You are required to Prepare a Market Cultural report on a Country of your choosing.
Culture of a country plays a major role in the market development and economic growth and stability of the nation. And hence cultural analysis of a particular country also has profound importance in understanding and evaluating the economic growth trends of the country. For this paper, the focus of market cultural analysis is on Australia, or commonwealth of Australia as popularly known. Commonwealth of Australia is a sovereign nation and it contains the mainland of the entire Australian continent, the Tasmanian islands and a variety of different smaller islands. Australia is considered to be the largest country in Oceania, however in global comparison, Australia comes sixth in terms of total area calculation. Before the British settlement over 50000 years ago, Australia had been predominantly inhabited by the indigenous communities that can be classified broadly into 250 different groups. However after the British settlement the periodic invasion of the Europeans led to inevitable colonization procedure which eventually resulted in establishment of crown colonies in the country. With the onset of the 19th century the country had began federating the colonies so that a stable liberal democratic political framework can be facilitated; and the political system of the country in the present age compromises a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy which has six states and a variety of different territories (Fiske, 2010).
The history of the country can be subdivided into different sections based on the monumental event of the colonization. The pre-colonial history of the country states that human inhabitation of the country began close to 65000 years ago by the means of migration. The lifestyle of these indigenous communities was mainly of hunter-gatherer style which continued until the British settlement 50000 years ago. One of the most remarkable events in the Australian history can be considered the arrivals of the Dutch in the Australian mainland in the year of 1606, post which the European migration inevitably propelled compartmentalization of the mainland, and the very first British settlement founded the city of Sydney in the year of 1788. The next British settlement in the year of 1803 had been established in the Van Diemen’s land which is now Tasmania, and with the establishment of Tasmania the colonization of the country began. During the colonial expansion the aboriginal communities went through a consistent decline phase of almost 150 years due to the massive change in the lifestyle and societal privileges; which led to a variety of different infectious diseases in the communities. Although with the onset of the 19th century, as the political establishment of the democracy the federal settlement has contributed to a massive improvement in the society, however, it has to be mentioned that there are still a number of discrepancies in society for the backward native communities (Colquhoun & Dockery, 2012).
Australia has been considered to be the 13th largest economy die to the fact that the nation has an annual GDP that is considered to be to be the ninth highest per capita income. Along with that, it has to be mentioned that the country has the second highest human development index globally. Considering the economic growth of the country, the is also in the second number in terms of GDP, there are various sources of income for the country such as the mining related exports, telecommunications, banking and manufacturing sector, and many others. Although the poverty records of the nation had been reported to increase from 10.2% to 11.8% in the last few years. Australia had ranked fifth in the index of economic freedom, and hence the nation has become the 12th largest economy in the world in the matter of a decade with per capita GDP of US$56291. The commendable economic growth in the nation can be attributed to the emphasis on the export commodities in place for manufacturing goods which had been a massive growth in the terms of trade for the country. Along with that it has to be mentioned that the nation had been the only country to not face a massive financial meltdown during the recession imposed by the global financial crisis. With the labour market partial deregulation system, privatization, and changes taxation system, the major cities of Australia are considered to be the most liveable cities when compared to the global context. The industrial and economic growth of the nation had been revolutionary and the country is also one of the most desirable expansion market worldwide and hence this country had been chosen for the cultural analysis for the paper (Hu, Chand & Evans, 2013).
Detailed cultural analysis for Australia:
Australia can be considered to be a nation that has a tremendous cultural diversity and hence the country has enjoyed a rich amalgamation of various cultural norms and traditions for years. A primary western essence is the Australian culture however, which is predominantly facilitated by the European invasion and British settlement. Although it also has to be mentioned that the cultural background of the country has strong links and emphasis from the aboriginal or indigenous tradition. According to most of the literature, the cultural heritage of the nation is considered to be anglo-celtic, and there is conspicuous proof of the same in the English as their predominantly spoken language, a democratic political framework, parliamentarianism and constitutional monarchy, and lastly constitutionalist and federalist traditions. Considering the most predominating or prevalent regional inclination in the Australian society, Christianity is the most frequently observed religious connection, with the aboriginal traditional spirituality and religion as the only exception (Walton et al., 2014).
Elaborating on the development of the diverse cultural background of the country it can be stated that the oldest cultural traditions originated in the indigenous communities, which has been still surviving in the aboriginal territories and the Torres Strait islands. The most interesting or peculiar cultural norm of the aboriginal culture can be their dreamtime, which refers to their spiritual connection to their ancestors and their own cultural heritage.
Considering the dialect characteristics, the Australian English is the most spoken language with a unique emphasis of their native accent which makes it distinguishable from the other major variants like British or American English. According to the most of the literature, English is spoken predominantly among almost 80% of the population and along with that other languages that are spoken very rarely include Mandarin (1.7%), Italian (1.5%) and Arabic (1.4%). Although when discussing language, a significant part of the Australian culture, the indigenous communities and their language preferences has to be mentioned. It has to be mentioned that the aboriginal communities had more than 200 different language patterns among which most have been lost after the colonization period. According to the recent statistics, almost 70 original traditional languages of the indigenous communities are surviving among which 20 are still endangered to be obliterated completely in a few years, due to the fact that the aboriginal language is only used by the 0.25% of the total Australian population.
Considering the consumer behavior, there are a few unique characteristics that can be considered which has traditional or cultural links to it. The Australian indigenous culture has deep traditional values and responsibilities towards every aspect of life and their living standards are primarily influenced by the sense of responsibility, thankfulness and punctuality. And a profound impact of the same cultural values can be observed in the present cultural behaviors of the Australian citizen as well. Punctuality can be considered a highly significant factor in the lifestyle of the Australians which is uniquely reflected in their consumer behavior. Along with that, thankfulness and giving gifts is considered to be one of the most common norms in the society which is also uniquely reflected in their consumer behaviors and business practices as well. Formal respect to individual opinion and perception is another characteristic features of the cultural behavior of the Australian which they have retained even in the age of cut-throat competition and consumerism (Dockery, 2010). The respecting individual ideas and preferences is the third unique feature which is reflected in their consumer behavior as well. Hence, the impact of traditional values and cultural heritage is paramount in the behaviors and lifestyles of Australia which makes Australian consumer market unique from the other markets as well.
Business culture comparison between Australia and Singapore:
Business culture in Australia is quite different from that of Singapore. Australians prefer straightforwardness when it comes to business. Therefore an individual who is keen to develop a professional relationship with an Australian firm does not need to develop long-standing relationship before he does business with them. They are very direct in the way they communicate. Australian professionals like to implement an element of humor which even involves self deprecating in their own speech. Australians consider appointments to be necessary but also believes that they are relatively easy to schedule (Cavusgil et al., 2013). They believe that these should be made with as much lead time as possible in the situation. Punctuality is very important for them and prefers Australians to reach a few minute before the starting of a meeting. Meetings are usually relaxed. If a individual feels otherwise to the suggestion in a meeting, they directly say mention that in direct communication. They prefer doing business providing a lot more importance on fact and figures and do not involve emotions and feelings as a part of business etiquettes. They do not prefer in extensive introductory sessions. They start meetings directly after a small talk. They are quite direct in their approach and expect the same in return (Ferraro & Briody, 2017). They do not like brevity in decision making procedures. They also do not get impressed by too many details. Bargaining is not customary and their negotiations proceed quickly. They mainly expect the initial proposal to have a small margin for negotiation. High pressure techniques are not liked by them. Their decision making is rather slow as the decisions made by the subordinates are then passed onto the topmost seniors of the company for approval. Therefore decision making is rather slow. Business apparels are quite conservative in Melbourne and Sydney where men need to wear dark colored and conservative business suit whereas women wear smart dress or business suit. However in Brisbane and similar other tropical places men may wear shirts and informal depending on their job functions. Exchange of business cards is not a ritual and a necessity. One may provide the card in initial introduction. However, no issues arise if this custom is not followed as well (Rabi et al., 2014).
However, in Singapore, exchange of business cards is very important upon meetings and should be treated respectfully. They should be given and received with both hands. It needs to be placed on the table in accordance with the placement of the people with whom the meeting is held. Putting the business card in the back pocket or haphazardly stashing it into a folder shows a symbol of disrespect to the Singaporeans (Chan & Tong, 2014). Punctuality is important just like the Australians. Although certain Singaporeans are happy with firmly shaking hands, some follow slight bowing of head which should be reciprocated back. This is not necessary in Australia (Chokkar, Broadbeck & House, 2013). Like the Australians they also believe in direct discussions while handing certain issues or discussion about finance. Unlike the Australians who do not believe in establishing relationship at the very first instance of meeting, Singaporeans prefer personal relationships and networking. They believe these to be important elements for doing business in Singapore. Australians do not believe in top seniors taking the most decisions. They mainly allow subordinated deciding which then passes on to seniors for approval. In Singapore decisions are mainly taken by senior management and they follow a top down structure for decision making (Warner, 2014). However like Australians, they believe in small informal tasks before starting of the meetings which help both of them to establish a comfort level. Hence, it becomes very important for business professionals for both the countries to be acquainted with business etiquettes and cultures of each of them so that no cultural conflicts arise (Harrison, 2012).
Hofstede’s cultural dimension analysis:
The power distance can be defined as the characteristics that explore and defines the inequality in the various societal sectors on the basis of socio-economic determinants. In case of Australia, the analysis score for this element is 36 where as the score for the same in case of Singapore is 74. It can be stated n this context that for Australian society the hierarchy is based entirely on the convenience and along with that there is significant communication, respect and co-operation between the different sectors of the hierarchy. Whereas for Singapore, the societal inequalities are much more pronounces which can be a direct result of their Confucian background. It has to be mentioned that a Confucian background is predominantly based on the societal inequalities and hence societal power pattern imparts a profound effect on the gradient system in the society.
Individualism vs collectivism:
Singapore can be considered as a collective society with a score of 20, now a collective society refers to the fact that different individuals of the society think and behave in a responsible manner towards a connected group or community patterns; where each and every individuals are expected to care for one another. Whereas Australia with a largely westernized culture is an individualistic society with individualism score of 90. Here, the societal characteristics are not based on groups or community pattern, with loosely kint societies and nuclear families in the most part, the Australian only care for themselves and their immediate families.
This factor deals with the idea of how capable a society is with coping with any uncertain change or transition. This factor in this cultural dimension analysis hypothesizes that the future of a society can never be known or secure. The uncertainty avoidance score for Australia is 51 with a highly intermediate status in having the ability of uncertainty avoidance. Whereas, for Singapore the score is 8 which shows a relatively low uncertainty avoidance (Dandy & Pe-Pua, 2010).
Long term orientation:
Long term orientation can be considered as the ability that a society shows in maintaining the links or connection with its past along with the challenges or adversities presented by the present and future. Singapore has a score of 72 in this dimension which shows that the cultural qualities in Singapore support different elements of long term investments with perseverance and sustained efforts. In case of Australia, the score is 21 which indicate at its normative culture incapable of much long term investments.
According to this element, the indulgence states how capable the citizens are in controlling their impulses and desires and to what extent they indulge in it. The score for indulgence is 71 which state that the country or its citizen is indulgent at most with the citizens more inclined to acting as per their needs and desire in leisure times. For Singapore, the indulgence score is 46 which shoes that the country is intermediate in this element and a secure and valid judgment cannot be made on the indulgence of the Singaporean citizens (Wiewiora et al., 2013).
Figure source: Country Comparison - Hofstede Insights., 2017
On a concluding note, it can be stated that Australia is a rising country with an astounding economic growth and developmental practices. With the technological advances and formal and righteous business culture of this county, they are undoubtedly one of the most frequent choices for business expansion for any corporate industries. However, it has to be understood in this context that the cultural impact on the economic and societal characteristics has to be taken into account when discussing the cultural analysis of the nation. Therefore, in case of business expansion in the Australian market, the unique business culture of the country has to be taken into account. According to the Hofstede analysis the country has an individualistic nature with the least power distance. Hence with careful consideration of the unique business cultural factors the Australian market can continue to grow further and reach astounding success.
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