Cultural Factors And Cultural Complications Of Crisis Communication

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5. Cultural implications for the crisis communication

Though General Motors company has the similar crisis situation with Toyota company, which is caused by faulty vehicles, resulting in criticism of the general public and negative influences on companies, results turn out differently. The Toyota company suffered more damages than the General Motors company on sales, reputation, brand image, customers’ trust and loyalty. Tracing reasons lay behind, cultural factors play an important role in differentiating approaches and attitudes.

5.1 Hall’s high-context and low-context cultures

According to Hall(Hall, 1976, 2000), communication styles can be divided into indirect and direct categories, corresponding to high-context culture and low-context
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There are five dimensions, including masculinity-femininity, individualism-collectivism, long-term orientation, power distance, and uncertainty avoidance(Hofstede, 1983). To some extent, uncertainties equal to risks, which are always related to security and and connected to responsibility(Giddens, 1999). This essay will discuss influences of power distance and uncertainty avoidance on attitudes about crisis communication. Since those dimensions are according to scores that countries have obtained, America is quite equal with regard to power distance and people are more likely to choose risky options. While Japanese have a hierarchical structure in corporations and are risk-averse and cautious when there are unknown …show more content…
It is a hard choice for any company to make. However, with the news released and external and internal investigation undergone, there was no way to escape and General Motors company decided to shoulder responsibilities and risks actively, instead of being forced to. It can be inferred that Toyota company was difficult to make decisions at first, due to the company had a firm grip of its organizational culture silos. From the perspective of the corporation culture, hierarchical organizational charts and centralized managements are typical seen among Japanese enterprises. Thus, decisions usually are made top-down, which means there are many risks and responsibilities that top managers should take into account. Japanese have quite high marks on uncertainty avoidance and they incline to avoid risks as much as they can. At the beginning, Toyota’s Japan headquarters and CEO attempted to ignore the increasing claims, deteriorating crisis, shifting responsibility and remaining silent, which demonstrated their attitudes to risks and responsibilities. As for incalculable consequences of vehicle recalls, Akio Toyoda spent long time in determining to do so due to the cultural trait of avoiding uncertainties. Moreover, the tight vertical corporation structure and highly controlled managements led to tardy responses to crisis and slow flow of

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