. But when Ida brought this up, she learned that in Canada people are just used to work like this. We also think that vacations must have a major effect on people's work motivation, Finnish workers have the longest vacations in the world, whereas Canadians only get a couple of weeks per year. Another example of time-orientation is the way of using our day. In France, most of the engineers work between 8:00 and 20:00. They have long and not very useful meetings almost every day and roughly twice a week they tend to have a two-hour lunch break with salesmen. For Finland, Sweden and Germany working after 17:00 is generally viewed as a lack of organizing skills, a lack of efficiency. In some cultures people are also used to do many things at the same time, while in the other culture people tend to concentrate in one or two matter at a time. For example in many Finnish organizations work is done as a set of different projects. When one project is done, people move to another. This is seen as an efficient way of doing things.

5.3 Environmental differences


It often happens that someone has good ideas but he cannot express the exact meaning or come across the way he wanted. Every culture is different; history, climate, position on the globe, religion, living conditions, etc. have a strong influence on cultures, and all of this leads to differences of languages and ways of thinking. Surroundings have a strong impact on the expressions we use and the way we use them. For example different weather conditions and culturally distinctive things (e.g. Finnish sauna) may create confusion because they are not familiar in many cultures and only a few cultures have an expression for them.

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Tu-53.1360 Cross-Cultural Management However there are some means to avoid most of the conflicts, when working with people from other cultures. One solution could be: putting all our effort in trying to understand what our interlocutor tries to tell us instead of pointing out the mistakes he makes. For example, by pondering over what the person could possibly want, it can be easier to understand what he means. If we understand his motivations, we can avoid misunderstandings, but we still need to listen what he says carefully without entirely fixating on his probable motivation. One good example of understanding person's motivations came up at the course lecture. The lecturer was negotiating for a trade with a Finn and was ready to submit his offer. After he did that the Finn just kept quite because he was trying to figure out a right expression in English. This made the lecturer nervous and finally he cut the price down to half of the original.

5.4 Developing through the challenges


As a conclusion of this chapter, it is difficult to understand the differences of cultures. The implicit signals of ones culture can vary and sometimes we have to make an effort when we meet someone. The effort is necessary for having a good relationship with this person and with us. The right way is trying to deny every possible prejudice and act like a child, learning as if all was new for us. It is important to recognize the implicit things in our own culture, and that it truly is one way of thinking. Not the only way. Of course, it is easier if we have a broader background from different cultures.

6 The impact of differences


The impact caused by misunderstanding different cultures, can vary a lot. It depends on personal prejudices and emotional intelligence, the gap between the cultures in question and on understanding and respect of the differences between these cultures. Countries are not the only thing labelling different cultures. Age, sex, prejudices and language have also an important role in defining the culture in question. In one country there can exist hundreds or thousands of different cultures. When we speak of a culture in a country, we tend to stereotype very much. 14 Oksanen, Lehmuskoski, Schulz, Pavie, Kolm

Tu-53.1360 Cross-Cultural Management We agreed that in order to achieve successful results in communication it is vital to have a good knowledge of human nature. It is very important to get to know different cultures and habits. The courage to approach people from different backgrounds supports this substantially. Different accents within the same language increase the challenges to both come across and to comprehend other people. Although it is naturally always more challenging to express oneself with a foreign language, we think it was easier to approach others when nobody of us was speaking their mother tongue. Our equal language skills reduced the nervousness within our group and it made the gap to have the courage to express your thoughts more low.

6.1 Negative Impact


Differences in our cultures tend to lead to misunderstandings or weakened communication possibilities. Misunderstandings can lead to losses of business opportunities. The weakened communication becomes apparent, when you are not speaking your own language. You cannot fully express yourself and even though this does not necessarily lead to lose of business opportunity it reduces your options to bargain and business can lose efficiency. Some of the most horrible things, ever happened, have been caused by cultural misunderstandings. In business,

misunderstandings can be the most fatal way a business discussion could end. Misunderstandings do not necessarily show themselves in an early phase, you can have very hard to predict them. A threat that is difficult to foresee, is most utterly worth preventing. Prejudices and nationalism can have a more direct impact on the business. This impact is easier to foresee and avoid. Some cultures can totally forbid business transactions with some specific culture. The price tends also to vary, depending on your culture. Tourists are usually been asked more money, than local inhabitants.

6.2 Positive impact


Cultures can bring a variety to the company. A variety of cultures have been known to increase the innovation in the team. Highly successful companies like for example 15 Oksanen, Lehmuskoski, Schulz, Pavie, Kolm

Tu-53.1360 Cross-Cultural Management Google and Nokia, both use multinational teams in their creative work tasks. This will shake the culture a bit, work hours tend to be more free, so that everyone can work as suits best for him or her. A multinational team tend to force the workplace to be more open and flexible. A multinational team also educates the team-members. In intensive teams the team-members will surely learn to respect other cultures and in best scenario the experience can help him broaden his thinking.

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7 Conclusion
Culture is something that surrounds every one of us. It is not always easy to understand why somebody acts and thinks the way he does. By studying different cultures we get important information about peoples manners and ways of doing things. This helps us to understand different people and avoid conflicts. Fons Trompenaars divides cultures by seven different dimensions. Kakabadse et al. make the distinction between high and low context cultures. By studying the articles we learned many differences between cultures, we agreed in many ways with the articles actors, but thought that the actors described the division to be a bit too black and white. We noted many things that were true only for older generations. We think that the fact that both of the articles were over six years old made some of the information to be a bit outdated. In our group we concentrated mostly in Finnish, German and French cultures. By working on two different articles we found many things that were same in every of these three countries. In Finland, Germany and France universalism and individualism are more dominating than particularism and collectivism, in all three countries people tend to make a strong separation between work and private life, and the status of a person is seeing as an achievement based on persons actions. One difference between Finnish, German and French cultures was the fact, that French people are a little bit more affective than Finns and Germans, they show their emotions while speaking. Working with people from different countries and cultures causes different kinds of challenges. Concept of time might be seen differently, rules in relationships may vary and there can be differences in cultures caused by different environments. All these things can cause positive or negative impacts. Different cultural manners and different languages among people can lead to misunderstandings. It is important to respect people from different countries and cultures with all their strange habits and ways of seeing things, without generalizing too much. At best different cultures can enrich each others in the way that everybody wins.

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8 Sources
1. Low- and High-Context Communication Patterns: Towards Mapping CrossCultural Encounters Nada Korac-Kakabadse, Alexander Kouzmin, Andrew Korac-Kakabadse and Lawson Savery 2. Resolving International Conflict: Culture and Business Strategy Fons Trompenaars 3. 4. Introduction to Cross-Cultural Communication Michael Gates (lecture) Culture Active website - www.cultureactive.com (visited on 20/11/2007)

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Tu-53.1360 Cross-Cultural Management

Appendix 1: Record of our meetings


First meeting: Wednesday 7 November 2007 10-11 Participants: Ida, Tanja, Mal During this meeting: - Presentation: our experiences - Decisions about the composition report (first ideas, draft) - What we will do during the next meetings (about 3 or 4) - Decisions of the way of work. So we decided to separate the tasks: After the debate, one person will write about the topic For the next meeting: - Summaries of both texts (1 page) (Ida and Tanja have the kindness to do that) - Presentation of ourselves (we prepare that at home) - and we will discuss about the first topic: "Based on your group's experiences in different cultures, what were your perceptions about the contents of articles?" (Maybe we can prepare our perceptions very quickly before the meeting) First ideas for the composition of our report: - Presentation of group members (1 page), - Table of Contents (1 page), - Summaries of articles (1 page), - Results after discussing about the 4 topics (about 4 x 3 pages), - and a conclusion, - and in appendix: the record of our meetings Second meeting: Thursday 15 November 2007 14-16 Participants: Ida, Tanja, Monika, Marko, Mal During this meeting: - Presentation: us and our experiences - Reading of the summaries - We spoke about the first topic with taking ideas in the text: High and low-context, Universalism v. Particularism, Collectivism v. Individualism, Affective v. Neutral relationships, Specificity v. Diffuseness, Achievement v. Ascription, Orientation towards Time and Internal versus External control - We spoke also about the lecture When cultures collide - Managing succesfully across cultures by the English lecturer Especially about linear-active, multi-active and reactive countries compared to high and low-context For the next meeting: - We will watch about the writing of the first topic and perhaps we will add some examples - We will discuss about the second and the third topic: Which issues do you agree and disagree with? Do the issues discussed in the articles show up in your group dynamics? How?

19 Oksanen, Lehmuskoski, Schulz, Pavie, Kolm

Tu-53.1360 Cross-Cultural Management Third meeting: Monday 19 November 2007 12-14 Participants: Ida, Tanja, Monika, Marko, Mal During this meeting: - information for the first party (Monika) - we decided to share our files on a Google group (very good idea) - we spoke about the 3 other topics with the help of the text: -Which issues do you agree or disagree? Similar/dissimilar experiences? -Group dynamics -Kind of challenges, impact of cultural differences -we also make comparisons between countries about common things during a common day For the next meeting: - Write about the 4 topics and we will discuss about we wrote Fourth meeting: Monday 26 November 2007 12-14 Participants: Ida, Tanja, Monika, Marko, Mal During this meeting: - we read our reports first draft - we speak about the draft of our report and its structure (orders of part and titles) - we speak about another examples to complete the different topics - and finally we share the work to finish the report

20 Oksanen, Lehmuskoski, Schulz, Pavie, Kolm