The People’s Republic of China

Sep 24

Along with the general focus on geography and culture as they impact contemporary business, I had the opportunity to write an in depth paper on China and prepare a presentation for my class. China is a dynamic and complicated country. They have increasing political and economic leverage, while at the same time eroding their natural resources and polluting their environment. Growth is always complicated, and the pace they’ve maintained is even more challenging. See my findings below. The People’s Republic of China – Presentation The People’s Republic of China – Handout The People’s Republic of China Download The People’s Republic of China – Handout Download The People’s Republic of...

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Cultures and Organizations

Sep 10

One of the assigned texts for my current course in global management is Cultures and Organizations, which carries the catchy subtitle Software of the Mind. As they setup the book they naturally provide details about the quantitative methods used to analyze the data presented. This includes both the methods and the models, as well as the evolution of the same throughout the research. What’s more interesting is their take on nurture vs. nature, which is to say that they explore the relationship between genetics and social influence. At the foundation they place values, which they argue are learned extremely young. Building on this foundation of values are practices and objects such as rituals, heroes and symbols. The research focuses primarily on the statistical trend, leaving analysis of deviations to a minimum. Diluted Values & Cultural Relativism In the introductory chapter, The Concept of Culture, they highlight some of the ways in which culture change, both over time and with respect to other cultures. One concept they identify is Moral Circles, going further to define some common boundary markers for moral circles. A moral circle is a peer group within which all members have a common moral agreement. Typical demarcations for a moral circle are religion or philosophy. A very interesting observation they put forth about moral circles is that they have a tendency to expand to include more and more people, or even non-people as members. They caution that such vast circles dilute the rights and duties of all members, concluding that “Most empires have disintegrated from the inside.” In contrast to this warning about overly inclusive moral circles, they argue in favor of cultural relativism quoting Claude Lévi-Strauss as saying: “Cultural relativism affirms that one culture has no absolute criteria for judging the activities of another culture as “low” or “noble”. However, every culture can and should apply such judgment to its own activities, because its members are actors as well as observers.” In this they mean to suggest simply that while within a culture or moral circle, a group may be subjectively critical of itself, it is not as easy to be objectively critical of another group or culture. Comparison of values and norms across cultural boundaries, if it’s...

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