Cross-cultural differences in thought and risk behavior – Implications for safety management
Authors: Atsuo Murata, Toshihisa Doi
Abstract: It has been pointed out that thoughts are affected by culture. While eastern people have a more holistic way of thinking, western people have a more focused analytic way of thinking. Western people tend to behave based on internal attributes. On the other hand, eastern people tend to behave based on the interaction between internal attributes and situational factors. In summary, Western people cannot see the forests for the trees, which generally means that they cannot review the overall situation before discussing the details, and that they seem to infer causes based on effects. To the contrary, eastern people cannot see the trees for the forests and tend to have comprehensive belief and thus judge that they cannot know trees without seeing forests.The cross-cultural difference in thought is expected to lead to the cross-cultural difference in risk behavior. We have clarified cross-cultural differences in baseball game and working hours. Cross-cultural differences are also identified in a variety of fields such as corporate, finance, investment, policy making, management, or traffic behavior. It has been pointed out that individualism has a positive association with corporate risk-taking, whereas uncertainty (risk) avoidance and harmony have negative associations with corporate risk-taking. It has also been demonstrated that apparent differences in risk preference in buying prices for risky financial options were associated primarily with cultural differences in the perception of risk of the financial options. The cross-cultural differences in simulated driver risk-taking behavior have also been clarified. The frequency of risk-taking behavior differed among countries. Risk-taking was found to be higher for domestic firms in countries with low propensity of risk aversion and high individualism (cannot behave more holistically).In this manner, it is expected that cross-cultural difference matters in thoughts and risk behavior of corporate, finance, investment, and management, etc. This paper reviewed cross-cultural differences in thoughts and risk behavior and gave some implications for irrational decision making that took account of cross-cultural differences especially in safety management.
Keywords: cognitive bias, management, plannning, strategy and tactics
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