International Business Culture in Pakistan Essay Example
Understanding culture is a key element in successful international business communication. It is one of the key determinants of the manner in which organizations and individuals operate in the international business environment. For a business to effectively fit in the international market, there is a need to be aware of the market in terms of language, religion and local customs, as this helps to comprehend the needs of the clients (Malik 2006). Understanding culture is, therefore, significant as it ensures that the organization offers its clients what they need.
International Business Communication in Relation to Pakistan
Pakistan lies in the Western part of the Indian subcontinent, bordering with Afghanistan and Iran on the West, India on the East, and the Arabian Sea on the South. It is among the two primary successor states to British India that was partitioned along religious lines back then in 1947. Fundamentally, Pakistan is the world’s sixth most populous country with a population in excess of 170 million individuals. It is an ethically and linguistically diverse state. As a regional power, the country has the world’s seventh largest military force, and as a declared nuclear state, it is the only Muslim country with nuclear weapons (Haleem 2013).
This paper will analyze the aspects of successful international business communication in relation to Pakistan based on the cultural peculiarities of this country.
Culture is defined as the traits and know-how of a certain group of individuals who are characterized by common language, religion, food, social traits, music and everything else that relates to them (Leung, Chiu & Hong 2010). Culture can also be looked at as a system of know-how shared by a relatively huge group of persons (Bode 2008). Culture is utilized in popular discourse to refer to a celebration, where it is identified through dance, music, and drama (Leung, Chiu & Hong 2010). Culture provides individuals with a design of living in a group, where they learn the patterns of behavior from one generation to another. Culture also acts as a way of defining situations within societies, because it enables certain groups of people to understand each other (Bode 2008). Furthermore, culture also defines attitudes, values and objectives of a community as well as trait patterns, because it offers rules and regulations that need to be followed. Culture is apparently utilized to bring out the contents of a group of people in a manner that defines who they are (Leung, Chiu & Hong 2010). Culture signifies the ways and traits of the community, which acts as an identity for persons who are not familiar with the society in question (Reis 2011). Finally, culture ensures that communication undertaken is understood by the participants (Leung, Chiu & Hong 2010). Culture makes communication essential by ensuring that those involved in the event comprehend what is being said and, as a result, undertake the task as communicated (Haleem 2013).
The Trompenaars’ model of national culture differences and the Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory will be used as the theoretical framework in studying culture within the framework of this paper. The Trompenaars’ model is used to comprehend individuals from different cultural backgrounds by evading misunderstandings (Reis 2011). It is appropriate for issues associated with doing business in a diverse group of individuals.
The concepts that are proposed to be used under the model are as follows:
- Universalism vs. Particularism: relates to the significance of formal regulations and approaches over circumstances and connections.
- Individualism vs. Communitarianism: the interests of individuals prevail over the interests of the group vs. teams rather than individuals are credited with organizational accomplishments as well as disappointments.
- Specific vs. Diffuse: the elements are evaluated individually and then put together vs. individual elements are viewed from the perspective of the total.
- Neutral vs. Emotional: emotions are often displayed to the maximum extent vs. individuals feel comfortable to show their emotions, especially in public.
- Achievement vs. Ascription: people derive their status from what they have attained vs. people attain their status from birth, age and gender consecutively.
- Sequential Time vs. Synchronous Time: the orientation of the society towards the past, present and future and schedules vs. dealing with relations between individuals’ lives and their perception towards the atmosphere.
- Internal Direction vs. Outer Direction: people believe they have an impact on the external atmosphere in attaining their objectives vs. outer direction cultures have the so-called organic perception of nature.
On the other hand, the Hofstede’s model is used to explain differences in the concepts of self, personality and identity, which in turn define the variations in branding strategies and interactions (Reis 2011). The model is also concerned with information processing while considering differences in perception, mass communication, and advertising.
The model consists of five dimensions:
- Power Distance: the extent to which less authoritative individuals of society accept and expect that power is shared unequally.
- Individualism vs. Collectivism: societies where people are taking care of themselves and family members only vs. societies where people expect that members of the in-group will support them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty.
- Masculinity vs. Femininity: a highly competitive society where members are focused on achieving goals and attaining success, appreciating money and material things vs. a society where members are focused on cooperation and caring for the weak, with the domination of the so-called feminine aspect.
- Uncertainty Avoidance: entails dealing with the society’s tolerance for ambiguity by indicating to which extent the culture programs its members to feel either tolerant or uncomfortable in intercultural situations.
Long-term vs. Short-term Orientation (Chaney & Martin 2013).
Intercultural Business Communication
Intercultural communication is a type of interaction that aims to share information across diverse customs and social groups (Haleem 2013). Intercultural communication looks at how individuals from different backgrounds comprehend each other. It is significant in international business environment as it increases the understanding of culturally mediated communication phenomena, enabling thereby to effectively negotiate for better business opportunities (Haleem 2013). Intercultural communication generates better skills and experience with different cultures, which ultimately leads to better results in international business. The approach associating with different cultures is significant as it ensures that each party learns from the other significant norms that can be utilized in international business (Zheng 2015). An example of a norm that can be learned due to intercultural communication is language and social behavior.
Speaking a certain language is significant in intercultural communication as it ensures that one can relate with other cultures in a manner that is understandable for both parties. Furthermore, being aware of how people relate in their culture in terms of eating habits, sources of entertainment and religion is another beneficial outcome that can be attained through intercultural communication. Moreover, the learning process also leads to better business approach from an international point of view. Intercultural interaction is imperative in international business because it brings people from different ethnic backgrounds to meet and connect mutually. Connecting brings about a more understanding strategy that can be utilized to undertake business (Vance & Paik 2014).
Characteristics of the Country
Pakistan is the country of a mixed culture with prevailing Islamic values and traditions. It has rich literature, sports, and handicrafts (Gibson 2002). The state has four provinces; the languages spoken are Punjabi, Sindhi, Pathan, Seraiki, and Kshmiri. Pakistan has the rich literatures of Urdu, Baruhi, and Kashmiri cultures. The country is a male-dominated society with men being the head of the family (Chaney & Martin 2013). People wear different types of dressing that identify belonging to a certain culture. The state has a variety of festivals meant to be celebrated as a way of reminding them of their background. People also engage in sports like hockey and cricket. Lastly, they also take part in handicrafts at an international level, which is an indication that they value their cultural history.
Social Norms, Beliefs, Religion, Language and Customs
Pakistan has several languages that are used for interaction, but the primary language used as a national language is Urdu. Pakistan is a hierarchical society where people are respected due to their age, position, and status (Gorinas 2014). Senior individuals are expected to make competent decisions, and titles are significant as they show that a person has achieved his or her objectives in the society. 97% of population are Muslims, while Christians, Hindu and others form 3% only. Additionally, the family is the basis of the social structure and individual identity (Gorinas 2014). Men shake hands, but can start hugging after a relation is established, and women hug and kiss.
Social Changes in the Last Decades and Relevance in the International Business
Pakistan is now going through a phase of significant cultural and social changes, which can easily be noticed in urban areas. Television has contributed greatly to changing the norms of the people, where they learn about issues associated with fashion and food. Fashion shows and trendy clothes have gained popularity with the youth. The drama industry has also gained immense popularity and has a big influence on the youth and the community as a whole (Chaney & Martin 2013). Thus, the changes in the Pakistani society connected with globalization make it easy for other states initiate business successfully here.
Applying the Hofstede’s model would be beneficial in this case, as the current Pakistani culture is a mixture (Fisher, McKechnie & Erdelez 2005). My debate is based on the fact that the Hofstede’s model signifies the relevance of concepts of self, personality and identity which in turn define variations in branding strategy and interactions. The implication here is that those interested in investing in Pakistan have to identify themselves with the new culture in terms of communication, entertainment and religion in order to fit in successfully. Furthermore, the theory promotes creating paths by the new party as a way that can connect the two in a benefiting manner (Leung, Chiu & Hong 2010). The Hofstede’s model apparently supports the issue of correlating with the Pakistani people based on their cultural approaches and beliefs as a way that can generate success for the business. Thus, many aspects need to be put into consideration in order to ensure that one succeeds in doing business in Pakistan from an international business perspective.
First of all, the language issues have a huge impact on doing business in Pakistan, as using the local language enables the parties to understand each other when negotiating and signing contracts. Learning the languages like Urdu, which is the primary language of the country, will be beneficial, as individuals will understand what is needed, and those taking part in the business will have faith and confidence in the business being generated. Understanding each party will show that there is mutual trust and desire to contribute towards the success of the business (Chaney & Martin 2013). Language as a barrier can be dealt with through an interpreter who would ultimately ensure that the parties concerned understand each other while operating on an international platform (Vance & Paik 2014).
The majority of the Pakistani citizens are Muslims; hence, it would be appropriate for those initiating business in this country to respect the rules and regulations of the Islamic religion. It is a good call, as it would ensure trust and understanding, since business communication can be attained as long as each member understands the needs of the other party, which are based on religious views as well. This approach is meant to generate relevant results for the business by taking into consideration the aspects that the Hofstede’s theory entails (Vance & Paik 2014).
Practicing the eating habits of Pakistani people is also significant for becoming a part of the Pakistani culture. The approach basically lures the parties involved into a unity, as they understand the significance of the customs associated with food for the local people, which ultimately leads to successful business undertakings. Learning the eating habits of the Pakistani people by foreigners will show that they respect the cultural practices in this country (Vance & Paik 2014).
Pakistani people like classical music, gharanas, ghazal music, folk music, and qawwali parties. Significantly, it would be right for those interested in doing business in Pakistan to learn about these activities as well as get acquainted with the music and dancing in order to succeed doing business in the country. Every person likes to entertain themselves ones in a while; hence, being aware of how they entertain would be a plus for the investors (Chaney & Martin 2013). This is true, as contracts are often celebrated, and knowing how local people take part in celebrations, either through music or festivals, would generate positive business participation.
The paper has used the Hofstede’s model to show how culture is practiced in Pakistan in terms of business communication. To sum up, foreigners need to be aware of the aspects Pakistani culture in order to effectively take part in business in this country. The primary information that foreigners need to learn before initiating business here is that the majority of the population is Muslim, their primary language is Urdu, and their favorite sources of entertainment are classical music, gharanas, ghazal music, folk music, and qawwali parties. It is significant to be aware of the mentioned peculiarities, as this will enable foreigners to be involved in the activities of the country in order to fully understand the cultural aspects of doing business here. Thus, learning the culture of another state is essential for successful business operations in the international market.
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