Culture in International Business

An Introduction

Thomas Helgesson

Publisher: Academia Adacta, 1996, 117 pages

ISBN: 91-972763-2-4

Keywords: Culture, International Enterprise

Last modified: Dec. 5, 2007, 2:12 a.m.

In today's international societies it is almost impossible to avoid contacts with people from other cultures. Encounters are not only caused by the globalization of trade, but also by people from other countries and cultures appearing among us at the office, in the project group, at school, or as friends. The world is becoming a smaller place! Often meeting a foreign culture for some weeks during the vacation with your family is exciting. It is a completely different matter when it comes to living and working for several years in a foreign culture, or doing business with people 'impossible' to understand. The new environment and difficulties will for a lot of people result in stress and anxiety. The consequence can be a 'culture shock'.

The book describes theoretical models that can be used in practise to analyse and handle the 'culture shock'. It also describes important characteristics of some cultural areas in the world. There are several examples from the business-world of 'famous' cultural misunderstandings and mistakes. Some less well known mistakes that the author has succeeded in making on his own, during his frequent trips around the world, will also be revealed.

Culture in International Business — An Introduction is suitable for studies in Marketing, International Marketing or similar subjects. It is also useful for everyone interested in foreign cultures and who wants to improve their knowledge and understanding of this area.

The book includes exercises and a lot of questions for discussion.

  1. Culture
    • What is culture?
    • Models describing culture
    • Different countries or different cultures?
    • Questions for discussion
  2. Cultural problems and solutions
    • Cultural blindness
    • 'Type 1' and 'Type 2' problems
    • Start living in the new country
    • The importance and meaning of language
    • Stages in emotions
    • Matching individual and culture
    • How to handle the problems
    • 'Sunday is double time'
    • Questions for discussion
  3. Negotiations
    • Culture and negotiating practices
    • Corporate cultures
    • The settlement range
    • The range of cultural factors in negotiations
    • Questions for discussion
  4. Advertising
    • Culture and advertising
    • Advertisement for a pair of scissors
    • Questions for discussion
  5. Cultural interpretation of the Swedes
    • Values, behavior and interpretations
    • Areas of misunderstanding
    • 'Cultural mapping'
    • 'Mr World' and 'Mr Svensson'
    • Myths and truths about Sweden and the Swedes
    • The Swedish management style
    • Questions for discussion
  6. The Asian way
    • History and understanding culture
    • Religion
    • Living in the future
    • Japan
    • China
    • Korea
    • Questions for discussion
  7. Islamic countries
    • How Arabs see the West
    • Religion and business
    • Examples of Islam's business implications
    • Arab training
    • Questions for discussion
  8. Ways around the world
    • Europe
    • The USA
    • Central and South America
    • Africa
    • Questions for discussion
  9. Hofstede's research
    • When and how it was done
    • The four dimensions
    • Combinations and conclusions of the research
    • Limitations in validity
    • Questions for discussion
  10. Famous blunders in international business
    • 'Famous blunders'
    • Exercise: Try to guess the problem
    • Answers (1-24): Why they became blunders
    • Questions for discussion
  11. Stories to practice on
    • John Wayne, Mohammed Ali and Toyota-san
    • Relationships and rules
    • Do you speak Chinese?
  12. Further exercises
    • 'Swedish culture in the press'
    • A cultural 'dictionary'
    • 'Do's and taboos'
    • 'Cultural pictures'
    • 'Export of cultural products'
  13. Appendix: A cultural checklist


Culture in International Business

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

OK ***** (5 out of 10)

Last modified: Dec. 5, 2007, 1:42 a.m.

Expensive, superficial, a Swedish perspective, but OK.

Just don't buy it, as all information can be found elsewhere at greater detail and better explained, for less cost.


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