Cultural Metrics: Colombia

High context vs. low context- Colombia is a high-context culture in which most of the information is assumed to be known (common knowledge). There is a lot of nonverbal coding and strong interpersonal bonds are extremely important. There are very distinct in-group and out-group and commitment is high.

Individualism vs. Collectivism-Colombia is amongst the lowest individualistic countries in the world, it is one of the most collectivistic cultures in the world, beaten only by Ecuador, Panama and Guatemala. A highly collectivistic society, Colombians belong to in-groups and support the group’s opinion which is very important. Colombians have strong identities tied to class distinctions. Loyalty to such groups is paramount and often it is through “corporative” groups that people obtain privileges and benefits which are not to be found in other cultures.

Power distance Colombia has a high power distance it is a society that believes that inequalities amongst people are simply a fact of life. This inequality is accepted in parts of society, so a union leader will have a lot of concentrated power compared to his union management team, and they in turn will have more power than other union members. The same tends to occur among business leaders and among the highest positions in government.

Uncertainty Avoidance- Colombia has a high uncertainty avoidance conflict are avoided, in order to maintain group harmony and to save face. Emotions are openly expressed and there are extensive rules for everything and social conservatism enjoys quite a following. Rules are not necessarily followed, however: this depends on the in-group’s opinion, on whether the group feels the rules are applicable to their members and it depends, ultimately, on the decision of power holders, who make their own rules. 

Masculinity-Femininity- Colombia is a masculine society driven highly success oriented and driven. The Colombian society is competitive and status-oriented, yet collectivistic. This means that competition is directed towards members of other groups or social classes, not towards those who are perceived as members of their own in-group. People seek membership in groups which give them status and rewards linked to performance, but they often sacrifice leisure against work, as long as this is supported by group membership and by power holders.

Relationship vs. Task Orientation- Relationships are more important than attending to the task at hand, and when a group of people holds an opinion on an issue, they will be joined by all who feel part of that group. Colombians will often go out of their way to help you if they feel there is enough attention given to developing a relationship, or if they perceive an in-group connection of some sort, however thin. However, those perceived as “outsiders” can easily be excluded or considered as enemies. 

Cultural Metrics:

Chronemics- Time in Colombia is open and flexible, meaning that if you have a coffee date at noon, there is a high likelihood that it will start 15 to 30 minutes later than the set time.

Proxemics- In Colombia interactive space depends on the type of relationship and the environment. Friendship and business interactions are greatly different, in-group interaction have less space in between individuals than an out-group interaction.

Haptics- Shaking hands is a common way of greeting someone without hugging.  

Occulesics- Women who are visiting Colombia should be aware of not making any glance or gesture that might be considered flirty or flirtatious.

Kenisics- In Colombia, two pointing fingers (a symbol that North Americans would use to indicate length) is considered an obscene gesture.


“THE HOFSTEDE CENTRE.” Cultural Insights. N.p., n.d. Web.

Freitag, Alan, and Ashli Quesinberry. Stokes. (2009) Global Public Relations: Spanning Borders, Spanning Cultures. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: New York, NY. Print.




Colombia is a representative democracy. The power is distributed in the three branches of powers: Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary. The president is the chief of state and head of government. The political institutions are very strong, there are two dominant political parties, however new parties have emerged in recent years and have become prominent.The public votes on all political candidates elections and part takes in decision-making.


Colombia is a free market economy. Colombia has developed a lot over the last decade currently it is a strong economic power in Latin America and has strong business ties with the United States among other countries around the world.  The economic decision-making power is split between government and private sectors. Our client fits into the private sector of the economic structure.

Mass Media

The mass media in Colombia is highly developed in recent years it has become a highly competitive market. Television, radio, newspapers, magazines, film, and Internet are the different media outlets. The government owns one radio station and while the media is not necessary owned by the government wealthy families, large conglomerates, and corporations that are affiliated to the two dominant political parties own the media outlets.The credibility that the media holds with the public is rather low, the majority of journalists practice self-censorship. Colombians’ most frequently used medium is the Internet. Our client would rely on the media to conduct marketing campaigns and familiarize the public with the brand and company. 


Colombia is a highly developed country and the level of communication is high, however it may be challenging to maintain a reliable source.  Colombia has standard modern technological capabilities. Conducting business in Colombia can be risky at times there have been known cases of extortion and so on necessary precautions would have to be taken before entering the economic market. 

Legal structure

The “rule of law” is not written in Colombia. The relationship between the legal and political power base is one that is dominated by bribes and other type of unethical practices. There are no specific legal codes of communication that apply to our client at the moment. A legal advisor is recommended.

Social structure

Colombia does not gather information about religion but studies have shown that about 95 percent of the population identifies as Christian (Christianity). The first twelve years of school are mandatory under law. However, education varies for students in their last year of middle school, as this is when students choose to study a technical, business, or academic route that carries on as they enter their high school education.  The literacy rate in Colombia is 91.4 percent. Colombia has one of the most skilled and competitive work force, more than half of the population is under the age of 25. The Colombian population is a heterogeneous population. There is no real divide between the Colombian people, however they are very diverse ethnic groups: Mestizo, European descent, Afro-Colombian, African and Indian, and Native Indian. About 94 percent of the population is condensed to 42 percent of the land that makes up Colombia.



Freitag, Alan, and Ashli Quesinberry. Stokes. (2009) Global Public Relations: Spanning Borders, Spanning Cultures. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: New York, NY. Print.

Nordstrom Media Monitoring February 4- February 10, 2014

Can Nordstrom cut its way out of a rut?

Daily Finance

Andrew Marder

February 11, 2014

Summary: The closing of two locations in January 2015 is creating uneasiness, though the company is experiencing growth in the Nordstrom Rack section.

Relevance: It is important that the company is more present in informing the general public that the closure of the two stores are not negatively impacting the company as a whole and employees from the closing stores are transferring to other Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack locations.

Sarah Jessica Parker Named Guest Editor for Nordstrom, Shares New Ads for Shoe Collection


Cinya Burton

February 13, 2014

Summary: Sarah Jessica Parker will be Guest Editor for Nordstrom’s blog The Thread.

Relevance: Nordstrom is receiving a lot of great feedback on the debut and partnership with Sarah Jessica Parker. It would be interesting to see if there are any changes in the perception of the company and its partnerships from customers to shareholders.

Dubai’s Furne One does New York Fashion Week

David Tusing

Gulf News

February 10, 2014

Summary: Dubai-based Filipino designer Furne One is making his New York Week debut.

Relevance: It is important highlight designers like One the company could have designers showcase collections excusively sold at Nordstrom giving Nordstrom an edge in a highly competitive market.

Dubai to host Chanel’s next cruise collection

Maria Pierides

Daily News

February 12, 2014

Summary: Karl Lagerfeld will be debuting the pre- spring/summer collection 2015 in Dubai.

Relevance: It is a good sign for our client if a company like Chanel chose Dubai as their debut destination. The fashion market is strong and thriving attracting high-end brands from all over the world.

Dubai Design District to make city the Middle East fashion hub

Saifur Rahman

Gulf News

June 8, 2013

Summary: New project will create new employment opportunities and help UAE fashion designers. (Building of new shopping center has not started yet, development and planning is ongoing. February 13, 2014)

Relevance: This new shopping center is an opportunity for our client to open a location in a center that is projected to place Dubai on the Middle East fashion map. It may be a better opportunity than opening in the current shopping strip in Dubai.

Cultural Metrics: Ghana

High Context vs.  Low Context- Ghana is a high context culture meaning that conversations heavily rely on shared knowledge and meaning.  The Ghanaian culture is a homogenous one and has a heavy emphasis on tradition and history, therefore verbal meaning in conversations in minimal. The importance placed on their past and their ancestors contributes to their high context. Ghanaians engage in more nonverbal communication because of their shared likeness can communicate in an indirect manner. It also leads to the emphasis on the community because of the closeness they form through non-verbal communication.

Power distance- Ghana has a high power distance (74) which means that people accept a hierarchical order in which everyone has a place and does not need explanation or justification. Hierarchy in an organization is common and there are inherent inequalities, centralization of power is prominent, and subordinates expect to be told what to do.

Collectivist vs. Individualism- Ghana is a highly collectivistic society. In a close long-term commitment to the member ‘group’, be that a family, extended family, or extended relationships. Loyalty in a collectivist culture is very important, and over-rides most other societal rules and regulations.  It has a heavy emphasis on strong relationships where everyone takes responsibility for members of their group.

Masculinity vs. Femininity- Ghana is considered a relatively feminine society. In feminine countries the focus is on “working in order to live”, managers strive for harmony, people value equality, solidarity and quality in their working lives. Conflicts are resolved by compromise and negotiation. Feminine societies also value things like free time and flexibility. Focus is on well-being of the people and status is not shown.

Uncertainty Avoidance- Ghana scores 55 on this dimension which is an intermediate score; it expresses a slight preference for avoiding uncertainty. In an intermediate country uncertainty avoidance draws from high uncertainty and low uncertainty societies meaning that there are certain aspects of life that are set and structured and others aspects in which ambiguity is accepted.

Relationship vs. task orientation- Ghana is a relationship driving culture in which the importance of building strong relationship ties is more important than finishing tasks quickly.

Cultural Metrics:

Chronemics- In an informal setting the Ghanaian culture is polychromic and while punctuality is expected in a business setting it depends on the established relationship. If you have are meeting up with a friend for coffee being late would not be an issue.

Proxemics- Space in Ghana is situational and the environment, if people are conversing outside it is very informal and the space between the individuals is small. If a conversation is occurring around a business or business setting it is formal and there is more space in between the individuals.

Haptics- Posture is very important in Ghana as this transmits whether someone is listening and understands information.

Occulesis- It seen as respectful to avoid or lower eye contact when speaking to someone who is of higher status.

Kinesics- Facial expressions are very important in the Ghanaian culture as they convey more meaning than words and it communicates interest to the speaker.


“THE HOFSTEDE CENTRE.” Cultural Insights. N.p., n.d. Web.

Freitag, Alan, and Ashli Quesinberry. Stokes. (2009) Global Public Relations: Spanning Borders, Spanning Cultures. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: New York, NY. Print.



Ghana is a sovereign state and unitary presidential constitutional.  The decision making power comes from collective agencies instituted in Ghana. There is an executive, legislative, judiciary, and council of state that partake in the decision making, with the president at the helm. The political institutions can be fickle as they experience a lot of instability internally. Ghana has two political parties that dominate, the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party. These two parties are in constant competition making it difficult to pass laws regulations, “achieve electoral success” because they are inconstant discontent with the other party. The citizens vote for their leaders. Our client does not fit into the political power structure, as they will be in the private sector.


Ghana is an economic powerhouse over the years experiencing fast economic growth becoming a leading provider of petroleum and natural gas and holding the number one spot as the world’s largest gold and diamond producers. The government holds a decent amount of power, however it has experienced turmoil in recent years because of corruption scandals. A large part of the economic decision making comes from the government The relationship between private and public sectors is a difficult one as Ghana’s public sector is a corrupt one (according to the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception index).  Our client would have fit into the private sector of the economic structure.

 Mass Media

The mass media has a low development in the sense that many of the different modes of communications have low funding. Ghana has newspapers, radio and television stations and Internet. The relationship between the mass media, political, and economic base are all tied together. Newspaper reports practice self-censorship and take bribes because they are paid so little, newspapers are also owned by a few political figures. There are privately owned and government newspapers. About 91 percent of the population uses the Internet, it is the medium most frequently used. The credibility of the media with public is rather low as they are aware of state of the media (bribes, government owned publications, etc.). In this instance the mass media would be used to promote and market the opening of Nordstrom however, our client will have to be careful in the television stations, newspapers, radio stations in which it chooses to advertise.


Ghana has good level of communication, however it is not very reliable. The technological capabilities exist the most used is the Internet with about 91 percent of the population having access to it. There is a lot of corruption in the business world, our client would have to be sure that they are participating with the right institutions and adhering to set regulations and laws.

Legal structure

The rule of law is written into the constitution of Ghana and under other decrees for political institutions and legal systems, however it is not always followed or upheld. The relationship between the legal system and the political power base is a weak one. The Ghana political power base has experienced a lot of difficulties trying to uphold the legal system regulations.  There are no legal codes that directly affect the client and legal and business advisor are strongly needed to enter the Ghana business world.

Social structure

Ghana’s dominant religion is Christianity. The literacy rate in Ghana is between 80-82 percent about 50-52 percent of the population finishes the secondary education level. About 52 percent of Ghana’s population lives in an urban area. Ghana is a multicultural country with various native groups and large influxes of immigration.


Media Monitoring Nordstrom Week of February 4- February 10, 2014

New York luxury fashion brand Marchesa comes to India

India Today

Radhika Bhalla

January 26, 2014

Summary: Marchesa will be launching a Spring/Summer collection in India making it one of the few American retailers entering the Indian fashion industry.

Relevance: It is extremely important that our client brings in big names such as Marchesa into the UAE market with other designers from the region, like India.


Dubai’s got talent: Emaar scouting for next-generation fashion designers

Emirates 24/7

Monday, January 27, 2014

Summary: Dubai Mall and Vogue Italia launch talent-scouting competition to find talented new designers.

Relevance: It would be interesting to see if the Dubai Mall, Vogue Italia would be interested in collaborating with Nordstrom Dubai in showcasing and selling the winner’s collection exclusively at Nordstrom.


Nordstrom Rack to Open First Store in Delaware

Press Release

Feb. 5, 2014

Summary: The first Nordstrom Rack will be opening in 2015 in Delaware.

Relevance: While our client has recently had to close two locations, there is growth in the company and it is important to make this known especially to shareholders and competitors.

Feeling groovy: Trendy British clothing chain to open a big new Galleria store

Culture Map: Houston

By Clifford Pugh

February 5, 2014

Summary: Top Shop is opening a store in Houston, Texas extending its presence in the American fashion industry.

Relevance: Top Shop is making a pronounced mark in the industry and is being successful in the market. The same idea of establishing and expanding abroad could be established, first Dubai then Abu Dhabi.


Dubai, Abu Dhabi Dubbed Middle East’s Fashion Capitals

February 6, 2014

Summary: Dubai and Abu Dhabi have made it onto the coveted list of most fashionable cities in the world.

Relevance: This is very a good sign for our client it means that while the two cities placed in the high 30’s on the list, there is room to growth. Nordstrom can make them more pronounced in the fashion world.

Cultural Metrics: UAE

High Context vs. Low Context- The United Arab Emirates is a high context culture meaning is expected to be understood or known, non-verbals are important in communication.

Power distance

- The United Arab Emirates scores high on this dimension of power distance which means that people accept a hierarchical order in which everybody has a place and which needs no justification or explanation. Inequality and centralization is the norm and, subordinates are expected to be told what to do.

- The United Arab Emirates is a collectivist society. This is means that long-term commitment to the member ‘group’, be that a family, extended family, or extended relationships. Loyalty in a collectivist culture is very important, and over-rides societal rules and regulations that would be strictly followed in an individualistic society. The collective society is based on strong relationships where everyone takes responsibility for others in their group.

Masculinity vs. Femininity
- The United Arab Emirates scores 50 on this dimension and can be considered to be neither masculine nor feminine. This means that motivation to perform well and be the best are important, but so does liking what you making it a ‘neither’ in the category of masculinity and femininity.

Uncertainty avoidance- United Arab Emirates scores 69 on uncertainty avoidance it means that there are rigid codes of belief and behavior. It also means that there is an intolerance of different behaviors and ideas. Countries with high uncertainty avoidance have emotional need for rules, time is money, and punctuality is expected and security is an important element in individual motivation.

Relationship vs. task orientation- Similar to the dimension of masculinity/femininity, the score in the UAE is hard to pin point as it values both relationships and completing tasks.

Cultural Metrics:

Chronemics- Punctuality is very important in the UAE, if a meeting is set to start at noon, it will start at noon.

Proxemics- The cities, such as Dubai are densely populated, personal space is comprised of a smaller person-to-person distance, but that may change once out of those areas.

Haptics- Do not extend your hand to shake a woman’s hand, if you are man, unless she initiates it.

Occulesis- Keep eye contact on the person speaking, occasionally look away. However, when dealing with bosses or superiors a lowered gaze may be more suitable.

Kenisics- Do not show the soles of your feet or shoes while sitting it is considered an insult.


“THE HOFSTEDE CENTRE.” Cultural Insights. N.p., n.d. Web.

Freitag, Alan, and Ashli Quesinberry. Stokes. (2009) Global Public Relations: Spanning Borders, Spanning Cultures. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: New York, NY. Print.

United Arab Emirates


The United Arab Emirates delegates some authority to the federation and retains other powers within each of the member emirates. The Federal Supreme Council elects the president and the vice-president; citizens do not vote. A complex Electoral College elects members to the Federal National Council and its important to note that roughly 6,700 members make up the Electoral College including more than 1,000 women (Freitag & Stokes, 170).

Mass Media

The UAE is a model of communication technology diffusion, and it leads the region in terms of Internet usage and adoption. The National Media Council oversees and supports media initiative and development but also has the power to rescind or suspend media operating licenses for a variety of infractions. Radio and television are largely consolidated under the government-operated Emirates Media, with satellite, broadcast and Internet operations, and Dubai Media, Inc., a semi-government company that runs major radio and television services. The UAE’s 20+ radio stations top the Arab world, and 40 television stations, including some with Western-style programming, constitute a considerable presence. In the mass media, journalist and others in the media practice self-censorship in order to prevent any type of legal trouble. The government has the ability to “ban(s) the dissemination of online material that can threaten “public order”, and provides for prison terms for those who “deride or damage” the reputation of the state and “display contempt” for religion.”  Our client would rely on the mass media to conduct marketing campaigns announcing the opening of Nordstrom Dubai.

Infrastructure and Economic

The UAE has the second largest economy, second to Saudi Arabia who holds the number one spot. It is home to very successful industries, such as oil, technology and textiles to name a few, which have helped develop the economy. The level of communication is extremely high and reliable. The major metropolitan areas have some of the best public transportation systems. Going to the United Arab Emirates will be important to our client as they will have give them the opportunity to tap into a relatively new market. The process of entering the United Arab Emirate business world will be challenging in making sure that Nordstrom adheres to all business regulations instated. There are some very strict regulations in order to establish a business in the UAE: “Under UAE law, foreign entities interested in establishing a formal presence in the UAE have five options: create a permanent establishment, of which there are seven different types; establish a branch office; create an entity in a UAE free zone; create a civil company (only in Sharjah and Dubai); or enter into a commercial agency agreement.

The UAE Commercial Companies Law (CCL) requires that each company established in the UAE has one or more UAE national partners who hold at least 51 percent of the company’s capital. Companies that undertake certain activities (oil industry, production of electricity and gas, treatment and distribution of water) are exempt from the 51 per cent requirement. Companies established in free zones are also exempt from the 51 per cent requirement, if the relevant free zone has special provisions regulating the company. Foreign banks are exempt from having to appoint a sponsor.”

Legal structure

The “rule of law” is written into the government structures and legislations. There are codes concerning communication activities that should complied and all have to deal with making sure that nothing that is transmitted or shown speaks ill of the government, causes public disorder, and conflicts with religion. A legal advisor would strongly be advised, in order to have a successful business venture.

Social structure

The United Arab Emirates is divided into seven emirates, Dubai holds 35 percent of the population and Abu Dhabi holds 31 percent of the population; meaning that over two-thirds of the UAE population live in either Abu Dhabi or Dubai. The dominant religion in the UAE is Islam. The literacy rate is 90 percent. The UAE is a heterogeneous population is made up of a lot different nationalities Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Indian to name a few make up the population. About 80 percent of the population lives in an urban area.


Freitag, Alan, and Ashli Quesinberry. Stokes. (2009) Global Public Relations: Spanning Borders, Spanning Cultures. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: New York, NY. Print.

Nordstrom Media Monitoring January 28 – February 3, 2014

‘The heat is on’: Saks vs Nordstrom turf war set to play out across Canada”

Edmonton Journal

January 30, 2014

By Hollie Shaw, Garry Marr, Financial Post

Summary: Nordstrom entrance into Canada has ignited a more competitive field for other high-end retailers, such as Saks Fifth Avenue.

Relevance: Our client’s growth is gaining press and competitor notice, it shows that we are experiencing growth and steady development in a time that is particularly hard for other retailers.

Indian fashion will go exclusive to mass market – and global: Wendell Rodricks

Garima Sharma

Times of India

January 31, 2014

Summary: A relatively new market in India it is one that is now experiencing growth and is trying to enter the global market.

Relevance:  The Indian fashion industry is projected to grow as it enters the mass market, it would be a conscience choice to try to bring some of that growing industry to Nordstrom Dubai, exclusive lines from Indian designers.


BFC to host Fashion Showcase 2014 during LFW

January 28, 2014 (United Kingdom)

Summary: This event will be showcasing designers from around the world, Austria, China, Paraguay, and Vietnam to name a few. About 300 designers will be present and 45 countries will be represented.

Relevance: This event is great to look for designers that would have successful business with Nordstrom Dubai and connect with our clientele.


Behind the scenes of Dubai’s couture industry

By: Salma Awwad

January 10, 2014

Summary: The couture industry is starting to flourish in Dubai and has experienced growth in the last 25 years.

Relevance: The growth that the industry that has experienced can be something that is highlighted by a retailer such as Nordstrom carrying some of local haute couture designers.


Alexander McQueen brand to open Dubai boutique

By Salma Awwad

January 5, 2014

Summary: The British based designer will be opening a boutique in the Dubai Mall of the Emirates on February 14, 2014.

Relevance: This type of high-end fashion designer boutique will be major competitors and will have to be matched in the types of styles that they bring to sell in the region.




Cultural Metrics: Japan

High context vs. Low context- Japan is a high context culture in which nonverbal communication is the norm and “non-talkativeness is encouraged” (Freitag &Stokes, 146).  The level of implicit communication is high and the boundaries between in and out group members are highly visible (Freitag & Stokes, 146).

Individualism vs. Collectivism- Japan is a unique country in where it falls in the spectrum of individualism and collectivism. When compared to its surrounding neighbors Japan is an individualistic culture because, “Japanese society does not have extended family system which forms a base of more collectivistic societies such as China and Korea.” However, by Western standards Japan is a collectivist culture because they put “harmony of group above the expression of individual opinions and people have a strong sense of shame for losing face.”

Power distance– Japan has a high power distance but not as high as other Asian cultures. “It is a borderline hierarchical society” in Japanese cultures decisions are made through each hierarchical layer and it is a long process, the decision has to be reached with all decision makers in accordance.”

Uncertainty Avoidance- Japan has one of the highest scores of uncertainty avoidance and it is mostly correlated to the constant threat of natural disaster that ensue the country. There are procedures and protocol for all types of events and decision making that are strictly followed, because of the “high need for uncertainty avoidance is one of the reasons why changes are so difficult to realize in Japan.”

Masculinity-Femininity- Japan is one the most masculine societies in the world, but in a different manner than expected. The Japanese culture is highly competitive which is taught at an early age, also the “drive for excellence and perfection in their material production (monodukuri) and in material services (hotels and restaurants) and presentation (gift wrapping and food presentation) in every aspect of life.”  Also the time of work that is put in by the males in Japan is also a factor in the classification of the masculine culture, as they are known to be highly invested in their jobs making it hard for women to advance or find opportunities in corporate fields.

Relationship vs. Task Orientation- Japan is a relationship based culture, especially in the business world. Building a relationship is essential in the Japanese business world as it very difficult to conduct business without it.

Cultural Metrics:

Chronemics: Japan is a monochronic culture, for example if a meeting is set to start at 1:00 pm, it will start at 1:00 pm; punctuality is expected. 

Proxemics- Personal space in Japan is usually kept at arm’s length but in public spaces that is not applicable, because of its large population; in public spaces Japanese people are more comfortable with less personal space.

Haptics- In Japan pointing is not acceptable, the “OK” sign means money, and touching in public is not acceptable (whether to guide someone or show affection).

Occulesics- Excessive eye contact is not acceptable; one bows and lowers gaze when greeting an elder or someone in a high position of power. 

Kenisics:  Make sure to remove shoes before entering someone’s home and accept slippers if offered. Do not show the soles of your feet or shoes while sitting it is considered an insult.


“THE HOFSTEDE CENTRE.” Cultural Insights. N.p., n.d. Web.

Freitag, Alan, and Ashli Quesinberry. Stokes. (2009) Global Public Relations: Spanning Borders, Spanning Cultures. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: New York, NY. Print.