The highly developed and market-oriented countries in France and in the United States of America drive the global economy today. In this regard this paper presents a wealth of cultural gaps focused on the cultural dimensions of Hofstede, trade barriers and political threats between the two countries. These two countries have a long-lasting cultural history, and their major role in business, culture and international affairs. Power-Distance index: The power distance index measures the extent to which the less powerful members of a society accept that power is distributed inequitably (Chanlat and Davel 44). A low power-distance score indicates that a society agrees to the fact that members are viewed as equals. France has a high score where for example, organizational superiors have privileges and are often inaccessible. On the other hand, USA has a low score as is demonstrated by an obvious importance on equal rights in all aspects of the American society. Also, within the American companies, hierarchy is only for convenience and the supervisors are certainly accessible.
Individualism vs. Collectivism: This dimension evaluates the degree of interdependence among members of a society. Cultures that are individualistic lay more emphasis on achieving personal goals while collectivist cultures focus more on the welfare of the groups. Both France and the USA are individualist societies as the achievement of one’s personal goals comes first.
Uncertainty-Avoidance index: This dimension measures a society’s acceptance and preparedness for uncertainty (Chanlat and Davel 46). Cultures that have a high uncertainty avoidance index are known to have strict rules so as to minimize the uncertainty and are less flexible to changes while cultures that score low are usually flexible to changes. France exhibits a high score on uncertainty avoidance as its people have a lot of planning while the United States has an average degree of acceptance for new ideas, innovativeness and the enthusiasm to try new things
Masculinity vs. Femininity: Masculinity versus femininity measures the significance a culture places on masculine values such as aggressiveness, motivation and materialism and on feminine values such as the emphasis on the quality of human relationships (Chanlat and Davel 47). With an average score, France has a feminine culture as is shown by the country’s welfare system and on its emphasis on the quality of life while America has a high score making it a masculine country as can be seen in the distinctive American behaviors of being materialistic.
Indulgence vs. Restraint: In this dimension, cultures that are restraint have stringent social rules under which fulfillment of the members’ life motivations is controlled. France has an average score on this dimension since the French citizens seem to enjoy life less compared to other countries while on the other hand, Americans are known to be very indulgent in fun and leisure activities.
France’s bureaucratic protocols on trade can be challenging for any country. Intricate safety rules and measures often complicate access to the market for many countries, especially countries that are not members of the EU. However on the other hand, America’s trade barriers are not complex compared to the world standards making trade with the country less challenging. France’s trading policies are often in line with European Union’s guidelines since its importing and exporting processes are covered by the trading bloc taxation and customs rules. Global Trade.net explains that member states of the union have established a Community Integrated Tariff (TARIC) system, where duties are imposed on imports from countries that are not members of the trading alliance. Also, duties levied on imports from non-EU countries, including the United States, are often subjected to heavy duty rates. To export already processed food products to France, a country should assess the market access restrictions and the country’s food laws (Global Trade.net). This is because most processed goods imported to the country pay extra import charges. On the flipside, the American trade barriers are more flexible as the country’s import policy is characterized by a balancing act between trade and security concerns. For example, the US import quotas are often reduced during given periods. There is also no restraint on the quantity of goods that can be imported into the county during such times with import tariffs being much lower compared to those in France (HKTDC Research).
France offers a moderately stable business environment for business firms. However, government policies in the country offer political risks for organizations that are unaware of the country’s political environment. In the French political system, state interference in businesses is widespread with the understanding of the nature of the French Republican model being of significant importance. High taxes, controlled businesses, governmental veto rights, political pressure groups and trade unions are also common in the country. Hence, this makes France an uncertain nation for many foreign companies that do not understand its political and economic thinking. However, the United States continues to offer one of the most stable political environments globally for business investment, making it a country with one of the least political risks for investments. Situations such as armed clashes, civil disturbance and capital controls are minimal in the country.
In conclusion, many considerations come into play when countries are trading with each other. For example, due to France’s complex and strict barriers, many business firms will choose to trade with the United States of America were the trading policies and barriers are not very complex and intricate. Hence, a county’s cultural orientation, trade barriers and political environment among other factors greatly influences how a country will choose its trading partners.
Chanlat, Jean-François and Eduardo Davel. Cross-Cultural Management: Culture and Management Across the World. Abingdon: Routledge, 2013.
Global Trade.net. “Trade Regulations and Standards in France.” Globaltrade.net. 2011.
HKTDC Research. “Trade Regulations of USA.” HKTDC Research. 2017.