High Context vs. Low Context Culture
Argentina is a high-context culture, which emphasizes on being relational, contemplative, collective and intuitive. Argentines use more contexts in communication and rely a lot on implicit cultural references such as body language, time and place and the existing relationship between the people communicating. For this reason, Argentines prefer face-to-face meetings to writing or telephone conversations, so that they can be able to read the body expressions. Moreover, they are judgmental on how one looks, and they judge a person, not by what the person says, but by how the person presents him or herself (Applegate & Johnson 19). Argentines mostly use indirect communication to avoid any conflicts and disharmony. When communicating with Argentines, one needs to be particularly alert on the hidden meanings and nuances, and it is common for people in Argentina to repeat details to ensure that they are in agreement with their business colleagues. In addition, Argentines do not like confrontations or admitting they are incorrect in public.
High Power Distance or Low Power Distance
Power distance is a dimension dealing with the fact that people in the society are not equal, and it expresses the attitudes of such people towards the inequalities. Power distance refers to the extent that the lower and less powerful members of a society or an organization accept and expect unequal distribution of power. Argentina has a score of 49, sitting in the middle rankings of PDI. The source of the middle score emerged from the migration waves that hit Rio de la Plata towards the end of the twentieth century. At the time, an approximate of 6.5 immigrants from Europe entered Argentina.
People tend to be highly formal in Argentina than in other South American countries, thus titles are extremely crucial. Titles and elements of power are a badge of authority and using them with someone is a sign of respect (Applegate & Johnson 20). Having organizational or family hierarchy thus tends to carry remarkable power. While planning for business meetings, appointments are crucial and should be booked one week to two weeks in advance, preferably through telephone or email. One should arrive at the venue of the meeting on time, though the other person may not be punctual. In most situations, the more so in the bureaucratic organizations, the more powerful the person you are likely to meet is, the longer they are likely to keep you waiting to meet the person. Hierarchy in Argentina is quite crucial and top management of companies and people in authority make crucial decisions (Foster, et. al. 38). Business is quite slow, since most organizations are bureaucratic with decisions, requiring several levels of approval. Of critical significance is the fact that Argentines expect to interact with people of the same status, thus people seem to accept and be contented with their status. Argentines, like many other high power distance nations, do not question the decisions of their leaders, especially in the work place.
In this society, a person’s appearance is quite crucial, and formal, stylish, yet conservative, wear is expected. Men wear conservative, dark colored suits, while women wear elegant dresses or business suits when attending formal functions. Good quality accessories, jewels, watches and expensive hotels are crucial elements in inferring about one’s power, making decisions about a person. Dressing well is quite crucial in making a good appearance. Argentines prefer working with people they can trust, and once they discover they can trust you, their loyalty lies on you as a person rather than the organization you represent.
Individualism vs. Collectivism
The fundamental issue addressed by individualism and collectivism is the level of interdependence among members of a certain society. Argentina is a relationship-driven culture with the family being the centre of Argentines with extended families having major prominence. The heads of families in Argentina command respect from all other people, but this respect comes with the responsibility to take care of the others in terms of provision of basic needs, jobs and security, and maintaining personal and family honor (Applegate & Johnson 22). Argentines use and maintain complex family and friends networks, which they call upon for favors, assistance and help. In many situations, when a person gets assistance from another person, then eventually, repayment of that favor is crucial. In this society, a family’s relationships with the extended family within a certain family network are a crucial source of influence and power. The people in this society are extremely loyal to family members and selective on the people they interact with in the social circle. Where a person schooled is intensely crucial, and the person’s family background is of equal importance. A person’s appearance is more crucial than a person’s abilities. In fact, people are more interested in whom person is instead of what the person can do.
Argentina scores highly on uncertainty avoidance, meaning that Argentines prefer and value certainty and stability. Argentines favor standards, traditions, rules, regulations and controls, which govern their way of life. The individual’s need to comply with the set laws, however, is weak. To compound this issue, if there are set rules, additional rules are set and dictated on the people. This society does not readily accept change, and prefer predictability to the changes. Ironically, Argentina went through social, political, and economic turmoil during the past half a century, and the citizens experienced everything else, but certainty and stability.
Masculine orientation or feminine orientation refers to the question of what motivates people to like what they do (feminine) or want to be the best in what they do (masculine). A high score on this issue indicates that members of a society are driven by achievement, competition and success, with the latter being the person who is best in the field or the winner. This system starts right from schools and continues through companies. A low score means that dominant issues or values are the quality of life and caring for others. Argentina scores 56 on Masculinity/Femininity, indicating the presence of more masculine elements than feminine elements (Applegate & Johnson 20). This is evidenced by strong achievement assertiveness and orientation, masculine behavior of female politicians and managers and the ego needs, which are equally strong for both males and females. In addition, Argentina is not a paternalistic society like many other societies in Latin America. There are more women in positions of power and authority and less occupational segregation than in many neighboring countries. This shows that women in this country are highly aggressive and seek positions that are predominantly male's positions. However, their aggressive and smart behaviors allow them to gain access to such positions.
Argentina’s culture is a polychromatic culture, where the main characteristic is that people and relationships are more valuable than precise scheduling and punctuality. In this culture, scheduling and deadline are a bit flexible. In fact, decisions are not made during the first business meeting. During the first meeting, people share ideas, and they meet for business dinners, where decisions are then made (Foster, et. al. 39). When attending a meeting, people do not start directly with discussing the agenda of the meeting. They believe in small talks, which are crucial in creating a rapport before the commencement of business discussion. Lateness is common in Argentina, though they expect the person they are meeting to arrive on time. It is not surprising for Argentines to pick calls or respond to emails in the middle of the meetings. As mentioned earlier, it is also common for a person to wait, especially when the meeting is with a senior person.