Business Case Study: Culture Differences

Culture Differences nee Introduction In these days human beings seem to travel frequently. It could seem that modern technology has made the world smaller and more accessible. For business purposes this increased globalization could raise challenges when different socially constructed cultures interact.

Such cross-cultural friction can be difficult to recognize, but is important to be aware of to avoid confusing communication. This case study will examine the unsuccessful experience when a Belgian businessman was hired as team leader for an Indonesian company.

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It will identify the cultural problems that occurred and provide advice to avoid miscommunication. Analysis of Case Study Nee Jonathan was offered extra privileges he refused. The offers may have made him uncomfortable since in Belgium “offices tend to be simple and functional” (Mole, 2003: p. 126) and there is usually little sign of differences in power.

However, in Indonesia power distance is high. Conway and Morrison (2006) writes that hierarchy IS strong and Indonesian show respect to people with visible status or power. It old therefore seem clever that Jonathan embraces high power distance to win trust and respect.

To do so he could accept secretaries to work as intermediaries as this Nil move him higher up in the hierarchy. There are other problems linked to high power distance as well. Firstly, Jonathan does not understand why colleagues do not speak to him in corridors or visit his office.

The reason could be that Indonesian workers stay true to the hierarchy and do not approach individuals in higher positions than their own, whilst in Belgium “the boss is expected to be approachable” (Mole, 2003, p. 26). Secondly, he is puzzled by a manager’s dictator-like behavior and does not understand why he is admired.

However, for Indonesian his attitude might be considered normal and fair due to his hierarchical position. Thirdly, Jonathan believes his team members are not contributing well in meetings. Often in strong hierarchies superiors cannot be questioned and this could explain why they remain passive in case they might criticize Jonathan, their leader.

Thus, in order to be a good leader after the Indonesian standard, Jonathan should distance himself by closing his office door and use equines meetings to give clear instructions of what the team should do.

If a group discussion is desired, this should take place at lunchtime. It is likely that the Indonesian were afraid of losing face in the business meetings if they criticized their leader’s work. Babcock (2007) suggests that to avoid loss of face Norms must be selected carefully and individuals should never be singled out from the public. If they are, huge embarrassment could occur as many Indonesian are collectivists.

The Belgian, however, might be an individualist and does not see why ailing tot MUSM would make boot to them lose tact.

As “openly airing displeasure can be considered extremely disrespectful” (Doing Business In Indonesia: A UK Business Perspective, 2010, p. 12) Jonathan may have lost face breaking the norm, whilst MUSM lost face by being humiliated publicly. Next time, Jonathan should refer to the group as a whole when annoyed and any complaints should be expressed calmly and indirectly. Northern questions why he struggles getting to know his team.

He is working hard Nell into lunch breaks, but people still avoid talking to him. An explanation could be hat Indonesian tend to be relationship-focused. Taking time to discuss non- business related topics is considered important” (Doing Business In Indonesia: A I-J Business Perspective, 2010) and usually takes place at lunchtime. Especially Babcock 2007) stresses the importance of relationships to successful business. By working through lunch breaks, Jonathan might miss valuable networking and as a consequence, also the trust of his team.

If he wants to be regarded as a worthy leader, he should allow plenty of time for small talk although as a Belgian it might seem like a waste of time. It is not.

It is hard for Jonathan to accept his team members coming late. Belgians think that time is money and should be used efficiently completing tasks, making Belgium a task-focused culture. As a contrast, Indonesia has a polyphonic approach to time as they tend to think it is beyond their control. In fact, Babcock (2007) writes that many Indonesian believe karma (fate) determines their future, which could explain why MUSM were not worried about being late as the future cannot be done something Ninth.

Jonathan, on the other hand, wanting to hurry up work process since time is emitted, has a monochromatic approach.

To better deal with relaxed Indonesian Northern could schedule meetings 30 minutes before planned time, and also slow down work by indulging in small talk as to make his team members comfortable. Finally, Jonathan observed how employees shared personal problems with the manager. Quintessential (n. D.

) explains that Indonesian bosses are called ‘bake” (father), and superiors usually look after subordinates to receive loyalty in return. This paternalistic culture may seem strange for an individualist with a strong need for privacy.

However, Jonathan should try to look beyond his norms and ask more questions about his team members’ private life. This might earn him trust and provide a harmonious working life. Conclusion This case study has made explicit the cultural differences between Belgium and Indonesia.

It has identified how different factors such as relationships, time and reputation can cause frustrating misunderstandings and displeasure. After reading this report it should be clear that preparations on foreign destinations are essential for successful international business management.