Chapter Five – International Business Styles. Gladys Hung. Key vocabulary. The characteristics of management often vary according to national culture , which can determine how managers are trained, how they lead people and how they approach their jobs.
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The characteristics of management often vary according to national culture, which can determine how managers are trained, how they lead people and how they approach their jobs.
The amount of responsibility of any individual in a company depends on the position that he or she occupies in its hierarchy. Mangers, for example, are responsible for leading the people directly under them, who are called subordinates.
To do this successfully, they must use their authority, which is the right to take decisions and give orders. Mangers often delegate authority. This means that employees at lower levels in the company hierarchy can use their initiative, that is make decisions without asking the manager.
Reading – paragraph one
The does and don’t of travelling abroad are a potentialminefield for the unprepared traveller. If you spit in some countries, you could end up in prison. In others, spitting is a competitive sport.
Reading – paragraph 2
The Centre for International Briefing has spent 40 years preparing the wary traveller for such pitfalls. Though it may sound like a covert operation for aspiring secret agents. What the Centre does is prepare travellers for encounters with new social and business customs worldwide. To date, over 50,000 people have passed through its headquarters at Farnham Castle in Surrey. ‘There are two broad tracks to our training programme.’ explains Jeff Tom, Marketing Director. ‘One covers business needs, the other social etiquette. For example, business travellers need to know how decision-making works.’
Reading – paragraph 3 and 4
In Asian cultures most of it takes place behind the scenes. In China, it may be necessary to have government involved in any decisions taken. And in India, people are sometimes late for a scheduled appointment.
Greetings, gestures and terms of address are all potential hazards abroad. While we are familiar with short firm handshake in this part of the world, in Middle East the hand is held in a loose grip for a longer time. In Islamic cultures, showing the soles of your feet is a sign of disrespect and crossing your legs is seen as offensive.
Reading – paragraph 5
The difference between understanding a culture and ignoring its conventions can be the measure of success or failure abroad. Jeff Tom tells the story of a British employee asked to post a letter by her Indonesian employer. ‘She knew the letter was too late for the six o’clock post, so she decided to hold it until the eight o’clock one. Her boss saw the letter on her desk and sacked her for not posting it immediately. In Western cultures, we believe in empowering people and rewarding them for using initiative, but other cultures operate on the basis of obeying direct orders.’
Reading – paragraph 6
John Doherty, International Marketing Director with the Irish Industrial Development Authority, explains how you can easily take yourself into trouble at a business meeting in Japan: ‘For them, the most senior person at the meeting will say very little, and the person doing most of the talking is now very important.’ Doherty has spent 12 of his 16 years with the IDA working abroad in USA, Germany, South-East Asia and Japan.
Reading – paragraph 7
‘In a country like Japan, the notion of personal space which we value so simply has no meaning,’ he says. ‘With a population of 125 million condensed into a narrow strip of land, private space for the Japanese is virtually non-existent. You can’t worry about your personal space in a packed train when people are standing on your feet.’
Reading – paragraph 8Tiptoeing through the minefield
Show an interest in, and at least an elementary knowledge of the country you are visiting.
Learn a few words of the language – it will be seen as a compliment.
Be sensitive to countries who have bigger and better-known neighbours, and try not to confuse Canadians with Americans, New Zealanders with Australians, Belgians with French.
Familiarise yourself with the basics of business and social etiquette. As a starting point, learning how to greet people is very important.
Reading – paragraph 8Tiptoeing through the minefield
Assume you won’t meet any communication problems because you speak English. You may think you are paying somebody a compliment by telling them their business is going a bomb. Americans will infer you think it is falling.
Appear too reserved. As Americans are generally more exuberant than their European colleagues, they may equatereserve with lack of enthusiasm.
Hierarchy: a system of persons or things arranged in a graded order
Subordinate: Belonging to a lower or inferior class or rank; secondary.
Delegate: To commit or entrust to another
Initiative: The power or ability to begin or to follow through energetically with a plan or task
Vocabulary – paragraph 1 and 2
Potential: Having possibility, capability, or power
Minefield: A situation that has many potential hazards or dangers.
Competitive: - involving competition or competitiveness
Pitfall: an unsuspected difficulty or danger
Covert: concealed or secret
Vocabulary – paragraph 3 and 4
Hazard:A chance of being injured or harmed; danger
Offensive:Causing anger, displeasure, resentment, or affront
Convention: A practice or procedure widely observed in a group, especially to facilitate social interaction; a custom
Sack: terminate the employment of; discharge from an office or position
Vocabulary – paragraph 5-8
Condensed: narrower than usual for a particular height Compare
Virtually: practically; nearly
Sensitive: Susceptible to the attitudes, feelings, or circumstances of others.
Compliment: An expression of praise, admiration, or congratulation.
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