A tale of Two Cultures

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Thinking Globally
For years we noticed the spread or trend of Western corporations abroad that brought various consequences on local cultures, some are visible, while others are more subtle in its effect in a countries' cultural identity. And lately local companies sprang up and became much more competitive globally. But the damage has been done; major effect of globalization is manifested in the loss of one's cultural identity. Western brands like Gucci handbags and other global brands became known to Malaysia and Thailand which lures young people and it even became a common symbol of success to them. But a good thing is that despite the trend of western culture, some young people, like those in Hong Kong still believe that parents should always have a say on whatever things that concern to their children may it be to their studies or work and how they treat family members or choice of friends.
Call center jobs has become one of the most popular outsourcing jobs in India. Call-center staffers are in direct contact with western consumers adds into it their training in American accents and geography. Which somehow influences their thinking that work means money, independence and freedom they become materialistic, their values are changing.
The case made mention of Roopy Murthy who works for an Indian Company that offers call center and back office services and she’s earning $400 per month. When she moved to Bangalore, her values somehow got influenced by western. She now has short hair, and doesn’t wear salwar kameez, which is the traditional clothing in India instead she wears designer labeled Western attire, go clubbing, buys imported products for herself and being disobedient to her parents when she was seeing someone that her parents would disapprove.

So the question is can Asia embrace modernization and yet retain traditional values?

  1. If your international firm were doing business in Asia, would you feel partly responsible for these social trends? Is there anything that your company could do to ease the tensions these cultures are experiencing? Be specific.

If our international firm were doing business in Asia, yes, we would feel partly responsible for these social trends, because we are bringing not only our products and services but also our culture to another country. To ease the cultural tension, our company together with the employees should be culturally oriented or literate to understand the culture and the values of whatever country we are operating, especially if the business is situated in a culture-sensitive country like India that places high value of collectivism and do not indulge in materialism. Another way our company could do is to inculcate to the employees the attitude of avoiding ethnocentrism or the belief in the inherent superiority of one's own ethnic group or culture especially when dealing with customers, local employees, or in workplace, in general to ease the tension. Lastly, we would place emphasis on their culture by incorporating their held values to company. For example, instead of requiring Indian workers to wear designer labeled Western attire as their uniform, their traditional loose fitting called salwarkameez, would do. In short, knowing our boundaries and practicing respect are effective tools in easing cultural tensions.

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