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15-Cross Cultural Communication

15-Cross Cultural Communication

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Published by: frediz79 on Nov 27, 2011
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06/12/2014

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CROSS CULTURAL COMMUNICATION
 
Learning Value:
On completion of this chapter the reader can:1.Understand the complexities of culture2.General characteristics of culture3.Implications of culture in business operations4.Different nations and different methods to deal5.Challenging cultural elements in the current eraA unique set of traits, behaviours, values, habits, norms and ethics innovatedand practiced in the past and forwarded to the future generation for day today practice is culture.Culture is the essence of life. For many nations it is the basis of their identification and countries are often identified by their cultural inheritance.The culture of the country affects the way people behave, and often explainwhy they behave the way they do. In general, we often talk about orientalculture, western culture and material culture, but these terms are not explicitand can have a number of connotations. The pattern of behaviour in differentcultures will reflect in business deals, working conditions, productivitylevels and whether a company is accepted in different countries.
 
The major challenges to do international business are notonly managing people, money and resources. To trigger allthose resources and succeed one has to understand twoareas:1.CULTURE2.COMMUNICATIONS
 
When business firms operate in different nations, different culturescome together to do business. More than anything else they have to respectthe cultural sentiments of each other. Often, businesses fail not because of logistical shortcomings, but due to the erroneous evaluation or total lack of understanding of the other party’s cultural values.As stated above the culture determines an individual’s actions or  behaviour. The society that people grow up in shapes their basic beliefs,values and norms. They absorb, almost unconsciously, a world view thatdefines their relationship to themselves, to others, to nature and to theuniverse. A society’s beliefs, values and norms are influenced by their family and by the social, educational, and religious systems of a country.What people buy, why they buy, when they buy and how much they buy, areall primarily determined by the typical culture of each country. Culturalattitudes vary considerably among countries, so it is difficult to find general patterns amongst them. For examples, despite the fact that their economiclevels are similar, the French and Germans are culturally quite different. TheFrench are somewhat hostile to frozen food, but the Germans welcome it.Thus, for a frozen food exporter, both these countries hold differentimportance.
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF CULTURE
Culture is a distinctly human capacity for adapting to circumstances andtransmitting these coping skills and knowledge to subsequent generations.Culture gives people a sense of belonging and shapes their behavioural pattern. Culture impacts behaviour morals and productivity at work andincludes values and patterns that influence company operations and actions.Corporate culture affects the way in which an organization copes withcompetition and change, whether in technology, economies or people.The way people do business is different in different countries. InJapan employees are extremely loyal to their employers and will not easilyleave their jobs. The Japanese have great respect for protocol and even theway a person presents his visiting card may determines his compatibility toinitiate business discussions. The Indian business community strongly believes in the concept of a family business, with the line passing fromfather to son. In France it is usual to work five days week, starting early inthe morning. In Germany, serious business discussions do not call fohumour. Delaying, often for weeks, to get a better bargaining strength, is an
 
integral part of Chinese business. In Brazil, no major business decisions will be taken the carnival.
Characteristics
Self-identity and appreciation of others can manifest as a humble bearing inone country and egoistic behaviour in another. Independence and creativityare countered in other cultures by group cooperation and conformity.Americans keep their distance in business negotiations, while this is not soin Latin America and Vietnam.
Communication and Language
In addition to the multitude of different languages, some countries havehundreds of dialects, spoken amongst their different communities andgeographic units. Furthermore, even though body language is universal, themeanings given to gestures often differ in different cultures.
Dress and Appearance
This includes garments and adornments as well as body decorations that aredistinctive of different cultures. For example the Japenese Kimono, theAfrican head dress, the Englishman’s hat and the Indian saree.
Food and Eating Habits
The manner in which food is selected, prepared, presented and eaten oftendiffers in different cultures. Americans love beef, yet it is forbidden toHindus. Both, Moslem and Jewish cultures forbid pork, which is consumedextensively by the Chinese. Many restaurants cater to diverse foods andoffer national dishes to meet varying cultural tastes. Eating habits also differ from one country to another, from hands and chopsticks to a full set of cutlery. Even when cultures use cutley such as a fork, one can distinguish aEuropean from an American by the hand in which he holds a fork or spoon.
Relationships
Cultures fix human and organizational relationships by age, gender, statusand degree of kindness, wealth, power and wisdom. The family unit is themost common expression of these characteristics. In a Hindu household a joint family lives under one roof. In some cultures, the authoritarian figure in

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