Cross Culture Management 7


CrossCulture Management 7



&quotHowmight the ideas of Fons Trompenaars be applied in real life?&quot

FonsTrompenaars developed a framework of culture difference that iscommonly applied in business and management to understand thecultural differences among employees. Trompenaars developed sevendimensions of assessing cultures. These are ascription vs.achievement, collectivism vs. individualism, external vs. internal,emotional vs. neutral, diffuse vs. specific and particularism vs.universalism. In order to analysis the intercultural issues inbusiness, the national cultures of four countries will be analyzedwith regard to Fons Trompenaars dimensions of cultural variations.These four nations are Sweden, Singapore, Egypt and India (Centrefor Inter-Cultural Learning website).

Descriptionof each country national culture


Accordingto Trompenaars dimensionalities of culture the Swedish culture can bedescribed in terms of universalism and not particularism.Universalism is the belief that practices and ideas should be appliedeverywhere without modification (Trompenaars and Wooliams, 2003). Theessence of universalism is formal rules of engagement andinteractions at home, office or in the public. The Swedish expressuniversalism culture through their egalitarian, humble andapproachable society. Neutrality is exhibited in Swede with lessdemonstration of anger in public. The Swedes exhibits moderation andrare exhibit emotions in everything they do and no excess show offsthis is neutrality.

Individualismis more obvious in Swede as individuals work hard and enjoythemselves with moderation (Trompenaars and Wooliams, 2003). Swedenis and achievement focused society where individual handiwork ispraised. However, competition in Sweden is frowned. Universalism isalso expressed through equality and the rights of all family membersare guaranteed as practiced in Sweden. Swedes express high levels ofspecificity and uphold high levels of etiquettes and formalities inconversations, business and dressing are highly formalized. It israre for the Swedes to dismiss someone and each person is regarded asa business opportunity. Universalism culture, respects allconversations during business meetings as a sign of respect anduniversality (Trompenaars and Wooliams, 2003).

Furthermore,the Swedes express universalism and neutrality during negotiationswhere one is supposed to remain quiet and never demonstrateuncontrolled emotions. The Swedes are sequential and do one thing ata time. In addition, Swedes control their environment and this hasmade Sweden one of the worlds most progressive in social welfarepolicies, democratic governance, sustained economic priority, highergender equality and hard work (Centrefor Inter-Cultural Learning website).


Egyptiansare universalistic and are open-minded when dealing with men andwomen and with other religions. Although most Egyptians are not welleducated and are conservative formality is highly observed inbusiness relations. The Egyptian culture falls relatively onindividualism and encourages personal achievements rather thancommunal achievements. For instances, Egyptians have more concern forthe less fortunate and this is an aspect of communalism. The mainethnic group is mixed and does not affect work relations and variousraces interact well (Centrefor Inter-Cultural Learning website).

Thisdiversity allows for achievement cultures. For instance, individualhandwork and achievements are recognized. Egypt is relativelydiffused and the learned professionals and the wealthy tend tomaintain same social status even when relating with less educatedmembers of society. Egyptians believe in effective workingrelationships with all people and thus pursue several things at once(synchronic). They prefer long-term commitments and have full controlover their affairs (Centrefor Inter-Cultural Learning website).


Mainlanguage in India is Hindu, English and Bengali. Main ethnic groupsare Indo-Aryan, Mongoloid and Dravidian (Centrefor Inter-Cultural Learning website).Indians value family and marriage life and this set them apart ashighly communal. Individualism is only expressed through discriminatesocial class (Trompenaars and Wooliams, 2003). The Indian culture israther informal and rotates around family relationships and socialclass. To this end, most Indians exhibit particularistic aspectsespecially by emphasis more on social relationships rather thanrules.

TheIndian culture is characterized by caste structure that only entrenchsubverted individualism but within the confines of larger socialclass caste. Indians maintain eye contact during conversations andare highly assertive especially women. However, the Indians areneither emotional nor neutral and exhibit varying dispositions duringinteractions. Diffusion is more marked in Indian culture withprofessionals and the wealthy keeping personal distance from othersof lesser status (Centrefor Inter-Cultural Learning website).For instance, a professor named Dr. Sigh Patel will be accorded thesame status in all social events and maintain the company oflikeminded learned fellows. This is unlike in the specified societysuch as the United States where social status space is large.

Publicdisplay of affection is kept minimal and most Indians dressconservatively this aspect only serves to enhance the diffusednature of the Indian culture (Centrefor Inter-Cultural Learning website).Ascribed status is also more evident in India seniority, educationand experience are highly valued as well as professional and socialstatus. As such, when doing business with the Indians it is importantto acknowledge their status with respect.

Indiansare quite conservative and not flexible in accommodating othercultures. Gender discrimination is not visible in work places. Classdivisions are more open in India between the rich and the poor.Ethnicity does not feature in India as it is hard to indentify anyonewithin a particular caste (Centrefor Inter-Cultural Learning website).In addition, Indians are synchronic and engage in several things at atime one can be a doctor, pharmacist and spiritual leader. There isless specialization and one can pursue different trades at once(Trompenaars and Wooliams, 2003). Indians are more controlled by theenvironment than they control it. India is a developing country andthus faced with several social, political and economic challengesthat control the overall Indian culture.


Singaporeansare universalistic and uphold high levels of formality when doingbusiness. Rules are more important in business and even in governmentthose who break law are verily punished. For instance, corruption isnot accepted and is severely punished in government offices. Strictprotocols are required when doing business and personal relationshipsare essential in business activities (Centrefor Inter-Cultural Learning website). As such, Singapore does not encourage relationships but preferformality in business undertakings.

However,Singaporeans are informal in their non business activities. Inparticular, the Singaporeans are neutral at do not express publicemotions. They are reserved but uncomfortable when meeting newpeople. However, most Singaporeans are proud of their achievementsand handwork is held in high esteem (Centrefor Inter-Cultural Learning website).Singaporeans are reserved and communicate in simple terms.Singaporeans are male centric people, secular society.

Singaporeanare a diffused society a meritocratic society with no wide variationin social class between rich and poor (Centrefor Inter-Cultural Learning website).However, Singapore exhibits some level of ascription where learnedpeople belong to the ‘privileged class and hold most key positions. Owing to past mistakes like corruption, Singaporeans have learnedthe art of sequential in doing one thing at a time. To this end,Singaporeans are not controlled by external factors but take lead incontrolling their internal affairs. Lastly, Singapore is anindividualized society and believes in personal achievements (Centrefor Inter-Cultural Learning website).


Trompenaarsdimensions of culture presents a distinctive perspective on howdifferent societies vary culturally. Increased liberalization andglobalization has significantly transformed most cultural aspects indifferent societies. For instance, countries like India, Singaporeand Egypt exhibit a transitional liberalized culture thatsignificantly differs from traditional cultures held earlier (Centrefor Inter-Cultural Learning website).Particularism, communitarism, emotional, ascription and specificitycultural aspects are being replaced with universalism and moreformalized culture. While Sweden exhibit a mature egalitariansociety, progressive cultural changes still continues. Nonetheless,Trompenaars cultural dimensionalities are effective in assessingvarious cultures and what is required when one is doing business withforeign cultures.


CountryEtiquette Guides found on Kwintessential`swebsite.

CountryInsights found on Centre for Inter-Cultural Learning website.Retrievedfrom

FonsTrompenaars and Peter Wooliams (2003). “A new framework formanaging change across cultures,” Journal of Change Management,3(4) 361 – 375

FonsTrompenaars Trade Culture Dimensions. Retrievedfrom