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International Business Management
Chapter Two
Understanding the Role of Culture
__________________________________________________
What is meant by the culture of society, and why is it important for international managers to understand it? What is meant by the culture of society, Explain how culture affects all aspects of international management? Culture A set of shared values, understandings, assumptions, and goals that are learned from earlier generations, imposed by present members of a society, and passed on to succeeding generations. A critical skill for managing people and processes in other countries is cultural savvy that is, a working knowledge of the cultural variables affecting management decisions. Managers have often seriously underestimated the significance of cultural factors. According to numerous accounts, many blunders made in international operations can be attributed to a lack of cultural sensitivity. Examples abound. Scott Russell, senior vice president for human resources at Cendant Mobility in Danbury, Connecticut, recounts the following An American company in Japan charged its Japanese HR manager with reducing the workforce. The Japanese manager studied the issue but couldn’t find a solution within cultural Japanese parameters; so when he came back to the Americans, he reduced the workforce by resigning—which was not what they wanted.. Cultural sensitivity, or cultural empathy, is an awareness and an honest caring about another individual’s culture. Such sensitivity requires the ability to understand the perspective of those living in other (and very different) societies and the willingness to put oneself in another’s shoes. International managers can benefit greatly from understanding the nature, dimensions, and variables of a specific culture and how these affect work and organizational processes. This…...

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