2 International Business Culture BADM Wk 4International Business CultureTerry Ryan2
3 Communicating Across Cultures LANGUAGECommunication amongst people from thesame culture is often challengingCommunication with people who speak a differentlanguage is complicated by different ideas,attitudes, assumptions, perceptions andmethods of communicationCommunication takes place in two ways:Explicit words that are mutually understoodImplicit or non-verbal communications: the “silentlanguage”3
4 Communicating Across Cultures Just one flawed assumption can derail messagesWho – is the sender the right person?Who – is the intended recipient the right person?What – is the context appropriate?What – is the content appropriate?How – is the medium appropriate?How – is the style appropriate?How – is the location appropriate?4
5 Communicating Across Cultures Linguistic Proficiency is paramount (even withother “English” speakers.Cultural Competency is equally importantAlthough American English is often viewed asthe language of business, it is oftendesirable to have expats learn the host-nation’s language.WHY?Practicality is questioned5
6 Communicating Across Cultures Demonstrate trust and respect – veryimportant in many cultures. (Language andreligion are primary drivers of culture.)Translating slows the flow, especially in saleand negotiation scenarios. If one partyknows both languages, he or she has adistinct advantage: what is this benefit?Benefits to the individual:Better understanding of other cultureHelps in learning of additional languagesGain fuller understanding of one’s own culture6
7 Communicating Across Cultures More examples of poor translations:Cigarettes with low “asphalt”Computer “underwear”“wet sheep” “Roto”KY Jelly“BIMBO” – what and where???Zit (Euro), Super Piss (FI) and Calpis (JPN)Same English words – different meaningsTabling an issueFlats/apartmentsTrainers/sneakersHooter/horn7
8 Communicating Across Cultures Language - The method of human communication,either spoken or written, consisting of the use ofwords in a structured and conventional way.Conventionally, we think of language as (1) audible,articulate, meaningful sound as produced by theaction of the vocal organs(2) : a systematic means of communicating ideasor feelings by the use of conventionalized signs,sounds, gestures, or marks having understoodmeanings:(3) : the means by which animals communicate(4) : a formal system of signs and symbols (asFORTRAN or a calculus in logic) including rules8
9 Communicating Across Cultures Linguistic Diversity750 languages in Sub-Saharan AfricaBut, fewer than 100 are spoken by 95 percent of the earth’s population.One-thousand Native American LanguagesHow was one Southwestren tribe’slanguage used in WWII ??9
10 Communicating Across Cultures Influence of Culture in LanguageWhat two activities’ terms are over-used inbusiness???Most of us recognise technological andoccupational terms – both old and newschoolCarburetor Fuel injectionTypewriter KeyboardProgrammer (TV) Programmer (S-ware)10
11 Communicating Across Cultures le WebCommunicating Across CulturesInfluence of Culture in LanguageUSA – incorporate foreign-language phrases:Quid pro quo; ex post facto; pro temà la mode; apéritif; laissez-faire; raison d'êtreJapan – Independent Rear Suspension trans-lates to Independent Rear Suspension!France – the “language policeWWW le Web la toileHackers les fourniersSurfer un surfer aquaplanchisteWeekend le Weekend fin de semaine11
12 Lost in the Clouds Influence of Culture in Language The word on the table that morning was "cloud computing."To translate the English term for computing resources that can be accessed on demand on the Internet, a group of French experts had spent 18 months coming up with "informatique en nuage," which literally means "computing in cloud."France's General Commission of Terminology and Neology – a group of professors, linguists, scientists and a former ambassador -- was gathered in a building overlooking the Louvre to approve the term. "What? This means nothing to me. I put a 'cloud' of milk in my tea!" exclaimed Jean Saint-Geours, a French writer and member of the Terminology Commission.Keeping the French language relevant ain’t easy in the Internet age.12
13 B I G A I R ! ! Lost in the Clouds 'saut acrobatique sur tremplin de neige‘B I G A I R ! !acrobatic jump on a springboard of snow
14 Communicating Across Cultures Influence of Language on CultureEffects of language on perceptionNavajo Experiment (Jos. Casagrande)Navajo speakers use different verbs,depending upon the shape of an objectLong, thin and flexibleLong, thin and rigidNavajo-only speaking children sorted by shapeBilingual children sorted by colourSapir-Whorf Hypothesis – linguistically differentpeople not only communicate differently, but alsothink and perceive the world differently.14
15 Communicating Across Cultures Language Mirrors ValuesThe “self-xxxxxxxx” examplesJapan: ‘We’ comes before ‘I’Ohayo gozaimasu KonnichiwaJoggers greetings amongst fellow runners vs.non-joggers acknowledgementsHai Yes OR Yes, I understand and (notagreement); real vs.. good reasons15
16 Communicating Across Cultures Linguistic StylesTell it like it is; Talk turkey; lay cards on the tableAmbiguity, e.g., AsiansMaybe no; Very difficult means NeverPerhaps . . .Silence can be misconstruedOverstatement vs. understatementWhat may seem to be assertive to an Americanmay be seen as week or equivocating to anArab.16
17 Communicating Across Cultures Language and Social ContextSituational awarenessFormal (TLN)Informal or familiar (FN)Diplomatic openingsVerbal pauses or hiccups (ya’ know,Perhaps . . .Additional Complicating FactorsSlang/jargonEuphemismsProverbs/Verbal DuelingHumourConversational taboos17
18 Communicating Across Cultures Lessons for ManagersLearning the host language is usually helpful to settling into another culture.Communicating is life-threatening situations isparamountKnowledge of local language can alleviate risks ofinjury or deathLocal language capability can help to minimiseculture shock.18
19 Communicating Across Cultures Language and Social ContextSituational awarenessFormal (Title Last Name)Informal or familiar (First Name)Diplomatic or tactful openingsVerbal pauses or hiccups (ya’ know, like)Perhaps . . .19
20 Communicating Across Cultures Language and Social ContextAdditional Complicating FactorsSlang/jargonEuphemismsProverbs/Verbal DuelingHumourConversational taboos20
21 Communicating Across Cultures Language and Social ContextAdditional Complicating FactorsSlang/jargondead in the water (disabled, but not sunk,ship)red tapebottom line21
22 Communicating Across Cultures Language and Social ContextAdditional Complicating FactorsEuphemismsNew Yorkers called it “What happened”Pass away or passed; croaked or augered inInventory shrinkage or leakageLife jacket PFDBCG: Cash cow, Dogs22
23 Communicating Across Cultures Language and Social ContextAdditional Complicating FactorsProverbsAn apple a day keeps the doctor awayAn army marches on its stomachAny port in a stormBetter late than neverBetter safe than sorryBeware of Greeks bearing giftsSpare the rod and spoil the childSpeak softly and carry a big stickThe apple never falls far from the treeTouch woodHorses for courses23
24 Communicating Across Cultures Language and Social ContextAdditional Complicating FactorsVerbal DuelingOne upsmanship“I can top that” or “When we were up north”24
25 Communicating Across Cultures Language and Social ContextAdditional Complicating FactorsHumourD O N ‘ T25
26 Communicating Across Cultures Language and Social ContextAdditional Complicating FactorsConversational taboosPolitics and religionWarsImmigrationHealth, but no health of family membersEarningsMaterial goods26
27 Communicating Across Cultures “Vacantly occupied, sat on thebeach 'til my body got fried Dreamin' of your pretty eyesup in South Carolina I can't pronounce my r's or g'swhen I'm speakin' southernese Honey do, honey come and dome again”27
28 Communicating Across Cultures Additional Complicating FactorsSouthernese or SouthernismsThat's about as useful as a trap door on a canoe.He couldn't carry a tune if he had a bucket with a lid on it.She was so tall she could hunt geese with a rake.Somebody beat him with the ugly stickI'll knock you so hard you'll see tomorrow today.Dumb as a bucket (or box) of rocks.You're the spitting image of your mother/father.She's madder than a wet hen in a tote sack.Happier than a pig in slop“He’s a mess” followed by ???28
29 Communicating Across Cultures Lessons for ManagersLearning the host language is usually helpful tosettling into another culture.Communicating is life-threatening situations isparamountKnowledge of local language can alleviate risks ofinjury or deathLocal language capability can help to minimiseculture shock.29
30 French colleague became quite distant and uncommunicative. 3-1 Wayne Calder, a recent Harvard MBA and one of his organization’s most innovativeplanners, was assigned to the Paris office for a two-year period.Wayne was particularlyexcited about the transfer because he could now draw on the French he had takenwhile in school. Knowing that his proficiency in the French language would be anexcellent entrée into French society, Wayne was looking forward to getting to know hisFrench colleagues on a personal level. During the first week in Paris, an opportunity tosocialize presented itself. While waiting for a planning meeting with top executives tobegin, Wayne introduced himself to Monsieur LeBec. They shook hands and exchangedsome pleasantries, and then Wayne told LeBec how excited his family was to be inFrance. Wayne then asked LeBec if he had any children. LeBec replied that he had twodaughters and a son. But when Wayne asked other questions about LeBec’s family, hisFrench colleague became quite distant and uncommunicative.What did Wayne do wrong?
31 dealing with the substantive issues concerning their business. 3-2 Bill Nugent, an international real estate developer from Dallas, had made a 2:30 P.M.appointment with Mr. Abdullah, a high-ranking government official in Riyadh, SaudiArabia. From the beginning things did not go well for Bill. First, he was kept waiting untilnearly 3:45 before he was ushered into Abdullah’s office. When he finally did get in,several other men were also in the room. Even though Bill wanted to get down to businesswith Abdullah, he was reluctant to get too specific because he considered much ofwhat they needed to discuss sensitive and private. To add to Bill’s sense of frustration,Abdullah seemed more interested in engaging in meaningless small talk rather thandealing with the substantive issues concerning their business.How might you help Bill deal with his frustration?
32 3-3 Stan Gorelick, an engineer for a Chicago-based international construction company, was working on a two-year building project in Montevideo, Uruguay. After several monthson the job, Stan attended a cocktail party reception his firm was hosting for some of thelocal subcontractors. Upon entering the formal cocktail party about thirty minutes after itstarted, Stan greeted several groups of people with a cheerful “Hola!” (Hello) and headedfor the bar. Soon, Stan noticed that some of the local people seem to be upset with him.What did he do wrong?
33 distribute Fred’s hardware products. 3-4 A large Baltimore manufacturer of cabinet hardware had been working for monthsto locate a suitable distributor for its products in Europe. Finally invited to present ademonstration to a reputable distributing company in Frankfurt, it sent one of its mostpromising young executives, Fred Wagner, to make the presentation. Fred not onlyspoke fluent German but also felt a special interest in this assignment because hispaternal grandparents had immigrated to the United States from the Frankfurt areaduring the 1920s.When Fred arrived at the conference room where he would be makinghis presentation, he shook hands firmly, greeted everyone with a friendly Guten Tag, andeven remembered to bow the head slightly as is the German custom. Fred, a veryeffective speaker and past president of the Baltimore Toastmasters Club, prefaced hispresentation with a few humorous anecdotes to set a relaxed and receptive atmosphere.However, he felt that his presentation was not very well received by the companyexecutives. In fact, his instincts were correct; the German company chose not todistribute Fred’s hardware products.What went wrong?
34 continuing the discussion. What was Betty’s problem? 3-5 Betty Carpenter, president of a cosmetics firm headquartered in Chicago, decidedto spend several days in Paris, talking to some potential distributors of their more popularproduct lines. Upon arrival she felt quite confident with her proficiency in French (basedon several years of French in college) in getting from the airport and checking into herhotel. The next morning she met with Monsieur DuBois, vice president of a large Frenchdepartment store chain. Although their initial conversation went quite well, when thesubject turned to business, Betty felt that she was not communicating very effectivelywith DuBois. He seemed to be getting mildly annoyed and showed little interest incontinuing the discussion.What was Betty’s problem?
35 refused the free gift of a cap. 3-6 Ted Gross was in charge of setting up his company’s exhibit at a trade show inHong Kong. As an inducement for visiting the exhibit, Ted and his two assistants gaveaway green baseball caps with the company’s logo on the front. During the first day ofthe show, however, very few people visited Ted’s exhibit. And those who did stop byrefused the free gift of a cap.How can you explain this unanticipated poor response at the trade show?
36 Steve came very close to being sent back to the home office. 3-7 Steve Reichs was on a month-long assignment at his company’s office in Pusan,Korea. Wanting to catch the attention of his supervisor who was standing across theroom, Steve “crooked” his index finger at him in an innocent gesture to have him comecloser. Not only did Steve get his supervisor’s attention, but he so infuriated his boss thatSteve came very close to being sent back to the home office.What was the problem?
37 How can you explain this situation? 3-8 Peter Gorman, an accountant from Raleigh, North Carolina, had been working fortwo years in one of his firm’s branch offices in Melbourne, Australia. Normally, he tookthe bus to work, but one morning he was running late and did not want to miss an importantmeeting, so he was forced to take a taxi. He signaled to a cab on the street byraising his right hand, jumped into the back seat, and told the driver where he wanted togo. As the driver begins to pull away, however, he turned to Peter and said: “What’swrong, Mate? Do you think I have leprosy?” Peter was not sure whether the taxi driverwas joking or not.How can you explain this situation?
39 Communicating Across Cultures Nonverbal DimensionNonverbal communications referred to as:The silent languageHidden dimension of communicationBody languageTelegraph messages about feelingsElaborate on the verbal languageGovern the time and turn taking btwn. communicatorsArbitrariness of nonverbal communicationsNonverbal cues that connote a different meaningNonverbal cues that connote the same meaning39
42 Communicating Across Cultures Body Posture:Who was criticised for bowing to the PrimeMinister in Japan ?Can communicate:social statusreligious practicesfeelings of submissivenesssocial distancesexual intentionsUS – lean back, feet up (casual dress)Europe - offensive42
43 Communicating Across Cultures Hand Gestures:(Under Construction)43
44 Communicating Across Cultures Facial Expressions:Face-2-face communications“Losing face”Eyebrows, eyes & mouth are primaryInterpretation is difficultMasking one’s emotionsTom BrokawPoker faceReact opposite: cry while laughing (tearsof happiness)44
45 Communicating Across Cultures Gaze:Maintaining eye contact is as effective as notmaintaining eye contactBut the extent to which different cultures utilise itvary widely.What is acceptable in Greece may make othersuncomfortableTo the Taureg, gaze is important because handsand arms are covered with clothingHigh level of gazing can be seen asthreatening, disrespectful, haugthy orinsulting.45
46 Communicating Across Cultures Proximity:Personal spaces differInitimate distance – really closePersonal distance – 1 ½ to 4 ft.Social distance – 4 to 12 ft.Public distance – 12 to 25 ft. (or 4 to 8 metres)46
47 Communicating Across Cultures Bodily Contact (Touching):Most personal form on nonverbalcommunicationsPatting Slapping Punching KickingShaking hands Air kissing KissingGuiding Holding EmbracingGrooming StrokingHigh-touch cultures: Arabs, Jews and EasternEuropeansLow-touch cultures: English, Germans,Northern Euro’s and many Asian culturesSubway (tube) and elevator (lift) protocols47
48 Communicating Across Cultures Bodily Contact (Touching):Ballroom dancing can be viewed as asexual(USA) or promiscuous or in bad taste.PDA: where did Richard Gere – a Buddhist -get in trouble?Low-touch cultures: English, Germans,Northern Euro’s and many Asian culturesSubway (tube) and elevator (lift) etiquetteBe careful of stereotypes or appearances:German & American men less tactile than Italianmen, they were more tactile that Italian women.48
49 Communicating Across Cultures Lessons for Managers:When in doubt: DON’TRead, read, readObserve, observe, observeResearch, research, research (I’net)Ask, ask, ask – no “dumb” questionsContext/situation specificVirgin Media COO Leigh Wood – guy or gal?Typical greetings49
50 inappropriate, or maybe they were just not appreciative. 4-1 Don Bynum, a Boston banker, was assigned for several weeks as a troubleshooterin the Rome office. To facilitate his adjustment to the Italian banking system and to assistwith translation, the branch manager had assigned Don to work with Maria Fellini, abilingual employee of the bank. Maria, like Don, was single and in her early thirties, andshe lived with her widowed mother. Maria invited Don to her mother’s home for dinner.When Don arrived, he brought a large bouquet of chrysanthemums for Maria’s mother asa token of his appreciation for her hospitality. Maria answered the door, greeted Don, andtook the flowers into the kitchen. But for the entire evening neither Maria nor her mothermentioned anything about the flowers. Don felt that perhaps he had done somethinginappropriate, or maybe they were just not appreciative.What went wrong?
51 started yelling at Eric. 4-2 While living and working in Milan, Eric Woodward decided to spend part of aSaturday at a local art museum. Because he was not exactly certain where the museumwas located, he asked a man on the street for directions. While the Italian was explaininghow to get to the museum, Eric had an uncontrollable itch on his left earlobe. He tried tosatisfy the itch by tugging on his earlobe. The Italian man immediately became upset andstarted yelling at Eric.What did Eric do to cause such a negative reaction?
52 have discussed the repairs with her. 4-3 Construction superintendent Justin Clark had just been transferred to Saudi Arabiafor two years to supervise the building of new state-of-the-art oil rigs for the Saudigovernment. Upon moving into their rented house, Justin and his wife Lorna discoveredseveral things that needed repair. The landlord, very happy to have rented the house ona two-year lease, was very prompt in responding to their request for repairs. However,when he arrived, Justin was not home, and the landlord entered the house withoutspeaking or acknowledging Lorna’s presence. The repairs proceeded under the landlord’ssupervision. Lorna was insulted and felt that the landlord’s behavior was rude anddisrespectful. Since she was the one home at the time, she thought the landlord shouldhave discussed the repairs with her.Why did the landlord ignore Lorna?
53 toward him and at times even hostile. 4-4 In what was considered a “hostile takeover,” a U.S. corporation purchased aregional wine-producing vineyard in Limoges, France, in a strategic maneuver to enterthe European market. Frank Joseph, a human resource specialist, was sent to Limogesto smooth the ruffled feathers of the vineyard’s workers. Along with videos andpropaganda on the merits of working for a Fortune 500 corporation, Frank also brought toLimoges a number of company logo items. In what was intended as a goodwill gesture,he presented the workers with T-shirts, ball caps, ink pens, and coffee cups to take hometo their families.Over the next several weeks, Frank never saw any of the company’s logoitems being worn or used by the workers. Instead, the workers were uncommunicativetoward him and at times even hostile.Why was Frank treated in this manner?
54 venture never did take place. 4-5 Aware of the enormous interest the Japanese have in the game of golf, a U.S.sports equipment manufacturer decided to explore the possibilities of a joint venture witha Japanese firm. Three representatives from each firm met in San Francisco to work outthe details of the proposed venture. After the six men were introduced to one another, theywere seated at opposite sides of a large conference table. In an attempt to show theJapanese their sincerity for getting down to the task at hand, the Americans took off theirjackets and rolled up their sleeves. Then one of the Americans said to his counterpartacross the table, “Since we are going to be working together for the next several days,we better get to know each other. My name is Harry. What’s your name?” The jointventure never did take place.What went wrong?
55 that Larry sensed that the negotiations were not progressing smoothly. 4-6 Larry Ligo, an art dealer from Florida, was in some intense business negotiationswith a Brazilian firm. At the meeting many differing opinions were discussed, and attimes the exchanges became somewhat heated. This intensity was exemplified by theBrazilians who tapped Larry on the shoulder or arm each time they expressed anopinion. The repeated taps began to make Larry angry. In fact, he wondered whether theBrazilians were trying to pick a fight. The next time Larry was touched on the arm heimpulsively jerked his arm away. The Brazilians were surprised by Larry’s response. Afterthat Larry sensed that the negotiations were not progressing smoothly.Why?
56 How might you explain the cause for the hilarious outburst? 4-7 Randy Hightower, recently appointed to manage his firm’s office in Singapore,was anxious to do well in his first overseas assignment. Shortly after his arrival, hecalled his first staff meeting, to outline the objectives for the coming fiscal year. He hadalready met with his staff individually and was feeling quite confident about theprospects for having a good first year. Toward the end of the staff meeting, Randy, in hischaracteristic upbeat fashion, told his employees that he looked forward to working withthem and that he anticipated that this would be their best year ever. To emphasize hisoptimism for the coming year, Randy punctuated his verbal remarks by slapping his fistagainst his palm. The reaction was instantaneous: Most people laughed, giggled, orlooked embarrassed. Unfortunately, he felt that the point of his dramatic climax was lostamidst the laughter.How might you explain the cause for the hilarious outburst?
57 4-8 While working for a Philadelphia bank in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Jennifer Roberts met, quite unexpectedly, one of her female colleague at a shopping mall one weekend.The local Malaysian colleague was accompanied by her five-year-old daughter. Jenniferwas so taken by the girl’s beauty that she patted the girl on the head while commentingto the mother what a gorgeous child she had. Much to Jennifer’s surprise, however, themother responded by saying that the girl was not very pretty at all and then abruptly left.What had Roberts done?
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