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GPC

Elizabeth
Visits GPCs
French
Subsidiary

Things Elizabeth Moreno could do to establish her position in front of


French Managers
Global Pharmaceutical Company (GPC) has worldwide operations making it a complex organization
in terms of cultural ties in different parts of the world; currently GPC has operations in countries
shown in Table -1:
Table 1 - GPC Operations Worldwide

Philippines
New York
New Jersey

GPC Operations World Wide


Michigan
Canada Puerto Rico
Brazil
England
Pennsylvania

Australia
France

(Administrative
headquarters)

GPCs geographical locations all over the globe make face to face meetings and consultations vital for
the success of the business. GPCs top scientist and key managers log thousands of jet miles a year
visiting various offices and plants. In pharmaceutical industry its very important to keep a track
record of the performance of all the units of a business.
In order to effectively manage and get things done across borders management has to be well
equipped with high and low context cultures prevailing in Europe and other parts of the world where
GPC has its operations.

Communication
To keep up communication with all the sites GPC uses following methods:
1.
2.
3.
4.

multisite real-time video and telephone conferences


electronic mail, faxes, modems and traditional mail
Face-to-face meetings
On-site consultations

GPC must keep up using all the communication channels compete in todays changing environment.
Cross-border cooperation can be influenced by cultural, social, political and economic similarities or
differences across borders. Dissimilarities between economic systems and in levels of economic
development, dissimilar social systems, a lack of a common language and cultural tradition, poor
knowledge of each others attitudes and behavioural patterns can all contribute to a lack of trust
between potential partners, inhibiting cooperation across borders as noted by Smallbone, D., Welter,

F. & Xheneti, M. (Eds.). (2012). Hence communication plays an important role in cross-border
organizations.

French Subsidiary
As discussed above French have dissimilarities in culture, social, political and economic similarities.
In the French subsidiary nothing takes place in face-to-face consultations, every things done on
emails, faxes, video conferences and using economic mediums. The French management is very cost
efficient and believes in reducing financial cost by decreasing expenses like flying, face to face
consultations and site visits. Hence reflects the French management suspicious of figures in the
balance sheet and trying to reduce cost from every single corner.
In order to keep up with language differences in America and French GPC regularly sends its
scientists and executives to France.
French management is also different in terms of viewing their work as an intellectual challenge that
requires application of individuals brain power.
French gets thing done with the power of the position, which will act as an advantage for Elizabeth as
she is the Vice President of chemical development and processing at GPC. Elizabeth should exploit
her position to get things done.
Another difference between French and American management is that French rely on people who can
adapt to any situation using their intellectual qualities, in contrast to Americans where they place high
value on training and education.

Elizabeth Moreno
A key specialist in chemical processing at GPC with twelve years of working experience at GPC,
currently the Vice president of chemical development and processing. A highly skilled and intellectual
person of chemical processing at GPC, she had been working at the GPC after her graduation from the
university. She could also exploit her knowledge about the company and its operations and
strategically get things done.
A bigger challenge facing Elizabeth is that she is not fluent in French and has a very little experience
of France. Provided Elizabeth already had a training in America on cultural differences in France and
is well equipped with the knowledge of how things would be different in France. Elizabeth could use
this knowledge to help her complete the training assignment in five days.

Assignment
Elizabeth is visiting the French subsidiary plant for one week to study the problem GPC facing with
the shelf-life of their newly launched product for anti-allergy. Conduct training for chemists in the

state-of-the-art techniques for testing and for training local managers in product statistical quality
control and she has five days to complete the assignment.
As companies become increasingly global, clashes between managers of different cultures are
occurring with greater and greater frequency. Many of these clashes could be avoided if people were
simply more aware of how people from other cultures perceive them and how those cultures differ
from one another as stated by Elashmawi, F. (2001).
Elizabeth simply needs to understand the Management at the French Subsidiary and how people will
perceive her, she will have to incorporate this into her training.
Elizabeth can use her position and get things done in France also she should develop relationship with
the French management and use indirect communication channels to complete her assignment.
Elizabeth must communicate with the French management using indirect, informal communication
styles in order to setup a state-of-the-art training facility for the French.
Elizabeth will have to use strategies in her training catering the French where people view their work
as an intellectual challenge and dont believe in training and educating.

High-context versus low-context cultures in Europe


One of the ways to study global culture and its influences on communication is to arrange all the
countries on a continuum for high-to low-context. Traditionally, high context countries place high
value on relationships and favour indirect communication when conducting business. High context
assign more meaning to share history, nonverbal signals, and the context of the message than to what
is said. High-context countries include:
1. Japan
2. China
3. Asian Countries
Low context countries value productivity, prefer direct communication, and give minimal attention to
relationship building. Following countries are considered low-context culture countries:
1. United States
2. Canada
3. Northern Europe
The following figure-1 shows the continuum for high to low context culture countries as noted by
Krizan, A. C. B., Merrier, P., Logan, P. & Williams, K. S. (2011):

Figure 1 - High to Low Context Culture continuum

French lie almost in the middle of the continuum inclined towards High Context culture and
Americans are in the middle as well inclined towards Low Context culture. This shows that Elizabeth
must rely more on indirect communication when communicating with the managers at French
subsidiary and build relationships with the management as the give more value to relationships. But
the continuum also shows that French and Americans do not have much cultural context differences
which should help Elizabeth to get her assignment completed.

Report to avoid communications pitfalls


Elizabeth must include the cultural context differences in her report and explain what to do in order to
develop an effective communication channel with the French management at the French subsidiary.
Must include in the report that the French subsidiary requires more of relationship building because to
the cultural differences in France and GPC must do more to fill the communication gap with the
French subsidiary.
Elizabeth should also include in the report to adopt a common corporate language across all the
branches of GPC worldwide, which will certain help officials travelling to different parts of the world.

Technical Language vs. every day language in corporate communications


Technical language differs from everyday language in corporate communications especially when
these communications are taking place cross the borders. Every country will have different jargons
used in corporate language which are never heard in everyday language. These jargons may differ
from country to country in the same industry.
As a company builds operations in multiple foreign locations, it inevitably take son a more and more
diverse multinational workforce. While local employees enable important local market responses to
be made, they also increase the demands on effective inter-unit co-ordination, from this perspective,
handling a modern multinational (MNC) becomes an important issues, as noted by Piekkari, R. M.,
Welch, D. & Welch, L. (2011). Thus technical language plays an important role in corporate
communications.

References

Elashmawi, F. (2001). Competing Globally: Mastering cross-cultural management and negotiations.


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