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Switzerland

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Switzerland lies at the crossroad of several main European cultures. The national languages include German 65%, French 18% and Italian 10%, along with Romansh 1%, which is spoken by small minority of the population. (CIA, 2014) As e result the Swiss culture is characterized as really diverse. Moreover, the 26 cantons supplement for the large cultural diversity. Swiss culture has been affected by its neighboring countries, but during the years Switzerland has developed a distinctive one with strong regional differences.
Government
Switzerland is highly decentralised country and divided in 26 cantons.The politics of Switzerland take place in the framework of a multi-party federal directorial democratic republic. Executive power is not concentrated in one person, but in the goverment and the federal administration (CIA, 2014). Many important decisions are left to the population to decide. The reflection of this could be easily seen in the business structure in Switzerland. The country is not dominated by limited number of large companies, but rather of medium and small organisations.
Economy
In the Swiss economy only a small percentage of people are involved in the Primary sector, while a large minority is involved in the Manufacturing sector-23% in 2011. However, the greatest amount of people work in the Service sector of the economy -74% in 2011. The main areas include biotechnology, microtechnology, pharmaceuticals as well as banking and insurance (Swiss Federal Statistical Office). Switzerland companies also operate in the industrial sector such as food processing-Nestle, pharmaceutical-Novartis and Roche, roof coating chemicals-Sarnafil. Due to the lack of raw materials and limited agriculture production, Switzerland has developed an economy, which imports raw materials and turn them into highly valued products mainly designed for exportation. The Swiss economy is geared towards exports and its foreign trade is among the highest in the world. Switzerland has an overwhelmingly private sector economy, with one of the smallest overall taxation of the developed countries, which makes it easy to do business (CIA, 2014).
Equality
Equal rights in Switzerland are realtively recent, since 1981. As a result, women are still disadvantaged in some fields. The proportion of women with no post-compulsory education qualification is much higher than that of men. As a result, the number of working women is lower than that of men and the unemployment rate higher. Furthermore, women with the same educational level are generally employed in lower positions than men, especially in managerial position: women-3.9%; men-8,5%. More and more women are becoming part of the business and public life of Switzerland, though the banking and finance industries countinue to be dominated by men (Federal Statistical Office, 2013).

Education and Science
Switzerland has a largely decentralized education system. The various cantons have considerably different education systems. Swiss education is considered to be of a very high quality. As a country with limited natural resources, the country prosperity depends to a large extent on its brain power. According to a FSO survey from 2011, 80% of the population has carried out at least one continuing education activity, taking into account both non-formal and informal learning. Furthermore, Switzerland is recognised as an international research centre. Both the private sector and the Swiss state are strongly involved in promoting science and technology. Swiss scientists with foreign colleagues are involved in nanotechnology and space research (Federal Statistical Office, 2011). Innovation | | | | |
Innovation is driven by technology. Switzerland is adjusting well to the competition worldwide. One fifth of all people in Switzerland in 2004 had received training or education in the field of science or technology. As e result, Switzerland is one of the world’s leading of innovators (Federal Statistical Office, 2013).
Religion
Switzerland can be characterized by diversity, not only in terms of language, culture but also of religions. The country does not have an official state religion. However, most of the cantons recognize official churches. The biggest share is for the Roman-Catholic with 38.2%, and right after that is the Swiss Reformed church (Protestant Reformed) with 26.9% (see Figure 1). The non-denominational take 21.4% along with other Christians-5.7%. Due to immigration, there is a minority of Islamism of 4.9% and 0.3 Jewish (Swiss Statistics, 2014). Figure 1 Religion- Federal Swiss Office, 2014 |

Communication
Edward T. Hall proposed the concept of high versus low context as a way of understanding various cultural orientations. This concept is important because it explores how people in a culture relate to one another, especially in social bonds, social harmony, responsibility and commitment. As a low context culture Swiss people can be described as highly individualized, fragmented and little involvement with others (Kim, Pan and Park, 1998). Social hierarchy and society as a whole impose less on individual’s lives and communication between people is explicit and no personal. As Low context systems, Swiss business tend to resist self-examination and responsibility is diffused down organizations. Decisions are based on fact, rather than intuition and managers are expected to be straightforward, efficient and words are intended to be taken literally by subordinates. People form low context cultures are logical, individualistic and action-oriented.

Hofstede’s Dimensions
Hofstede’s model validate that there are national and regional cultural groupings that affect the behavior of organizations. His research has proved that national culture has an impact on the way business is done. Hofstede’s cultural model identifies four cultural categories, when exploring the Swiss culture through the lens of the Hofsted’s cultural model, there should be taken into account that the German and French parts of Switzerland can score differently, as can the Italian canton ( See Figure 2).

Figure 2 Hofstede's Dimensions
In Switzerland there is a relatively lower level of power distance-34. The German part tends to value independence, equal rights, coaching leader and hierarchy is used only for convenience. Low level of supervision, employees expected to be consulted, managers rely on their team members, the power is decentralized and communication is direct. In contrast, the French part of Switzerland scores high in this dimension. That suggests centralized structure in which everybody has a place and further justification is not accepted. Good managers are benevolent autocrat and subordinates expect to be told what to do. Challenging the system and the leadership is not appropriate and encouraged (Hofstede, n.d). Тhe score of individualism tends to be high for both German and French part in Switzerland-68. Considered as individualistic society, people are expected to take care for themselves and for their immediate family only. Management is considered as managing individuals. Relationships on the work place are mutual and based on contract, promotions and hiring are only on merit, not loyalty(Enterprise information systems, 2007). Switzerland scores 70 in the dimension of masculinity again for both German and French speaking. This suggests that people are highly competitive, motivated and driven by success, in other words being the winner. Usually this system is implemented from school and follow through the rankings in an organization. As a masculinity society the Swiss ‘live in order to work’, the focus is on equity, competition and good performance. Managers should be decisive, effective and conflicts are mostly solved by fighting them out (Hofstede, n.d). The score of uncertainty avoidance is 58. The French part scores in favor of avoiding uncertainty unlike the German part. People from societies with high uncertainty avoidance are likely to show more resistance to changes which can affect implementation. Also people tend to be less willing to accept managers from outside an organization. In addition, for the Swiss punctuality is very important, there is an emotional need for rules and people have the need to be busy and working (Hofstede, n.d).

Trompenaars and GLOBE
Trompenaars suggests that the enterprise value systems and judgments associated with them depend on functional dimensions, which facilitate understanding the relationship between management culture and practices and national culture. While Hofstede ranks countries according to key dimensions, Trompenaars relates cultural dimensions specifically to business. Switzerland has a universalist culture as people place a high importance on laws, values, obligation and rules come before relationships. As an individualistic society, Swiss place the individual before the group or community, so people are more likely to work alone and ideally achieve and assume personal responsibility. The Swiss society as a member of specific-oriented, tend to clearly separate their personal and working live and have a completely different relation of authority in each social groups. Switzerland has neutral culture, because people are not likely to display their emotions and feelings, not only on the working place, but in their social lives- people are cool and self-possessed. Characterised as achievement-oriented society, people’s status is based on what members have accomplished rather than wealth, gender or social position. That is why in Swiss organisations most senior managers have obtained their positions through accomplishments. Switzerland is sequential oriented-people prefer to do one thing at a time and follow schedules strictly. Due to this fact Swiss business is famous for placing a high value on punctuality and planning. Trompenaars describe Swiss society as internal, which means they believe they can control nature or their environment to achieve goals. This also includes how people work with teams and within organisations. Trompenaars dimensions present managers with information about behaviour in organisations and how to respond to organisational situations. These dimensions provide framework for the analysis of national cultures and organisations that can be used in international management practice (International culture, n.d).
The “Global Leadership and Organizational Behaviour Effectiveness” (GLOBE) major findings explain that leader effectiveness is contextual and it is embedded in the social and organisational norms, values, beliefs of the people being led. Switzerland is categorised in both Germanic (German speaking) and Latin European (French speaking). The Humane orientation, which indicates encouragement of being fair, generous, caring and kind to others, in Germanic part is higher than in L. Eropean. Switzerland has also high scores on the Achievement orientation, Future orientation, Collectivism 1 and Uncertainty avoidance. These suggest that in the business environment, orderliness and consistency are essential. Also rules and laws cover almost all situations and societal requirements, instructions are spelled out in detail (Koopman et al., 1999).

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