A Comparison of the U.S.-American and German Culture by one Aspect of Trompenaars "Model of Culture"


Seminar Paper, 2013
16 Pages, Grade: 1,7

Excerpt

Directory

List of figures

1. Introduction
1.1 Problem
1.2 Goal
1.3 Structure

2. Trompenaars´ model of culture
2.1 Trompenaars´ definition of culture
2.2 Trompenaars´ seven dimensions
2.3. Universalism versus particularism
2.4. Comparison of Germany and the United States of America

3. Critical remarks and conclusion

List of literature

List of figures

Figure 1: the onion model

1. Introduction

1.1 Problem

Due to the progressing globalization, characterized by improvements in communication technologies, rising trends to multicultural departments and the use of lower labor costs,[1] the “understanding of multiculturalism is needed more than anything else”.[2]

This understanding is “for instance, a prerequisite to the effective entry into new markets and new countries, whether by establishing licenses, setting up new subsidiaries, merger, takeover, or setting up co-operative or joint-ventures.”[3]

1.2 Goal

Goal of this paper is to show Trompenaars´ model of culture, explain the dimension universalism versus particularism and work out differences and similarities between two cultures, the German and the U.S.-American culture, referring to the chosen dimension.

1.3 Structure

First of all, Trompenaars´ model of culture is shown and explained roughly. Afterwards the author is enumerating the seven dimensions. One chosen dimension will be worked out in detail, to use it for a comparison then. In the comparison the author shows different surveys and results to validate the cultural dimension and the corresponding assumptions. The paper ends with summarizing the critical remarks towards Trompenaars´ work, cultural theories in general and a short opinion from the author himself.

2. Trompenaars´ model of culture

2.1 Trompenaars´ definition of culture

Even if Trompenaars “defines culture as a series of rules and methods that a society has evolved to deal with the recurring problems it faces”[4], the definition of culture is often discussed and in the end, most authors make the high complexity and the involved difficult ascertain ability responsible for a huge discussion.[5]

To visualize culture, Trompenaars and many other authors use the image of a cultural onion. The single levels of culture are pictorially for the layers of an onion, which can be unpeeled, to make the next level visible.[6]

Figure 1: the onion model[7]

illustration not visible in this excerpt

The outer layer, which is even visible for a foreigner contains symbols, just like language, foods, architecture and art. These symbols can change quickly due to external effects. The first invisible layer reflects the norms and values of a society. Cultural values are implicit or explicit shared idea about what is good, right and desirable in a society.[8]

The core contains the basic assumptions. Trompenaars says that these assumptions lay on the strongest and most existentially of the basic needs, the surviving. Each society found their own way to deal with the environment and successfully face the daily issues.[9] These basic assumptions influence the values and norms and reflect the upper layers.[10]

2.2 Trompenaars´ seven dimensions

Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner discovered seven cultural dimensions in their research and all of them are based on different solutions which societies found to face basic problem. The most of these basic problems can be categorized, depending on if they arise from social interaction, how a society deals with the passing of time and how a society is connected with their environment [11]

The first five dimensions emerge from the category relationships with other people and are universalism versus particularism, individualism versus communitarianism, neutral versus emotional, specific versus diffuse and achievement versus ascription. The left two dimensions emerge from the left two categories of problems and are orientation in time and attitudes towards the environment.[12]

“Their purpose in developing the cultural dimensions was to differentiate one culture from another and provide insight into the globalization versus localization debates.” [13]

2.3. Universalism versus particularism

The first dimension of Trompenaars study is called universalism versus particularism and first of all universalism and particularism should be underlined with each most broadly meaningful content: universalism means the domination of the general, compared to the individual. Particularism means then the domination of the individual rather than the general.[14]

In Trompenaars´ dimension, universalism refers to a social code. It is insinuated, that what is good and right, can always be defined and applied. In contrast, in the particularism rests the attention on specific relations and special circumstances, while less attention is paid on social codes. Hence, in particularistic cultures there won´t exist the one right way but the awareness of other important values and approaches, which could be relevant for a decision. Nevertheless what might happen, the family comes first and enjoys special obligation.[15]

Summing it up, you can say, that “Universalists treat all cases in the same way. Particularists treat cases on their special merits and create private understandings.” [16]

2.4. Comparison of Germany and the United States of America

For the comparison, it is important to define how Trompenaars categorizes the two compared countries, as universalistic or particularistic. As mentioned in an interview with him, the U.S.-Americans are Universalists, preferring the one best way which is always right.[17]

Germany is even his example in the introduction of the universalism versus particularism dimension by saying “universalists, or rule-based behavior tend to be abstract. Try crossing the street when the light is red in a predominantly rule-based society such as Switzerland or Germany.”[18]

To compare both countries regarding the first dimension, a story including questions created by Stouffers in 1951 can be used.

“You are riding in a car driven by a close friend. He hits a pedestrian. You know he was going at least 35 miles per hour in an area of the city where the maximum allowed speed is 20 miles per hour. There are not witnesses. His lawyer says that if you testify under oath that he was driving only 20 miles per hour, it may save him from serious consequences. What right has your friend to expect you to protect him?

a. My friend has definite right as a friend to expect me to testify to the lower figure.
b. He has some right as a friend to expect me to testify to the lower figure.
c. He has no right as a friend to expect me to testify to the lower figure.
Would you help your friend in view of the obligations you fell having for society?
d. Yes
e. No”[19]

Comparing the results of this story and the questions, Germany and the United States of America score quite similar with 93% USA and 87% Germany for has no/some right and will not help.[20] Universalist cultures tend to think that if a law is broken and there is a victim, there is an importance of upholding the law.[21]

Furthermore it is important to notice, that Trompenaars is saying that universalism is rarely to find without any connection to a particularistic thought or decision. The consequences we are dealing with after particular decisions might remind us of the need for fixed rules for everyone.[22]

[...]


[1] Cp. Christina Schmauch (2013), Junior // consultant, (K)ein Tritt ins kulturelle Fettnäpfchen, p 36.

[2] Jong-Youl Hong (2013), Advanced Information Technology and Sensor Application, Cultural Intelligence and Cultural Diversity, p.112.

[3] Tony Morden (1995), Management Decision, Vol.33 No.2, International culture and management, p.16

[4] Business Strategy Review (2002), Volume 13 Issue 1, Culture Club: An Interview with Fons Trompenaars, p. 31.

[5] Cp. Stefan Müller (2004), Interkulturelles Marketing, p. 64.

[6] Cp. Anett Reimer (2005), Wissmarer Diskussionspapiere, Die Bedeutung der Kulturtheorie von Geert Hofstede für das internationale Management, p.9.

[7] Fons Trompenaars (2012), Riding the Waves of Culture, p. 29.

[8] Cp. Wilma-Klaasen-van Husen (2007), Interkulturelles Personalmanagement bei Professional Service Firms, p. 18.

[9] Cp. Herman Blom (2002), Interkulturelles Management: interkulturelle Kommunikation, internationales Personalmanagement, Diversity-Ansätze im Unternehmen, p. 41 ff.

[10] Cp. Fons Trompenaars (1993), Handbuch globales managen: Wie man kulturelle Unterschiede im Geschäftsleben versteht, p. 39.

[11] Cp. Fons Trompenaars (2012), Riding the Waves of Culture, p. 11.

[12] Cp. Fons Trompenaars (2012), Riding the Waves of Culture, p. 11-12.

[13] Jong Woo Jun (2007), International Marketing Review Vol.24 No. 4, Cultural differences in brand designs and tagline appeals, p. 479.

[14] Cp. Heidrun Zinecker (2003), Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung, Nr. 1/2003, Wie im Westen so im Süden?, p. 2.

[15] Cp. Marjaana Gunkel (2013), Handbuch Strategisches Personalmanagement, Cultural Diversity, p. 430

[16] Warren French (2001), Journal of Business Ethics 34, Intercultural Discourse Ethics: Testing Trompenaars´ and Hampden-Turner´s Conclusions about Americans and the French, p.146.

[17] Business Strategy Review (2002), Volume 13 Issue 1, Culture Club: An Interview with Fons Trompenaars, p. 33.

[18] Cp. Fons Trompenaars (2012), Riding the Waves of Culture, p. 42.

[19] Andrew Stouffer (1951), American Journal of Sociology, Role Conflict and Personality, p. 395-406.

[20] Cp. Fons Trompenaars (1996), Business Strategy Review, Volume 7, Number 3, Resolving International Conflict: Culture and Business Strategy, p. 53

[21] Cp. Fons Trompenaars (1996), Business Strategy Review, Volume 7, Number 3, Resolving International Conflict: Culture and Business Strategy, p. 54.

[22] Cp. Fons Trompenaars (1996), Business Strategy Review, Volume 7, Number 3, Resolving International Conflict: Culture and Business Strategy, p. 54.

Excerpt out of 16 pages

Details

Title
A Comparison of the U.S.-American and German Culture by one Aspect of Trompenaars "Model of Culture"
College
University of applied sciences, Duisburg  (FOM Duisburg)
Course
4. Semester
Grade
1,7
Author
Year
2013
Pages
16
Catalog Number
V292999
ISBN (eBook)
9783656902454
ISBN (Book)
9783656902461
File size
456 KB
Language
English
Tags
comparison, german, culture, aspect, trompenaars, model
Quote paper
Marvin Brucker (Author), 2013, A Comparison of the U.S.-American and German Culture by one Aspect of Trompenaars "Model of Culture", Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/292999

Comments

  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: A Comparison of the U.S.-American and German Culture by one Aspect of Trompenaars "Model of Culture"


Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free