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International Business across borders and cultures

Among the possible areas of conflict in cultural values are time, change, material factors and individualism. Different cultural practices often dictate the value given to time and its use. In the United States (US) work hours are conventionally defined as 9am to 5pm. In Spain, it is customary to take siestas in the middle of the day, this is an extended lunch period, which then causes the work hours to extended to the early evening (Deschenaux, 2008). With regard to change, it is important note that cultural experiences can affect how individuals react to change and the pace that change occurs.

In the US, where temporary employment is a trend, constant changes in staff is something that is regular. Conversely, in the Germany, it is common that an individual stays within one company from his first job until retirement (Reichheld, 2007). Similar cases of differences between perceptions of material factors and individualism can be seen between Americans and the Japanese. For Americans, elements of nature are resources that can harvested toward production purposes.

To the Japanese, nature is to be harnessed to provide increased balance in energy and beauty. Similarly, individualism is a trait very important to Americans, vice-versa, to the Japanese

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the team unit is prioritized over the individual. Sensitivity to the nuances in perceptions, practices and beliefs become necessary for operations to adapt in the locality. Family and Collectivism In predominantly Chinese countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and PRC, for the traditional Chinese businesses are extensions of the family.

As such management is often composed of family members, often parents and their children. This plays a role in the workplace in that managerial powers are not defined strictly by position but also by familial relations and the politics these entail. For the manager to be able to address the power play that occurs there is a need to respect the cultural practice and to recognize the authority gained through familial relations (Wong, 2001). Reference List Deschenaux, J. (2008, June 1).

Less time for lunch: the siesta in Spain is disappearing under the pressures of international business and big-city commuting. HR Magazine. Reichheld, F. F. (2007). The loyalty effect: The hidden force behind growth, profits and lasting value. Harvard Business Press. Wong, E. Y. T. (2001, February). The Chinese at work: Collectivism or individualism? Hong Kong Institute of Business Studies Working Paper. Retrieved April 20, 2009, from http://www. library. ln. edu. hk/etext/hkibs/hkws_0040. pdf

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