Jan 03, 2017 11:34 AM EST

A Guide to Business Cultures: China, Greece, India, & USA

The business environment is composed of many international players that bring with them their culture and their values. It is vital to understand the work cultures of different countries so as to better conduct business or to work abroad.

This article comes as a third part to the two previous articles that focus on the business cultures of the French, Germans, Japanese and South Koreans as well as that of the Singaporeans, Filipinos, Spanish, and British. Using Geert Hofstede's cultural findings, this version will draw attention to China, Greece, India, and the USA.

China. According to the Geert Hofstede website, inequality and abuse of power by superiors are accepted in the workplace. Having aspirations that go beyond one's rank are also frowned upon which means that climbing up the corporate ladder may be difficult.

Seeing as the Chinese are a collective group, their relationships influence who is hired and who gets the coveted promotion. Those outside of the group are unwelcome and it is not uncommon for Chinese businesses to be composed of and run by the members of the owning family.

It is also mentioned that the Chinese's drive for careers and successes can alienate them from their family and leisure time. Time is money and it should be spent earning even if it means you might have to work away from home.  

Greece. Hofstede found that in Greece it is important to show respect and obedience to one's elders and seniors and that in the workplace, this translates to bosses shouldering responsibility. This has something to do with the "we" culture of the Greeks.

According to the findings, Greeks are a collectivist people, having been brought up into strong and cohesive groups usually composed of family members. The example used by the psychologist was of older and experienced members helping younger members find jobs or enter into the family business.

Furthermore, the fostering of relationships and ties is valued even in work. This means that prior to getting down to business, pleasant words are exchanged and the conversations that take place are meant to let the parties involved get to know one another better.

The Greeks also do not embrace uncertainty and this is evidenced by the rules and regulations that they follow. Thus, when working in Greek companies or with Greek people, one should always be detailed and clear as the Greeks themselves are very demonstrative.

India. Indians are flexible people, writes Hofstede, and they are able to adjust when there are abrupt changes or interruptions in their lives. This means that they are more likely to accept or initiate changes or alterations in business contracts, prices, and even bend rules rather than follow it down to the last letter.

There is also unequal power distribution in businesses in India. It is accepted that those with higher rank have more rights and privileges than those in the lower areas, and they initiate and direct communication.

The Geert Hofstede website also added that negative feedback is rarely brought up to the superiors and even if subordinates are on a first name basis with their bosses, the former's treatment of the latter must still be formal.

Moreover, one's relationship with his or her employer or superiors affects promotion and hiring. If one is loyal to the boss, he or she can expect an almost familial protection in return.

USA. Unlike the Chinese, Americans offer equal rights and opportunities to ascend the corporate ladder in the workplace and the latter is done so based on perseverance and merit. There is open and direct communication between employees and bosses.

According to the findings, it is expected that employees display initiative and are self-reliant. Americans are also open to new things such as new business trends and opportunities.

In addition, they do not take things at face value, always verifying information before accepting it to be true. They also strive for quick results and this can be seen in the fact that they issue reports on a quarterly basis.

For information on other countries, visit this website.

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