East vs West: 5 Cultural Differences International Student Should Know
The importance of classification
The personality of each company’s director, CEO, or leader varies according to the environment in which it was grown. Eastern and Western cultures have different concepts of power and power distance. Eastern cultures have a very hierarchical structure, while western cultures are more egalitarian.
“Western culture values independence and encourages individualistic and task-oriented individuals.”
Western employers will want their employees to take the initiative and demonstrate their individual skills. On the contrary, an Asian manager would favor a sense of collective accomplishment and expect his employees to be loyal to the company and respect the company’s hierarchical structure by working in a team.
Being on time for work-related events is an integral part of corporate culture in both East and West. No one likes to wait for others to arrive, and being late is usually considered rude and unprofessional. However, there are some potential complications that you should be aware of.
In the West, especially in countries like Spain, local norms can also be challenged by Westerners of different origins. While people strive to start meetings on time and without delay, flexible working hours are becoming more common. In this case, as long as the work is done and the meeting is over, there is generally nothing to worry about. That being said, always try to be on time, but don’t be disappointed if in some cultures people are a few minutes late.
In Eastern countries such as Japan, arriving on time is crucial. In fact, in order to prevent passengers from having disputes with their superiors at work, Japanese railway staff will issue a “train delay certificate” to prove that the passenger’s delay is not their fault. The conductor will also apologize through the train intercom.
The simple act of asking a question can be performed in various ways by the person being asked the question, as well as by the person observing the scene. You’ll quickly learn the difference by doing an internship in an Eastern or Western country.
“In Western countries, employers encourage asking questions because it shows initiative and initiative. Employers value people who ask questions because it shows that they are willing to learn and be an asset to the organisation.
raise your hand
On the other hand, East vs West as mentioned above, Eastern countries put more emphasis on the importance of being polite and not expressing opinions, disagreements or failures openly. Therefore, there is a fear that these issues will be seen as a threat by superiors because they need to clarify their position on an issue.
Examples of Businesses Failed Due to Cultural Differences
When a company chooses to work with partners or customers from different cultures, an important aspect of success lies in understanding cultural differences. Here are some examples of how a slight cultural misunderstanding or miscommunication can damage a business relationship.
During the 1994 World Cup, Heineken participated in a special advertising campaign featuring the flags of the countries that qualified for the World Cup on the bottom of beer bottles. One of the flags is that of Saudi Arabia, which depicts a sacred scripture. As a result, many Muslims are outraged that a hymn is now associated with alcoholic beverages. A simple cultural oversight has since forced the brewery to stop advertising.
One of the most important values in Asia is trust, so the business model of an online transaction cannot be a pure transaction. Online transactions must include the ability to communicate successfully to build trust between buyer and seller. However, the eBay platform in Asia does not provide buyers with the tools to find sellers online and contact them immediately for potential offers. eBay does not understand the differences in cultural values between the US and Asia.
[Ten major cultural differences in companies that every intern abroad should know]
At Absolute Internship we believe it is important to provide cultural sensitivity training such as