Cross Culture Management 8


CrossCulture Management 8



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

Trompenaarsdeveloped the trade culture dimensions for understanding thedifferences between various cultures. Fons Trompenaars CulturalDimensions were aimed at explaining how different individuals’behaviors varied depending on one’s culture. According toTrompenaars, people portray different ways of perception and thinkingdepending on their cultural values and beliefs (Trompenaars andWooliams, 2003). Trompenaars concluded that there are sevendimensions that can be used to compare one culture with the other aspart of understanding why different people behave differently. Tothis end, Trompenaars argued that individual behaviors could beassessed along particularism v. universalism, communitarism v.individualism, diffuse v. specific, ascription v. achievement,synchronous v. sequential and internal v. external direction. Thisessay will apply Trompenaars cultural dimensionalities in assessingthe cultural differences between four countries India, Egypt, Swedenand Singapore.

Internalvs. External dimension

Accordingto Trompenaars Internal dimension refers to having control over one’saspects (Trompenaars and Wooliams, 2003). Ideally, internal dimensionis exhibited by people through environmental control in efforts toachieve their goals. Internal control allows people to develop skillsthrough learning, setting objectives that are supported by others andbeing open about conflicts and disagreements. External dimensionmeans that people are controlled by external circumstances. Among thefour countries discussed, Sweden, Singapore and Egypt exhibit higherdegrees of internal controls compared to India (Center forintercultural learning, 2009). For instance, the Egyptians and theSwedes values personal achievements and are highly egalitarian.

Socialrelations among the Swedes and the Egyptians are highly open and thishelps individuals to engage with each other’s thereby havingstronger internal controls. The Indians community exists in castessystem where some individuals hold higher social status than othersand this inhibits their cohesiveness. As such, compared to Egypt,Singapore and Sweden, Indian is controlled by external environment.Societies that have less social classes are more egalitarian andvalue individual achievements, have stronger internal controls(Trompenaars and Wooliams, 2003). For instance, Indians are quiteconservative and not flexible in accommodating other cultures. Classdivisions are more open in India between the rich and the poor(Center for intercultural learning, 2009). This makes India moreprone to external controls than Sweden, Egypt and Singapore. Overall,Sweden has more internal control than Egypt, India and Singapore.

Achievementvs. Ascription dimension among the four countries

Peopleare judged by individual achievements, performance and hard work.Many communities’ value achievement and hardworking people arerewarded and used as good role models. Achievement orientedsocieties use titles only where and when relevant (Trompenaars andWooliams, 2003). Ascription oriented societies on the other hand,believe that individuals power, title and social status matters.Egyptians, Singaporeans and the Indians value individual ascription(Center for intercultural learning, 2009).

However,while Egyptians, Singaporeans and the Swedish portray achievementvalues through their relation with others, India prefers ascription.Indians believe that some castes are privileged than others. As such,Indians unlike the Singaporeans, Swedes and the Egyptians lay moreemphasis on ascription than achievement (Trompenaars and Wooliams,2003). In addition, Egyptians, Swedes and the Singaporeans are moremeritocratic and egalitarian believe that each person is worth theirachievements. However, since Egypt, Singapore and India are lessegalitarian, individuals exhibit more ascription values than theSwedes (Center for intercultural learning, 2009).

Specificvs. Diffuse dimension among the four countries

Somesocieties believe that work and personal lives are separate. As aresult, specific oriented societies do not believe that relationshipshave much impact on work performance. As such, employees should beprovided with clear and direct instructions (Trompenaars andWooliams, 2003). Diffused societies believe that there is an overlapbetween personal and work life and thus good relationships areimportant in developing good work relations or business ties. Assuch, diffused societies focuses more on building personalrelationships at work and in business.

Singaporeansand the Egyptians prefer developing personal relationships beforereal business are conducted (Center for intercultural learning,2009). However, the Singaporeans and the Indians are moreconservative and wary when meeting new people. Singaporeans and theIndians believe in developing personal relationship before seriousbusinesses can be transacted. The Egyptians and the Swedes are moreflexible and adaptive to new relationships personal relations do notmatter much while at work or conducting businesses (Center forintercultural learning, 2009).

TheSwedes, as well the Egyptians do not pay more attention on socialrelations than the Indians and the Singaporeans. Indians and theSingaporeans value family relationships more than externalrelationships and thus are more diffused (Center for interculturallearning, 2009). Furthermore, unlike the Egyptians and the Swedes theIndian and the Singaporeans are more conservative in embracingstrategies. The Swedes and the Egyptians are more specific and opento interaction with new people all individuals are considered asopportunities (Center for intercultural learning, 2009).


Trompenaarsdimensions of culture presents a distinctive perspective on howdifferent societies vary culturally. Societies that exhibit stronginternal controls are able to forge team works and collaboration inaddressing particular issues. Societies that have fewer divisions inthe society, based on class, powers and wealth exhibit greaterinternal control interactions are open to all. For instance, Egyptand Sweden have more interactive communities and hence have moreinternal control. Achievement oriented societies’ value individualsuccess and hard work Egypt and Sweden are achievement orientedsocieties. Ascription oriented societies such as Indian and Singaporevalue social status, power and authority. Specific societies such asSweden and Egypt pay concern on important matters such as jobperformance and business deals rather than relationships. Diffusedsocieties such as India and Singaporeans value social relationshipsmore before actual business deals or work performance. To this end,by applying Trompenaars dimensions of culture, there are significantdifferences on how the Swedes, Egyptians, Singaporeans and theIndians behave while at work or conducting business deals.


Centerfor intercultural learning (2009). Canada. Retrieved from

CountryInsights found on Centre for Inter-Cultural Learning website.Retrieved from

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

FonsTrompenaars Trade Culture Dimensions. Retrievedfrom