The Hofstede Country Index is often used to determine cultural differences between two or more cultures. There are six critical cultural components in this tool: power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, long-term orientation, and indulgence (“Country comparison,” 2019). The country comparison shows that India has a higher power distance and long-term orientation than the United States, while indulgence and individualism are lower (“Country comparison,” 2019).
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This means that the corporate structure in Indian businesses is focused on working collectively on common goals. Power distance also means that people respect authority and accept class inequality in the country (“Country comparison,” 2019). This also has an influence on working processes, as it could impact individual autonomy and company structure. I was particularly intrigued by the cultural practices of low individualism and indulgence.
The former is interesting because it shows a striking difference between Western and Indian cultures. The latter, however, indicates that Indian people have the willpower and control to refuse short-term pleasures, while American people often struggle with impulse control.
The United States differs from India in all the aspects mentioned above, with a lower power distance and a long-term orientation, high individualism, and increased indulgence. This means that people are encouraged to express themselves, even if it means moving away from the country’s customs and traditions (“Country comparison,” 2019). High indulgence also suggests that people are more focused on pleasure than on controlling their impulses and making the right choices.
According to Desteno (2014), poor self-control leads to a number of issues, such as obesity, alcoholism, and drug addiction. Thus, the people in the United States can learn to control their impulses and desires from the cultural practices of Indian people. This would help to improve health and assist people in attaining their long-term goals. The United States can also learn long-term orientation from Indian culture, as this aspect is crucial in maintaining a strong national identity and upholding the country’s values.
In order to train expatriates from the United States to work in India, it is essential to address the cultural differences between the two societies. First of all, employees should learn more about the history and culture of India, as this would help them to understand different social practices and their importance (Pogosyan, 2017). Secondly, expatriates should receive knowledge about the structure of authority in the future workplace since it would allow them to respect power distance. Thirdly, prospective employees should familiarize themselves with corporate goals to ensure that they conform to the principles of collectivism. The fourth and fifth recommendations are to learn about Indian customs and etiquette. As Indian society is relatively traditional, this information would help expatriates to earn respect and feel more at ease around Indian colleagues.
Training repatriates upon their return from India to the United States requires facilitating individualism, risk-taking, and creativity. Firstly, it would be beneficial to create some training exercises fostering innovative thinking and problem-solving. Secondly, companies should encourage repatriates to reflect on their experience in India. As part of this process, employees should list and explain differences between the two cultures as this would help them to distinguish behaviors and customs that are not part of American culture. The fourth recommendation is to promote the socialization of repatriates, especially if they are expected to work with a new team.
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Lastly, companies should allow employees to re-integrate into the American culture before assigning large projects to allow for a smooth transition. These recommendations would aid employees in establishing individualism and creativity while also enabling them to become part of American society again.
Country Comparison. (2019). Web.
Desteno, D. (2014). A feeling of control: How America can finally learn to deal with its impulses. Pacific Standard. Web.
Pogosyan, M. (2017). Geert Hofstede: A conversation about culture. Web.