Relationships With People and Ethnocentric Culture Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1731 Words
Date:  2022-06-30

Relationships With People

Cultural dimensions constitute an important facet of the society so far as global business relations are concerned. Through the dimensions, the impact of a cultural society ingrained on its own societal values is collectively portrayed. Culture, in this context, entails the totality of a group of individuals constituting a social group, characterizing their behavior, either individually or collectively in respect to other societal groups and their natural environment. Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner (1998) argue that cultural beliefs direct peoples' actions although they vary in the way common impasses and problems are solved. Perceptively, the authors posit that cultural differences are grounded on the relationships amongst people. They then highlight categories of cultural dimensions which primarily focus on a theoretical framework revolving around the solutions different cultural groups choose to universal impasses to foster cross-cultural communication.

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1). Universalism vs. Particularism

Universalism settles on general universalist approaches, where it finds one best rule in instances where no rule fits. Particularism on the other hand entails choosing exceptions, as it judges a case based on the merits rather than force-fitting existing rules in accordance with existent societal codes (Hofstede, 2000).

2). Neutral vs. Emotional

Business relationships in North-west Europe and North America are objective and typically instrumental. However, towards the South, emotions are deemed appropriate in any business relationship, where one can comfortably laugh loudly or bang the conference-room table in anger during negotiations.

3). Individualism vs. Collectivism

While the collectivist culture directs greater attention to unique relational circumstances and the obligations in relationships, it offers less attention to abstract cultural legal codes. On the other hand, the individualistic cultures give precedence to social norms and law instead of personal connections.

Attitudes to time

People view time and its management differently across societies. While it is vital for individuals to look back and review their achievements in the past, it is more important for some to disregard the past and develop plans. Cultures like the Dutch, Swedish and Americans perceive the passing of time in a sequential, distinct format. Other cultures, however, the belief that time moves in a circle, with past, current and imminent possibilities affecting the manner in which planning, investment and strategizing are done.

Attitudes to the Environment

The environment is a critical consideration in defining cultural differences as some groups of people view other parts of the World or the Universe itself as more powerful than individuals. They, therefore, fear or emulate creation. Throughout the world, people are faced with the challenge of coming to terms with the world's external nature. In most instances, therefore, some cultural groups derive values and motivations from within (Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, 1998).

The Missouri Computational Company

The MCC operates in a universalist culture and its headquarters located in St. Louis. The company is involved in the development, production, and sale of both large and medium-sized computers in Asia, the Middle-East, North America, Europe, South America, and Australia. A universalistic dimension focuses on rules rather than building relationships, where a trustworthy person is required to honor the terms of a legal contract. In fact, universalists continuously institute various formal processes of changing the manner in which the business is run, modifying systems to modify the employee by signaling changes publicly.

The vice-president and his management team acknowledge the need to have a globalized face of the company, has introduced a new logo representing its worldwide image. The CEO proposes a new marketing and management plan that he believes would foster and promote an international breakthrough. However, as the Vice-president of Human resources worldwide, he had concerns if the approach would be welcome in South America and Southern Europe but his question was "brushed aside." The management tool aims to support a par-for-performance scheme. Mr. Johnson, however, failed in an attempt to have the policy and new techniques implemented in a "humanly" manner.

The organization's administrators intend to impose general policy guidelines on its employees in multiple nations worldwide. The company decreed that 30% of remuneration will be dependent on an individual's performance. That means, he will quickly earn the 30% bonus, safe for the favorable conditions in his personal and business life. The unusual circumstances prevailing in the lives of his children are however unfavorable to them hence they may not make the 30% bonus. On sharing g with his colleagues, the leader of the Swedish company accedes with their skepticism. By choosing a compromising side, it still proves difficult to reconcile particularism and universal viewpoints as an individual, by his cultural origin, is prone to uphold one approach in favor of the other.

It would be prudent to solve this conflict by rewarding employees in sums proportionate to their achievements. However, this may not be satisfactory for emotional subordinates who do not prioritize achievement. As such, the potentially reconcilable process, in this case, is both centralization and decentralization in a synergized manner to promote integration and avoid underperformance (Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, 1998).


Hofstede, G. Culture's consequences: comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2000, p. 225.

Ethnocentric culture

Ethnocentrism entails the viewpoint that one given ethnic group is somewhat superior to others. In the case between Iran and the US, their ethnocentric perspectives are grounded in the view that the religious values and beliefs of one ethnic group as morally superior to all other groups. The Americans, for instance, are Christians, whose viewpoint is mutually exclusive to that of the Iranians who are largely Islamists. The American religious believes solely based on the Christian perspective of lending a hand out to neighbors while Iranians act in line with the notion of an "eye-for-eye." Ethnocentric individuals consider themselves better, in character, religion, racial origins or practices than their counterparts for reasons grounded solely on a given heritage. The Iranians exiled their Shah, Mohammed Riza Pahlevi, because he allegedly betrayed their country, the US, under the leadership of President Jimmy Carter spontaneously allowed him into the country for treatment in New York, which was supposedly the only medical facility that could guarantee his well-being. While it was not medically necessary or politically advisable to have the Shah treated in the US promptly, the Americans employed their belief of lending out a helping hand to the ailing man, overlooking the viewpoint of the Iranians. In fact, the American policy is geared towards admitting anybody into the country or offering help to anybody under dire circumstances, as it is generally considered a national dishonor to deny support to an individual in need (Beeman, 2003).

The Iranians, on the other hand, believe that associating with the enemy, even accepting an helping hand, is an act of betrayal, which should be punished with even deposition, as in the case of The Shah. As highlighted by Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner (1998), differences in cultural orientations are more prevalent in the manner in which individuals resolve conflicts and reconcile dilemmas. The two cultures are ethnocentric in the sense that they employ some favoritism and preconceived notion regarding their religious beliefs and practices. Subconsciously, many people engage in ethnocentric acts and practices without actively desiring to insult each other's cultural and religious beliefs. As argued by Beeman (2003), the manner in which national or corporate attitudes are articulated is an indication of the cultural indoctrination of its people. In most cross-cultural activities, behaviors associated with ethnocentrism have, more often than not, been credited with causing many unanticipated and unfortunate outcomes across international business entities or nations. Drawing from the American and Iranian case in point, people have different sets of attitudes relative to their culture and other people's beliefs in any cross-cultural engagement.

America vs. Iran: Which one describes Ethnocentrism?

In my opinion, each cultural group nourishes its vanity and pride, boasting on its beliefs and exalting its basic divinities while viewing other cultures with contempt (Beeman, 2003). As in the case study, both the US and Iran believe that the beliefs they hold as a societal group is the right ones. Observing the folkways of another group attracts scorn, as they may be interpreted as a betrayal by radical and rigid cultures like Iran. Ethnocentrism divides people into ingroups and outgroups, which in most instances ensues negative imagery, hostile attitude towards submissive outgroups, as well as an authoritarian approach to group interaction in cultural settings with subordinate outgroups (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1998). However, it is important to note that cultural superiority feelings do not necessarily exhibit racism. The US, for instance, considers Iranians capable of merging their performance if they would accept to give up some political and religious beliefs to adopt American practices and principles as in the case of providing Medicare to the Iranian Shah (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1998). Conversely, researchers assert that the reform movement of the Iranians is plagued by ethnocentrism. The Iranian opposition tint with bias the idea that "diversity is strength" shunning the reform movement because of their limited perspectives of various ethnic groups. In opposition to the stance of America on democracy, Iranians define democracy to favor their principles, denying the "Green Movement" its fundamentals, ultimately creating "blind spots" in the perceived democratic movement. The US views the Iranian policies as an oppositional force against its interests, hence tries to purify the world from such governmental models presumptuously becoming both the guardian of democracy and the world order at large. Such ethnocentric stances have resulted in the abortive relationship prevalent between the two cultural nations, with a communicational structure that reinforces the mutually negative image that both nations hold against each other.

Across the border, Iranians belittle the proposed political spectrum from world superpowers like the US. Instead of establishing and implementing genuine incentives to foster improved social conditions and living standards for its citizens, the opposition and ruling regime downplay the propositions accusing the US of undermining the regime's structures. In Shah's case, the United States solves a problem by applying its Christian-based beliefs which entail lending out a helping hand even in the wake of grave consequences in international relations. Iran, on the other hand, holds on to its Islam terms that compromise is unacceptable and blasphemous at the same time. Having identified the American intermediation as corrupting, any intervention for peace is viewed as a demoralization of government structures, which should, therefore, be opposed. In fact, Shah was accused of supporting nonconformist elements within and without the country for meeting US allies. He was accused of threatening the political and social order of the Iranian government. Both nations embrace an ethnocentric...

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