As we know, almost any company’s goal is to be internationally successful. However, as time goes by, international companies have to face more challenges and obstacles to succeed each day, due to the increasing competition and the barriers between different cultures. The best way to achieve their aspirations is to know and understand their clients. Yet, it is not an easy task whenyou are a well-known company in many societies because of the differences that they display.
To control every situation that may be a boundary for great profit s due to multicultural challenges, it is important to learn some concepts and ideas that are very useful. Some of these concepts and ideas are: cultural synergy, high-synergy and low-synergy cultures, Hofstede’s 5 dimensions, high andlow context communication, and cross-cultural management. Knowing these terms, every international company will be able to compete globally.
Definition of Cultural Synergy
Cultural synergy is a way to combine two or more cultures so that they can work their differences and similarities in order to adapt and learn from each other to work together.
The Differences between High-synergy andLow-synergy cultures
High-synergy societies tend to emphasize the work as a team as the best way to succeed, unlike low synergy societies, that believe that being a competitive leader is going to bring them better benefits. This means that the achievements or power of a high synergy society has to be used for everyone. In these societies, people tend to behave non-aggressively, whereas in low synergysocieties, people have a very aggressive behavior, due to their individualistic culture. To be more specific, high synergy cultures believe that winning something is an achievement for all, and low synergy cultures believe that a victory is only for one person.
The main difference between these two societies is that a high synergy society considers that wealth should be shared for everyone, whilelow synergy society ignores poverty, and believes that leadership brings benefits only for the individuals. In high synergy societies there is a low rate of crime and mental illness, while in low synergy societies, criminality and illness are more common. An example of a low synergy society is the US, because Americans tend to be very individualistic people when it comes to their jobs. They arealways looking for a promotion or a way to stand out, so they can get very competitive.
Hofstede’s 5 dimensions
The organizational sociologist, Geert Hofstede, found five dimensions that became very useful to classify countries. These dimensions are known as: power distance index, individualism, uncertainty avoidance index, masculinity, and long-term orientation. Hofstede believed that thesefive dimensions can help everyone know easily the cultural type of any country. Power distance index is described as the way that a country handles inequalities in the society. In other words, how power is distributed among the people. Individualism refers to the way that people act in relation to others. It is important to know that individualism or collectivism affects an organization, becausewhile individualistic cultures like individual initiative and perfection, collectivist cultures are more conformists. The third dimension, known as masculinity vs. femininity, focuses on the emotional role distributed among genders. In a culture with high level of masculinity, the society tends to care more about achievements, competition, status and independence; whereas a society with a low level ofmasculinity value life more and believe that status is not important. Uncertainty avoidance index refers to the level in which societies see themselves in risky or undefined situations. The fifth dimension, long-term orientation, promotes mainly perseverance and thrift, while short-term orientation countries prefer achieving social obligations and protecting status.