According to Chapman, Gajewska-De Mattos, Clegg and Buckley (2008, p. 1), because of the need to manage cross culture occurrences in business that operates in different nations and regions, particular issues are called cultural distance. ‘Close neighbours and distant friends – perceptions of cultural distance’ by Chapman, et al. (2008) is research on cultural distance with research based on the impact of cultural distance and it influences how managers in UK, Germany, and Poland understand it. The authors divided the nations into UK/Polish, German/Polish, and interviewed the members separately with the objective of obtaining empirical data. After conducting qualitative research and interpretative analysis, the researchers used the historical data to report on the difference among the British, Poland, UK, and German culture. According to the authors, despite the Polish culture not similar to British and German culture, UK and Poland view themselves as relatively close while Germany remains different. In this article, I focus on evaluating it based on three major parts; theoretical data examination, research methods and the wider implications of the research. According to the authors, the approach might assist the executives to manage diverse cultures effectively. I believe that the best approach is to embrace and respect all the cultural diversity and focus on narrowing down cultural distance.
The paper is about cultural distance as well as its significance across different borders. The authors focus on the interpretation and structuring of the manager’s cultural distance drawing from three countries: Poland, Germany, and the UK. The interest is based on Polish/UK and German/Polish contrast. Vasilaki (2011, p. 395), examine how managers living within the mentioned contrast not only create but also interpret the different frameworks that they use to understand one another, in addition to explaining their reasons for failing to understand the differences. It also starts that if managers understand their differences, then they can manage them. Therefore, it is important for cultural differences to be viewed as relative and not absolute, and a bilateral basis should be used.
The article aims to address four main illusions. It also focuses on the fact that small cultural distances can be more significant that the large cultural distances. Moreover, it focused on exploring issues regarding cultural distance, particularly in global business. The article offers a partial understanding of the distance culture, which is complex.
The key message is understanding the different cultural distance. It also points out that managerial expression experiences from Poland, UK, and Germany in particular situations meet different cultures.
Theory and Literature Review
The authors have critically analyzed the works of Hofstede, Hofstede, and Minkov (2010, p. 11). Hofstede’s ideas are cited in the entire literature body, linking his concepts to international management and international business. The researchers utilize the theory of the cultural dimensions to categorize the three nations with an objective of not only comparing but also analyzing them efficiently. Nonetheless, they reported that the Hofstede’s dimensions are simply studies simplifications. In my own perspective, Hofstede’s cultural rankings of the three nations are not only inappropriate but also weak.
Additionally, the data are outdated. Hofstede uses data that can be traced back to three decades. This makes it irrelevant to the today’s happenings in the business world (Triandis, 2004, p. 14). Even though the study comprised over 40 different nations, it focused on one company. Consequently, the interviewees were managers and not normal employees. Therefore, according to critics, some individuals particularly those from multinational corporations view the study as incomprehensive and lacking the necessary persuasion. Citing Solomon and Schell (2009, p. 10), after all, multinational firms have their unique corporate culture that affects the outcome associated with managing in diverse cultures. Therefore, Hofstede’s study is simply static in nature. The research fails to provide insights into the cultural evaluation and influential elements of different cultures.
Solomon and Schell (2009, p. 16) also adopt Shenkar (2012, p. 3) theory. The theory is on the four illusions of the cultural distance, which have been used to support the paper. Conventionally, it is believed that German managers experience similar cultural distance with Polish managers based in Germany similar to managers in Poland. The ‘ illusion of symmetry’ assumption is not supported in any way (Chapman, et al., 2008, 7). Additionally, it can be pointed out that the difference of Polish/UK and Polish/Germany are not only symmetrical but also subtle and complex.
Additionally, in the study, the authors highlighted ‘ illusion of causality’ and emphasized that ‘ illusion of causality’ lacking any form of anticipation might result into more problems compared to the ‘ large cultural distances.’ A strong forewarning characterizes this one. It is evident that the mentioned statements fail to correlate with each other; therefore they are not right. This is because the ‘ illusion of causality’ focuses on non-cultural element interpretation, which impacts on the FDI sequence, performance and pattern (Shenkar, 2012, p. 4). The researchers establish a concept known as ‘ illusion of neutrality’, and I perceive it as brilliant.
Citing Solomon and Schell (2009, p. 8), it is evident that when two nations such as Poland and Germany are engaged in political dispute, it is impossible for either to treat the other neutrally. Therefore, some small cultural differences among nations are significant. However, among other nations such as Poland and UK, who lack any form of interest conflicts, they can easily tolerate or ignore the larger cultural differences between them. However, associating the mentioned with the illusion of stability justifies the theory of cultural distance being in motion. It can be argued that the neutral perceptions that exist between Poland and UK cultural distance are likely to change with time.
Chapman, et al., (2008, 45) further pay attention to examining ‘ perception’, and it can be viewed as ‘ ethnographic in character’. When UK, Germany and Poland managers deal with one another, they are always unconsciously or consciously not only depending on but believing in their personal ideas. Reasons included the following. First managers were trained on distinguishing between right and wrong. Second, they had knowledge of the materialistic, altruistic, irresponsible and responsible concepts. Regarding the mentioned, it is evident that people’s relationship with their culture is indivisible. In other words, people are born with ethnocentric tendency, and this creates a psychic distance. (Triandis, 2004, p. 8)
Research Approach or Methodology
Chapman, et al. (2008, p. 4) used both the qualitative and interpretative approach. The researchers paid attention to analyzing the existing managerial perceptions. For the Polish, British as well as German managers who take part in international business, the surveyors used the interview method to collect data. The researchers used face to face interview, and there were 63 participants. All the respondents were executives, which were drawn from twelve firms in Poland, Germany, and the UK. In regard to the mentioned I argue that the use of qualitative methodology strategy in the study is appropriate manner because of its flexibility. The researchers use the open-ended questions that provided managers with additional opportunities to answer the questions using their own words, hence express their genuine feeling on their relationship with foreign colleagues.
Consequently, the surveyors are not expected to have assumptions on the answers; hence they can utilize the ‘ probe’, thus encourage all the respondents to further elaborate on the answers they provide. According to Bryman and Bell (2007, p. 424), it is evident that study is satisfying because of the ‘ transparency’. For example, it informs the readers how the participants were chosen and the entire process used for data analysis. Furthermore, the aspect of generalization limits the study. Two contrasts, 12 firms, three nations, religion belief, gender, unknown are so restricted and cannot to represent other settings. According to Siegel, Licht, and Schwartz (2013, p. 1176), the researchers also used a & lsquo; snowballing’ technique that might not consider some managers, especially low profile. According to the authors, the long transcripts were organized into themes. Sometimes the researchers would put personal conceptions in the organization of data. The study would make the study to be too subjective.
According to the researchers, the cultural distance as reported in three nations: Poland, UK, and Germany is different on the level of personal experience and managerial position. It is also evident that the association between Poland and Germany is intertwined but a bit tense. On the other hand, Poland and UK have an easy relationship and relative distant. Hence, the researchers conclude, people not only create but also interpret cultural distance. However, history and experience influence the interpretation and creation. Furthermore, the empirical evidence used in the study fails to reflect the strong association between German and Polish managers effectively. The authors focused more on the impact of the war. However, authors subjectively judged some relationships as tensed, for example, the association between Polish and German as tense.
The German managers have close relationship and familiarity with the polish managers in comparison with Polish and the British. The authors provide a different perception in cultural distance interpretation. Citing Bryman and Bell (2007, p. 423), historical issues drawn revealed some consequences about the interactions of individuals. However, it is significant to note that the historical challenges have minimal impact on the boomer generation. With the cultural globalization process and integration of cultures, it is evident that cultural distance has been reduced (Schneider and Barsoux 2003, p. 6).
The researchers in their study wished that international business managers would understand others unfriendliness because of particular historical circumstances. It is also evident experiences of nations that nations’ experiences might affect people’s attitude when they interact with foreign colleagues. Hence, when people engage in global business, one should understand the concept of cultural distance and the behavioral impact it causes. The influences are likely to be rampant on the individual managerial practice level. This is because individuals usually experience different challenges when they are working in diverse cultural contexts.
Consequently, because of cultural backgrounds, people reports different modes of thinking and world views (Bryman & Bell, 2007, p. 12). The diversified modes of thinking also make people have them to see problems at different styles, angles. According to Holliday, Hyde, and Kullman (2010, p. 12), this would make solutions projects failure, conflicts and inevitably proceed the &lsquo. Lastly, to prelude the misunderstandings and conflicts, executives at the global scale should not only identify but also embrace the other members’ faith and values. The managers should also note that cultural differences greatly impacts in the mechanisms of the interior enterprises.
Bryman, A. & Bell, E. 2007. Business Research Methods. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
Chapman, M., Gajewska-De Mattos, H., Clegg, J. and Buckley, P.J., 2008. Close neighbors and distant friends—perceptions of cultural distance. International Business Review, 17(3), pp.217-234.
Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G.J. and Minkov, M., 2010. Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind. Revised and expanded. McGraw-Hill, New York.
Holliday, A., Hyde, M. and Kullman, J., 2010. Intercultural communication: An advanced resource book for students. London: Routledge press.
Schneider, S.C. and Barsoux, J. 2003. Managing Across Cultures. 2nd ed. Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall.
Siegel, J.I., Licht, A.N. and Schwartz, S.H., 2013. Egalitarianism, cultural distance, and foreign direct investment: A new approach. Organization Science, 24(4), pp.1174-1194.
Shenkar, O., 2012. Cultural distance revisited: Towards a more rigorous conceptualization and measurement of cultural differences. Journal of International Business Studies, 43(1), pp.1-11.
Solomon, C.M. and Schell, M.S., 2009. Managing across cultures: The 7 keys to doing business with a global mindset. McGraw Hill.
Triandis, H.C., 2004. The many dimensions of culture. The Academy of Management Executive, 18(1), pp.88-93.
Vasilaki, A., 2011. Culture distance and cross-border acquisition performance: the moderating effect of transformational leadership. European Journal of International Management, 5(4), pp.394-412.
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