• Yukiko Sakata

Characteristics By Country And How That Affects Global Management

According to the country comparison by Hofstede Insights, the characteristics of countries can be expressed by the six indicators: Power Distance, Individualism, Masculinity, Uncertainty Avoidance, Long Term Orientation and Indulgence. While these are only data set and the real people and the countries keep changing, they indeed show the difference clearly that we do feel but don't usually get.

Let's see these three countries: Russia, Singapore and the United States. When the country is high in cultural contextuality, their people aren't as similar as those from the lowly contextual country. It is therefore doubly difficult for global companies to neatly adopt their strategies to each local. In the end, this is the endless topic also because the market consists of people that are constantly changing.

However, it is important to take diversity into consideration when applying strategies to each local. From cultural understanding point of view, the above chart can be adopted like below.

If there is an Russian business based in the United States with an American managing director, the projectable conflicts are significant. Let's see the analysis by indicator of the first three.

Power Distance: (Russia 93:40 the United States) Given that the Russian scores much higher than the United States, it is more likely that any directions emphasized by the "power" can greatly affect the Russians, while the people in the United States would not follow to the same directions and rather be led to think independently as it shows in the next indicator, "Individualism". That said the Russian side needs to consider the way how to direct and control if necessary the workforces in the United States side, while if the hierarchy is built the other way around, the United States side should think of the degree in meruliosity and accuracy of the directions themselves when they can be backed up by the "power".

Individualism:(Russia 39:91 the United States)The higher this score is, the more likely that the people acts based on their individual thoughts and ideas. As what people imagine from the word, "American Dream", the people in the United States tend to rely a lot more on each individuals thinkings, while the people in Russia don't. If the company from Russia manages the workforces in the United States, the same methodology as their home country should not be used as the integrity and the hierarchical consistency among peers would not result the same. From the United States side, there should not be the exact the same customer feedback data management and targeting system as they use in their home country when they apply to the other countries.

Masculinity:(Russia 36:62 the United States) Masculinity can be translated into how goal oriented and motivated one is in the specific country. Therefore it also shows the social stress to the success. The higher the score is, the more people are measured by their accomplishment and achievement. From the United States side, this can be reflected to the Russian workforces appearing to be dull and reluctant and not showing ambitiousness toward the goals given as they expect their employees to.

The key to success is to understand the cultural attribution as it is and craft the best strategy that really works. Otherwise, it can mislead the employees to understand each other in the wrong ways. For example, Japan and Singapore. Singapore has a significantly low score, 8, in "Uncertainty Avoidance" which means that they are happy to take the risk to dive into the "unknown". On the other hand, Japan is very high in the same indicator, 92. It is observable in the real world as well. The country does seem conservative and people are less dynamically challenging but rather into craftsmanship and longevity. I heard some Japanese professionals describing Singapore female professionals "strong". I agreed to some degrees, but also realized that it could have been just the difference. Indeed, looking at female professionals "strong" could mislead the employees as well because the moment we see someone stronger than ourselves in the area that we feel like we should be as strong as they are, we become less empathetic thus more conflicts than cooperations.

The real understanding of the world is built upon the real understanding of the people. While we keep saying that we are all brothers and sisters, it is also true that the conflicts remain steady even between the countries that work together.

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