A1 -Topic: What is Culture?
The goal is to get you to think about what we mean when we talk about “cultural difference.” In each cultural group, people have different ways of doing and understanding things, and these differences can be major barriers when people or objects move across cultural boundaries.
You have two options. The first places you in the position of an expert in North American culture, charged with explaining that culture to people who are totally alien. The second asks you to put yourself in the position of an outsider, trying to anticipate the ways your own North American culture might cause problems for your business plans in another country.
Note that you will do better on both of these questions if you review Chapter 3 PPT and understand about cultural differences.
Option 1: Help the Vulcans.
The US government has selected Indiana University to act as host to the very first delegation of Vulcans (humanoid aliens from the planet Vulcan) visiting the USA. Thirty Vulcans will spend one semester living with various students who want to participate in this interstellar cultural exchange.
Vulcans are quite fluent in English, but cultural misunderstandings might arise between Vulcan and American students. To prevent some of these misunderstandings, IU President Myles Brand has asked you to write a two-page manual describing to your Vulcan guests how American students handle intimate, personal, social, and public space in their apartments and dormitories.
In all cultures, people distance themselves from each other in everyday life, by dividing the places they live and work. Your culture tells you what kinds of activities are appropriate and acceptable in different parts of your living area. For instance, once someone is in your living room, they have to ask your permission to use your bathroom. They are generally not allowed to go in your medicine cabinet or closet at all. In this assignment you must think about how people divide up the space where they live into intimate, personal, social and public areas. Think about the areas strangers are allowed access to, the places close friends would be allowed in, the places where people have to ask permission, the places that nobody except yourself and your spouse or lover would see or use.
You should divide your manual in two distinct parts:
1) In the first part, tell the Vulcans how you divide up the space in your own living areas. What rules regulate and control space – how are the areas named, and what goes on there? You may discuss your present living circumstances, or those where you grew up. If you are a foreign student you are welcome to discuss the different kinds of space in your house in your home country. Give examples and be specific.
2) In the second part, explain in general terms how Americans (or your own culture) define differences between intimate, personal, social, and public space in their home. What are the basic characteristics of each kind of space?
In both 1) and 2), do not forget to describe some rules that will be helpful to the Vulcans so they do not make mistakes and embarrass themselves! Discuss the reasons behind the rules!
Option 2: Selling Hot Dogs in India.
Congratulations! You have just been chosen by Baseball-Dogs Incorporated as one of five candidates for the job of directing the first international division of the company – in Rajasthan in northwestern India.
The company sells hot dogs from mobile stands at sporting events. The all-beef hotdogs, buns, and condiments are a multi-million dollar business here in the United States, and the company has decided the Indian market of 750 million hungry people, many of them sports fans, is the key to future expansion and mega-profits. You are a candidate for the job of leading this effort NOT because you know anything in particular about India, but because you are smart, adaptable, and know enough about cultural difference to be able to anticipate that there will be a number of problems you will have to face in adapting your American business to a new cultural and economic context.
You do NOT have to worry about things like financing, procuring supplies, or buildings and carts. But if you get the job you will have two major tasks. The first is to build a local management and sales force by hiring Indian workers. The second is to figure out how to sell hot dogs to Indians – to anticipate what kinds of cultural problems you might run into in selling a new food to people who are not familiar with it. People in Rajasthan have diverse religious backgrounds, for example, including Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and several others. They speak different languages, live in different kinds of families, and eat diverse diets.
This job pays very well. You want it! Write three pages explaining what you will need to know about culture in Rajasthan in order to do this job well and build a flourishing business. Tell the company what kinds of cross-cultural issues you will consider in building a local management team, and in getting Indians to eat your dogs. Suggest some ways you will solve the inter-cultural problems which you think are going to arise.
If you are not a North American, you can do this assignment from the perspective of a business in a country you are more familiar with.
assignment 2 https://fvsu.view.usg.edu/d2l/le/dropbox/1576908/1…
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