BSAD 560 Intercultural Business Relations
Final Examination Study Guide

The final examination will be based on the concepts contained in the following questions / study guide.  The examination will be a mixture of short answer questions which may be answered in several sentences or a short paragraph and at least one longer essay type question.  While the study guide is intended to cover broadly the key concepts of the course, students are still responsible for major concepts covered in class lectures as well as the assigned textbook readings, even if not specifically mentioned in the questions below.  Sample questions are given in a few sections below.  

  1. Discuss the changes in the political, economic, and commercial systems during the last several decades which make an intercultural approach to business essential.  In particular, consider the changes in a global work force, the need for global management, as well as the "convergence" and "divergence" concepts of globalization.

  2. What is culture?  Define and explain the various components that may be used to construct a "culture."  Using your own culture as a reference, explain and illustrate the following brief statements often used to describe the basic components of culture:
  1. What is communication?  Define the term and also identify and explain the basic facets of the communication paradigm (Sender, Receiver, Barriers, etc).  Focus especially on the layers of culture which surround every "Sender" and every "Receiver" and explain how these layers impact effective intercultural communication.  Also explain the differences between high and low context communication that impact the communication process.
  2. Define non-verbal communication.   Why is a clear understanding of non-verbal communication modes especially significant in a cross-cultural setting?  Illustrate cultural differences in non-verbal communication in the following areas:  body movement, posture, gestures, facial expressions, eye-contact, touch, smell, and personal space.  Discuss the implications of these cultural differences on typical business practices. 
  1. What traits exemplify a culturally-aware manager?  How does one become a culturally-aware manager?
  2. What are common barriers to communication?  In particular, identify those barriers that are largely cultural determined.  What steps can a culturally-aware manager take to reduce such barriers to communication?
  3. Illustrate how beliefs, values, and norms are the basis of cultural differences.  Define these terms (beliefs, values, and norms) and be able to discuss their relationship to cultural universals.  Illustrate with both your culture and that of any other you have studied during this course.
  4. Identify and discuss the 10 basic value types developed from the research of Shalom Schwartz.  In particularly, indicate their relevance to business situations.
  5. Identify and discuss the basic American values.  What impact do these values have on American business dealings?  To what extent is it important for non-Americans to be aware of American values?  Illustrate this from the movie, Moscow on the Hudson.  Where possible, contrast these values with those of your own culture noting both strong similarities as well as significant differences.
  6. Explain and illustrate the major taxonomies listed below which can be used to identify / describe cultural patterns.  Briefly discuss the value such taxonomies have in developing appropriate business relations with other cultures.
    1. Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck — Cultural Orientations (activity, group relations, human nature, world view, time)
    2. Hall — Low / High Context
    3. Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions — (Individualism / Collectivism, Uncertainity Avoidance, Power Distance, Masculinity / Femininity, Long-Term / Short Term)

Sample Questions

a.     What does Geert Hofstede mean by individualism / collectivism and how is this reflected in typical behavior in the U.S.?  Compare these U.S. norms with a culture that is significantly more collectivistic.

b.     Does the U.S. use a high or low context communication style?  Illustrate with examples and situations.

c.      How is time perceived in the U.S.?  Illustrate the U.S. view and compare it with that of another culture.

  1. Identify and explain four major types of corporate culture.   Illustrate how these are often culturally determined.  What forces help determine the specifics of any given culture?  Illustrate with references to both your own culture and that of any other with which you have become familiar as part of this course.
  2. Compare and contrast negotiation styles and tactics from a cross-cultural perspective.  You may wish to refer to American, Arabic, Russian, and Japanese perspectives and may also refer to the movies, Moscow on the Hudson and Gung Ho, to illustrate some of these differences.
  3. Identify the typical responses to contact with another culture (dominance, avoidance, compromise, accommodation, and synergy).  To what extent should a manager use or avoid to these strategies?  In other words, when is each strategy appropriate?
  4. What is cultural synergy and what strategies should a manger use in seeking to promote synergy?  As part of your answer, identify and discuss the primary barriers to cultural synergy (ethnocentrism, stereotyping, racism).
  5. Discuss and explain the issues of culture shock / acculturation.

Sample Questions.

a.  Define culture shock and explain the typical progress that acculturation takes.

b.  What are the typical causes and symptoms of culture shock?

c.  Outline the corporate approach to acculturation which allows a business to manage successfully a relocation experience (see  recommendations by Moran, Harris and Moran).

  1. Illustrate the differences in business protocol (appointments, greetings, and gift-giving) from the perspective of at least two cultures.
  2. Identify and discuss the ethical dilemmas associated with intercultural contacts.
  3. Identify and discuss the cultural communication issues as well as the cultural management issues portrayed in Gung Ho.
  4. Discuss the need for intercultural communication skills in today's business world using concepts studied in the class and illustrating as appropriate with incidents from the movie, Gung Ho.

BSAD560 Intercultural Business Relations