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Intercultural Communication in the Business Setting chapter 8

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1 Intercultural Communication in the Business Setting chapter 8

2 Let’s review…. 3 basic assumptions about human communication:
Communication is rule governed Social settings stipulate which rules govern a particular situation, but it is culture that makes the rules! (Saudi Arabia/USA— contextual rules about men and women) Context specifies communication rules (wedding, funeral, theater, classroom, football game) 3. Communication rules are culturally diverse Concepts of dress, time, language, manners, nonverbal behavior, etc. differ significantly…. business dinner in Turkey or US….who pays? Examine bill?

3 Communication Context
The cultural, social, and physical settings in which communication occurs Social settings (or context) usually stipulate which rules govern a particular situation, but it is culture that makes the rules!

4 Communication Variables
Formality and informality Assertiveness and interpersonal harmony Status relationships (p 231)

5 Informality USA—Grounded in a strong belief in individualism and equality…. We treat others with informality and directness. We avoid formal codes of conduct, titles, honorific, and ritualistic manners in our interactions with others. We move toward first-name basis quickly (this makes Germans for one nervous).

6 Formality Student/Teacher relationship
Very formal in Egypt, Turkey, Japan, for ex. Students stand when teacher enters the room; bow when meet teacher on street “Whoever teaches me a letter, I should become a slave to him forever.”—Egyptian proverb Forms of Address Germans big on titles; Mexicans too Calling elders or superiors by first names makes formal cultures (Germany) very uncomfortable

7 Formality, con’t. Friendships
Germans tend to be formal and private even when dealing with their friends. “A friend to everyone is a friend to no one.” German proverb Peach versus Coconut

8 Interpersonal Harmony
Assertiveness is an asset (U.S., Germany, Israel) Others see it as a threat to harmonious interpersonal relations. (Philippines—Filipinos see bluntness and frankness as uncivilized traits) Cultures in the Asian Pacific Rim tend to value interpersonal harmony over contracts and rapid decision-making…. Japan-- harmony is more a product of adhering to accepted models of behavior than a compelling principle…on surface, all looks good and avoid confrontation.

9 Status Relationships Egalitarian—low level of concern for social differences Hierarchical—significant emphasis on status and rank. Japan, China, Spain Who has the most power and influence in China? Confucian philosophy grants seniors/elders the most power and influence.

10 Business Protocol Initial Contacts In Latin America
(month in advance by mail or phone; then verified a week before the meeting) U.S.— Cold Call can be used Intermediaries common in Egypt “Business by ‘who you know’” In Africa…use of an intermediary is essential. In China..nothing is possible without contacts.

11 Greeting Behaviors In China, the order of names is reversed from that in the West. Family name (surname) goes first; then their given name. As we’ve learned all this quarter, we want to learn and try to follow the cultural protocols of our host nation…whether it’s international business, or social settings.

12 Gift Giving Especially in collectivistic cultures, gift giving is the norm. …Used to sustain relations, repay past favors, and ensure preferable consideration in the future. Gifts, whatever form they take, are seen as a means of creating or sustaining an obligation that must eventually be repaid. (“Potlatch”) The West (U.S.) views these payments as a form of bribery! It’s illegal.

13 Negotiation Styles Negotiations are integral to all international mergers, joint ventures, import of raw materials, export of finished products, patent licensing agreements, and every other cross-cultural, commercial undertaking! Of course they are culture-ruled! International negotiators work to achieve mutually agreeable solutions, while concurrently trying to minimize differences, misunderstandings, and conflicts. The means? COMMUNICATION!

14 Participant Perspective
U.S. approach… is akin to the classical Greek tradition of rhetorical eloquence, argumentation, debate, and persuasion (a direct, somewhat confrontational approach). Quick results. Maximum profits with a short-term perspective. The Japanese, Chinese… negotiators take a long-term view…build a relationship, establish a level of trust, determine if we want to enter into a business deal. For the Russians… negotiations are simply a forum for debate, an opportunity to convince the other side of the rightfulness of their position. Rather than compromise on an issue, they will simply reiterate their original arguments expecting the other side to see the correctness of the Russian position!

15 Influence of Internet on the business world
The “astonishing fall in the cost of transferring information around the world” has forced businesses to think and act from a global perspective. P 252 Internet creates a need and a demand for international businesses to adopt uniform standards and practices, irrespective of national borders and cultural differences.

16 Internet in business, con’t.
Japan—Corporate employees can use IT to promulgate and discuss relevant issues w/o the need for face-to-face interaction. provides an anonymity which “encourages people to use casual and blunt language.” messages deprive the receiver of the broader context, including nonverbal cues, which is so critical to Japanese high-context communication. Younger Japanese workers prefer the more direct style.

17 Domestic Business Context
Increased Immigration … all segments of the U.S. economy will have to be knowledgeable of and responsive to the many issues that hold potential for cross-cultural conflict. As the workforce becomes more diverse, the opportunities for racial, ethnic, language, and religious discrimination will also expand.

18 Time element in Negotiations
The West wants to hurry it along. Rushing doesn’t work with Asians, Arabs, and Latin Americans… … who want to get to know the other party. They see it as a long-term relationship, kinda like a marriage…thus much time is spent on entertaining, sightseeing, etc.

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