Global Business Etiquette
International Business Etiquette – Being Polite in a Changing World TonJa M. Myers BUSI 472 – Organizational Ethics February 11, 2013 Abstract This paper looks at research Journals done on the subject of the importance of proper international business etiquette. It examines proper etiquette for countries in Europe, Asia and Arabia, it stresses the importance of good communication in etiquette and finally sheds light on the effect good etiquette has on the global economy.
International Business Etiquette – Being Polite in a Changing World With the explosion of technology we have experienced over the last decade, our orld has become much smaller and many companies are conducting business with countries they never dreamed possible. Understanding the importance of etiquette in international business is crucial to being effective in this changing world. This paper will look at some things to be aware of when doing business in Europe, Asia and Arab countries.
It will also look at the utmost importance of effective communication, both verbal and non-verbal, in international business.
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Finally, it will look at the effect of etiquette on the global economy. When one is going to be doing business with a person or company from another ountry or culture from their own, it is very important that they do some serious research on that country or culture to avoid embarrassing or insulting snafus. Even though the United States was founded by European’s, our cultures are quite different. On top of that, each country in Europe has its own culture.
For instance, “German directness and love for truth might be considered quite rude in more high- context cultures where communication is more sophisticated and veiled. ” (Hamburg, 2012). In Russia, gift giving is common in business, but “Russian superstitions related o some colors and numbers – yellow, white, black and 13 bear negative connotations – should be accordingly kept in mind when offering a gift or decorating a room. ” (Hamburg, 2012). In the Czech Republic, “People have usually two or more cell phones, using them in the middle of a meeting is no sign for rudeness as it would be considered in most cultures. (Hamburg, 2012). In France, “Serving lunch or dinner presents crucial importance in professional relations. ” (Hamburg, 2012). And in Spain “huggings and shoulder tappings are absolutely compatible with business relations. ” (Hamburg, 2012). When oving to the Asian continent, some things are quite universal, such as the “importance ot hierarchy, prestige (in their conception “tace”), ot building relationship, the role of intermediaries at the beginning of all contacts, a relaxed attitude to time and a peculiar high-contextual communication. ” (Hamburg, 2012).
However, there are also many differences between countries. For instance, in China “the decision-making process is quite long and slow, deadlines are flexible, therefore to meet the deadline one needs to display a self-confident attitude keeping at the same time harmony, as well. ” (Hamburg, 2012). When giving presentations in Japan, “business people should prepare themselves for attentive and reflective listeners, however sometimes seeming to have fallen asleep but it is not the case, Japanese are just concentrating to what they get presented. (Hamburg, 2012). Moving from Asia to the Arab countries people will find that “the Arab world and Indian people are much more expressive. Negotiations resemble in these parts of Asia a real show with tough bargaining and emotional manifestations. Coming too early to a deal deprives them of the pleasure of negotiating and insinuates that something went wrong. (Hamburg, 2012). So, these are Just some examples of the vast differences that occur in different countries and cultures that need to be studied and observed when conducting business.
Communication, both verbal and non-verbal, is crucial to proper etiquette in the global marketplace. “Management and communication scholars have consistently argued that the success of managers on international assignments depends largely on effective cross-cultural communication. ” (Okoro, 2012). It is important because “when interacting with colleagues or counterparts of other cultures in a business and egotiation context, it is important to know and respect their customs to ensure that an intended meaning is conveyed in order to avoid unintentionally offending them. ” (Okoro, 2012).
Those looking to be sensitive to other cultures do this by striving to “develop cultural sensitivity, be careful in encoding their messages, thoughtful in decoding and analyzing content and context, selective in choosing channels for transmission of messages. ” (Okoro, 2012). As far as non-verbal communication goes, it is possibly even more important and tricky than verbal communication. The 0K sign, for example “is positive to U. S. persons but considered obscene in Brazil. In France and Belgium, the gesture should be avoided as it means Worthless’ or ‘zero. ‘ The meaning of the gesture is completely different in JapanвЂ” it signifies money. (Martin & Chaney, 2012). Another example is eye contact. “The duration of eye contact when two people are interacting varies with the culture. Greeks, for example, use more contact in public places and expect others to look at them as well. Failure to make eye contact makes people of Greece feel ignored. Middle Easterners, too, use a lot eye contact while both talking and listening. They do not like to talk to someone wearing dark glasses because they are unable to see the eyes. People from Sweden, on the other hand, do not give as much eye contact while conversing as other Europeans.
They do, however, look at each other for longer periods of time. 17 Unlike members of the dominant culture in the United States, people in many Asian countries are uncomfortable with direct eye contact. People of China and Japan, specifically, tend to look Just below the chin during conversations. They teel that not looking into the other person’s eyes during a conversation shows respect and would feel that continuing to look into the other erson’s eyes would be quite rude. Iraqis, likewise, avoid eye contact while conversing out of respect for their elders.
Prolonged eye contact, on the other hand, is typical of people from the Middle East, France, Germany, and some Latin American countries. (Certain Latin American and Caribbean cultures, however, show you respect by not having direct eye contact. ) They associate this direct eye contact with interest, assertiveness, and self-confidence. Even in these countries, however, lengthy stares at a woman would be considered inappropriate. ” (Martin & Chaney, 2012). So, how you say something is Just as important as what you say, and knowing the intricacies of each culture is essential.
The importance of international etiquette stretches as far as the global economy. Now days, “The United States plays a major role in the vast scope of the global economy. One means to protect and expand that role would be for U. S. firms to make cross- cultural communication a priority in their employees’ interpersonal skills objectives. In 1999, the United States alone exported more than $960 billion in goods and services to other countries of the world and imported more than $1. 3 trillion in goods and services. ll Considering that the sum of the international economic activities of the United States exceeded $2. trillion in 1999, the international trade in goods and services of the United States involves multitudinous cases of social interaction between buyers, sellers, agents, managers, representatives, and any other category of businessperson imaginable communicating on the international stage. While it is important for those of other cultures to acknowledge this social dimension as well, the vibrant and frenzied economic activity of the United States, compounded by its geographic isolation, demand focused inquiry into the topic of international business etiquette and intercultural communication. (Glenn, 2002). This quote clearly states the importance. Failure at being culturally informed and sensitive results in a reduction of funds for that company, and thus, for the countries that are involved, their economies as well. So, understanding the cultures of those one deals with in business is of utmost importance. It is important so that one does not offend those they are dealing with due to ignorance. They need to research the cultures to find out about customs and diosyncrasies in their mannerisms, in their communication styles, and in their non- verbal styles.