Presentation on theme: "Amity International Business School AIBS MBAIB 2 nd Sem Cross Cultural Management By KP Kanchana."— Presentation transcript:
Amity International Business School AIBS MBAIB 2 nd Sem Cross Cultural Management By KP Kanchana
Amity International Business School African Management Style Traditional African business tended towards the accumulation of power and decision-making in the hands of a few senior managers (usually white), with middle managers waiting in line to move up the corporate ladder over time. Post-apartheid, things have started to change — especially under the influence of the myriad of MNC’s which have flocked into the country — with hierarchies breaking down and younger middle-managers looking to become more proactively involved in decision-making. Despite being a somewhat egalitarian society, business people in South Africa have a lot of respect for senior executives and colleagues who have obtained their position through diligence and perseverance.
Amity International Business School The biggest change to have impacted at middle management level over the last few years has been the introduction of a new cadre of black professionals into most companies. This new breed of managers has been enabled to make corporate progress through the use of ‘affirmative action’ programmes In South African companies, decision-making power typically lies with the most senior person at the top of the company. However, in accordance with African culture, final decisions are often made following consultation with subordinates. Africans prefer to do business with those they have met previously. Consequently, formal letters of introduction from a known third party may help you to reach key decision-makers easily and therefore speed up the business process. It is deemed highly offensive to most South Africans if the proper respect for an elder is not shown, especially in more rural areas.
Amity International Business School South African Meetings Meeting styles will differ depending upon who you are dealing with — a traditional, white-dominated business, a start-up black African company or the subsidiary of a multi-national located in Johannesburg or Cape Town. Africans expect you to have a good idea of the current situation. Show that you have done your research and that you have adapted your policies or ideas to meet the local conditions. Take time in the meeting to try to develop a good relationship with the people you are doing business with as relationships have always formed the basis of good business — regardless of cultural background. Avoid anything that could be considered a ‘hard sell’ approach.
Amity International Business School It is much better to be understated and patient with South African contacts as being too assertive will probably alienate people. The concept of time and the approach taken towards it differs between the white and black cultures living in South Africa. For the majority of white Africans, time is viewed in a in a more formal manner. However, conversely, you can expect black Africans to do things at a slower pace. The overall aim during business negotiations in South Africa is to reach a general consensus. South Africans prefer to see a fair, win-win situation where all sides gain something from the deal, and for this reason, confrontations and aggressive bartering over prices should be avoided. Don’t raise your voice or interrupt whilst your South African counterparts are speaking. Both actions lack the personal approach to a business relationship and therefore may be interpreted as an insult.
Amity International Business School African Teams All Africans are acutely aware of the ethnic and racial divisions and these divisions can make it difficult to build teams which cross these boundaries. Putting teams together and making them work requires a great deal of sensitivity and local knowledge.
Amity International Business School African Communication Styles The common business language is English and most people you meet in any international business setting will speak the language — although often with a strong accent which can be difficult to follow on occasion. Many white South Africans prefer plain-speaking to an overly diplomatic approach and may confuse subtleness and vagueness with lack of commitment or even untrustworthiness. Many of the black cultures stress diplomacy in communication and may not want to disappoint the listener by disagreeing openly or admitting that they don’t know the answer to a question. Humor is an often used communication device and can be used in almost all situations — it is very often used as a tension release mechanism.
Amity International Business School On the whole, people are addressed using first names in typical business situations, although when dealing with a driver or a maid, the first name may be preceded by Mr. or Mrs. It is also fairly uncommon to use formal titles such as Doctor or Professor in anything other than academic circles. Back slapping, firm handshakes (often quite lengthy) are common and it can be seen as a sign of aloofness if the foreign visitor backs away from this approach.
Amity International Business School Women in Business Traditionally women from all communities within South Africa have played a very minimal role within the business world. Female participation at senior management level is extremely low and although some progress towards greater gender equality within the workforce has been made, the progress is slow. A ‘macho’ culture could be said to be pervasive in South Africa and women can expect to be treated with less respect than male colleagues.
Amity International Business School African Dress Code Men are advised to wear a collar and tie and women to wear smart, business-like dresses or suits. If meeting business contacts on a social basis, it is possible to dress more casually but not too casually.