INDIA / FRANCE: UNDERSTANDING CULTURAL DIFFERENCES
At first sight, we can think that two countries as geographically distant could have opposite characteristics. However, those who have already had the opportunity to travel and to see the complicity between French and Indians, or those who are familiar with the relatively peaceful common history between both countries, will not be surprised to learn that the two countries differ mainly on a few cultural dimensions. The hierarchical distance, the "masculinity" and the long-term orientation of the two societies are relatively close, even if some differences are not to be neglected.
It is not surprising to note here that France is more Individualistic, while India remains attached to historically and anthropologically inked collectivist values. If France has a mosaic of family types (complex in the South-West and in Brittany, nuclear around Paris) it is rather the family type called "nuclear", whose households are composed of one or two generations, which predominates, hence the tendency to individualism, even if we are far from the scores reached by Anglo-Saxon countries for instance. This last point is also encouraging in prospects of collaboration between both countries. India, on the other hand, is rather made up of so-called "complex" families with several generations under the same roof, although a multitude of structures are observed with strong variations according to regions.
This is undeniably the main criterion for differentiating the two cultures. But here too, nothing surprising for the French who have already traveled to India and vice versa. It is easy to think of Frenches as anxious or Indians as too relax depending on the point of view. Indians have a great confidence in the realization of things, even if it is necessary to adapt during processes, whereas French attach importance to the respect of a precise structure, a set of specifications defined upstream and a respect of deadlines. French will be easily irritated during collaborations with Indians because temporal landmarks are not the same, and Indians will have difficulties to understand the remonstrances of French collaborators regarding time management. This aspect is crucial if we want to avoid classic pitfalls of this type of collaboration. The restriction propensity and the long-term orientation reflect this cultural difference, even if the proportions are not the same as for the relation to uncertainty. The influence of the dominant religion is important here to understand the sources of this major difference. We will have the opportunity to come back to it in detail in a future article.