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The Individualism of People in the Collectivist Society

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Georgia is a country located in the Caucasus region, at crossroad of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. As far country is situated between two dissimilar continents, culture of the country is rich with different characteristic details. County covers about 69 700 square kilometres with about 4 million population. Georgia as country starts its history from 8th century. Georgia is a highly traditional country and during whole existence of the country, Georgians are protecting or fighting for their land, language and for country’s independence. We would like to analyse Georgian society’s cultural determinants of business and to compare it to Polish, Russian and USA determinants.

G. Hofstede Dimensions of National Cultures

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First dimension Power Distance indicates the level of how society cope with and is able to handle with unequally conveyed power. It concerns with approach that all individuals of society are not equal. Countries with high Power distance culture are more oriented on educational qualification, employees always expect clear guidance from employers and relationship between them is not quite close. Status and connections are appreciated while employing people.

Georgia is a hierarchical society, where people accept reality where organizations are managed with hierarchical order, employees expect to be directed by boss. For this reason Power distance can be high for Georgian society.

Individualist and collectivist society differ their approaches in how they look themselves, do they see themselves as a group members or individuals.

Georgia is a collectivist society. Relationship is crucial for Georgian society and Georgians care about relations, friends and even neighbors. Georgian people always go on business meeting with colleague, they will always mention that behind them there is a huge group of people and they will be proud of it.

Dimension masculinity designates societies attitude being successful and have a profit, being the winner. Countries with masculine society have approach “live in order to work”, Meanwhile Feminine society is where most important is quality and values.

Georgia can be defined as a masculine society. People are motivated to earn more. Managers are assertive and for them its preferable to earn more rather to work les hours.

Next unit of cultures is uncertainty avoidance. Dimension deals with fact that future can never be known. According dimension societies who feel uncomfortable with risk have high uncertainty avoidance and reversely, low uncertainty avoidance is shared when risk is acceptable and society is more flexible.

Georgian society have medium uncertainty avoidance. Georgian are careful in negotiation and they will expect to hear background information about partner to feel more secured with them in negotiation. At the same time people are open for new ideas and innovations, they are not resisted and sometimes future security is not measured properly.

Term orientation dimension gives information about two types of societies existence. Normative and Pragmatic society, they differ by their approaches.

Georgians approach is integrated both of them. Georgia does not express a clear preference on this dimension. There is great difference between people below and above 50 years people. Older society are more normative, they try to establish absolute truth while negotiating and they respect traditions. Younger generation are more pragmatic. They try to wear comfortable shoes and deal with negotiation without norms.

When it comes to last dimension indulgence and restraint, Indulgence remains for a general public that permits moderately free delight of fundamental and normal human drives identified with getting a charge out of life and having a great time. A restraint society may be perceived as the one where the gratification is limited by high demands, strict social standards and constant control.

Georgian society is indulgence. Georgians weakly control their impulses and desires and they appreciate leisure time.

Edward T. Hall’s Cultural Factors

High/Low Context

It is difficult to assume that Georgian society is strictly High Context or Low Contest. The assumption that High-context is characteristic for eastern and low-context for western countries does not help Georgia’s location to assume which group belongs. Even Georgians physical appearance might be apply to both sides, more so the way of thinking and living. Georgians sometimes don’t say everything explicitly, they can trust relationships in business and at the same time they can rely on written word rather spoken one.

Monochronic/Polychronic

Georgian society is Polychronic. People like to do several things at the same time, they spend time for work and at the same time for social activities. There is no need of silence if there are working on tasks and they consider that deadline can be flexible.

Richard R. Gesteland Dimensions

Deal-Focused Vs. Relationship-Focused

Deal focus cultures are not focused to get to know partner to the personal level to get business done with them. They use direct language and don’t use small talks. While in relationship focused cultures people value relationships before doing business. They prefer to get to know partner on personal level and mostly they prefer to have business with friends or families. They like to maintain harmony in relationship.

Georgia can be considered as a relationship focused culture, due to reason that lots of Georgians prefer to be in business with friends and families and they always get to know partners in friendly atmosphere.

Rigid (Monochronic) – Fluid (Polychromic) Time

In Rigid cultures, punctuality is crucial and schedules are set strictly and business meetings are rarely interrupted. In fluid cultures time is more flexible and people pay less attention on strict punctuality.

Georgia can be considered as a Fluid-time culture. People are not focus on exact deadlines and several meetings can take place at the same time.

Hierarchical (Formal) Vs. Egalitarian (Informal)

Hierarchical cultures pay strong attention differences between statuses and power. When Egalitarian cultures like USA and Norway have open door policy.

Georgian culture is Hierarchical and people try to do business with someone who are from the same ranking, respect, age and even gender is very important. Education and family are key factors.

Expressive vs. Reserved

Reserved people appreciate soft-speaking and they try not to overlap someone that is talking. They appreciate silence. While Expressed people often raise their voice, they feel uncomfortable during silence.

Georgian society is expressive and they like to share their opinions and emotions openly. They speak loudly and use nonverbal communication.

Universalism versus particularism.

Universalist culture means to treat everyone alike and not make exceptions for family and friends. When you treat people in the same way. While Particularism in culture means that people behave in a given situation according the circumstances. People treat family, friends, and closest people the best they can.

Georgian culture tend to be particularistic, where people relationship dictates rules and situations may change. Georgians while hiring new employee, want to know who the person’s family and friends are. Georgians would be very hurt if their neighbour, a policeman, gave them a ticket for speeding.

Individualism versus communitarianism.

The individual identifies mainly with self, with the needs of the individual being satisfied before those of the group. When communitarianism culture identifies person as a part of a group. e.g., the family or work team. The group always comes before the individual and provides safety.

Georgia has communitarian culture, but at the same time it can be found characters from individualistic culture too. Georgians like to be part of certain groups and be in a team, but in some manner they are also eager to be rewarded as an individuals for their performances.

Specific versus diffuse.

In specific cultures people separate work and personal lives. They believe that people can work without having good relationship. Georgia has a diffuse culture. People like to spend time after work ours with colleagues and they believe that good relationship is critical for business objectives.

Neutral versus emotional.

Societies with neutral cultures control their emotions. They don’t share how they feel. While people with Emotional cultures have internal desire for sharing and expressing their emotions. Emotional culture is typical for Georgia. It is accepted for Georgians to show emotions and they have positive attitudes with sharing it.

Achievement versus ascription.

Achievement culture characteristics are believes that you are what you do. Your performance in appreciated. While in Ascription cultures people value others according what they are. Georgia can be considered as owner of an ascription culture. Titles and positions do matter and these roles define behaviour.

Sequential time versus synchronous time.

Sequential-time cultures they appreciate time and for them “time is money”. When in Synchronous -time cultures people perceive past, present and future in mixed. Georgia culture can be considered as a synchronous-time, people like to do several projects at the same time and have flexible timeline.

Internal direction versus outer direction.

Internal-direction and outer-direction focuses how people experience their environment. Internal direction applies on Georgian culture, because virtue is inside of soul, principles and beliefs and people try to follow it. People believe that they can change their environment.

Georgian recruitment and selection process while hiring new employees are based on job-related knowledge and skills. On the other hand, older generation are willing to hire their family members and friends, to create squired atmosphere. Additionally, Georgians prefer internal recruitment rather external one, which is considered for collectivistic and high uncertainty avoidance cultures. Furthermore Georgians recruitment process and methods are informal, mostly face to face, which is considered for cultures which particularistic approaches.

Performance evaluation process in Georgian companies are conducted in an unsystematic way. Superiors evaluate subordinates performance based on personal impression and colleagues opinions. Additionally, when it comes to giving and receiving feedback, it happens individually.

Cultural differences has huge reflection on Georgian marketing strategies. Georgian culture can be found in Georgian marketing style as well. Mostly companies try to tie brand to the customers with emotions, friendship and to be equalized with positive situations. Additionally, they are using traditional elements and indirect messages.

Due to Georgians approaches toward time, negotiations might take long time and there can be need to establish close friendly relationship before the final deal. Georgians never have patience but they will expect it from anthers. Once you establish friendship with Georgian partner, you can feel squared because they highly appreciate friendship and personal relationships.

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