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Understand Cultural Differences. Cultural differences have huge impacts in the business world International business dealings Working locally with an international work force Culture profoundly affects how people communicate And communication is the basis of all business activities

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understand cultural differences
Understand Cultural Differences
  • Cultural differences have huge impacts in the business world
    • International business dealings
    • Working locally with an international work force
  • Culture profoundly affects how people communicate
    • And communication is the basis of all business activities
  • The Silent Language
    • Culture is often outside of people’s conscious awareness
what is culture
What is Culture?
  • How does it impact business activities?
  • How can cultural differences hamper international business?
  • How can an understanding of cultural differences improve international business?
what is culture3
What is Culture?
  • A lens – a frame of reference
    • Through which we view and interpret human interaction
  • 90% of communication is nonverbal
    • Nonverbal communication is heavily culturally influenced
key concepts
Key Concepts
  • Speed: fast and slow messages
  • Context
  • Space
  • Time
  • Information Flow
  • Interfacing
fast and slow messages
Fast and slow messages
  • How quickly is the meaning of a message understood?
    • Art is slow; a cartoon is fast
    • Television is faster than print
  • Messages are sent and received at different speeds depending upon culture
  • People are messages
    • How long does it take to “know” a person?
context
Context
  • How much of the relevant information is in the message, and how much is already understood by sender and receiver?
  • High context situations
    • a message can contain lots of meaning without much information content
  • Low context situations
    • The message must contain all relevant information
space
Space
  • Territoriality
    • What space and how much of it is “mine”?
    • Size and location of an office
  • Personal space
    • How close is too close?
    • This is very culturally dependent
slide8
Time
  • How people view time is very culturally dependent
  • Monochromatic vs. polychromatic
    • How many things are done at once?
      • One thing: monochromatic
      • Many: polychromatic
slide9
Time
  • Polychronic cultures
    • Lots of information is present
    • Very tolerant of interruptions
    • Very fluid and flexible
  • Monochronic cultures
    • Compartmentalized
    • Schedules and agendas very important
time orientation to past present and future
Time: Orientation to Past, Present and Future
  • Cultures differ in the importance they place on past, present and future
    • For example: in some cultures, current proposals must be positioned in terms of their historical relationships
  • Respect given to age and seniority is also relevant here
time as communication
Time as Communication
  • Time-related behavior “says” a lot
    • But it’s all different by culture
  • Examples of time as communication
    • How far ahead are appointments scheduled?
    • How much importance is placed on a schedule?
    • How is waiting time interpreted?
    • What does setting end dates imply?
time as communication12
Time as Communication
  • Other cultures
    • Schedule and agendas are viewed as goals, not binding
    • Promptness is not as important as completing a human interaction
      • As a result, interruptions will delay appointments
    • Forcing someone to wait is not intended as an insult
information flow
Information Flow
  • How fast does information make its way through an organization?
  • In highly networked, high context cultures
    • Very fast
    • Information is not “hoarded”
  • In other cultures
    • Information flow is slow because communication is more compartmentalized
  • Email is changing this, but…
    • Email is a low-information-content medium
context14
Context
  • Low context cultures
    • US and Canadian
    • Northern European
  • High context cultures
    • Mediterranean (Arab, Greek, Southern European)
    • Japanese
    • African
    • Latin American
space15
Space
  • Territoriality
    • What space and how much of it is “mine”?
    • Size and location of an office
      • US: Executives have large, isolated spaces
      • Japan: Executives often don’t have private offices
  • Personal space
    • How close is too close?
    • This is very culturally dependent
    • North American, North European
      • Don’t get too close!
    • Mediterranean, Latin, African: close
slide16
Time
  • How do monochromatics view polychronicism?
    • Chaotic
    • Noisy
    • Inefficient (is anything getting done?
    • Creates anxiety
  • How do polychromatics view monochronicism?
    • Slow, sterile, boring, uncreative
    • Creates frustrations
time orientation to past present and future17
Time: Orientation to Past, Present and Future
  • Cultures differ in the importance they place on past, present and future
  • US culture is very present and near-future oriented
  • In some cultures (German, French) historical context is very important
  • Some Asian, Arab cultures are very past-oriented
time as communication18
Time as Communication
  • Highly scheduled cultures
    • North America, Northern European
    • Lots of importance placed on punctuality
    • Time communicates importance
    • Poor schedule adherence
      • Interpreted as arrogance or incompetence
interfacing
Interfacing
  • What happens when different cultures meet?
  • Least difficult interfacing
    • Low context to low context
    • Germans and Americans
    • Canadians and Scandinavians
  • Most difficulty
    • High context to low context
    • High context to high context
so what do you do
So What Do You Do?
  • Don’t judge culture
    • No culture is more or less valuable or efficient than any other
  • Understand your own cultural framework
  • Be interested – study – the cultures you work with
  • Move slowly and softly
    • Ask, listen, observe
  • Be brave and have fun!