In a culture, a group of people attribute significance and weight to certain behaviors. Therefore, I define culture as a group’s set of shared norms and values, expressed in the behavior of the group members. Hence, culture is never an objective standard for behavior, but involves accepting various individuals’ convictions and opinions.
Since I concentrate on work-related cultural elements, I will only bring up aspects of national cultures insofar as they influence management styles, ways of organizing, communicating, or cooperating. Of course, a nation can host many subcultures: urban or rural, state, district, or city. For inhabitants of a country these cultural differences are quite meaningful, but outsiders are more aware of the similarities than of the differences, especially upon a first visit or brief stay. That is why I confine the model to the differences between national cultures. It does not deal with cultural differences within a country.
When discussing national culture in this book, I mean the culture of the majority or of a dominant portion of people in the country. So when I talk about “the American management style,” I don’t
mean to generalize that “all Americans have this management style.” I am simply referring to a style that many people identify as characteristic for Americans and not for other nationalities. In other words, work-related national culture is one which is preferred by a dominant group in only that specific country. ×