What are the most important culture differences (来源：www.EnglishCN.com)
As we all know, different countries have different cultures. 'Culture is the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one category of people from another.' (Hofstede, 1991)
It is inevitable that the cultural difference has impact on business. For example, when a company having meeting, the word "table" in American English that means to put something on the agenda. But in British English it means to put something off the agenda. This example indicated how the culture affects the business.
There are four cultural dimensions that were defined in Hofstede's research: Power distance, Uncertainty avoidance, Individualism, Masculinity, and recently Hofstede add one more: long-term-short-term orientation.
What I think the most significant influence in cultural difference is the power distance. (Hoecklin,1995:28)"It would condition the extent to which employees accept that their boss has more power than they have and the extent to which they accept that their boss's opinions and decisions are right because he or she is the boss." I considered it as how much subordinates can consent or dissent with bosses or managers. It is the distance between a manager and subordinate. Among most oriental corporate cultures, there is hierarchism, greater centralization, sometimes called 'power-oriented culture', due to the historical reasons. That is a high power distance culture that mangers make the decision and superiors appeal to be entitled more privileges. Their decision always close supervision positively evaluated by subordinates. In this situation, it is not be regarded if a subordinates have a disagreement with their managers, especially in Malaysia, Japan, China, India.
In the oriental, power distance is also associated with 'the family culture' (Trompernaars, 1993:139). In this kind of corporate culture the manager is like the "caring father" who knows better than his subordinates what should be done and what is suitable for them. The subordinates always esteem the managers. Because of the managers age and experience. That is usually how employees get their promotion. There are both positive and negative parts in the family cultures. I feel it is an easy managing system. But sometime it is hard to get young creative employees work well cause of the hierarchy. As Tropmenaars (1993: 142) told us "family culture at their least effective drain the energies and loyalties of subordinates to buoy up the leader." So in family culture, the power distance can be viewed as the subordinates respect the superiors.
That is the corporate culture in orient. Let us take a look at the western way. It is not a whole converse phenomenon. There is 'the Eiffel Tower culture' (Trompernaars, 1997:166) in the international management. About the Eiffel tower Trompenaars (1993: 148) told us " Its hierarchy is very different from that of the family. Each higher level has a clear and demonstrable function of holding together the level beneath it." German, Austrian have the characteristic of the Eiffel Tower Culture, which is a low power distance. In the lower power dis tance, (Hoecklin, 1995:31) 'higher-educated employees hold much less authoritarian values than lower-educated ones.' The obedience showed from the subordinates to the superiors is not as much as the oriental way. The leadership can be called as hierarchy and consensus. Employee can have different opinion with his/her boss. And when he/she got different ideas, he/she can go all the way up to the boss and discuss the problem. This is a good thing usually company may explore all the potentials of its employees, because sometime the subordinates may have the better&nb sp;idea of the business.
I think because of the different realization of power distance, people behave completely different in business. So conflict and misunderstanding must be emerged when two or more intercultures meet up. Under this situation, the international managers must pay attention to the clashes and be aware of. How to work the subordinates together efficiently and more cooperatively is important too.
And then there is also a large discrepancy on the uncertainty avoidance. (Hoecklin, 1995:31) defined 'Uncertainty avoidance is the lack of tolerance for ambiguity and the need for formal rules.' That means people trying to setup rules to face to the uncertainty. There is high uncertainty avoidance in most oriental countries such as Japan, China. In these countries, people prefer a stable job. They feel safe and prideful when they keep working hard at the one place. Under this circumstance, an excellent manager should keep his employee away from unpredictable ;risk. And the employee would like to be worked within groups rather than independently cause of the less risk-taking. But in most western countries, there is low uncertainty avoidance showed, whereas high job mobility occurs in those countries such as USA, Denmark, Singapore. The western people think that when they change their jobs, they can get more experience cause they like challenge. I believe that the divergence of the uncertainty avoidance is from different basic social ideology. A competent manager should pay attention on the rules setting between different uncer tainty avoidance. The misreading of that may affect the initiative and the aspiration of the subordinates.