Group B consists of Spain, the Netherlands, Chile, and Australia. The Spaniards are the defending World Cup Champions and have won the last two European Championships. The Netherlands are also a European nation (runner up at the last World Cup). Chile is located in South America. Australia qualified for the tournament as part of the Asian Football Confederation but the country is considered a separate continent.
Spain is the birth place of Hispanic influence and holds similarities with many Latin-American nations. In Spanish society, a lot of influence is placed on personal preference, so businesses aren’t necessarily handed down generations. Equality is important in Spain and many women are present in the workplace. The U.S. “okay” sign is considered vulgar and offensive in Spain. Whistling and winking by men to women is not considered rude, and is often dismissed by women by not acknowledging.
Spain, in comparison with the rest of the European countries (except for Portugal) is collectivist (because of its score in this dimension: 51). However, compared with other areas of the world it is seen as clearly individualist. This has made Spaniards quite easy to relate with certain cultures – mainly non European – whereas other cultures can be perceived as aggressive and blunt. On the other hand, teamwork is considered as something totally natural, employees tend to work in this way with no need for strong motivation from management.
If there is a dimension that defines Spain very clearly, it is uncertainty avoidance, as is reflected in a high score of 86. Spain is considered the second noisiest country in the world. People like to have rules for everything, changes cause stress, but, at the same time, they are obliged to avoid rules and laws that, in fact, make life more complex. Confrontation is avoided as it causes great stress and scales up to the personal level very quickly. There is great concern for changing, ambiguous and undefined situations. Thus, for example, in a recent survey 75% of Spanish young people wanted to work in civil service (i.e. a job for life, no concerns about the future) whereas in the USA only 17% of young people would like this.
The Dutch are a European culture which shares many cultural similarities with U.S. Americans and tends to work well with them in business situations. Holland is a large province in Netherlands and is commonly mistaken as an alternate name for the entire country. A few gestures in the Netherlands are commonly used such as tapping the temple or forehead to indicate someone is crazy. Rotating the finger around the ear means you have a telephone call waiting. Tapping the elbow when it is in a 90 degree angle indicates that the person being spoken with is not dependable or reliable. Putting their thumb in their mouth and sucking slightly means they doubt what you are saying. If they tap their thumbnails together this means they are very displeased. Rubbing the bridge of the nose up and down means that the person being spoken to or speaking is cheap and stingy. These gestures can be important to watch for in a business setting. The Dutch tend to stay apart while speaking, even more than North Americans. Eye contact from the Dutch is usually intense but is not meant to be intimidating. It is important to be punctual, if you are ever late, always call ahead and give an explanation. Working overtime or staying later is not seen as a positive to the Dutch. It is interpreted as not being organized enough to finish your work on time.
There are high levels of individualism in Dutch society, individuals are only expected to take care of themselves and immediate family members. The Netherlands scores 14 on the masculinity dimension and is therefore a feminine society. In feminine countries it is important to keep the life/work balance and you make sure that all are included. An effective manager is supportive to his/her people, and decision making is achieved through involvement. Managers strive for consensus and people value equality, solidarity and quality in their working lives. Conflicts are resolved by compromise and negotiation and Dutch are known for their long discussions until consensus has been reached.
Chile is a South American nation which covers much of the ancient territory of the Inca Empire. Chileans are a very warm and friendly society, when meeting they tend to move from formal to friendship very quickly. Always greet the head of the household or the most senior person first. Chileans, like other Latin-American nations, tend to stand very close when conversing. It is considered rude or offensive to beckon with your index finder or to click your fingers at someone. Also, hitting the palm of your left hand with your right hand is considered vulgar. Business in Chilean culture is more formal and goes slower than other South American cultures. If you choose to smoke, make sure to offer a cigarette to all of those you are with, it is considered rude not to.
Chile scores very high in uncertainty avoidance; this shows that Chileans need rules and structure. Often they rely on experts and authority. They are very collectivist like other South American nations, but due to an increasing GDP, are shifting to a more individualistic work force and society. The low score in masculinity shows the modesty of the culture, and the “working in order to live” mentality. A low score in pragmatism shows that Chileans are unlikely to save for the future, and have a great respect for traditions. They also show a strong tendency to look for absolute truth in their lives.
A nation which was formed out of a British penal colony. It is important in business to be short and to the point. Modesty is appreciated when talking about yourself. Punctuality is appreciated, being late shows a careless business attitude. When at an Australian pub, everyone pays for a round of drinks. Missing your round gives a bad impression. Arguments are considered entertaining, feel free to be bold and express yourself. However, make sure to not bring up a particularly sensitive topic if you chose to participate in banter. Australians are particularly hard to impress and find it amusing when people try very hard to make a good impression. Strong eye contact and a firm hand shake before and after a meeting are important. Putting one or two fingers up in the air is considered offensive. It is considered inappropriate for a man to wink at a woman, and do not make too much physical contact unless a friendship is established.
Australia scores low on power distance (36). Within Australian organizations, hierarchy is established for convenience, superiors are always accessible and managers rely on individual employees and teams for their expertise. Both managers and employees expect to be consulted and information is shared frequently. At the same time, communication is informal, direct and participative.
With a score of 90, Australia, like all Anglo-Saxon cultures, is a highly individualistic society. This translates into a loosely-knit society in which the expectation is that people look after themselves and their immediate families. In the business world, employees are expected to be self-reliant and display initiative. Also, within the exchange-based world of work, hiring and promotion decisions are based on merit or evidence of what one has done or can do.
To learn more about the other 28 cultures represented at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, go back to the main article on this topic.