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Global Business Culture

Oct 27, 2011


A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Entrepreneur Network, a partnership of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Anya Petersen-Frey, Regional Director, MBA, PhD (abd), Certified Global Business Professional

I would like to do business in a different country but am apprehensive about cultural differences I may have - I don't think I am very "worldly".

In today's market if a business has a website it is, essentially, doing business in the global marketplace. But the comment above brings up a good point. Many countries have different approaches to business and whether the business is selling business to business, business to consumer, or some other form of organization in another country, understanding the business culture can make a difference with easier access and future success. But, you do not need to be "worldly" to successfully navigate cultural variations, there are many online websites that help you learn more about your country of interest.

For just a touch of theory one can access Geert Hofstede and his four theoretical dimensions of culture, which can give a good basis for considering another country's business culture. Below is a very brief, and not at all detailed, overview of the four, now five dimensions. Please go to the Hofstede website shared at the end of this blog for more information:

Power Distance - extent to which power is accepted and distributed unequally.

Uncertainty Avoidance - a society's tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity.

Individualism vs. Collectivism - the United States is considered high on the individualism scale whereas countries such as China are more collectivism based. This is not so much political as whether the culture integrates strongly into cohesive in-groups often meaning extended families.

Masculinity vs. Femininity - this refers to the distribution of roles

The newest dimension Hofstede applied after work with China is Long Term Orientation or LTO which relates to thrift and perseverance toward a much extended outlook.

These dimensions provide a foundation for the business etiquette to embrace when interacting with foreign business associates or customers.

For more practical guides below are two websites that allow you to choose a country of interest and then supply information about their culture and method of doing business.

A site to learn more about Hofstede and the dimensions of culture.

If you would like one on one advising on expanding your business to the global market place in a focused manner, please contact John Privette at 307.772.7371 or by email.

For more information about the services of Wyoming Entrepreneur, or to ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail or write 1000 East University Avenue, Department 3922, Laramie, WY 82071-3922. Additional help is available on our website .

The Wyoming Entrepreneur partnership program is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Additional support is provided by the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming.

Tags: Global
Category: International

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Posted by Smithc885 on
Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't show up. Grrrr well I'm not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say superb blog! dbfbdbgeeadebceb
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