Global Business Cultural Analysis: Singapore
What are the major elements and dimensions of culture in this region?
Singapore has four official languages that are used; Malay, Tamil, Mandarin Chinese, and English. These four languages are used due to the multiculturalism of the country. When it comes to international business, English is the common language. Many schools in Singapore use the English curriculum. Thus, the English language is well known throughout businesses and people do not have much trouble communicating (Warburton, 2017).
Verbal Communication. Indirect communication, refusals, and voice are three forms of verbal communication that Singaporean people use. Indirect communication is what they depend on. People in Singapore pay more attention to expression, tone of voice, and posture than they do on words. Singaporean’s rarely give a direct ‘no’ or negative, even if they do not agree with you. It is important to pay attention to hints of hesitation. Listen carefully to what they say and make sure you understand them by asking for their opinion. They may not speak up to give ideas but do give an honest opinion when asked to do so. In regard to voice, it is rude and overbearing when speaking loudly in Singapore (Evason, 2015).
Nonverbal Communication. Non-Verbal communication that Singaporean’s use is pointing, body language, physical contact, eye contact, silence, and disrespectfulness of touching someone’s head. It is rude to point at people with the index finger. Singaporeans point by using their whole hand of nod their hand in the appropriate direction. In Singapore, nodding of the head is common. Though, body language is usually modest in regard to gestures being uncommon. When it comes to physical contact, Singaporeans reserve touching, such as holding hands, hugging, or back-slapping for dear companions. That being said, Singaporeans are acclimated with coming into close contact with outsiders because of how swarmed the nation is. Open presentations of friendship are not generally valued. Eye contact indicates certainty and mindfulness in many situations. Certain Singaporeans, especially Muslim Malays and a few Hindus may deflect their eyes all the more regularly, especially while cooperating with those better than them. Holding eye to eye connection for a really long time can be deciphered as inconsiderate or testing. Silence is a critical and an intentional instrument utilized as a part of Asian correspondence. Pausing before giving a reaction demonstrates that somebody has connected suitable ideas and thoughts to the inquiry. It reflects respectfulness and regard. It is viewed as disrespectful and offensive to touch someone’s head (Evason, 2015).
There are 10 religions that Singapore has; Buddhism/Taoism, Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity are its principal religions. Judaism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, Baha’I, Jainism, and the non-religious frame the minority bunch. There are certain etiquettes that are to be observed at places of worship in Singapore. Do not wear footwear in mosques or temples; upon entering Hindus must wash their feet and hands. A few mosques and Sikh sanctuaries give robes and scarves to female guests. Hindu sanctuaries want ladies to wear long clothing below the waist. Flowers and fruits are brought along by Buddhists and Hindus as offerings for God. Eating and drinking is also usually not allowed (Guruswamy, n.d.).
Buddhism. Around three-fifths of Singapore’s population contribute to Buddhism. The most prevalent form is Chinese Mahayana Buddhism. Supporters of Buddhism rehearse lessons of Morality, Concentration and Wisdom. Fengshui, which is the craftsmanship and exploration of summoning positive vitality, is part of this religion. The biggest Chinese Mahayana Buddhist sanctuary in Singapore is the Kong Meng San Phor Kar See Monastery (Guruswamy, n.d.).
Taosim. Supporters of Taoism hold fast to the lessons of the old Chinese religious rationality of Lao Tzu. They believe in appreciating heaven, venerating predecessors and being humane to all under heaven. Followers make standard contributions of sustenance and consume joss stick/paper in memory of the individuals who have passed away. The idea of Yin Yang is gotten from this religion. Thian Hock Keng, or the Temple of Heavenly Happiness, was worked in 1842 out of appreciation for the Sea Goddess Mazu. It is the one of the most established Taoist sanctuaries in Singapore (Guruswamy, n.d.).
Islam. Sixteen percent of the population of Singapore believe in Islam, the majority being Malays. The Majlis Ugama Islam Singapore (MUIS) is the preeminent Islamic religious specialist in Singapore. Other than building and overseeing mosques and organizing the yearly journey to Mecca, it takes care of all the religious, social and welfare needs of Singaporean Muslims Masjid Sultan is one of the most established mosques in Singapore. The most unmistakable Islamic face of Singapore is Mr Yusof canister Ishak, the principal President of Singapore, whose picture is engraved on money takes note of that are still generally utilized today (Guruswamy, n.d.).
Christianity. Christians take after the lessons of Jesus, the Son of God. The life of Jesus, his message, enduring, passing on a cross and revival are recorded in the Bible. Adherents acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah. The Armenian Church, the most established Christian church in Singapore was finished in 1835. Christian holy places of all groups including Catholics and Protestants can be found in Singapore. Administrations are directed in numerous dialects amid the day for the advantage of different nationalities (Guruswamy, n.d.).
Hinduism. Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world and believe that the highest God takes various forms as ‘Vishnu’ the Preserver, ‘Brahma the Creator, and ‘Shiva’ the destroyer. Ganesha, Krishna, Murgan, Rama, Hanuman, Lakshmi, Durga, and Mariamman are the most famous manifestations of God worshipped in Singapore. Sri Mariamman Temple, established in 1827, is the oldest temple in Singapore that Hindu’s use (Guruswamy, n.d.).
Other Religions. There are around 15,000 Sikhs and seven Gurdwaras that are in Singapore. Jews are numbered around 300 and have two synagogues (Guruswamy, n.d.).
Singapore’s ethics is described by a dutifulness to someone of authority, powerful dependability to groups, and a subservience of individual personality to aggregate character. It is intriguing to take note of the cultural factors, such as Asian Values clash with the western goals of universal human rights and democracy. These Asian Values are presented from Confucian Ethics, which is used by citizens and the government. The government depends on Confucian Ethics and Asian values to stay away from the real notion that the government is tryant. Conversely, the government in Singapore’s subscription to Confucian Ethics is recent and campaigns within the government to promote have been met from minority groups such as Malays and Indians. Since Indians and Malays are generally Hindu and Muslim, separately, their qualities depend on their religions. All things considered, most of the Singaporeans are ethnic Chinese, they command the legislature, and utilize Confucianism to impact the strategy of the nation (Englehart, 2000).
Values and Attitudes
Singapore’s values and attitudes are very similar to their ethics. It is Singapore’s attempt to bring its people together through the vision of a “shared fate.” They develop this by conceptual and institutional contexts. This is where distinct communities can foster ties and shared practices while additionally conserving cultural and religious differences. Due to multiracialism in Singapore, Gho Chok Tong, Deputy Prime Minister made a dream of “Our Shared Values” which are planned to be shared by all Singaporeans, regardless of religion, ethnicity, and other differences. The Shared Values consist of the following five broad principles: “nation before community and society before self”, “family as the basic unit of society”, “community support and respect for the individual”, “consensus, not conflict”, and “racial and religious harmony” (Tan, 2012).
Dining and Entertainment. In Singapore, all hosts are to order all the dishes while in a restaurant. When eating with a Chinese, allow the host to invite you to begin your meal. Also, after eating it is appropriate to place the chopsticks on the chopstick rest. If this does not happen and they are left on your plate it indicates that you are still eating. In a Malay home, do not be late. The dinner is most of the time served immediately without appetizers or drinks beforehand. Indians wash their hands before dinner and after. Guests will be given a small bowl of water and a towel to wash their hands with. After meals with Indians, it is expected that a guest stays for around one hour of conversation. It is not polite to deny initial offers of food or drink. If a guest would like to refuse seconds, they need to put their hand above their plate and say, “No, thank you.” After one is finished with their food, they will place their spoon and fork together on their plate. If this is not done, more food will be offered (Bosrock, n.d.).
Greetings. Greetings follow certain protocols based on both the age and ethnic origin of the person. The western concept of shaking hands has been adopted from most younger people or those who work in multi-national companies. The Chinese ethnicity shake hands and their grasp is light although the handshake may be prolonged. Men and women also do not shake hands, due to Muslim men not touching women in public. When first meeting someone, nodding the head and smiling is appropriate (Singapore Guide, 2017).
Singapore has many customs that relate to its culture. It is important that shoes are taken off before entering one’s house, Singaporeans also take off their shoes before entering any temple or mosque. Everyone calls older people aunty or uncle, this is a sign of respect to its elders. If sitting in a reserved seat, they give their seats up to the elderly, handicapped, pregnant women, or young children. It’s a big deal if one fails to give up their seat. They also do not tip in Singapore. It is not necessary and if extra money is left, waiters think you need change (Lee, 2015).
Social Structures and Organization
Social Class. Singapore is more separated by ethnicity than by class, although there is a wide income and wealth differences. Occupational mobility has been experienced by all ethnic groups and there is a great focus on education. Their overall society is a meritocracy (Singapore, n.d.).
Family. The family is the center of the social structure in Singapore and has emphasize on unity, loyalty, and respects for elders (Singapore Guide, 2017). Filial Piety is the foundation for intergenerational support in Singapore. It is based on Confucian ethics, which implies that individuals that are raised by noble people must act the same if they want to become noble (Zakaria, 1994).
Crime. Crime is a very important thing in Singapore and is taken seriously. Due to the strong social controls from the police force, it allows for less formal justice systems. Singapore has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. The crimes are most of the time non-violent and non-confrontational. The most common types of crime are pickpocketing, purse snatching, and theft of unattended items. The low crime rates are a positive for Singapore and the police force stresses the importance of the private sector and general public in being able to effectively fight crime and terrorism. https://www.osac.gov/Pages/ContentReportDetails.aspx?cid=23967
The Ministry of Education in Singapore’s purpose is to help their students discover their talents, to make the best of them, show their full potential, and to acquire a passion for learning that will through life. Singapore’s education system is strong and is recognized around the world. The students in Singapore aim to reach the top and, in the end, achieve good results. There are good schools, which have talented school leaders and teachers. The school facilities are amongst some of the best in the world. https://www.moe.gov.sg/education/education-system
The school system is working on building strengths as they prepare for the future and the next generation of Singaporeans. The goal is for the education system to become more flexible and diverse, which provides students with more choices to meet different interests and ways of learning. It is important to them to help the Singaporeans build a set of values, so they will have the strength of character and flexibility to deal with life’s setbacks. Therefore, students will work hard to achieve their dreams.
How are these elements and dimensions integrated by locals conducting business?
The locals of Singapore are very informal and hence are very uncomfortable in environments where they have to monitor on what they say and do. The locals are proud of their achievements since their separation from Malaysia. Hence, they are fed up with hearing about westerners who preach about freedom of speech. The locals conducting business understand the distinct aspects of the Singaporean culture as well as the similarities between different communities under the Singaporean umbrella. Therefore, the communication is all about creating a good impression. Because of British influence Singapore still adheres to British practices. They believe the secret to a good business rapport begins with knowing each other personally before starting a business relationship. The locals begin a conversation with topics about health, family and family backgrounds. The locals abhor topics on marriage, religion, and politics. Hence, when doing business with the locals it is better to avoid such topics due to the diversity of religious and political views of locals in Singapore. The Singaporeans society prides itself on tolerance and integration of different cultures. Aware of such Singaporean locals are able to thrive and operate their businesses successfully without cultural conflict. Mandarin and English are the most common form of communication in dialects; however, English is the major communication language in business (Chua, 2003).
Due to the multi-religious nature of the countries, the locals are tolerant of other religions. Most locals have Christians and Buddhists living in the same family. Discussions about religion are not incorporated in a business rapport. The locals by understanding the multi-religious nature are able to maneuver through the strange myriad of behaviors of the typical Singaporean. Respecting the religious standpoint of others enables them to conduct business smoothly (Mani, 1992).
In Singapore, work ethics are very important to business owners. By attracting a lot of high quality talents, a company will have a good ethical program. Business ethic is beneficial to create good image in front of clients. It is important for business owners to keep up the brand awareness for its company. This business ethic has been proven to be one of the best ways for creating positive public image. Partnership is also an important thing in Singapore. When individuals want to be successful, they should learn how to create connections with other business partners. Workers in Singapore want to avoid ethical problems within the workplace, therefore, it is important to deal with these complications immediately. In order to create good ethical practices for a business, individuals should learn how to incorporate company in Singapore (Why does business, 2014).
Values and Attitudes
Singapore work culture is a mixture of Asian and Western cultural influences. The cultural themes convey the unwritten cultural rules and regulations that oversee the way Singaporeans act within the workplace. Larger western companies located in Singapore often show mainly western-style work culture. However, most of the local government and private companies have more of an influence of the traditional Asian culture. Singaporeans mainly have a strict attitude to life, linked to clear authority structures and distinct social status lines (Guide to Singapore, n.d.).
Manner and Customs
The locals are quite reserved and prefer handshakes as the only form of touching until you are good friends. They respect women and no indecent touching is allowed. Public affection for opposite-sex couples is common. However, public outburst of anger is rare among the locals and all arguments are settled behind closed doors. Even though public affection is acceptable, it is not among professionals because of the importance of maintaining decorum in social situations than losing credibility. The locals are very friendly and hence laughing out loudly is not considered rude nor does it attract attention. The locals address colleagues depending on the corporate culture they find themselves in. they are time conscious, but the importance of deadlines and punctuality depends on the company they are working with and their attitudes. Professionals are expected to behave more responsibly especially when working in supervisory positions (Baker, 2008).
Social Structures and Organizations
Global Business Cultural Analysis: Singapore