Cultural Anthropology and International Business How often do we hear people say "The whole argument is academic"? By this statement they mean that, despite the elegance of the logic, the whole line...

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How would you define culture, norms, and values? how would you characterize between these words?

Cultural Anthropology and International Business How often do we hear people say "The whole argument is academic"? By this statement they mean that, despite the elegance of the logic, the whole line of reasoning makes lit- tle or no difference. In other words, the term academic has become synonymous with ir- relevant. In all of academia, it is hard to think of other disciplines generally perceived by the public to be any more irrelevant to the everyday world than cultural anthropology, the comparative study of cultures. The student of biology, for example, can apply his or her skills to the solution of vital medical problems; the student of creative arts can produce lasting works of art; and the political science student, owing to a basic understanding of political dynamics, can become a local, state, or national leader. But according to popu- lar perception, the study of cultural anthropology, with its apparent emphasis on the non- Western cultures of the world, has little to offer other than a chance to dabble in the exotic. To counter the long-held popular view that cultural anthropology is of little use in helping to understand the world around us, in recent years an increasing number of cul- tural anthropologists have applied the theories, findings, and methods of their craft to a wide range of professional areas. Professionals in such areas as education, urban ad- ministration, and the various health services have been coming to grips, albeit reluc- tantly, with the cultural environments within which they work; however, those in the area of international business, although having perhaps the greatest need, remain among the most skeptical concerning the relevance of cultural anthropology. There has in fact been little contact between cultural anthropology and the international business sector. Ac- cording to Erve Chambers, cultural anthropologists have avoided working with the in- ternational business community because of "a highly prejudiced ethical stance which associates commercial success and profit taking with a lack of concern for human wel- fare" (1 985, 128). Also, Western multinational corporations have not actively sought the services of cultural anthropologists, whom they generally view as serving little useful pur- 2 Cultural Anthropology and International Business pose other than providing more interesting cocktail-party conversation about the esoter- ic peoples of the world. In short, both cultural anthropologists and international busi- nesspeople view the concerns of the other as irrelevant, morally questionable, or trivial. This book rests on the fundamental assumption that to operate effectively in the in- ternational business arena one must master the cultural environment by means of pur- poseful preparation as well as sustained learning throughout one's overseas assignment. Now, as in the past, international businesspeople acquire their international expertise while on the job, and they consider such hands-on factors as business travel and overseas assignments to be the most important experiences. While not minimizing the value of ex- periential learning, this book argues that, in addition to on-the-job learning (and in most cases, before entering the international marketplace), successful international business- people must prepare themselves in a very deliberate manner in order to operate within a new, and frequently very different, cultural environment. THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE When the average American hears the word anthropologist, two images usually come to mind. The first image is that represented by Harrison Ford in his portrayal of anthropol- ogist Indiana Jones in the film Raiders of the LostArk. In his search for clues to the se- crets of lost civilizations, Indiana Jones spends most of his time being chased by irate cannibals, engaging in hand-to-hand combat with sinister Nazis, and being thrown into pits with thousands of snakes. Although this image is exciting theater, it gives us little in- sight into what anthropology is all about. The second image of an anthropologist is that of the irrelevant academic who spends every moment out of the classroom interviewing exotic peoples whose cultures are about to become extinct. Anthropology, however, is nei- ther hazardous to the health nor irrelevant. Both these views of anthropology are mis- leading stereotypes, which obscure both the nature of the discipline and its relevance to the world. The scientific discipline of anthropology is far less life-endangering than Hollywood would have us believe and far more relevant than most of us imagine. To be certain, an- thropologists do travel to the far corners of the world studying little-known cultures (cul- tural anthropologists) and languages (anthropological linguists). Moreover, some anthropologists unearth fossil remains (physical anthropologists) and artifacts (archae- ologists) of people who lived thousands or, in some cases, millions of years ago. Despite the fact that these four subareas of anthropology frequently deal with different types of data, they are all directed toward a single purpose: the scientific study of human cultures in whatever form, time period, or region of the world in which they might be found. Ac- cording to Carol and Melvin Ember, Anthropology is concerned explicitly and directly with all varieties of people throughout the world, not just those close at hand or within a limited area. It is also interested in people of all periods. Beginning with the immediate ancestors of humans who lived a few million years ago, anthropology traces the development of humans until the present. Every part of the world that has ever contained a human population is of interest to anthropologists. (1999,2) Cultural Anthropology and International Business 3 Cultural anthropologist no longer work only in exotic parts of the world, such as southwest Africa. 4 Cultural Anthropology and International Business Anthropology differs from other disciplines that study humans in that it is much broader in scope both geographically and historically. Four distinct yet closely related sub- fields comprise anthropology: (1) archaeology, the study of ancient and prehistoric so- cieties; (2) physical anthropology, the study of humans as biological entities; (3) anthropological linguistics, the comparative study of languages; and (4) cultural an- thropology, the search for similarities and differences among contemporary peoples of the world. Even though the discipline encourages all anthropologists to constantly inte- grate these four fields, in recent decades increasing disciplinary specialization has made it virtually impossible for any anthropologist to cover all four fields in a comprehensive way. When we look at the contributions anthropology can make to the more effective conduct of international business, we are looking primarily at cultural anthropology. Cultural anthropology seeks to understand how and why contemporary peoples of the world differ in their customary ways of behaving and how and why they share cer- tain similarities. It is, in short, the comparative study of cultural differences and similarities found throughout the world. Cultural anthropologists may often appear to be document- ing inconsequential cultural facts about little-known peoples of the world, but our learn- ing more about the wide range of cultural variations will serve as a check on those who might generalize about "human nature" solely on observations from their own society. It is not at all unusual for people to assume that their own ways of thinking and acting are unquestionably rational, "natural," or "human." Consider, for example, the nonverbal gesture of negation (found in the United States and in other parts of the world), shaking the head from side to side. In some parts of India, however, people use this very same ges- ture to communicate not negation but affirmation. In fact, there are any number of dif- ferent ways of nonverbally communicating the idea of negation, all of which are no more or no less rational than shaking the head from side to side. The study of cultural anthro- pology provides a look at the enormous variations in thinking and acting found in the world today and how many different solutions have been generated for solving the same problem. Anthropology does more than simply document the enormous variations in human cultures. If anthropology deserves to be called a science, it must go beyond the mere cat- aloging of cultural differences. It must also identify and describe the commonalities of humans amid the great diversity-that is, the regularities found in all cultural contexts regardless of how different those contexts might appear at first glance. For example, for any society to continue to exist over the long run, it must solve the basic problem of how to pass on its total cultural heritage--all the ideas, values, attitudes, behavior patterns, and so on-to succeeding generations. Should that complexity of cultural traditions not be passed on to future generations, that society will very likely not survive. Saudis have solved this problem by developing Koranic schools, which pass on the cultural traditions to the younger generations; in parts of West Africa, "bush schools" train young adoles- cents to become adults; in our own society, we rely on a formal system of compulsory education, complete with books, desks, and teachers. Although the details of these edu- cational systems vary enormously, all societies in the world-today or in the past-have worked out a system for ensuring that new generations will learn their culture. Thus, the science of anthropology attempts to document the great variations in cultural forms while Cultural Anthropology and International Business 5 looking for both the common strands that are found in and the general principles that apply to all cultures. The strong comparative perspective that anthropologists bring to the study of the human condition helps reduce the probability that their theories will be culture bound. Sociologists and psychologists, for example, concentrating as they have on studies of peoples from Western societies, are more likely to construct theories that are based on Western assumptions of reality. The cross-cultural perspective of anthropological stud- ies has frequently served as a corrective to those disciplines that rely more heavily for their theory construction on data from Western societies. According to Clifford Geertz, cul- tural anthropologists were the first to recognize that the world does not divide into the pious and the superstitious; that there are sculptures in jungles and paintings in deserts; that political order is possible without centralized power and principled justice without codified rules; that the norms of reason were not fixed in Greece, the evolution of morality not consummated in England. . . . We have, with no little success, sought to keep the world off balance; pulling out rugs, upsetting tea tables, setting off fire
Answered Same DaySep 11, 2021

Answer To: Cultural Anthropology and International Business How often do we hear people say "The whole argument...

Komalavalli answered on Sep 11 2021
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A nation's culture is conveyed via its systems. Three systems – government, education and the family play an important role in the transmission of cultural standards. The government usually presents an ideology or a series of convictions. These ideas are then taught by schools and the families, and the actions that support them. The convictions are frequently referred to as values, and the conduct supporting such ideals is referred to as standards.
Values are abstract ideas that are good, right, ethical, moral and thus desirable for particular behaviors. In the United States, freedom is one virtue; equality is another. These ideals can be attributed to a...

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