The Importance of Cross-Cultural Business Communications
Sep 26, The Importance of Communication in International Business Partnerships are being formed with people from diverse cultures as business relationships are formed. can cause loss of business and even international tension among countries. Kwintessential: Intercultural Communication Articles. Keywords: International Business; Intercultural Communication; Etiquette; . sense that the relationship between the company and the employee is contractual. As a communications expert with a background in behavioral and cultural Sometimes when managing international business relationships, you need to go .
- Rites of Initiation
- 2. Workplace etiquette
- 1. Communication
Communication is intricately blended with non-verbal communication and etiquette. Understanding Culture Because cultures vary so widely across the globe, understanding the differences in culture is vital to the business environment. A person's culture impacts the way he communicates. For example, in Japan people do not like to say the word "no. This can cause confusion. Another cultural example is in Saudi Arabia. Never discuss women, even to ask about a female family member's health.
In Saudi Arabia, you may be having a business meeting and the person may leave the room for up to 20 minutes. The Saudi person may have gone to prayers as he considers the business meeting more of a discussion than a formal meeting. Communication Errors Understanding the local meaning of a word or phrase is a vital aspect of international communication.
Errors can cause embarrassment and can show disrespect. According to Kwintessential, a communication company, an example of a communication error occurred with the Kellogg company. It was selling a cereal product in Sweden. The cereal name, Bran Buds, can generally mean, "burned farmer," in Sweden. Another example is the ad, "Come Alive with Pepsi," by Pepsico. Finally, Chinese businesspersons employ shame when individuals violate the trust of a relationship.
When conducting business in China or in the United States with a person from China, the rules of business etiquette are controlled and determined by face giving and taking. For example, when giving introductions, remember that the surname comes first and the given name last. The authors stress that out of concern for their business partners, many times, the handshake is combined with a bow so that each culture shows the other proper respect.
Another example of how face influences Chinese business etiquette is the importance of the business card exchange. Chinese business cards represent the person to whom you are being introduced, so it is polite to study the card for a while and then put it down as a sign of respect. Furthermore, Chaney and his colleague note that, as a mark of respect and appreciation, the Chinese examine business cards carefully and make some favorable comments while accepting them.
During meetings with Chinese, it is a common practice for them to place business cards of others attending the meeting in front of them on the conference table in order to properly refer to names, ranks, and titles. Usually, both hands are used when presenting and receiving cards, and they position cards strategically so that they can be read easily.
British England Business Etiquette Business etiquette in England is based on a strong sense of identity and nationalism. Traditions and customs etiquette are very important to the English, as they tend to be reserved and expect others to act accordingly.
Unlike businesspersons from the U.
The Importance of Cross-Cultural Business Communications
Harper notes that when conducting business in England, be careful about asking too many personal questions too quickly, partly because it makes them nervous and partly because they are naturally reserved.
There, as well as, in other European countries, dress is an indication of social and business status, so it is important to dress your best by selecting clothing made of quality fabrics with fine tailoring.
English inappropriate attire includes sweat suits and tennis shoes, which are viewed as appropriate only for athletic activities. In addition, the authors note that the English can be tough and ruthless negotiators and can sometimes appear quaint and eccentric, many times causing other cultures to underestimate their skill.
Mole adds that the English businessperson quickly lose their reserve when their basic assumptions about themselves are challenged. German Business Etiquette Troyanovich explains that business etiquette in Germany is based on the formal culture of Germany that defines behavioral expectations in great detail, providing its participants with the knowledge of what to do and when to do it. They prefer a hierarchical organizational structure because it avoids uncertainty, where power is ensured within the organization.
They are autocrats, who prefer formal communication when conducting business. In addition, they focus on personal achievements and truth and directness are important aspects in business. Tinsley and Woloshin add that the ideal person is one who can be relied on to do what is expected and whose behavior is predicable, steady, and not much influenced by the opinions of others or by opportunity.
Martin and Chaney also pointed out that more recent research indicates that class status in important to Germans, and even though all people have equal rights under the law, in reality inequalities exist. For example, being on time for all business and social engagements is more important to the German culture than any of the six countries surveyed in this paper Axtell, Being only a few minutes late for meeting can be insulting to German managers and if you are delayed, an explanatory call is expected.
The value of time for the German businessperson is not primarily monetary, however, and there has never been any strong tendency to take time from other activities to increase the amount of time devoted to business affairs. Another example of German business etiquette reflective of their strict adherence to normative behavior is their etiquette for introductions. Martin and Chaney explain that in Germany, you always use a title when addressing someone until you are told it is okay to use first names.
Troyanovich notes that German businesspersons are very time-conscious and that their preoccupation with punctuality is reflected in the formalized way time is reported to the German public. In agreement, Mole explains that there is a strong sense that the relationship between the company and the employee is contractual, thus you are paid for so many hours and you work as hard as you can for that period of time.
These contextual differences are apparent in the way businesspersons in Japan approach situations such as decision making and negotiating.
For example, negotiators working on business deals in Japan may spend more time building relationships instead of working out contractual agreements. In other words, protecting the business relationship may be as important as making the final business decision.
Martin and Chaney reported that the use of high-context communication can be very confusing to the uninitiated, nonsenitive intercultural businessperson. When a Japanese businessperson speaks, they expect the person to interpret what they mean by their knowledge of the cultural values that lie behind the words.
How cultural differences impact international business in Hult Blog
When conducting business meetings in Japan, Bovee and Thill explain that the rules of etiquette are controlled and determined by their cultural context, the pattern of physical cues, environmental stimuli, and implicit understanding that convey meaning between two members of the same culture.
Much of the time in these meeting is spent exchanging information about the companies in question before discussing specific business proposals. As Martin and Chaney emphasized, building relationships and friendships in Japan is a necessary prerequisite for doing business in their country. Signing a contract in Japan, as well as in other Asian cultures, does not signal a sale or negotiation but a continuation of a relationship with obligations and duties in the future. But the success in global business ventures will be affected by the inability of countries to understand appropriate business etiquette, customs, and values needed to conduct business among nations of the world.
As a number of authors have indicated, an understanding cultural differences as well as intercultural communication competence will not only assist businesses to bridge the communication gap among countries involved in international trade negotiations but will also enable multinational and multicultural managers to manage cultural differences more effectively.
Because communication is culture-bound and culture specific, it is critically important that countries involved in international business should devote time to learn, understand, and appreciate the different ethical habits and appropriate etiquette for conducting business transactions in order to establish a lasting strategic relationships and alliances.
In light of the benefits and challenges of globalization in the twenty-first century expanded business operations, developing intercultural competence, and developing multicultural sensitivity and global mindset will be instrumental to the success of international business practices, transactions, and negotiations among participating nations.
The Importance of Communication in International Business | Bizfluent
Washington, PhD is an assistant professor of business and management communication at Howard University. He is the core course coordinator for the business communication program in the School of Business, Department of Marketing. His research focuses on intercultural communication, organizational communication, and critical pedagogy. Address correspondence to Melvin C. Okoro, PhD is an assistant professor of business communication and marketing at Howard University.
His research interests probe the interface between intercultural communication and workforce diversity in the context of globalization. Address correspondence to Dr. His primary research interests focus on mass and organizational communication.
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