Inter-Cultural Issues

In the Egyptian society, just like the rest of the Arab world and Indonesia, two main socio-economic groups are evident. One of the groups is composed of wealthy and Western-educated elite, and this is mainly composed of individuals of the upper middle class. Secondly, there is a group where the majority of the citizens belong. These are the peasants as well as those who belong to the urban lower and middle classes. Some of these may be working. These groups exhibit a great variation in their diet, consumer habit, and clothing. Since the government began implementing the economic liberalization strategies, the middle-class has been expanding. The expansion has been due to the attraction of such professionals as importers, commercial agents, and financiers who happen to have established some connections with the foreign culture and foreign capital. These professionals have been among the most important consumers of items such as the luxury cars, American and European music and films, as well as the European designer clothing. The old and wealthy elite has also begun adopting such a lifestyle, and this makes Egypt so much unlike the ancient society that many outsiders think of. In this case, understanding of the culture of the Egyptians would enable a Westerner to understand them in a manner that would facilitate the establishment of a mutual connection and relationship. This would be possible since, as it has been aforementioned, most Egyptians are friendly and accommodating. This situation is repeated in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, as well as several African states. Nevertheless, the understanding of the manner in which the power distance is defined in a society presents the stakeholders of international organizations with a global view of business issues (Drucker, 1992; Colls & Dodd, 1986; Hofstede, 2001).

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In the western world, individuals rarely attend social events. People avoid such attendances due to the work commitments among other pressing engagements. With the Indonesian and Indian culture, this is different. As it is evident to any observer of these cultures, individuals attend events that have been organized by individuals with whom they have little connection, and one may attend even without an invitation from the organizers and/or family members. Therefore, these events are attended by a large number of individuals as everyone feels obliged to attend. During such occasions, people observe cultural practices that are in line with the occasion. When this situation is mirrored into the business environment, parties tend to prefer handling affairs in groups as opposed to the aspects of individualism that are observed with the Western culture. Such an understanding would ease mutual engagements in a business environment thereby enabling the organization to gain from the cultural diversity of its stakeholders (Gitelson et al., 2001; Hofstede, 1993; Buell, 1994).

Westerners perceive much of the Eastern societies as being unfair to women. For instance, when it comes to inheriting the property that belonged to, say, a deceased child or relative, the question of equality is fully neglected. Although both men and women are entitled to inherit the property that belonged to the deceased person, the portions they get vary greatly. In most instances, men have been receiving two shares while the women get only one. This is a clear sign where these societies accord preference and supremacy to the males over their female counterparts. Another example is evident when it comes to witnessing civil contracts. During the instances when civil contracts are being implemented, the law in such nations as Indonesia and Egypt requires every of them to be witnessed by two men. In instances where, say, the husband is not around for one reason or the other, his wife is required to seek for another woman as, according to the law, the contracts can only be witnessed either by two men or a man and two women. This denies women opportunities in business and well as other forms of leadership. The situation in countries like France and Italy is quite different as women are allowed an increased room to make their contributions in the society (Gillingham, 2006; Gadman, 2005; Esty, 2004).

Italians hold the status of women in a unique position. In fact, individuals from several other Mediterranean societies find the Italian arrangement as being enviable as it happens to be unbiased and one that allowed women to participate in the society in the same way that men do. In Italy, the woman’s rights to education, freedom of expression, and the right to hold a position of influence are guaranteed, both constitutionally and culturally. The Italian society, just like the French society, defines the roles of men and women in a manner which serves to reduce strains in their communities as well as their working environments. For instance, both men and women are expected to learn, work, and earn in a manner that is more or less equivalent. The study of these aspects is important as they help to define the views that individuals from various cultures may hold regarding an aspect of, say, management or even investment. Therefore, the management is able to bridge the gap between parties from diverse cultures and backgrounds (Hjort, 2000; Drucker, 1992).

Uncertainty avoidance index defines the society’s acceptance of the unknown situations. The capacity to handle uncertainty varies from one society to another. Familiarity with such aspects enables the leadership in, say, a business enterprise to bridge the gap between their organization’s stakeholders, and this empowers the organization to venture in multiple and varied markets. Most countries in the East are known to implement laws that safeguard the interests of those in privileged positions, including males and leaders of various units of the society. In such societies as Indonesia and the Arab world, laws are rigidly implemented so as to avoid instances of uncertainty. Although this does, at times, appear to be a beneficial strategy, it has been proved to derail operations. This is because some of the best ideas are brushed-off as their originators happen to belong to the wrong section of the society. The situation in the West is different. A French business leader expects and accepts uncertainty. Uncertainty does, in fact, present new opportunities for these leaders to exploit market situations that never existed before. Therefore, ambition prompts French and Italian stakeholders to attract uncertainty for the purpose of exploiting the advantages that come along with such situations. There are instances when these uncertainties prove to be advantages, and there were other times that they have even driven societies into recessions (Hofstede, 2005; Hofstede, 1984).

Temporal orientation refers to the situation whereby the society happens to have accepted short-term commitments to the traditions and values of an organization. Countries such as France and Italy are said to have a high temporal orientation as they do not value traditions as much as others like Indonesia and India do. The issue of temporal orientation is a complex one, and it is not easily conceptualized. This results from the fact that much of the organizational values and cultures are artificially developed, and they may lack correlation with the cultures and values that the wider society holds to be true. Moreover, organizations all over the world have begun adopting values that happen to be more or less similar, meaning that it is challenging to fundamentally differentiate an organization that is headquartered in Jakarta form that which happens to be based in Paris (Downing, 2003; Harris et al., 2003; Easthorpe, 2004).


The assignment helps in reflecting cultural attitudes towards human inequality as it is defined within individual relationships. In order to summarize the differences relating to the cultural issues amongst such countries as France, Italy, and Indonesia, it is imperative to consider their cultural diversity. Such a consideration facilitates the grouping together of societies as per the aspects that define them. For instance, most Europeans have adopted a similar mode of dressing, and this may help to distinguish, say, France and Italy form Egypt. Moreover, several houses in Egypt resemble those in Indonesia yet there is a remarkable difference between the Egyptian houses and those in, say, Italy and France. In that case, it is evident that as houses differentiate nations, there are those that help to group other nations together. These aspects are mirrored into all other aspects of the society, including business. The study is, therefore, important as it enables the stakeholder of any establishment to know what to expect while engaging in various business practices (Downing, 2003).

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