The Impact of Cultural Differences on International business relationships
As your enterprise grows to a level where it is ready to join the global economy, cultural sensitivity should be the next boardroom agenda if you wish to develop a competitive edge. From a business standpoint, culture refers to the customs, ideas, and the acceptable code of conduct that differs from one community to another.
What may seem acceptable to one community or country may be a grave insult in another. That is the whole point of cultural sensitivity. So, how exactly does culture affect the global marketplace, and why should you care? Let’s deliberate on several key aspects.
Whether local or international environments, how you communicate with your prospects can be the difference between thriving and barely surviving. However, communication in the global economy goes beyond the usual language barriers. It is more of how you convey your message, the tone, mannerisms, and gestures.
All that zeroes into the general behavior that different communities expect. For instance, in a US or German ecosystem, it is okay to be loud and assertive when talking to your prospects; however, in a country like Japan, being soft and passive will help you close more deals.
For that reason, using the appropriate language and being sensitive to verbal and non-verbal communication can steer your business toward tremendous success.
Different cultures look at organizational hierarchy from different perspectives. For example, consider Sweden—a Scavandian country and, once again, Japan.
Swedes value equality and tend to disregard ranks at the workplace—they embrace a flat organizational hierarchy. On the other hand, the Japanese tradition expects the exact opposite. People in senior positions deserve absolute respect and veneration from their juniors.
As a result, this understanding should translate to the way you assign roles in your global business.
Etiquette ranges from the formality of addressing your business partners and clients to working hours and your adherence to rules and regulations.
When it comes to addressing people, different communities prefer either the first name or last name. If you are dealing with the Chinese, consider using the latter. On the contrary, Americans prefer using the first name.
Also, some communities consider working for extra hours as a demonstration of hard work and commitment. However, in other cultures, this may be interpreted as a lack of concern for personal and family time.
Cultures have diverse interpretations when it comes to adherence to business laws. In some countries, running an unregistered or illegal business may not only attract a legal penalty, but also cause clients to abandon one’s company. In view of that, learning and adhering to the existing laws are imperative.
Don't lose your international deals.
Be keen not to lose valuable international deals because you ignored these aspects. Before venturing into the global market, consider doing in-depth research to establish the culture of your target audience. Think about their language, communication mannerisms, how they interpret formality in business, and the laws governing business operations.