In today’s environment, clear and precise information is needed to conduct business in another country. The importance of minimizing culture shock and optimizing successful communication is equally as important. In comparison to traditional guidelines, intercultural guidelines to interact international carries a significant value as well. This can be a determining factor that can result in companies receiving business contracts. To ensure employees are trained adequately a business should prepare employees with information that is imperative to intercultural interactions.
The primary goal of this paper is to explain briefly the importance of universal systems, cultural values, language and thought, social etiquette, business customs, negotiation strategies and culture shock and create questions for each category that reflect what perspective business people need to consider to prepare themselves for that aspect of cultural experience. In the end a reader should possess the skills necessary to communicate appropriately and develop effective relationships. Universal Systems
Universal Systems plays an important role in all cultures because of economics, politics, world economics, educational, marriage and family, social hierarchies, and interaction. Becoming familiar with each category assist others with how a country conducts business as well as the strategies one uses for effective communication. Knowledge of how a culture operates within its country is a way to gain insight into how the country conducts business and provides an individual with a sense of security.
The universal systems in all cultures vary and each culture may use a different approach when conducting business. To fully understand how a culture conducts business and to enhance effective communication it is important to research the culture’s cultural system. For example, the Netherlands has an open economy dependent on foreign trade and Japan’s economy is a capitalistic/free-market one based on manufacturing, fishing, and exporting. Question: What is a nuclear family? A nuclear family is a family that consists of a mother, father, and children;
Question: What is an extended family? An extended family is grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. Cultural Values Cultural Values are highly recognized worldwide. There are many categories that fall under cultural values such as semantic differences, attribution and perception, attitudes toward women, work attitudes, attitudes toward ethics, religious influences, and individualism, and collectivism. The importance of these categories varies from culture to culture. Various cultures carry a difference of opinions on ethical standards, work and toward women (Chaney & Martin, 2007).
The importance of understanding the cultural values of one’s culture will help in communicating effectively throughout one’s experience in another country. It is also important to understand that the attitudes about cultural values vary from culture to culture. For instance, if an individual is in a different country and worked as a manager it would be wise to become familiar with that culture so he or she will understands what motivates the employees as well as deal with solving problem effectively.
Question: Why are attitudes toward women different in many cultures? Attitudes toward women are different in many cultures because of their cultural roots. Question: Why in different parts of the world, religion is an influence? Religion in different parts of the world influences some people decision making whereas in other parts religion is a personal matter. Language and thought When visiting other countries understanding how one communicates and their thought process is important to communicate effectively.
In many cultures the meaning of the same word may vary thus causing confusion if the word is not use correctly. Successful communication involves many languages that help visitors adjust to cultural differences. The language includes high-and low-context, diversity, language of numbers, informal and alternative, forms of verbal interaction, linear and nonlinear, vocabulary equivalence, parables and proverbs, conversation taboos, nature of languages, translation problems, interpreter use, host language, thought, and language and culture interaction.
Knowing the difference between the many dialects of cultures could cut down on barriers when communicating in countries. For example, learn some communication strategies the cultures use and adopt some of their language into existence when engaging in a conversation with someone in that culture. Question: Why is important to understand the host language? It is important so one can communicate effectively. Question: Why is it important to understand which topics to avoid when communicating in other cultures?
It is important because some topics are considered to personal to discuss. Social etiquette Social etiquette is manners that are accepted in a social setting (Chaney & Martin, 2007). Knowledge of certain rules when visiting other countries is imperative when conducting business. Different categories fall under social etiquette such as introductions, business card exchange, position and status, electronic communication etiquette, dining practices, tipping, gift giving, and travel etiquette. The importance of these categories in each culture varies.
To understand each culture and correct procedure in each category it is wise to study the culture beforehand and adapt to their rules and regulations for a successful ending. Question: Why is it important to understand in different cultures meal times are different? To ensure everyone has the same understanding of when the meal will be served. Question: Why is it important to understand international travel? So everyone can understand the importance of first impression. Business customs The importance of knowing how customs relate to a specific culture can determine how an individual relates to circumstances.
The categories that fall under business customs is greeting and handshaking, verbal expressions, male/female relationships and workplace quality, humor in business, superstitions and taboos, dress and appearance, customs associated with holidays and holy days, office customs and practices, customary demeanor/behavior, bribery, and special foods, and consumption taboos. Understanding each category can assist an individual with the tools him or her need when encountering intercultural differences. For example, if the person is visiting in Asia, then the individual should know that Asian’s andshakes are gentle whereas in the United States the handshakes are firm. Question: Why is it important to know the business customs associated with different cultures? It is important for the scheduling of telephone calls and business trips. Question: Why is important to understand the importance of humor in business? Humor in businesses varies from culture to culture. Negotiation strategies In understanding the negotiation process one must first understand the culture in which the negotiation will take place (Chaney & Martin, 2007).
Negotiation in each culture varies, so understanding the involvement between how businesses negotiate can help each business reach an agreement that will be beneficial for both. The negotiation process consist of the steps involved in the negotiation process, mistakes made during the negotiations, intercultural negotiation models, negotiation strategies, trade agreements, and negotiation styles. For example, if the process takes place in Germany it would be wise to know that Germans believe friendships and personal relationships can complicate matters, whereas in China, Chinese deems it necessary to develop a relationship.
Question: Why is it important to understand the negotiations styles in cultures? The importance is to understand the opponent’s way of negotiating. Question: What is the importance of understanding trade agreements? The importance is to understand what can be exported out of the country. Cultural Shock In understanding how cultural shock affects an individual one must first understand the meaning of cultural shock. As stated in Chapter 4, cultural shock is trauma one experience when entering a different culture other than where they live (Chaney & Martin, 2007).
Cultural shock can lead to depression, affects one’s ability to function properly as well as cause stress. There are many categories that fall under cultural shock such as stages of cultural shock, alleviating cultural shock, aspects of cultural shock, relationships and family considerations and public and private self. Each of these categories offers information on how to cope with living in a different cultural environment. Adapting to how the cultural lives and the willingness to conform to their habits usually helps with the process.
The outcome to culture shock is being able to recognize the signs and learn ways to alleviate the shock. Proper training and the careful selections of people chosen can assist with having a lower rate of a cultural shock. For example, if a person shows signs of not adapting to the pre-departure training exercise then perhaps that individual is not a good candidate. This particular sign could reduce costly turnovers and save the company money. Question: What are the aspects of cultural shock? The aspects are social alienation, financial matters, social class and family consideration.
Question: What are the stages of cultural shock? The stages are excitement, crisis adjustment, acceptance, and reentry. To fully understand the cultural differences and experiences within various cultures one must prepare and be willing to adapt to new surroundings. With the information presented a reader should possess the skills necessary to communicate appropriately and develop effective relationships. References Chaney, L. H. & Martin, J. S. (2007). Intercultural business communication (4th Ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.