The importance for the Tourism and Hospitality industry to understand cultural differences. | THE 101 CROSS CULTURAL ISSUES IN TURISM AND HOSPITALITY THE 101 CROSS CULTURAL ISSUES IN TURISM AND HOSPITALITY Student Number: Unit Title: Cross Cultural issues in Tourism and Hospitality Unit Number: THE101 Due Date: Lecturer: Student Number: Unit Title: Cross Cultural issues in Tourism and Hospitality Unit Number: THE101 Due Date: Lecturer:
In hospitality industry is very important to understand different types of cultures because it is a huge and worldwide industry where there are all kind of cultures, religions and we all have to understand every tradition each one of us have, maybe we do not agree with everything but respect and knowledge is a fundamental key for leading with each other and after all we don’t know when are we going to get involved in business with people with different point of view, after all that is what the hospitality and tourism industry means: business.
Doing some research of cultural characteristics is very important to the tourism industry because this day’s tourism environment is increasing day by day.
Technology advances had help a lot in terms of communication between people traveling and this generates exposure with different societies, interaction between different cultures is now something common. It is definitely obligatory to understand the influence of national cultures between their customers, as we deal with some foreign people daily.
As each of us bring our own culture were ever we go, therefore we all have different points of view, and it comes a time when we have to get the ideas concealed in just one idea, for this we need to learn how to take advantage of the knowledge of each culture and make something worldwide understandable. In the Tourism and Hospitality industry culture plays a fundamental roll because it’s the main reason of why we travel, if there were no different cultures, then every place would be/look just the same, places around the world would not have anything of mayor attraction to offer to tourism, cultural heritage is essential.
Stating all of this, now we can start to make the comparisons between Japan and Mexico, starting with: a)the social behavior Mexico: The family in Mexico it’s a priority, all Mexicans focus first on their families then goes everything else, united and big families are really usual, since it provides a sense of stability and safety. As most Mexican families are very traditional, the father plays the chief of the family, the money provider, decision maker and authority figure, the mom role is more like secondary and supportive to her husband, all this being extremely traditional, now a days it has changed a lot.
This is a clear example of Hofstede cultural dimension called masculinity over femininity, were the men is always the one in charge of everything, the one that gives the last word, because in the ancient Mexico this was always a rule that cannot be broken, this has always been called “machismo” literally means ‘masculinity’ which is the perfect one word explanation to masculinity over femininity.
Mexicans respect a lot the hierarchical relationships, people respect authority and always the ones above you will have more power in the decision making and guidance, they should always be treated with respect, this makes very important to get to know who is the person in charge of the decision-making and problem-solving, everyone is really aware of who fits into each hierarchic place, doesn’t matter if its family, friends or business, and it would be very disrespectful to break some of this hierarchy chains.
This is a clear example of a big power distance, also in the graph point Mexico having a lot of power distance and it is true. In Mexico everything is related to the power each one has. Today in Mexico everything has changed and now it is more of pursuing individual goals, this is why individualism over collectivism. Talking about uncertainty avoidance, I don’t think Mexico has such a big level as it shows in the graph, we usually don’t avoid issues, one thing is that the power of distance may tell that is obvious uncertainty avoidance is high but it is not, as Mexicans usually like to take a lot of risks.
Socially speaking, Mexicans are always fearless, that is why some times not be best decision is taken. Mexican people tend to have a lot of different social behaviors, like they show respect when dating a lady, they open de car’s door for her, when she is getting inside the car and also when she is getting out of it, also is used that men have to pay for her drinks or her food, that is kind of a gentleman would do.
And for a woman, usually we are used to all this attentions from a man, like opening doors for her, paying her stuff, and to be really respectful to her in all times. Also in Mexico usually the status is not given for what you are and how come you deal with things, here it is more superficial, status is given for what you have, like money of course, business, family names are also a big part of the status and hierarchy counts, status is just given to them, this is ascribed status, and it has been like this since many years ago and it still going on.
Mexico is such crowed place, with a lot of people and no much organization as a country, getting a well-paid job in Mexico is not very easy, sometimes people get various jobs in order to survive getting paid from different jobs, it is very usual to have more than one job, this happens because of many factors; Mexicans are used to multitasks and this is an example of Trompenaar’s cultural division called synchronic time. Japan:
In Japan there are a lot of social behaviors, first off al, for Japanese people there is a concept really important, this is the “face” which is prestige or pride, and this is important to them, they take a lot of care to this, saving “face” is crucial in the Japanese society, they believe that turning someone down request or saying no it can cause an embarrassment and loss of face to the other person, that is why they usually don’t say no, if they are not agree with the proposal or request they will just say ‘it’s inconvenient’ or maybe ‘it is under consideration’. Face” is equal to the persons dignity, Face is an image of self-delineated in terms of approved social attributes. They would not ever try to make someone lose their “face”, all of this takes us to say based on Hofstede cultural divisions, that they have a big uncertainty avoidance because they do not openly criticize, put any one on-the-spot, they usually keep their complaints and comments or doubt to themselves.
Talking about status, Japanese status is usually achieved by the things you do, you earn pride by how you act, as they are very conscious of age and status working hard on their harmony which is something essential for their culture, therefore achieved status is something that occurs with the time, and as they grow older, they get a certain pride because of what they have done in the past year, what they have achieved, so in Trompenaar’s division of culture they have achieve status; and again this is all of their “face” philosophy, to gain power and knowledge by the years of good actions they have achieved, giving then pride and prestige.
The Japanese educational system emphasizes on the independence of all people, when little they are not educated to be independent but to work together, then when they grow older they are raised to be more and more independent, therefore they have an individualism culture division, based on Hofstede. Power distance in japan is not very present, because in society there is not a huge division between very powerful people, and less powerful.
In japan they are not used to express any feelings at all even though they are good or bad, they just do not make a lot of gestures, they tend to be always serious, therefore is very difficult to get some Japanese mind read, they are taught not to display their feelings overtly, they just display minimal emotions, they tend to be very controlled on that side, they are used to be a neutral culture. Therefore neutrality is their division. b) Business behavior Mexico:
Business in Mexico could be very challenging the business relationship and communication tends to be based on the right connections this facilitates business success. Here you will be judge by first impressions and changing this is almost impossible. After the getting-to-know-you step, the powerful executive may not attend or be visible, this is when you are just being introduced to the business until getting down to business, they he/she will be present, this is because he has a higher position and he has no necessity to be on every non important meeting, this is an example of a high power istance because he is not treating with small business men, also is almost impossible to the small business man to reach and get the executive to have a chat or discuss any topic at all. In Mexico demonstrating and developing trust, sincerity and integrity are essential steps to build relationships; also it is very important to answer every question about your family, personal backgrounds and life interests. Since Mexicans are status conscious, you should always have someone on your work team that is an executive, it is going to take time to come to any agreement, they always require several meetings.
Face to face meetings are really important, more than telephone calls, mail or some other source. Mexican executives prefer face to face meeting because this way they can have more judgments and more bases to make any negotiation, it is very important how you dress, how you act, and this is one of the reasons the face to face meetings are preferred, this is a perfect example of very low uncertainty avoidance.
Mexico has a very high short-term orientation. Mexico being a pluralistic culture, a lot of things are based in terms of friendship and intimate relationships, rules sometime may not be followed by the line, in some way this is not good, because rules are created to be followed and get some organization, it is very important how people relate to one other. In Mexico there is not high masculinity.
To get a good job offer or involved in any business to be a man is not compulsory, there are a lot of women with high positions and excellent prepared, this is kind of new in the Mexican so called tradition, because many years ago the woman had the stereotype to be at home, cooking and cleaning and just watching over the children, but that had changed a lot, now a days Mexican woman can be in charge of the whole family, also can be in charge of anything she wants, this is part of modernization in Mexico, although this is getting more and more recognized around all Mexico, there are also some places where the ancient Mexican traditions, in some ways discrimination. Japan: In japan business are made preferred with people that they have previous relationship or business experience. in Japan there is high uncertainty avoidance because they have a non-confrontational culture, as they do not have a lot of facial expression, you should try to read some of their expressions, because they can be saying yes but what they really mean is no, herefore you can have some idea of what they like, this make business even more hard to work out, because it is really hard to understand Japanese people, when doing business with them we should ask question in where they can respond yes, like “do you think this is not going to work? ” or “should we make any more changes? ”. Some Japanese tend to close their eyes as they are concentrating, you should never take this as an offence, you just have to give them time and be very patient. Masculinity over femininity in Japan is very present; here the only ones that make business are the men is very unusual to see women making business or as high executives.
Japan has a very high long-term orientation, which is related with patience to achieve certain goals, this long-term orientation. Concluding, all this differences between societies takes us to say that we need to make a lot of research to get to know different countries and their traditions, customs and everything that is different to us, because when visiting those places you have to adapt to their cultures, it could be really hard, but we are expected to know a little bit of the country we are visiting, even though when you are visiting the country just for the pleasure of it, make some investigation about what is prohibited and things you do that are not accepted or not used in their culture.
As Mexico and Japan have a lot of differences like in social behavior, Mexicans can usually say no to a lot if things without feeling bad or having any regret, and Japanese, they cannot say no, it takes their “face” away that way when talking to Japanese people we should always make questions more like the answer to be just saying yes because other way they will just are going to say yes, even though they are clearly disagree, and is going to take to any business conclusion. In Japan there is a high long-term orientation because they have a lot of patience to achieve their goals and projects, while in Mexico there is a very short-term orientation because Mexicans are very desperate and always want to get everything fast and good, they have no patience at all.
References: * Geert Hofstede,Gert Jan Hofstede, Michael Minkov, 2010 ; Cultures and Organizations, Software of the Mind: Intercultural Cooperation and its Importance for Survival, Mac-Graw Hill Books, pgs. 55,82,83,90,102,104,112,138,148. * Itim International; Geert Hofstede Cultural Dimensions,2011, viewed 11-22-2011, http://www. geert-hofstede. com/hofstede_dimensions. php? culture1=50&culture2=59#compare – THE 101: Cross Cultural Issues, Power point lecture in tourism and hospitality Week 9 lecture slides 2011, Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School, Leura NSW. Viewed November 22,2011 from http://portal. bmihs. nsw. edu. au
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