How Different Cultures Perceive Business

The way different cultures perceive business is influenced by our societal groups.  The groups that we belong to, known as emotional communities, shape how we make sense of the world and communicate our emotions.  Some examples of cultural groups include the religious institutions we belong to, the schools we attend, the neighborhoods where we live, and the families we grow up in.  From these groups, we learn which emotions we should express and how we should experience them in different situations.  Within different cultures, we experience particular emotions in different ways.  For instance, a Japanese citizen may be more inclined to experience dishonor than a citizen of North or Central America.

Understanding how different cultures perceive business and experience emotions is critical for international business managers.  One way of understanding cultural differences in emotions is by using the interactive view of emotions, which is grounded on the concepts of framing rules.

Framing Rules

Framing rules establish the behavioral norms for an event or situation.  As a culture analyst at 24 Hour Translation explains, different cultures express emotions and have different rituals for such events as funerals, religious occasions, marriages, births and other occasions.  Such events may affect time off from work, dress, diet, sleep and daytime behaviors.

Feeling Rules

Feeling rules establish norms that prescribe how members of a culture display feelings during an event.  For instance, some cultures embrace the concept that anger should be openly expressed, whereas other cultures believe that feelings of anger should be suppressed.  Cultures that embrace collectivism and group thinking may strongly oppose anyone who tries to derive pride or attention from personal accomplishments.  However, cultures that embrace individualism take pride in personal accomplishments and encourage personal credit.

Feeling rules are frequently explained as a set of unwritten obligations and responsibilities.  Here are a few examples:

·       He should apologize for the way he behaved.

·       She shouldn’t be upset with the way things unfolded.

·       I have a right to be angry.

·       She should appreciate what I did for her.

Within a society, feeling rules are often used to influence and maintain social order.  People in lower positions of authority may be prone to be victims of people in higher positions of authority or social status.  People perceived to have higher status might feel  enjoined to express anger to people in lower positions.  Similarly, in some cultures, parents teach children to be seen and not heard.

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