Note on Culture

by: John Branch

Publication Date: October 4, 2018
Length: 11 pages
Product ID#: 4-386-265

Core Disciplines: International Business, Strategy & Management

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Teaching Note

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Anthropologists and sociologists define culture differently, but both might argue that to truly understand a specific culture, it is imperative to immerse oneself and “live within it” for a period of time. Unfortunately, international business leaders rarely have time for this type of immersive experience and must instead rely on cultural frameworks as a starting point. This conceptual note introduces several of these frameworks including the anthropological frameworks of Franz Boas and Martin Gannon, as well as the sociological frameworks of Edward T. Hall, Geert Hofstede, Fons Trompenaars and the GLOBE Project.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Describe the differences between anthropological and sociological definitions of culture.
  • Define the nine, common, cultural dimensions put forth by many anthropologists.
  • Explain Edward T. Hall’s polychronic versus monochronic approaches to time.
  • Identify Edward T. Hall’s four distinct spatial boundaries and explain why they differ by country.
  • Compare and contrast Geert Hofstede’s five cultural tendencies with Fons Trompenaars’ seven cultural tendencies.
  • Define the GLOBE Project’s six leadership styles.