Costumer conflict management. Differences between Germany and Spain


Seminar Paper, 2018
17 Pages, Grade: 2,0

Excerpt

Inhalt

List of figures

List of abbreviations

1 Introduction

2 Facts about Culture, Conflict Management, GLOBE Study and Hofstede’s Dimensions

3 Analysis of customer conflict management
3.1 Analization of the German and Spanish culture in the context of the GLOBE study and Hofstede’s dimensions
3.2 Impact of cultural differences on customer conflict management

4 Conclusion

Bibliography

List of figures

Figure 1: Comparison of Germany and Spain using the GLOBE Study

List of abbreviations

WVS World Value Service

1 Introduction

Germany and Spain are important business partners. They both hold tight economic relations.[1] Most of the Spanish imports, to be precise 14,7 %, have been from Germany in 2016.[2] This illustrates the closely-knit network of the two countries. Moreover, many German companies have subsidiaries in Spain. For example, companies like Lidl, Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG are listed in the top 10 of Germany’s enterprises in Spain, ranked by the number of its employees.[3] Even though, both countries are a member of the European Union and they have the advantage to do business in a highly liberalized market, there are still many issues which could lead to conflicts caused by different cultural values and perspectives. In order not to jeopardise the excellent trade relations, it is essential to know how to deal with conflicts within the two nations. As Germany has a lot of undertakings in Spain the focus of this seminar paper will be on customer conflict management. Furthermore, the society of the 21st century is highly influenced by mass media evoked by digitalization. This causes an almost infinitely qualitative and quantitative increase of collective and individual conflicts,[4] which is another reason why conflict management nowadays is so essential.

Hereinafter, the structure of the seminar paper will be outlined. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the differences between the German and Spanish cultures in terms of customer conflict management. The illustration of the term conflict management will be quite brief due to the limited extent of this paper. The comparison of the two cultures will be mainly based on the GLOBE Study and Hofstede`s dimensions. These two studies will help to outline the cultural similarities and differences of the two European countries. Firstly, the facts about culture, conflict management and the two intercultural communication studies used in this paper will be a short outlined. The main part will focus on the analysis of the German and Spanish culture by using the empirical findings of the GLOBE Study and Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. Afterwards the impact of cultural differences in terms of customer conflict management will be made clear. In the conclusion the seminar paper gives an idea of preventive measures on customer conflict management as well as a prospect for the future.

2 Facts about Culture, Conflict Management, GLOBE Study and Hofstede’s Dimensions

In the following chapter there will be a definition of culture and conflict management as well as a short overview about the GLOBE Study and Hofstede’s dimensions. The recurrently used term culture is used in many disciplines and is depending on the context described differently.[5] Therefore, it is required to clarify the term again. Geert Hofstede, an acquainted Dutch researcher, interpreted culture in the 20th century as "the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another."[6] In other words, people are severely influenced by their social environment. Another conception of culture is the perspective suggesting that everything created and arranged by humans makes sense and is perceivable and comprehensible.[7] Comparing both definitions it becomes clear that culture is a result of what people collaboratively create. As every culture is characterized by many interactions of humans, there is a high tendency for potential conflicts.[8] For reasons of clarity the term conflict management will be defined as well. According to Friedrich Glasl, a social conflict is an interaction between actors (individuals, groups, organizations, etc.). At least one actor is experiencing incompatibilities in terms of thoughts, concepts, perceptions, emotions or intensions with the other actor in such a way that his implementation of his ideas is being hindered by another actor.[9] As a conflict is even more likely to occur whenever there is a cultural clash, the main focus will be laid upon intercultural differences.[10] The intercultural differences will be demonstrated by the results of Hofstede’s dimensions and the GLBOE Study. Hofstede’s dimensions examine individualism vs. collectivism, high power distance vs. low power distance, masculinity vs. femininity, high tolerance for ambiguity vs. low tolerance for ambiguity, high context vs. low context, long-term orientation vs. short-term orientation, indulge vs. restraint.[11] The GLOBE Study of 62 societies points out the differences in terms of performance orientation, future orientation, cross-cultural differences in gender egalitarianism, assertiveness, individualism and collectivism, power distance, humane orientation in societies, organizations, and leader attributes and uncertainty avoidance.[12] It is obvious that the first six research fields of the GLOBE Study are based on Hofstede’s results. The three remaining dimension are based on the findings of Klockhuhn and Strodtbeck.[13] Nevertheless, the GLOBE Study is the first intercultural communication study which makes a difference in terms of society as well as organizations and clusters the cultures into ten areas.[14]

3 Analysis of customer conflict management

In the following chapter the term customer conflict management will be defined. Additionally, the importance of customer conflict management will be illustrated. Furthermore, a comparison of the German and Spanish culture in terms of handling conflict management will be provided. After that, a chart, which points out the main differences between the two cultures, will be listed for reasons of clarification.

Conflict management can be defined as: „The practice of recognizing and dealing with disputes in a rational, balanced and effective way. Conflict management, implemented within a business environment, usually involves effective communication, problem resolving abilities and good negotiating skills to restore the focus to the company's overall goals.”[15] Another approach to defining a conflict is value based. The three distinguishable factors, namely cognitive, effective and directive elements, influence one’s train of thoughts and the ability to solve problems. The mentioned factors differ from culture to culture.[16] According to the two definitions a conflict is something highly complex and is interpreted in separate ways by distinct cultures. Therefore, in the following chapter the differences between two cultures, namely Germany’s and Spain’s culture will be illustrated. To point out the importance of an efficient customer conflict management it needs to be taken into account that the prevailing highly competitive and globalized markets customer orientated strategies are increasingly growing in importance.[17] With an appreciative approach to customers complaints, a long-term commitment to the company can be achieved. Obviously, this is one of the key facts for a lasting success.[18]

3.1 Analization of the German and Spanish culture in the context of the GLOBE study and Hofstede’s dimensions

In this chapter an impression of the German and Spanish culture will be pointed out, based on the empirical facts of the GLOBE Study and Hofstede`s dimensions. First of all, the GLOBE Study will be explained. In the context of GLOBE Study, performance orientation illustrates the degree to which a society rewards and encourages innovation as well as high performance and excellence.[19] In order to compare the different cultures, there are scores indicated for all empirical findings. The higher the score the higher the performance orientation. The scale ranges from 4.98 to 6.58. Germany has a score of 6.01 (Spain 5.80).[20] Future orientation expresses the extent to which a cultural group likes to plan ahead and invests in the future even if it means to delay gratification.[21] The scale ranges from 2.88 to 5.07. Higher scores indicate greater future orientation. Germany has a score of 4.27 (Spain 3.51).[22] Cross-cultural differences in gender egalitarianism demonstrate the division of role models between women and men as well as the aim to minimize gender inequality.[23] The scale ranges from 2.50 to 4.08. Lower scales indicate greater male domination. Germany has a score of 3.10 (Spain 3.01).[24] Assertiveness states the extent to which individuals are confrontational, tough and aggressive in relationships.[25] There is a classification of assertiveness in terms of society practices and society values. This paper refers to society practices. The scale ranges from 3.38 to 4.89. Higher scores indicate greater assertiveness. Germany has a score of 4.73 (Spain 4.42).[26] Individualism and collectivism describes whether the focus is on oneself or on the others. Individualism is characterized by self-stimulation, hedonism and personal accomplishment. In contrast to that, collectivism prioritizes the group goals and achievements.[27] There is a classification of collectivism in terms of institutional and in-group collectivism. This paper refers to an in-group collectivism. The scale ranges from 3.53 to 6.36. Higher scores indicate greater collectivism. Germany has a score of 4.02 (Spain 5.45).[28] Power distance states whether the power is distributed equally within a society. It also refers to the acceptance of status privileges.[29] The scale ranges from 3.89 to 5.80. Higher scores indicate greater power distance. Germany has a score of 5.25 (Spain 5.52).[30] Humane orientation in societies expresses the appreciation of the society for acting fair, generous, altruistic, and caring.[31] The scale ranges from 3.18 to 5.23. Higher scores indicate greater humane orientation. Germany has a score of 3.18 (Spain 3.32).[32] Uncertainty avoidance gives information about the extent a society gives importance to procedures to alleviate the unpredictability of the future.[33] The scale ranges from 2.88 to 5.37. Higher scores indicate greater uncertainty avoidance. Germany has a score of 5.22 (Spain 3.97).[34] The empirical findings of the impact of societal culture and the industrial sector influences on organizations[35] as well as leadership and cultural variation[36] will not be discussed as it would be beyond the scope of this paper. For transparency reasons the figures of the GLOBE study will be shown in the table below.

[...]


[1] Cf. Deutsche Vertretungen in Spanien, Deutsch-Spanische Wirtschaftsbeziehungen, 2017, no page num- ber.

[2] Cf. Statista, Spanien: Wichtigste Importländer im Jahr 2016, 2018, no page number.

[3] Cf. Deutsche Handelskammer für Spanien, Deutsche Unternehmen in Spanien: Die TOP-100, 2015, p.1.

[4] Cf. Gummert, H. et al., Medien und Kulturen des Konflikts, 2017, p. 2.

[5] Cf. Wiater, W. et al., Verstehen und Kultur, 2012, p. 16.

[6] Hofstede, G., Cultures and Organizations, 1991, p. 5.

[7] Cf. Loebbert, M., Kultur entscheidet, 2015, p. 12.

[8] Cf. Nerdinger, F. W. et al., Arbeits- und Organisationspsychologie, 2014, p. 120.

[9] Cf. Glasl, F., Konfliktmanagement, 2013, p. 38.

[10] Cf. Kumbruck, C. et al., Interkulturelles Training, 2016, p. 43.

[11] Cf. Hofstede, G., Cultures and Organizations, 1991, p. 27 ff.

[12] Cf. House, R. J. et al., Culture, leadership, and organizations, 2011, p. 239 ff.

[13] Cf. Schugk, M., Interkulturelle Kommunikation in der Wirtschaft, 2014, p. 247.

[14] Cf. Schugk, M., Interkulturelle Kommunikation in der Wirtschaft, 2014, p. 242 ff.

[15] Cf. Business Dictionary, Business Dictionary - Conflict Management, 2018, no page number.

[16] Cf. Kluckhohn, F. R. et al., Variations in value orientations, 1975, p. 4.

[17] Cf. Seifert, S., Beschwerdeverhalten im interkulturellen Vergleich, 2009, p. 1.

[18] Cf. Stauss, B. et al., Beschwerdemanagement, 2007, p. 33 f.

[19] Cf. House, R. J. et al., Culture, leadership, and organizations, 2011, p. 239.

[20] Cf. House, R. J. et al., Culture, leadership, and organizations, 2011, p. 250 f.

[21] Cf. House, R. J. et al., Culture, leadership, and organizations, 2011, p. 282.

[22] Cf. House, R. J. et al., Culture, leadership, and organizations, 2011, p. 305.

[23] Cf. House, R. J. et al., Culture, leadership, and organizations, 2011, p. 343.

[24] Cf. House, R. J. et al., Culture, leadership, and organizations, 2011, p. 365.

[25] Cf. House, R. J. et al., Culture, leadership, and organizations, 2011, p. 395.

[26] Cf. House, R. J. et al,, Culture, leadership, and organizations, 2011, p. 410.

[27] Cf. House, R. J. et al., Culture, leadership, and organizations, 2011, p. 454.

[28] Cf. House, R. J. et al., Culture, leadership, and organizations, 2011, p. 468.

[29] Cf. House, R. J. et al., Culture, leadership, and organizations, 2011, p. 513.

[30] Cf. House, R. J. et al., Culture, leadership, and organizations, 2011, p. 539.

[31] Cf. House, R. J. et al., Culture, leadership, and organizations, 2011, p. 570.

[32] Cf. House, R. J. et al., Culture, leadership, and organizations, 2011, p. 573.

[33] Cf. House, R. J. et al., Culture, leadership, and organizations, 2011, p. 602.

[34] Cf. House, R. J. et al., Culture, leadership, and organizations, 2011, p. 622.

[35] Cf. House, R. J. et al., Culture, leadership, and organizations, 2011, p. 655.

[36] Cf. House, R. J. et al., Culture, leadership, and organizations, 2011, p. 669.

Excerpt out of 17 pages

Details

Title
Costumer conflict management. Differences between Germany and Spain
College
University of applied sciences, Munich
Grade
2,0
Author
Year
2018
Pages
17
Catalog Number
V419316
ISBN (eBook)
9783668679740
ISBN (Book)
9783668679757
File size
538 KB
Language
English
Tags
Culture, Conflict Management, GLOBE Study, Hofstede's Dimesions, German culture, Spanish Culture, Cultural Differences
Quote paper
Simone M. Rau (Author), 2018, Costumer conflict management. Differences between Germany and Spain, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/419316

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