The Role of Culture in Defining Business Management Systems

The role of culture in defining business management systems
Author: Luthor Tulip-Laine

Culture plays an integral role in defining business management systems in both Asia and the West, clearly differentiating these types of systems even at a national level. In other words, while culture makes business systems different in Asia and the West, it also makes these systems different between countries, such as Japan and China. This essay will demonstrate what makes culture so important in helping us to understand the fundamental differences of business systems, on a national level, and in Asia and the West. Evidence will be provided about the importance of culture and its level of impact on business systems, as well as case studies and comparisons of Japanese, Chinese and American culture and their respective business systems.

The cultural values, relations and structure of any nation in the world clearly affects how that society operates, and this is also apparent with any kind of modern business management system. It is therefore immediately apparent that culture influences business practices and, in effect, business management systems. To put it simply, business management styles are a by-product of national culture, as such, each type of management system is not much far removed from the other. In fact, we see such cultural aspects in almost any facet of society in any country, although that would be the topic of a different essay. Entire theses have been written around the idea that culture influences business systems. One such example is Kahn's 'Confucian Economic System', used to describe Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Korea's cultural links to business practices. Kahn describes the features of these 'neo-Confucian' economies to be related to a number of factors, including sobriety, a high value for education, a desire to succeed, seriousness about life and a hard-working ethic.

Hefner argued that culture could even be seen as such an...