3.6 Conclusion

Reflection Activity

image of a woman with short curly hair and a pencil above her earAfter learning more about cultural differences in business contexts, what advice do you have for Abe, where her country of origin culture and customs are different from the new Canadian customs she encounters? Should she assimilate and just shake hands with male colleagues? If it’s important for her to maintain some of her customs, how might she communicate about that with her new colleagues?

Check Your Understanding


Culture – the ongoing negotiation of learned and patterned beliefs, attitudes, values, and behaviours.

Direct cultures – communication is more open and frank; business conversations can get straight to the point without first spending time on informal conversation.

Ethnocentrism – the tendency to view one’s own culture as superior to other cultures.

Feminine orientation – a cultural value of modest, caring values.

High-power distance culture – there are clear hierarchies of power, especially in manager-subordinate organizational roles. You may need to take extra care to elicit feedback and involve senior administrators in discussion because their cultural framework may preclude their participation.

Indirect cultures – communication is less direct and people may “beat around the bush” rather than saying exactly what they mean; conversations may start with extended “small talk” before getting down to business.

Intercultural Communication – communication between people with differing cultural identities.

International communication – communication between nations, or two or more people from different nations.

Intrapersonal Communication – communication with yourself or our internal dialogue.

Long-term orientation – cultures focused on future rewards; often marked by persistence, thrift and frugality, and an order to relationships based on age and status.

Low-power distance culture – people relate to one another more as equals and less as a reflection of dominant or subordinate roles.

Masculine orientation – a cultural value of assertive and competitive behaviour.

Materialistic culture – members place emphasis on external goods and services as a representation of self, power, and social rank.

Monochromatic time – interruptions are to be avoided, and everything has its own specific time.

Monochronic Time-Oriented Cultures – cultures focused on time and schedules; interruptions are to be avoided and the focus is on one thing at a time.

Polychromatic time – more complicated, with business and family mixing with dinner and dancing, events do not necessarily start on time.

Polychronic Time-Oriented Cultures – time is more fluid and many things can be focused on at one time; events do not necessarily start on time; people are more important than schedules.

Political systems – framed in terms of how people are governed, and the extent to which they may participate.

Prejudice involves a negative preconceived judgment or opinion that guides conduct or social behaviour.

Relationship cultures – value people and relationships more than material objects.

Rites of Initiation – marks the passage of the individual to become part of the community.

Short-term orientation – a culture whose people value immediate results and grow impatient when those results do not materialize.

Space – a common cultural characteristic; it may be a nonverbal symbol that represents status and power.

Stereotypes – a generalization about a group of people that oversimplifies their culture; an assumption that everyone in the group has the same traits, behaviours, etc.

Theory X – workers are motivated by their basic needs and have a general disposition against labour.

Theory Y – employees are ambitious, self-directed, and capable of self-motivation.

Theory Z – works have a high need for reinforcement, where belonging is emphasized.

Uncertainty Reduction Theory – a theory on how people use communication to reduce uncertainty.


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