The dimensions of culture in conducting global business

Culture can be defined as the learned, compelling, shared and interrelated set of symbols whose interpretation provide a set of essential orientations for members of an organization or society (Caprar et al., 2015, 12). Cho, Liu, and Ho define culture as the mental program that is shaped by local communities which are used to determine how individuals and organizations act and respond to different situations in the business context (2018. 25). The global cultural context significantly influences the way of doing business because it forces organizations to adapt to the socio-cultural requirements of a given community. Consequently, the aspects of culture include beliefs, communication, art, and values among others, that are unique to a group of people or ethnicity (Frey, B. 2019, 4). Cho, Liu, and Ho, (2018. 25); Jondle, D. (2015, 2) state that culture is a complex set of elements which include but not limited to belief, aesthetics, customs, laws, habits and other capabilities that are acquired by people within contemporary society. Culture could consist of experiences, and derivatives created or learned more or less organized by individuals of society including interpretations and encodements that are passed on from one generation to another. It is critical for managers and global organizations to understand and obtain sufficient knowledge of culture because it helps people from different regions and backgrounds interact and communicate effectively with each other through the use of a common language (LeVine, R. 2018, 24). Additionally, an understanding of culture enables businesses to anticipate how their competitors and customers are likely to respond, as well as distinguish right from wrong, acceptable or offensive behavior, and identify with other foreign and local managers. Therefore, understanding culture is critical to providing essential knowledge that helps organizations meet and negotiate with others successfully.  This study aims to explore the dimensions of culture in conducting global business and presents the main concepts and typologies of cultural behaviors and their impact on international business.

Culture is manifested at various layers of depth within a society. Similarly, when analyzing the culture of a particular people, it is essential to distinguish three fundamental levels of cultural manifestation which are the; observable artifacts, a people’s values, and the basic underlying assumptions (Longhurst, K., 2018, 144). The artifacts are the observable objects such as the dress code to the physical layout, and the manner in which individuals address each other, the emotional intensity, and other permanent archival phenomena including statements of philosophy or physical products (Lorsch and McTague, 2016, 21). Consequently, to understand how members of a certain culture interact, an analysis of their verbal language is critical. According to Caprar et al. (2015, 13); Frey, B. (2019, 5), verbal communication is one of the key characteristics of any given culture. Verbal communication involves many forms of interaction such as signs, spoken, or written words. Attributes such as text message and normal communication between two or more people either face to face or through another medium such as television or phone calls amount to verbal communication (Schmiedel, vom, and Recker, 2015, 650). Verbal language is the primary characteristic of the culture that enables individuals to communicate instead of using mere sounds and gestures.

Verbal communication in different cultures involves the use of speech to exchange information with others (Cho, Liu, and Ho, 2018. 26). Verbal skills are among the most valued form of communication in any cultural setting. Thus, verbal communication is the fundamentals of language because they form the interactive, contextualized, and social elements of a given culture. Smith, K. (2018, 30) states that oral speaking and communication is more complex compared to listening because it is an act of mental creativity. The speaker, along with knowledge of a language needs to formulate a mental idea to express in the form of a conversation or monologue response. Similarly, Whisnant, D. (2018, 30) argues that successful communication between individuals who share the same cultural values need grammatical and sociolinguistic competence. Therefore, verbal communication is a process of building and sharing meaning through the use of speech and non-verbal symbols in a variety of contexts. Consequently, the relationship between culture and language (verbal communication) is inter-dependent (Schmiedel, vom, and Recker, 2015, 651). There are several ways that verbal communication influences the economic systems, the family and marriage systems, social control and individual supernatural belief systems in a given community because they are numerous factors involved in the teaching of language and culture. Moreover, De Mooij (2018, 12) notes that effective interaction between a member of a community involves the adaptation of all the values at all levels of individual status. Hence, the verbal communicators must coordinate their behavior and mold it in a way that the rest of the people within the community can understand. Consequently, interparty coordination of verbal communication must be evident at both micro and macro levels such as timing and adjustment of individual plans to the apparent plans of one’s conversational correspondent (Lim, Sung, and Lee, 2018, 11).

Verbal communication includes elementary processes such as breathing and listening and other means of expression such as articulation and intonation (Lorsch and McTague, 2016, 23). Thus, the complex process of verbal communication in the cultural context involves the use of elementary aspects in presentations, speeches, and conversations. Verbal communication is a multifaceted concept which is essential in everyday life. Additionally, it is an integral part of the human nature that facilitates cooperation, and coordination in the delivery of common goals and objectives within a given community. What more, verbal communication is included under psychology, linguistics, sociology, and anthropology because it informs language development (Jondle, D. 2015, 4).

Notably, Taylor, Santiago, and Hynes, (2019, 11) argue that the aspect of multilingualism reflects on the agenda of verbal communication and in language learning processes at economic, institutional, societal, individual and political levels. Consequently, the multilingual background of individuals determines the extent to which the availability of exposure to language, motivation, and attitudes towards each language development occurs (LeVine, R. 2018, 26).  Verbal communication forms a vital connection between individuals because it represents the fundamental association that forms the survival of humanity in contemporary society.

In the global business context, the need for linguistic proficiency cannot be overlooked. Seemingly, with the globalization effects, learning different languages is key to accomplishing overseas goals and objectives (Caprar et al., 2015, 14). Consequently, having a multilingual workforce is a critical success factor in today’s contemporary business environment because it helps businesses build an improved reputation within a specific geographic market. Additionally, language proficiency helps employees in the organization build confidence and increase engagement at work (Teagarden, Von, and Mellahi, 2018, 303). What more, doing business on a global scale requires a good understanding of different cultures in the target populations abroad. What works in one country may not work in another country, and can even be interpreted as an insult or bring about the misunderstanding. Consequently, a global context provides more opportunities for growth because it expands the market to multiple players in related business activities. For a business to market its goods and services, the managers have to first identify a gap to fill, and second, develop a message that will inform the potential customers of their presence. However, to design an appealing message, the managers have to understand the language and culture of their target population to develop products that customers are willing to buy. Therefore, the managers have to conduct market research in the target population that will enhance how they do business (Alon et al., 2018, 237).

Understanding culture in global business is critical to the success of any business venture. There is a potential risk of the message being misinterpreted or lost in the translation processes (Whisnant, D. 2018,121). How an organization portrays their message is crucial because it acts as the connector between the organization and the potential customers. Culture has a significant impact on consumer behavior, choice of products, and their spending patterns. Therefore, companies must consider vital cultural differences that influence the attractiveness or suitability of products in various parts of the globe (Caprar et al., 2015, 16). Moreover, culture has a direct connection with how consumers tolerate a company’s products. Additionally, it has a comparable impact on customer attraction and retention strategies and their tolerability of the commercials in different parts of the globe ((Jondle, D. 2015, 5). Therefore, without sufficient consideration of the foreign culture, it is difficult for companies to cope in the global competitive trade (Whisnant, D. 2018,122). Culture management in global business is inevitable. Notwithstanding, it is valuable to deliberate valuable cultural consideration at four diverse levels within the global business context such as national culture, business culture, organizational culture, and industry culture.

On the one hand, national culture has distinguishing values such as public opinions, faith, customs and thought of the occupants within the foreign nation (Smith, K. 2018, 31). Similarly, consideration of national culture is essential because it determines how the business will progress on matters of national interests. Additionally, national culture influences consumer tastes and preferences significantly, thus, cannot be overlooked in the global contemporary business world (Tian, Deng, Zhang, and Salmador, 2018, 1088). On the other hand, business culture is essential because it involves the distinct common values and beliefs of a people that direct business functions in that country. Business features and cultural adaptation influence consumers, governments, and other competitors significantly. Therefore, business culture can have significant impacts that affect business ethics and operations (Mandler, T., 2019, 101). Industry cultures are the values and norms of a given community that influence the way in which an organization in a specific industry carries out its operations (Teagarden, Von, and Mellahi, 2018, 304). Consequently, an organization must consider the foreign industry’s players and the dynamics of the industry that influence how business is conducted in foreign markets. Issues such as environmental policies, waste management, and moral standards have to be taken into consideration before setting up a business. Other regulations such as labor laws and tax compliance regulations must come into play for the organization to survive in the global market (Bogatyreva et al., 2019, 309). Lastly, a corporate culture which are the distinguishing factors such as employee thoughts, company policies, values and objectives that influence the running of an organization is necessary. Corporate culture relies on aspects such as national culture, industry culture among others, which are critical to the internal operations of a firm (Ozturk, and Cavusgil, 2019, 294). Consequently, each of these levels is important to the organization because they influence how these different levels inter-relate as well as influence other key players.

In profound ways, as with verbal communication, culture significantly influences nonverbal behaviors and communication (Alon et al., 2018, 239). By and large, most of the existing literature on nonverbal communication is focused on facial expressions and emotions. Nonverbal communication occurs without words or speech in a continuous form (Alon et al., 2018, 238). Thus, it is more of what is expressed rather than what is said. There are numerous types of nonverbal communication such as hand gestures, eye contact and facial expressions among others. In contemporary society, nonverbal communication is influenced by different cultural backgrounds and experiences. Bogatyreva et al. (2019, 311) note that it is important for individuals to understand that, although there is a universal hand language, different nonverbal expressions exist from one region to another. However, facial expressions are the most common type of nonverbal expression in many cultures such as smiling or crying (Cho, Liu, and Ho, 2018. 27). Steel, Taras, Uggerslev, and Bosco, (2018, 128) describes nonverbal communication as one that is beyond the conventional sending and receipt of signals for the purpose of passing a message, which can affect the way of interacting and relating with others. However, according to Whisnant, D. (2018,124) the three vital dimensions of nonverbal communication are the; body languages, such as facial expressions, body movement, and body posture.

Steel, Taras, Uggerslev, and Bosco, (2018, 130) adds that Artifactual communication such as personal attributes is a type of nonverbal communication which can be utilized by individuals to modify particular appearances. Accordingly, nonverbal communication involves subliminal and conscious messages, whereby the sender of the nonverbal message is aware that the signal is accompanied by its general meaning for comprehension by the receiver. In particular, understanding various cultural differences in nonverbal communication has become increasingly essential, in the globalization context (Lorsch and McTague, 2016, 25).  Today, people from different regions of the globe interact more often than our ancestors. Similarly, nonverbal communication plays a crucial role in the overall efficiency of the communication process. Notwithstanding, nonverbal communication can be used where there is conflict in verbal communication and help to differentiate between what is said and the way it is expressed. Therefore, nonverbal communication can be used to emphasize verbal communication effectively (De Mooij 2018, 14). The significance of nonverbal communication is predominant when various cultures meet and communicate with each other. Therefore, it is essential for individuals to understand the aspects of nonverbal communication and how numerous cultural factors differ from others in different cultures. in order to maintain a healthy communication, specifically with different cultures, it is important to understand how each element of nonverbal communication differs from one culture to the other.

Nonverbal components of cultural communication in organizations should be taken into consideration irrespective of their inseparable relation, and their complexity (Mandler, T., 2019, 103). Although nonverbal elements can create conflicts and misunderstanding when analyzed generically across different cultures, researchers should not overlook the dimensions of the soft skills such as learning the nonverbal language, adaptation, and anxiety management because respect and mutuality can assist in managing cultural diversity in embracing cultural differences (Bogatyreva et al. 2019, 314). Additionally, one of the essential components of nonverbal communication is paralanguage, although it varies from one culture to another (Smith, K. 2018, 35).

There are a number of similarities in different cultures across the globe, although the normal inclination is to observe the differences and not the similarities.  Consequently, nonverbal communication is only considered relevant in terms of exchanging expressions between individuals in an interaction. Nonetheless, the individual relational behavior requires sensitivity to be considered in the behavioral context that an individual constructs a meaningful message for the other (Lim, Sung, and Lee, 2018, 11). Lorsch and McTague (2016, 27) argue that nonverbal communication is essential because it creates an avenue for social interaction, expression of intimacy, presentation of images and identity, regulates interaction, and facilitates task and service goals achievement. Additionally, nonverbal communication conveys the supportiveness of verbal communication because gestures are associated with the perception of supportiveness. Interpersonal communication skills have been identified to be vital because they are indispensable in the role they play in achieving success (Tian, Deng, Zhang, and Salmador, 2018, 1090). Therefore, whether on an individual or corporate level, culture is an essential aspect in communication because it forms the basis by which individuals think, interact with each other, and acts as an aid for shaping individual character.


In the past decade, people have conducted numerous discussions and studies about what it means to understand different cultures that enable coexistence. However, people still struggle to understand the differences in the global cultural context based on different versions of what is fair, just or equitable in a society. Thus, there is a need for more research in the field of cultural diversity because it will help people have a better understanding of what is required to cope in different cultures around the world. Although the literature on culture is rich and deep, there is a need to bridge the gap between culture and leadership. Additionally, the refinement of cross-cultural leadership and the identification of the dimensions of culture is necessary. What more, many organizations have gaps between their desired and existing cultures that need to be closed. By designing and incorporating interventions and the values that makeup culture, the change targets for culture can be extracted. Consequently, managers and individuals in different settings will have an opportunity to positively influencing commitment, job satisfaction, and team spirit.

The application of different analysis procedures and instruments can help build future research on the exploratory findings of existing literature and develop a more extensive research-driven knowledge base for managing and understanding cultural-performance linkages.  Information retrieved from these linkages can provide vital information that can be used to advise organizations and managers on appropriate methods for changing and understanding corporate culture.


Culture is of significant importance in any given community. Culture is the identity of a people or a nation, and without it, a society cannot thrive. Culture is a set of beliefs, practices, values, norms, and life patterns learned and passed on from one generation to another. Culture is a vast subject that requires an in-depth understanding because it differs from many cultural settings around the globe. Culture is important because it influences an individual’s perceptions, values, fears, strengths, and how they interact with others.  Therefore, as people explore different cultures, it is important to consider the common practices and differences that comprise of a particular culture. As the world becomes increasingly diverse, communication between individuals from different parts of the globe has become more rampant. Consequently, it is becoming clear that to build communities successfully, people must understand and appreciate the differences found in many cultures around the world. What more, for communities to continue to build strong interrelations, they will need more cooperation from large numbers of people working together. Although each cultural group has their unique practices, and perspectives, they also need a wide range of ideas, wisdom, and practices that can solve problems and enrich contemporary society.

Understanding culture will help individuals to prevent and overcome ethnic and racial divisions, that can result in misunderstanding, violence, or loss of opportunities for growth and development. Without cultural understanding, ethnic and racial conflicts can adversely impact on the human and financial resources available and distract social unity. People from different cultures should appreciate cultural diversity because it goes hand-in-hand with an equitable and just society. Therefore, the significance of culture cannot be overlooked in the process of human interaction for without it, communities cannot thrive.




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