Course taster

Introduction: Impact of culture on business ethics and negotiation

Culture is a complex and dynamic topic that can be difficult for modern managers – or indeed people generally – to deal with. Different cultural values also affect the concept of ethics and how people negotiate in business situations.

It is often easy to ignore cultural differences in the short-term. However, to ensure a competitive advantage in the increasingly global modern business environment, cultural awareness is critical.

In this taster session, we will explore cross-cultural business ethics and negotiation.

Before we begin, let us first explore what is meant by 'culture'.

Activity: What is culture?

We use the term 'culture' a lot, but do we know what it means? Take a few minutes to think about it, then write down your definition of culture.

There are various definitions of culture in academia. Here are some examples:

The collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from others. (Hofstede, 2010, p.6)

...culture has been construed as influencing every aspect of management process. (Harris & Moran, 1987:12, as cited by Babatunde & Low, 2015, p.15)

...acquired knowledge people use to interpret experience and actions. (Ahlstrom and Bruton, 2010:36, as cited by Babatunde & Low, 2015, p.15)

As highlighted in the definitions, culture governs our view of life. It comprises the shared values, understandings, assumptions and goals that are learned from earlier generations, imposed by members of the present society, and passed onto succeeding generations.