1.0 Introduction 介紹
With the advancement of the globalization of enterprises, cross-cultural management has gradually gained increasing attention from enterprises (Bird and Mendenhall, 2016). Cross-cultural management means that in global operation, managers overcome the conflicts of heterogeneous cultures under cross-cultural conditions to maintain the common code of conduct for employees with different cultural backgrounds and maintain smooth communication between supplies, customers, social organizations with different cultural backgrounds (Hou, Fan, Tan, Hua and Valdez, 2018). Then what is culture, how to understand culture has become the premise of cross-cultural management, but the current problem is that there is no unified standard for the definition and understanding of culture. Scholars represented by Hofstede (2003), Minkov (2017), Trompnaars (1997) put forward the view of large culture. Scholars represented by Holliday (1999), Singer (1998), Jameson (2007) put forward a small culture perspective. There are big differences between the large and small cultures. This has caused great confusion for companies and people who are trying to apply these theories for cross-cultural management (Hou, Fan, Tan, Hua and Valdez, 2018). How to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and make use of them for approaching culture in business is an interesting and valuable topic. The aim of this paper was to examine intercultural division from the perspective of “large” and 'small” cultures, analyze the application of cultures in business strategies. This article first introduced the concept and connotation of large culture, and analyzed its weaknesses. The concept and connotation of small culture were presented to explore its weaknesses. Finally, it recommended on how to choose ways to conceive culture and ways to approach culture in a business environment.
2.0 Main body
2.1 Large culture
Judging from the view of large culture, it holds that culture is a priori, and it can be measured from a nation-based perspective, dimensions can be used to define what it is. Once these are known, it is helpful for business (Ehrenfreund, Peter, Schrogl and Logsdon, 2010). International managers should recognize the existence of cultural differences and respect these differences, and make good use of the diversity caused by cultural differences in management. Effectively using knowledge has become the most important source of competitive advantage today, because it determines how companies apply and maintain their core strengths and the learning methods of the organizations. The proponents that support a large culture perspective are Hofstede (2003), Minkov (2017), Trompnaars (1997). They believed that culture is a set of rules and methods, in a particular social development process, its culture has gradually evolved and become the standard for a society to solve various recurring problems. They are so deeply rooted in people’s hearts. Hofstede (2003) and Minkov (2017) commented that culture is a psychological process that people share in an environment that distinguishes a group of people from others. Hofstede (2003) figured that members of every country have a common pattern of behavior influenced by culture, as individuals, parents, employees, national civil servants, or other members of a society are inevitably affected by these patterns of behavior, reflecting different values and cultural characteristics. Through research, he summarized the differences between different cultures into six basic cultural value dimensions: power distance, it refers to the degree of acceptance of the unequal distribution of power in society or organizations by people with low status in a society; uncertainty avoidance, it refers to whether a society adopts formal channels to avoid and control uncertainty when it is subject to uncertain events and unconventional environmental threats; individualism / collectivism, it measures whether a society as a whole pays attention to the interests of individuals or the interests of the collective; masculinity / femininity, it mainly depends on the quality of a society represented by men, such as competition and arbitrariness, or the quality of women, such as modesty, caring for others, and the definition of male and female functions by the culture; long-term / short-term dimension, it refers to the extent to which members of a culture are acceptable to delaying the satisfaction of their material, emotional, and social needs; indulgence / restraint dimension, it refers to the degree to which a society allows the basic needs of people and enjoy the desire for life (Hofstede, 2003). Hofstede's cultural dimension model is widely used in the research and practice of cross-cultural management, it has a high degree of influence in cross-cultural research and application.
Large culture concept has also attracted some criticism (Hou, Fan, Tan, Hua and Valdez, 2018). For example, McSweeney believed that culture has no boundaries. A state cannot be used as a unit of culture studies. Because many countries are composed of different nationalities, they have more than one culture, and there are different levels of subcultures. Hofstede’s theoretical model is obviously impossible to describe all the cultural characteristics of a country's culture. McSweeney (2002) also argued that Hofstede's mistake is to equate individual behavior with the behavioral characteristics of groups of a country. Hofstede's samples were middle-level managers from IBM's multinational companies, they have a unique knowledge, background and social status, inferring the overall culture of the country based on the employees makes the representativeness of the research be questioned. Schwartz (1990) believed that IBM employees were undoubtedly different from other people, as they have a specific value. Schwartz (1990) speculated that if other types of samples were chosen, the research objects might produce value dimensions of other types, and in a certain dimension, the order of the countries would also change. At the same time, judging from the cultural dimensions determined by Hofstede, there was no socialist country and less affluent country in his survey data, so the cultural dimensions he identified might not be applicable to the cultures of developing countries (Hofstede, 2003).
Some researchers point out that Hofstede's research on culture is a static study that does not involve an analysis of culture evolution and factors that influence cultural values (Baskerville, 2003). One of the important characteristics of culture is that culture develops dynamically, and it is not static, and culture changes with the development of a society (Holliday, 1999; Jameson, 2007; Singer, 1998). Since the last time of Hofstede’s selection of samples, the world has changed dramatically. Some of the cultural characteristics that existed reasonably in the 1960s and 1970s may have ceased to exist today. Under the tide of globalization, cultures of different countries in the world have appeared many new features because of cultural exchanges and advances in science and technology (Jameson, 2007). The data collected in Hofstede’s study could only reflect the cultural characteristics of the countries at that time (Hou, Fan, Tan, Hua and Valdez, 2018). Whether the data collected by him can reflect the cultural characteristics of today's countries is a very doubtful question (Holliday, 1999; Singer, 1998). China is the best example. In the 40 years of reform and opening up, Chinese society has undergone tremendous changes. The values of the old generations and the values of young people have been far apart, even opposite.
2.2 Small culture
The concept of small culture proposes a definition of culture that is distinct from what large culture proposes. It thinks that culture is not priori, but emerges, grows, it grows from professions, businesses, classrooms and many other areas, rather than nation-based explanations and examinations. The key proponents include Holliday (1999), Singer (1998) and Jameson (2007).Holliday (1999) pointed out that the concept of large culture directly links culture with concepts such as race and country. For example, Hofstede's culture dimension model of a national level helps people to understand the differences of cultures in different countries. However, when using this theory to study a country's culture, it is easy to form a "stereotype" of the country's culture, and all the people in the country will be judged based on this stereotype. The values of a certain culture are not necessarily the values that each individual has in the culture. Therefore, it is not the culture of each individual, group or region that can be analyzed by fully using Hofstede's dimensional model. In fact, there is often a seemingly antagonistic value in the mainstream culture of a country. For example, IBM is a company in the USA with a high individualism index and short-term orientation, but the company always attaches great importance to teamwork and long-term interests, and this is the characteristic of collectivism and long-term orientation culture. If large culture concept is introduced into the English education of international students, it will easily lead to the stereotype of international students because of the national, ethnic and educational background of international students. This has great deviations from the curriculum and education methods of international students. Because the holders of large culture concepts regard learning culture as a relatively fixed attribute or trait of learners’ from a certain country or ethnic. More and more studies have shown that learners' certain understanding is more of a situated response, rather than a cultural trait (Gieve and Clark, 2005). In other words, the formation of a certain concept and understanding of a learner group is not only influenced by the national cultural background, but also by various variables in the local context. Holliday (1999) found that “small culture” refers to the culture formed by any cohesive social group, and this culture does not necessarily coincide with the culture of the entire nation or race. Understanding small culture can help people better understand the concepts and behaviors of a specific group of learners (such as a class or a school), rather than forming a stereotype of international students due to differences in ethnicity, nationality, and educational background. Holliday (1999) believed that the culture and learning of international students are not always related to ethnic, national, or international differences, but rather to small culture. Jameson (2007) also expressed dissatisfaction with the concept of large culture, and believed that there are many shortcomings in the concept of large culture in intercultural business communication. Jameson (2007) figured that culture is an individual's self-awareness, derived from formal or informal members of a group that conveys and instills knowledge, beliefs, values, attitudes, traditions and lifestyles. The concept of broad culture identity should not confer nationality privileges, but should include components related to the social aspects of occupation, class, geography, philosophy, language and biology. Cultural identity changes with time and evokes emotions. It is intertwined with power and privilege, is influenced by intimate relationships, and is not most related to relationship with nationalities, races and other factors. Singer (1998) criticized that the concept of large culture distinguishes cultural differences by the concept of a state, which leads people to form stereotypes for individuals. Singer insisted that human beings are cultural creatures, belonging to multiple identifiable cultural or identity groups, with identifiable perceptions and values, beliefs and behavioral tendencies, they share and know that they share a common perception framework. At the same time, everyone is unique, and no two of people have the same group identity and experience.