Culture is a means of life of a given group of people. This method of life tends to differ from one culture to another. Cultural differences can prove to be a challenge if people lack respect for each other’s culture. Some similarities are also noted in some of the cultures. This paper will illustrate how musicality /feminine and uncertainty avoidance which is the extent of society’s tolerance for uncertainty (Wennekers, et al., 2007) affects one’s relationship with the people of another culture. It will elaborate on how cultural differences affect communication, motivation and teamwork. Similarity and differences between France and United States will also be discussed below.
Masculinity/ Feminism. In a given culture, some of the traits are regarded as feminine or masculine regardless of whether they are possessed by men or women. The value of masculinity and feminisms differs from culture to culture and social factors such as religion and class are used to define feminism and masculinity. This tends to play a part in the observation of what men and females do. This means of “gender marking” demoralizes women or men from entering “gender-inauthentic” occupations (Faulkner, 2009) Feminism is mostly considered to portray traits such as caring, humility, vulnerability and emotion. Some of the men from different cultures are caring and humble. This can be a result of how they were raised and the culture that they grew in but in other cultures, such acts will be considered to be feminist. Men from other cultures with different beliefs may hesitate to relate with such a man that is so humble and caring. This type of man will be easily discriminated against by others. Masculine traits are considered to be strong, Independent, Brave, assertive. When a woman has such traits other cultures consider her to be masculine. In some cases, such women do get married early because some men do not prefer marrying women with such traits. Men may tend to shun away from holding a conversation with a woman that shows traits of braveness, being strong and assertive.
Uncertainty Avoidance. When a person comes from a culture that has low certainty avoidance it might prove difficult to associate with another person from high uncertainty avoidance culture. A person from a high uncertainty avoidance culture might think of the other person as being unplanned and can be easily caught by surprise. Seclusion may be evidenced between people from the two cultures due to their differences. A conflict is likely to arise between the two due to the fact that the person from a culture of low uncertainty levels does not adhere to rules and is open to giving their personal opinions which are considered disrespectful by other cultures,
How cultural differences affect communication, motivation and teamwork.
Communication. People from various cultures possess distinct habits and ways of expression. These differences bring about challenges in their communication. The differences include body movement, space, time, religion and others. Body movements include the use of hands, eyes contact and smile. Some cultures use their hands in the form of the handshake as a form of greeting while others prefer less touching by waving in the air or bowing during their greetings. Other cultures prefer eye contact during communication while others despise it and they regard it as disrespectful to the elderly or a high ranked person to maintain eye contact. A smile is viewed differently in various cultures, some encourage it because it makes communication occur in a friendly manner while others despise it and it is viewed as a form of weakness.
Space. Some cultures prefer maintaining distance when communicating while others prefer to be close during communication. Time. In some cultures, people strictly adhere to the tome set for an activity to occur while others choose to arrive late to indicate that they had other businesses to attend to. Social values. Different cultures have different social views. In some cultures, it is allowed to address people by their first names while in others it is regarded as disrespectful.
Motivation. There are different motivation strategies and it proves to be hard deciding on the specific ones. In other cultures, the manager is expected to play a big part in the motivation of the employees by getting to know their challenges and handling them having a personal connection with each one of the employees and being their friend and boss as well. In other cultures, it is totally different because the manager never gets involved in socialization with the employees and never gives rewards to groups. This manager is never close to the employees and therefore he/she is never aware of their challenges and needs, this is likely to lead to demotivation.
Teamwork. In the different cultures in society, people have their own different ways of approaching tasks. When these people are assigned a task to work as a group it may prove to be difficult. For them to work as a team they are required to be patient with each other and be willing to see things from each other’s perspective. In some cultures making a decision is crucial and thus it requires more information while in others it may require less information. When these people are on the same team they may be affected and may end up working individually if they do not uphold tolerance. Hierarchy is also known to affect teamwork because some cultures uphold equality among all the workers but the others prioritize a hierarchical structure.
Differences and similarities between the United States and France
Uncertainty Avoidance. This is the level to which people in a given society are convenient with the unknown, which may include risk or change in the future. This is their level of preparedness for what may happen in the future. In different countries in the world, some of the countries have a high uncertainty avoidance while others have low uncertainty avoidance. In the case of the United States and France, the United States is known to have low uncertainty avoidance while France has a high uncertainty avoidance. The low uncertainty countries do not like the rules and regulations, they feel bounded but them (Stuppar and Brankovoc, 2012; Frijns et al., 2013; Matusitz and Musambira, 2013) In the United States rules are essential but they are not always adhered to or needed because the nation is open to views, ideas and opinions that are different from the stated rules. In France, priority is accorded to rules, structure, order, and predictability. This is because in France the people despise being surprised and thus they tend to predict what might happen and prepare for it in case it happens. For people in France before they attend a certain gathering or meeting they inquire so as to receive all necessary information of the meeting and what is to be discussed.
Performance Orientation. Is the extent to which creativeness, high standards and superb performance are motivated and remunerated? The United States has a high-performance orientation due to the fact that it values materialism and competitiveness. The people that invest essential things in the nation are recognized and rewarded. This is similar to France which also has a high-performance orientation. The country motivates the people who work hard and make life easier for others.
Assertiveness. This is the level to which individuals tend to act confrontational and offensive which is different from what is expected of them to be collaborative and sympathetic. In the United States, there is a presence of high assertiveness thus communication is direct and clear. France has low assertiveness because the people are likely to look for consensus and carry out cooperative decision making.
Humane Orientation. The extent to which fairness, generosity, and kindness are encouraged and valued is a measure of a countries humane orientation. In a nation with a high humane orientation, individuals are responsible for enabling the wellbeing of others. This is different from the act of the state providing social and economic support. The United States has a high human orientation because the people in the nation help others that are unable to afford various things in life. France has a low humane orientation due to the fact that most of the people in the country do not get involved in helping out the needy. The government is solely involved in providence to the people
Globe Gender Egalitarianism. It is the extent to which male and female equality is put to action. Countries with high gender egalitarianism tend to issue more chances to women and have more of them in positions of power. In the low gender egalitarianism countries, women mostly have low-status levels both at work and in the culture. Both United States and France have low gender egalitarianism. In these countries, women are not treated equal to men and they are less represented in political positions.
In conclusion, culture is vital in our lives and it determines how we live and the decisions we make. People have to accommodate people from different cultures and be ready to listen to different views and opinions.
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Wennekers, S. et.al. (2007), Uncertainty Avoidance and the Rate of Business Ownership across 21 OECD Countries, 1976–2004, J Evol Econ, 17, Pp.133–160
Matusitz, J. and Musambira, G., (2013), Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance, and Technology: Analyzing Hofstede’s Dimensions and Human development Indicators, Journal of Technology in Human Services, 31, pp.42–60.
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