The Cultural Differences between Spain and Finland

One of the most significant differences I noticed when comparing Spain and Finland’s cultural dimensions is power distance. According to The Hofstede Centre, power distance is “the fact that all individuals in societies are not equal.” Spain has a high score of 57, meaning that there is a notable hierarchy system within the country. In Finland, on the other hand, there is not as notable of a hierarchy system as there is in Spain; Finland has a score of 33, which is a difference of 34. Since there is a remarkable difference, I believe this could cause potential problems if the two countries did business together. That is because Spaniard(s) will most likely seek and feel comfortable with a hierarchical system where as the Finns will most likely not feel comfortable with one. The Finns will more than likely strive for more equality between the organizations and individuals within the companies. I think this could lead to some serious tensions if the two countries attempted to do business together.

The next dimension I decided to highlight is individualism, which is defined as “the degree of interdependence of a society maintains among its members” on The Hofstede Centre’s website. When it comes to individualism, there is fairly big difference between Spain and Finland. For instance, Spain is a collectivist society compared to most other European countries, including Finland. There is only a twelve point difference between the two countries; however, that the difference is enough to potentially create issues for Spanish or Finnish citizens who attempt to do business or work together. If the Finnish citizens adhere to this information, then it is possible that they may struggle to work well with the Spanish citizen because he/she inherently focuses more on their tasks and/or needs.

After noticing these as well as other differences, I believe that it would definitely be important for the two countries to work on successful verbal and nonverbal communication. It may seem obvious, but it would be beneficial for the members of each business to know both languages. Even if it is just one person or a handful of people who know Spanish and Finnish, that could definitely ease communication issues and knock down barriers. Chapter 3 in the textbook Excellence Business Communication emphasizes the importance of knowing and understanding languages in the business world. Furthermore, I think that the “Respecting Preferences for Communication Style” section is also very important for any business to keep in mind when they are working with a business from another country. That is because every country and culture has different communication styles so it is important to gain an understanding of how a business (or person) might communicate depending on which country it is from.

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