By: Reni Rosari
Fakultas Ekonomika dan Bisnis Universitas Gadjah Mada Yogyakarta
In the global era, the business environment is made up of a complex maze of interaction between internal and external environment, which is again complicated by the multitude of value systems, cultural practices and nationalistic viewpoints. The dominant belief that management is something universal is now a myth. The managerial approach that works in one country does not necessarily work in another. Effective international managers have to learn how varying cultural practices across societies affects business and management practices an how to adapt to the differences.
This paper attempts to investigate and identify the salient aspects of culture that influence business and management practices. This paper will discuss the impact of culture on managerial skills and communication. In doing so, it first attempts to provide a cultural background of the two selected countries; Indonesia and USA. They are then compared within the dimensions of national culture based on the Hofstede’s four dimensions. Then they are contrasted on the aspects of managerial skills and communication based on discovery of cultural uniqueness.
Definition of culture, managerial skills and communication
According to Geer Hofstede, “culture is the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one category of people from another. The category of people can be a nation, region or ethnic group, a social class, a business organisation, or even a family”.
Although the domain culture is not limited by national borders, for the simplicity of the paper, social, religious, political factors of the chosen countries have been selected for the discussion of cultural phenomena.
Katz (1974) notes that a skill is “an ability which can be developed, and which is manifested in performance”.
Three basic managerial skills are technical, human and conceptual skills (Katz, 1974). Managerial skills for the discussion in this paper are leadership, motivation, appraising and evaluating staff performance, decision making, and facilitating employee participation.
Communication is “the process by which persons share information meanings and feelings through the exchange of verbal and non-verbal messages (Klopf as cited in Harris and Morran, 1996). For the discussion, communication in this paper will be both verbal and non-verbal communications.
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Appendix 1. THE DIMENSION OF NATIONAL CULTURE OF INDONESIA AND USA
Source: Hofstede, G. “The Business of International Business is Culture”. In Cross-Cultural Management, Jackson,(ed). Butterworth Heinemann.
Appendix 2. BUSINESS AREAS AFFECTED BY EACH DIMENSION
Source: Adapted from Hofstede, G. (1984). Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values,as cited in Hoecklin, Lisa. (1995). Managing Cultural Differences: Strategies for Competitive Advantage. England: Addison-Wesley.
Appendix 3. MANAGEMENT PRACTICES OF INDONESIA AND USA
Source: Hofstede, G. “The Business of International Business is Culture”. In Cross-Cultural
Management, Jackson,(ed). Butterworth Heinemann.
Appendix 4. EXTREME HIGH AND LOW CONTEXT VARIATION REGARDING EXPLICIT COMMUNICATION
Source: Victor, David A. (1992). International Business Communication. New York: