Ethnocentrism & culture

Ethnocentrism is a belief that one’s own culture, policies, ideas and language is better than others. In this age of Globalization, MNC need to address and educate workers on the differences in cultures and norms so as to better equip them to operate successfully in a foreign environment. Ethical relativism is a theory which suggests there is no concrete definition of a moral value and ethical decisions or actions are based on cultural as well as individual belief. MNC should be aware of the fact that what is deemed correct or ethical in one culture might be perceived as lacking moral values in another culture.

Hindus see cow as imitation of God while Muslims sacrifice it in order to gain blessings of God. Moral universalism is a belief that certain ethics principals are universally recognized and understood. It is important for MNCs to prepare a literature that would provide guidance to workers on what is universal to all cultures and what may be different. (b) Since all three theories are loosely defined and philosophers have yet to agree on providing a common definition, Moral Universalism provides a better understanding of the issues surrounding the ethical dilemmas of modern MNC.

Employees of large international enterprise need to recognize that certain sets of moral values are universal and all workplace policies should be developed, or at least revolve around the view of Moral Universalism. (c) Nike has been influential in introducing safe and ethical practices in more than 700 factories, worldwide. Amidst the growing concern over the child labor in developing countries, Nike has introduced code of conduct for its contractors and made efforts to eliminate child labor, workplace abuse and wage concerns.

It is noticeable that Nike’s policies were criticized by NGO’s in the late 80’s and early 90’s which highlighted the presence of child labor and harsh conditions in the factories. Nike responded by evaluating the working conditions and remodeling its operations to provide ethical, environmental friendly and safe conditions to everyone involved. 2. (a) It is evident by Friedman’s literature that the only way to succeed in an otherwise ‘flat world’ is to accept the shortcomings and address the problems by digging deep within the system.

He thinks that changing policies on paper will not make any difference until the leaders of a country are willing to implement rules and eliminate barriers at the grass root levels. By upgrading the four key points of society, namely infrastructure, regulatory institutions, education, and culture, leaders of a country will need to iron out problems at the core level of these issues and make sure that the solutions are effective as well as practical (Friedman, 2005).

(b) As a global manager for a multi-national company, it is necessary to evaluate the available infrastructure in a new country. In order to set up successful operation, country managers should analyze the need for additional resources and extra budget for sustaining the business operations in a foreign environment. Likewise, they should ensure the availability and subsequent retention of qualified workers at an affordable cost. Red tapes and other trade barriers should be studied beforehand and addressed prior to the launch of initial business operations.

All workers should be educated on the ramifications of cross-cultural conflicts that may arise and how to stop such cultural mishaps from taking place. (c) One of the best examples of reform retail has been Malaysia. Under the auspicious leadership of Mahatir Mohammad the country revived its economy by implementing revolutionary ideas to attract foreign trade and investment (Ritchie , 2004). Groundbreaking studies and research was done to carry out significant overhaul of the infrastructure, business practices, education system and utilization of available resources.

The system proved so powerful that it not only withstood the Asian financial crisis but also managed to stay afloat amidst high profile scandals involving bribe and corruption. 3(a) In most Middle Eastern countries, companies are required to give enough spare time to workers so that they may perform daily prayers. This can effect the production as conceived by the 9-5 office hours in the United States. In South East Asia, cultural norms are important and the singing of National Anthem may require employers to stop working and stand up in respect.

The degree of conformity may be different in India and Pakistan where workers can continue their work to that in Thailand where changing this attitude is almost impossible and will be deemed rude. Teachings of Individualism is considered morally corrupt in most Asian and African societies that are depended on closely knit family ties which further instigates the cause of working for a group. (b) According to Harris and Moran, there are eight different categories of interdependent variables that form a subsystem in a society.

These include Economic, Education, Government, Kinship, Social Associations, Spiritual Beliefs, Healthcare and Recreation. All of these variables play an important role in developing the rules and attitudes of a society and dictate proceedings in workplace. 4 (a) American and French workplace practices have always been under the limelight of modern research. While Americans prefer to provide a quick solution, their French counterparts like to analyze situation before drawing any conclusion.

An American working in France should have substantial proof to convince French management to take immediate action which otherwise may go unnoticed until everything begins to fall in place. (b) According to Hofstede’s four dimensions of culture, the Japanese and Franch management practices have many things in common including Collectivism, Power distance and uncertainty avoidance. Based on Hofstede, it should not be difficult for Japanese managers to adjust to the business environment in France.

In stark contrast to most developed societies, both nations have quite similar attitude towards a variety of management practices. (c) Reading this passage will help Elizabeth Moreno by developing a strategy which is not only passive but persuasive enough to convince French to resolve the issues more quickly then they would otherwise do. Whenever dealing with French management, logic dictates that it is in the best interest of negotiating party to suggest a moderate approach to a solution that would somehow entail the characteristics of both French and Western values.

5 (a) The Chinese negotiation process can be divided into pre-negotiation, formal negotiation and post negotiation steps (Ghauri). Culture, strategy, background and business atmosphere play an important role during each stage. The Pre-negotiation process consists of lobbying, presentation, informal discussion and trust building whereas formal negotiations involve information exchange, persuasion, concession and agreement. The last stage is the implementation of the project and further negotiations. (b) Politics plays an important role in negotiation process and MNC would always have to deal with government read tapes.

The Chinese government is still the Boss and private organizations are not free to run business entirely on their own as well as local laws are still influenced by Government and outside factors. The infrastructure lacks basic necessitates in many rural areas which is an important aspect to realize considering that almost two thirds of Chinese live in villages. These and many other factors will influence the negotiation process with Chinese authorities which make the study of Chinese culture an important element of any new business project in China.

(c) China has a long history of instability which has taught Chinese to save money. Due to this tendency, a westerner can expect a lot of bargaining and haggling before settling on a price (Graham & Mark, 2003). Chinese business environment is much more formal which emphasizes the concept of obedience to superiors therefore elders and high ranking officers are to be respected to gain any benefits from negotiations. Networking is important in China but unlike West, networking merely means accessing people with high social status, capital and authority.

II Canada Timber: Negotiating with the Japanese 1. It was important for Tim to understand that Japanese are used to lengthy negotiations before settling on one price. It is customary in Japan to exchange gifts as this is considered a sign of mutual respect. Direct eye contact is seen as a sign of aggression by Japanese. Moreover pronunciation errors and personal advances towards a man of high stature are always deemed disrespectful. Tim and company were guilty on all of these accounts. 2.

Studying Hofstede, it is imperative that the management of Canada Timber fell short in understanding the concepts of collectivism in Japanese society which emphasize the need to benefit the entire community instead of a certain individual or a firm. Taken this into consideration, Bonsai representatives were expected to take their time before signing a contract. Uncertainly avoidance is another trait of the Japanese business dealings which would have answered the delay by Japanese management even after a 20% reduction in the price.

3. In the better interest of business, Tim Wilder should have a person proficient in Japanese culture and language who could have diffused the situation. If this would not have been possible, the company executive should have been briefed about the Japanese culture before commencing a journey to Japan. It seemed that Tim Wilder was in a hurry to close out the deal, a motive evident by the utter disregard of carrying business cards and the absence of emergency plans for an extended stay in Japan.


Friedman, Thomas L (2005).

The World is Flat : A brief history of the 21st century. New York City, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Ghauri, N Pervez The Chinese business negotiation process – A socio cultural analysis. Retrieved 12 march 2009, from som. eldoc. ub. rug. nl/FILES/reports/1995-1999/themeB/1999/99B15/99b15. pdf Graham, L John, & Lam, Mark (2003).

The Chinese Negotiation. Harvard Business Review. 81, 10. Ritchie , Bryan K (2004 Feb). Politics and Economic Reform in Malaysia. RetrievedMarch122009,from http://www. wdi. umich. edu/files/Publications/WorkingPapers/wp655. pdf