The European society

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The European society is what we can call a ” low context culture” where clear communication through verbal communication though cultures such as the southeast Asian one prefers non verbal communication. One aspect of this is the European society overtly displays meanings through direct communication forms though the Asian one is more suggested through indirect forms.

Thus, though the Asian will ask something through a non direct sentence to be more polite, the European might ask it directly, which can be rude. In the context of cross cultural management, this issue often creates misunderstandings between managers and subordinates but also between departments, which may trigger problems of communication in the whole organization. On the contrary, a society that values direct verbal interaction is less able to read nonverbal expressions. Therefore, it sets up a more bureaucratic organization where every decisions have to be confirmed and any innovations agreed.

The individual and the community

Moreover, the European society is far more individualistic compared to societies in Asia where the notion of community and family is very strong. It is revealed through the dream of being the “self-made man” who has succeeded by himself. This behavior produces dependent individualists and subordinates who do not want to participate but expect autocratic style. Therefore, in terms of management, it has direct impacts on issues such as the loyalty, obedience, team work and personal rewarding policy.


Then, Europe and in particular France has been mainly influenced by the Cartesian philosophy that emphasizes a linear logic. That is, everything should follow certain logic and not diverge from it. It has the advantages of being strict and thus is very helpful in terms of organization but might avoid innovation and open-mind ness because one will think another idea is false as soon as it does not respect that kind of logic.

The notion of time

The notion of time is much different in Asia and in Europe. In Asia, it is more seen as a circle where there is no real beginning neither end. The whole life is constructed around this principle and therefore, the behavior towards time is influenced. In countries like Viet Nam for example, there is no pressure from time existing and it often explains why they come late. On the contrary, in Europe, time is seen as linear, where what has been missed is lost. The factor of timing is very important in private life as well as in professional life. Therefore, punctuality is a main criteria when assessing the seriousness of a person or a firm. When managing, time is of course playing a major role and the approach of time of European explains why they are they are not so patient since they always live under its pressure.


In the European society, the firm is supposed to be a place of blooming, where people work but also have fun when working. Therefore, the question of sense of humor plays a role when judging its manager. This is a main characteristic in Europe to judge the capability of a leader to motivate its subordinates. Indeed, he has to be close to his subordinates in order to motivate them and sense of humor is often a common way to do it. For the same reason, a manager in Europe is preferred to be people-oriented.


In a very hierarchical society, authority is compulsory to set up order. This is the case of Asian countries where the steps of hierarchy are numerous. On the contrary, European society is less hierarchical and people therefore does not bear strict authority. In the management context, the concept of authority might be difficult to deal because the European won’t bear any source of authority and will react badly to it whereas the Asian needs a clear source of authority to act.

Values praised in cases of conflicts


In the research is seen the difference in this topic between European and Asian. The statistical study shows that Asian turn to consider “Patience” as an important quality in management. On the other hand European with a mean of 2.62 show that for them this characteristics or quality don’t make so much difference of a good or bad management style. Also, the differences of maximums and minimums in the studies and the high standard deviation from the European show also that the Asian in this study has a particular common approach of this point.


Continue with what is important for Asian and the differences with European, the study also shows difference in term of the quality of “Respect” in the management. For Asian a mean of 4.84 versus a European mean of 2.87 shows a gap that confirm one of the following things: First of all that for the Asian the conception of respect for other people in the company is one of the most important qualities that can bring difference in term of good or bad management. The important of don’t lose face and stay calm is relevant in this cultures. On the other hand a mean of 2.87 for the American it doesn’t mean that the European don’t consider respect important quality. However, that confirms that in some of this culture if someone loses face is not as bad as in Asian cultures. Also we mention that there are differences in term of standard deviation that are relevant because a show that for Asian the answer has been almost uniform comparing with the European.

Sense of Humor

At this point we found out also differences between Asian and European. For Asian a mean of 2.53 versus a European mean of 4.18 shows that for the first ones a goods sense of humor doesn’t represent an important quality in management. On the other hand for the European is very important. In this point the Asian present a higher standard deviation and a big gap that is shown in the maximum and minimum numbers.


In term of “Discipline” we found out also differences between Asian and European. For Asian a mean of 4.46 versus a European mean of 2.88 shows that for Asian the discipline is more important than their counterpart. That confirms that a paternalist style of management is better in these cultures. Sometimes the feeling of rules, structure and follow a discipline way to do the thinks is important for Asian. For the European is also important although in a lower level. A maximum of 5 and a minimum of 1 bring a gap that influence in a higher standard deviation.


At this point we found similarities. In term of Authority the European has a mean of 4.12 and the Asian a mean of 4.46. Both present a similar standard deviation respectively. That shows that for them this point has a similar approach and importance. The differences can be seen in other context that relies more in term of the stile of Authority.


There is no difference between the importance given to humility for a manager in the two cultures. The results of our questionnaire are very similar: with an average of 3.38 for Asians and 3.43 for Europeans, humility is generally regarded a useful quality for a manager in case of conflict. However, deviation is high, especially among Asian respondents: maximum amplitude, with 5 as highest score and 1 as lowest, humility is either very important or for a few, not at all. Thus underlying a bias in the question considering that some respondents might have been reluctant to confess that humility was not a crucial characteristic according to them.


Once more the difference between the two cultures is blatant, in a sense, which confirms a common prejudice. European respondents found much more important for a manager than Asians: with an average of 4.43 against 3.00 for Asians, Europeans really stressed on this characteristic of the good manager. Deviation is still high among Asian respondents, which may in the end point out the heterogeneity of our sample, compared to the very coherent and somehow predictable of Europeans respondents. Europeans praise people-oriented managers simply because when they identify to the subordinates, they prefer someone who would care for their work, career and personal achievement. Whereas the fact that people-oriented might mean something else for Asians who in a way are far more people-oriented than Europeans, meaning that they are less individualistic and more collective minded, shows another limitation of the way we designed our questionnaire.

Correct own behaviors

Contrary to what could have been generally thought, correcting one’s own behavior, in other words self-criticism, is seen as a valuable asset for a manager both by Asians and Europeans. Europeans are not really famous for their capacity to challenge themselves on the way they work, the decision they make, or the way they manage conflicts. The clich� is much more they are often convinced of being right, owners of the truth, and thus that in case of conflicts, they are not the kind of people to come back on what they did or said, and be critical on that. The answers of our respondents showed the contrary: with an average of 4.06, Europeans are even more concerned with self-criticism than the Asians, giving an average score of 3.84 for this criterion. Maybe this shows a change in the way Europeans conceive business, in a more humble way, maybe it is related to the international profile of our respondents, who know more the importance of self-criticism in professional life, or maybe this shows that the initial prejudice was actually wrong.


Our European and Asian respondents were unanimous in giving open-mindedness the highest grade of all characteristics for a manager in case of conflicts. With averages of 4.61 for Asians and 4.75 for Europeans, there is slightly no difference in the way the two cultures consider this quality. This could be expected of course from executives with international profile. They are both Asians and Europeans conscious of the globalized environment of today’s economy and thus are aware of the cross-cultural challenges it raises for managers. Deviation is minimal, especially for Europeans, who nearly all live abroad for their work, and who required from themselves a good dose of open-mindedness.


For the last value, the answers of our respondents varied much from Asians to Europeans. Whereas the capacity to make compromises in case of conflicts is an important skill for a manager in the eyes of a majority of Europeans, Asians see it as less important. On the one hand, with an average of 2.61, Asians seem to feel that compromising is not so good in case of conflict and that it might be better to defend one’s idea, and try to find an arrangement in another way than changing them. Maybe the word compromise is pejoratively connoted to them, it may sound as betrayal, which is one of the worst crimes in the Asian culture. On the other hand, with an average of 4.56, Europeans rated it as very important. Europeans understand compromise as the capacity to grant the other a part of the truth, and to make decisions according the both parts.

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