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Latin Western European Culture - Essay Example

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In Latin America, people shake hands when they meet someone and again when they part. Latin Americans also like to stay close when talking. The part that time plays in social events also differs. If a person is invited to someone's house in Europe for a meal, he or she should arrive on time. However, in Latin America, he or she should arrive at least one hour late. This is the. case for business appointments as well as for social events. In some countries, 'tomorrow' does not necessarily mean the day after. Americans are always in a hurry. They want to get on with whatever it is. Some other countries like to spend more time with preliminary discussions. Talking, negotiating and bargaining are all parts of the game. In Latin countries, as well as in the Middle and Far East, haggling over prices is expected (Newman and Nollen 1996).
Following Hofstede's theory, in Latin America, power distance is high. It is a collectivist culture in which family and family relations play a crucial role. Latin America can be seen as a combination of masculine and feminine characteristics of culture. The main masculine traits are (1) aggressiveness and (2) ambition. The main feminine factors are: close relations and high sensitivity. The power distance of a culture is reflected in the superior subordinate relations in business organizations. A short power distance is an inducement to greater volume and variety of vertical communication and participative decision style(Hofstede 1996). It is common for such countries to advocate participation in the manager's decisions by his or her subordinates; however, the initiative towards this is supposed to be taken by the manager. The status of the individual in the West is tied to education and knowledge and, as mentioned before, in the American type of culture, experts are treated with great respect and loyalties to a profession are greater than loyalties to the company. Latin Americans have little experience of working in formal organizations which, combined with belonging to a high-contextual culture, means that much of what goes on as planning, supervising and controlling is more symbolic than substantive, as will be seen. Many Latin American institutions and business organizations are not very efficient, which is one reason why Latin American executives prefer to use personal (family and friendship) ties instead of formal channels and apply a very personalized and informal management style (Owen and Scherer 2002).
In business, Latin American managers not only value change relatively highly but also value caution less. This suggests an active or dynamic orientation and a willingness to make risky decisions.
Uncertainty of life is accepted as normal, and economic risks are judged by potential rewards.
The action culture in Latin America has made available the mass-produced goods the Latin American market wants -- better than anyone else has. Latin Americans consider it almost a right to be materially well off and physically comfortable.
They expect convenient transport, a variety of clean and healthful foods and comfortable homes equipped with labor-saving devices.
The high value placed on materialism in the culture is sometimes reflected in an ethnocentric attitude towards other individuals, ...Show more


Business culture in Latin America is influenced by western values and business traditions combined with national cultural values and beliefs. One common understanding, however, seems to be that it is related to human values one way or the other and, like culture, interest in human values dates back many years…
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Latin Western European Culture
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