Hungary and Cross Cultural differences

February 7, 2010 at 6:27 pm (Public Relations) (, , , )

The class discussion about  global PR and the difference between various cultures than can affect communication with colleagues and business partners inspired me to look at my own country, Hungary.  We spoke about China and the United States a lot. For me they seem like very straightforward examples because both countries are great players on the global scene. Pretty much, all the cross cultural models I came across while in college were either focusing on the U.S. and China or The U.S and India, and possibly the U.K. and maybe even Brazil. It is not surprising that academics, experts and professionals in many industries are interested in understanding these very influential cultures.  This is a huge investment, because for the worlds major economies to work together, theoretical as well as practical cross cultural understanding is invaluable.

On the other hand as a Hungarian I ask where is my small country in all this, Hungary?

I found a very interesting article on this topic: it discusses the way managers should do business in a culturally adaptive way.  It focuses on cross cultural theory as well.

For more info look up:
Munter, Mary Cross-cultural communication for managers.  Business Horizons; May/Jun93, Vol. 36 Issue 3, p69-81

It also has an overview on  the main cross cultural dimensions. Which will help me to go back to my initial question where is Hungary?

Power distance: in Hungary power distance is relatively low. Usually power is distributed among many people and employers and employees do not keep as much of a distance. Leader are there to tell people what to do, but they can be challenged.

Individualism/Collectivism: Hungary is definitely not collectivist. It is very deeply rooted in the society that people pursue their own goals and ideas. Of course group efforts are necessary but people do not identify with a group.   The groups may change, but the individual goal doesn’t. People work in a group to reach individual achievements and that is absolutely normal. Even in families, parents wouldn’t typically tell their children what profession to choose (unless it’s like a family business, but even then it’s acceptable for the child to break away from family traditions).
Judging from what I know about countries like India or China, leaders would have much more influence over subordinates, they would be like a ‘father‘ to them and the group would be like a ‘family’.

Uncertainty avoidance: Hungary would be relatively high. Hungarians like to receive detailed instructions on how to do things and what is expected from them. These information give a sense of safety.

Masculinity/ Femininity: Hungary is probably more masculine than feminine. Although if you look at the social structure, how institutions are a made up it would first seem feminine. Hungary has lots of welfare institutions from the socialist era. It is expected to be cared for by the government (free health-care and schooling until age of 16). On the other hand people are expected to care for themselves, be assertive on protecting their rights, and have concern for their closer circles as opposed to the society as a whole. This might be a changing tendency as Hungary is changing as part of a larger European community.


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