United States: About the United States – An Introduction Part 1


Geography, regions & subcultures

Geography. The United States of America is the third largest country in the world both in size and population. It is bordered by Canada to the North and Mexico to the South in North America. It is about two and half times the size of Western Europe and half the size of Russia.

Topography and Climate. Including the non-continental states [Hawaii and Alaska] the United States covers the gamut in terms of environment and geography, from tropical to arctic, and from deserts and plains to rugged mountains and volcanoes. Mainland US is best known for its vast central plains, and mountain chains in the West and to a lesser extent in the East.

Geographic Regions. The US is often divided into geographic regions that also represent subcultures present in the US. The most common regional divisions are: the West Coast, the Midwest, the South, and the East Coast. Further divisions may also be made; for example, the South may further be distinguished by the Deep South [including states like Louisiana and Mississippi] and the Southwest [including states like New Mexico and Arizona].

Regional Subcultures. There are a number of differences within these regions including cuisine, history, commodities, prevalent industries, political tendencies, and natural topography. As a result, many Americans take pride in the region and/or state where they are from.

Regional Business Subcultures. Many stereotypes exist about people from these different regions. In general, Southerners are known for their ‘Southern Hospitality,’ showing a great level of consideration and warmth for business counterparts. The West Coast is known for a more casual, informal approach to business while the East Coast is often considered the more formal and sometimes conservative counterpart in terms of dress and conduct. Expect many exceptions to these generalizations.

Individual Business Cultures. Regional background should be taken into account when learning about American businesses. Individual factors including industry, business structure, management, and business mission also play a strong role in shaping an individual business culture. Those wishing to do extensive business within one region in the US are well-advised to spend some time researching that area in particular. Those wishing to do business with specific companies should invest additional time researching individual business culture through corporate literature, marketing, and websites.

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