Det dansk-ghanesiske forretningsmøde: En analyse af forskellene mellem dansk og ghanesisk forretningskultur

Peter Andreas Johansen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

The Danish-Ghanaian business meeting – an analysis of the differences between Danish and Ghanaian business culture With the purpose of giving Danish companies the best preconditions for doing business on the Ghanaian market, the aim of this thesis is to identify how Ghanaian business culture differs from the Danish, both in view of hierarchy, and of the actual role of the group versus the role of the individual. By doing so, the purpose of the thesis is also to convey a number of recommended courses of action which will make Danish companies in Ghana able to meet these differences. The research is conducted from a deductive method based on existing theory. To this end, the theoretical background is the dimensions of culture described by Hofstede, Gesteland, and Trompenaars. These are combined with four qualitative interviews with experts in Danish-Ghanaian cooperation and negotiations. The main purposes of the qualitative interviews are primarily to verify, disprove, and challenge the theories selected, but also to describe how the differences are seen in practice. From the analysis it is evident that Danish and Ghanaian business cultures are significantly different, both in view of hierarchy, and of the role of the group versus the individual. Hierarchy is not essential to Danes, as the Danish business culture is typically egalitarian. For Ghanaians, on the other hand, hierarchy is extremely important. In Ghana, respect for hierarchy means that the emotional distance between the more and the less powerful people is very big, which Hofstede describes as a high powerdistance. Trompenaars contributes to this, claiming that the emotional understanding is proportional. Thus, it is not possible to introduce a more egalitarian power structure in Ghanaian companies without, at the same time, demoting the staff to a lower rank. Consequently, it is recommended that Danish expatriate managers in Ghana adapt to the Ghanaian management style. As concerns the role of the group versus the role of the individual, it is evident that Danish business culture is individualistic, whereas the Ghanaian is mainly collectivistic. Although, the experience of this thesis is that Ghanaians are not quite as collectivistic as described by Hofstede, they still show far more collectivistic features than Danes. These features appear in what Hofstede defines as the in-group. This description represents the group mentality which may be quite challenging for Danish business people, as the in-group conduct manifests itself both in of recruiting, and definitely also in negotiations. The results of this analysis offer tools for Danish business people which secure competence above all, and not relations at the expense of quality. As part of the group-mentality, relations are very important for Ghanaian people, as establishing a tie between business-partners means trust. For this reason it is clarified in this thesis that an investment in social relations is a good investment. Although Danish business people may find this rather difficult, it is pointed out on several occasions in the thesis that due to the diffuse culture of the Ghanaian people, they do not distinguish between business and pleasure the same way Danes do. Furthermore, the group-mentality also means that Ghanaians Last but not least, it is clear that although this thesis is dealing with two separate elements: Hierarchy and the role of the group versus the individual, they are interrelated. This also means that if there is no understanding of both elements, i.e. the entity, the understanding of the isolated element will be inadequate.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2013
Number of pages370