A culture’s values are attributes that demonstrate what most members of a culture believe in and that control their actions. Studies confirm that most values are learned. This report analyses some of the studies and explains the role played by culture in influencing crucial decision-making in business and the society. It explains the extent to which values are culture-specific. In addition, this report uses specific examples to illustrate that most values are culture-specific; however, it also illustrates that some values may be innate.
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Some important findings show that values are culture-specific. Maloney (2009) carried out a research and discovered that human beings learn everything from others. In his book, Maloney says that human beings are not born with acquaintance or traits. He says we acquire them from our neighbourhood. Maloney argues that if a child were to be born in the United Kingdom and be exchanged with another in Ethiopia, he would grow to be a unique individual.
For example, his diet, dressing, entertainment would be unique. The researcher say healthcare, living-conditions, and lifestyles may influence a person’s appearance, body functionality, and thoughts. He says that the environment in which a person lives determines his/her height. A part from genetics, an individual’s height is determined by quality of food, healthcare, physical environment, among others. Notably, the environment also determines the opinions and beliefs of an individual.
Additionally, other researchers have said that human beings are social animals that depend on behavioural modification, which determine how they develop cognitively (Hofstede, 1980). Human beings are programmed to emulate actions from other cultures. However, it is also true that we cannot interfere with pre-existing interpersonal behaviours.
Experts agree there are different programming layers that help to develop our character. Nevertheless, there are no people with the same programming. The difference mean even those living in the same environment cannot be completely identical. Everyone gathers information from different viewpoints.
However, researchers also say that residents of an area often develop common values (Hofstede, 1980). They commonly develop behavioural aspects relating to religion, politics, ethnicity, and racism, among others. No one is born either a Christian or Muslim. Religious groups usually live in different regions.
For example, when Muslims live in an area, Catholics will live in a different area. Children born and living in these areas usually emulate the same cultural values and behaviours. Children’s behaviours are influenced by circumstances in which they are born. A baby cannot be born with bad behaviours. A baby, therefore, is not born with bad characters.
At the same time, there are innate cultures. Holway(2012) says that the innate values form a natural moral sense that helps a person to recognize what is good or bad. The expert illustrates this by using an example of a child who says to another,’ come on, you promised’. This, he says, shows that children have natural moral sense. He explains that the statement appeals to the value of honesty, which people the world over would accept since they are born with natural values.
Culture has influence on all values relating to social and economic aspects. In the heath sector, for example, it has contributed in shaping methodologies of treatment and communication that different communities prefer. Research shows that Asians and Pacific Islanders have cultural values that determine how they should be given medical attention.
Their extended families have great influence on the treatment process. The key decision maker and representative is usually the oldest male in the family. They believe that the respect for the entire family is of more importance than that for an individual. The authority of the elderly is usually unquestioned. This culture does not entertain direct confrontation but advocates for harmony.
Therefore, due to the need to respect the authority, there is often very little confrontation between patients and healthcare professionals. Nevertheless, lack of confrontation does not imply that patients always agree to comply with the doctor’s instructions (How Culture Influences Health Beliefs, n. d.).
Cultural differences also have impact on business. Businesspersons often deal with cultural challenges while marketing their products. A cross-cultural analysis on the effect of culture on marketing revealed that implementation of public relations cannot succeed if the locals’ culture is not recognized.
Pepsodent Company, for example, attempted to market its toothpaste in Southeastern Asia by emphasizing, “It whitens your teeth.”The marketing plan did not bear fruit. The problem is that it did not analyze the cross-cultural differences prior to beginning the work. It should have known that the natives love blackened teeth (Different Cultures – Different PR Campaigns, 2006).
Business Communication in India is also influenced with cultural values of the locals. For example, Indians commonly do business with those that they trust. They understand the value communal trust. Therefore, it is advisable to go through third party introduction when you want to trade with them (India – Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette, n.d.). Evidently, researchers agree that most values are learned. A business can therefore develop its corporate culture by exposing its employees to the right trading environment.
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Presentation of Report on Culture’s Values
- A culture’s values are attributes that show what most members of a culture believe in and guide their decisions
- Studies show that most valued are learned
- Some researchers say human beings learn everything from others (Maloney,
- Maloney illustrates this by saying if a newborn baby in Ethiopia is transferred to the United Kingdom, he/she will adopt unique values that do not conform to those of native Ethiopians.
- According to Hofstede(1980), human beings are social animals.- they depend on behavioural modification to live.
- Naturally, they are programmed to copy lifestyles and actions from other social groups.
- One cannot interfere with pre-existing interpersonal behaviours- those dwelling in the same locations usually develop common values-but not completely similar values (Hofstede, 1980).
- Commonly shared behavioural aspects include religion, political views, and racism – children born in the affected regions usually copy the people’s lifestyles.
- Factors that influence change in cultural values are healthcare, living conditions, life-style, among others.
Values that are not learned (innate values)
- A few scholars accept that there are innate values
- Holway(2012) says the values form natural moral sense.
- He adds that children understand the value of justice and honesty- they freely complain when other are denied justice.
- People the world over accept the values of honesty and justice- People accept the values everywhere because they are in born (Holway, 2012).
Impact of Cultural Values
- Cultural values influence decision making in all levels of life.
- Decision in the health, business, or education sector are influenced by cultural values
Illustration of the Impact (Using different cultural groups)
- Asians have a culture that gives authority to leaders, therefore, undermining consultation efforts between doctors and patients.
- Pepsodent Company tried to mark it toothpaste in Southeastern Asia and failed.-Its marketers did not know the locals love to have black teeth.
- Business relations and communication in India reflects on the culture of honesty and mutual respect.
- A foreign investor ought to demonstrate honesty and trustworthiness to succeed
Note: a few values are innate. A majority are learned.
Different Cultures – Different PR Campaigns. (2006). Free Online Dating Service SearchYourLove. Web.
Hofstede, G. H. (1980). Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work- Related Values. Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage Publications.
Holway, R. (2012). Becoming Achilles child-sacrifice, War, and Misrule in the Iliad and Beyond. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books.
How Culture Influences Health Beliefs. (n.d.). Euromed Info — Gesundheit und Vorsorge im Überblick. Web.
India – Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette. (n.d.). Intercultural Communication . Web.
Maloney, M. (2009). Human Behavior. Web.