Charles-Henri BESSEYRE DES HORTS and Maral MURATBEKOVA
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of how French managers perceive major aspects of the business culture of Kazakhstan. This country, rich in natural resources, recently became open to the world. To succeed in a highly competitive environment of foreign companies installing in Kazakhstan, one should be aware of how to deal with a new market, how to deal with people, how to cope with cross-cultural differences. To describe culture, the paper uses the cultural dimensions developed by the best known researchers (Hofstede, Schein, Hall, Trompenaars, Adler, etc.) and summarized by Schneider and Barsoux (1997) in general schema. The study uses a qualitative research method - an adaptation of the critical incident technique (Flanagan, 1954) - to explain the peculiarities of Kazakhstani management culture that create problems and difficulties for French managers. The results support the argument that the most important differences for French managers are differences in language and nature of reality and truth dimensions. The findings of this study indicate that French managers consider Kazakhstani management culture as a being rather than doing culture with a higher degree of uncertainty avoidance; a more collectivist (family-oriented) and more particularistic culture where social orientation prevails over task orientation. The differences in human nature are significant. Results also suggest that Kazakhstani management culture is considered by French managers as a diffuse rather than specific involvement culture. Lastly, the differences in hierarchical dimension are only moderately significant for French managers.
57 pages, December 1, 1999
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