Group D consists of Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, and Italy. Uruguay is a South American nation (nestled between archrivals Brazil and Argentina). Costa Rica is from nearby Central America, and England and Italy are both very prominent soccer nations from European.
Uruguay is a very literate nation and has the highest percentage of citizens who have used the internet in Latin-American. Uruguayans typically converse at close distances, but most of the business people realize that foreigners might not be used to this and will give a little more space. The thumbs-up gesture means okay to Uruguayans. Curling the fingers around so that they touch the thumb indicates doubt. Avoid yawning in public, it normally indicates that it is time to leave. Also be proper when sitting, only sit on chairs, and do not put your feet up on anything unless it is specified for that purpose; a foot stool or rail.
Uruguay scores 99 on this dimension and thus has a very high preference for avoiding uncertainty. Countries exhibiting high uncertainty avoidance maintain rigid codes of belief and behavior and are intolerant of unorthodox behavior and ideas. In these cultures there is an emotional need for rules (even if the rules never seem to work) time is money, people have an inner urge to be busy and work hard, precision and punctuality are the norm, innovation may be resisted, security is an important element in individual motivation.
Costa Rica is a unique Central American nation as it is comparatively wealthy in regards to its neighbors. The country’s wealth is also more evenly distributed than, for instance, in Panama, which is considered the wealthiest nation in Central America. Costa Rica has a strong police force and civil guard, but no military. Costa Ricans are generally the most punctual people in Central America. Do not rest your feet on anything that is not specifically designed for that purpose. Making the gesture known as the “fig”, where the thumb is sticking out between the index finger and middle finger, is obscene.
Costa Rica, with a score of 15 is like most of the other Latin American countries, a collectivistic society. It is important to point out, though, the comparatively low power distance score (35). As one of the only countries in Latin America, Costa Rica scores the lowest on this dimension in the region. To the surprise of many, especially in Latin America, where many countries have had military rule, Costa Rica abolished their army in 1948. Their president, Oscar Arias (1986-90, 2006-10), received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his effort to end civil wars in Central America. Costa Ricans, the “Ticos,” are famous for their good human rights record. As they are very much focused on equality and consensus there is a less distance between blue-collar and white-collar workers.
England is part of the collective United Kingdom, but competes individually in world football. It is important to understand that American English and British English have many similarities, however, they also have differences. It is considered impolite to talk with your hands in your pockets in England, but it is not common to look at the person you are speaking to. The English maintain a wide distance when conversing. Sitting with your ankle resting on your knee may be seen as impolite.
The data collected is also for the collective group of the United Kingdom. The British (including the English) score very high in individualism. Similar to the US, the English are very individualistic. Children are trained to be independent from a young age, and the value of being an independent person is very high.
At 35 the UK has a low score on uncertainty avoidance which means that as a nation they are quite happy to wake up not knowing what the day brings and they are happy to “make it up as they go along” changing plans as new information comes to light. As a low UAI country the British are comfortable in ambiguous situations – the term “muddling through” is a very British way of expressing this. There are generally not too many rules in British society, but those that are there are adhered to (the most famous of which, of course, the British love of queuing which has also to do with the values of fair play).
In work terms this results in planning that is not detail oriented – the end goal will be clear but the detail of how they get there will be light and the actual process fluid and flexible to emerging and changing environment. Planning horizons will also be shorter. Most importantly the combination of a highly individualistic and curious nation is a high level of creativity and strong need for innovation. What is different is attractive! This emerges throughout the society in both its humor, heavy consumerism for new and innovative products and the fast highly creative industries it thrives in – advertising, marketing, financial engineering.
Italy is one of oldest cultures of Europe and together with ancient Greece is considered the cradle of Western civilization. Italy’s history has cultural implications which are as old as the Roman Empire. It is important to understand the influence of the Catholic Church and Christianity on the people of Italy. Impressions are extremely important for Italians. La Bella Figura (literally, the beautiful figure), to give an impeccable impression is a sign of social class, education, and status. Italian culture can be very emotional. For instance, if someone quickly strokes their fingertips under their chin, this is a sign of defiance or diversion. Cultural extremes can be observed within the country along its North-South axis.
With a power distance score of 50, Northern Italy tends to prefer equality and a decentralization of power and decision-making. Control and formal supervision is generally disliked among the younger generation, who demonstrate a preference for teamwork and an open management style. Bear in mind that the high score on individualism accentuates the aversion of being controlled and told what to do. In Southern Italy all the consequences of PDI are often high, quite the opposite of Northern Italy.
At a score of 76 Italy is an Individualistic culture, “me” centered, especially in the big and rich cities of the North where people can feel alone even in the middle of a big and busy crowd. So family and friends becomes an important antidote to this feeling; but the word “friend” should not be misinterpreted because in business it has a slightly different meaning: someone that you know and can be useful for introducing you to the important or powerful people.
For Italians having their own personal ideas and objectives in life is very motivating and the route to happiness is through personal fulfillment. This dimension does vary in Southern Italy where less individualistic behavior can be observed: the family network and the group one belongs to are important social aspects, and rituals such as weddings or Sunday lunches with the family are occasions that one can’t miss. People going from Southern Italy to the North say that they feel cold not only for the different climate but for the less “warm” approach in relationships.
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.