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Intercultural Global Business Industry Term Paper

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Updated: Apr 7th, 2022

Impact of cultural variation within the global business industry

In no other industry is cultural variation as important as in the global business industry. Multinational corporations from across the world are expanding and building branches in diverse places around the world so cultural variations will always affect them.

Cultural variation has a tremendous impact on global business because formal aspects of businesses are defined by one’s cultural background and they are sometimes done differently. For instance, customer preferences may be defined by culture as some may prefer certain segments over others.

Terms of payment may be different depending on the kind of region or country one is transacting with. Some cultures are comfortable with credit transactions while others prefer cash only payments. Alternatively, some may use invoices while others may not.

If packages have to be exchanged between the intercultural teams then they may possess different rules about the colors or sizes of the parcels. If there is no synergy between cross cultural teams’ understanding of formal aspects then this can lead to stalled transactions and failed deals (Holtgraves, 1997).

On the other hand, cultural variations affect the global business industry on an informal basis as well. Human behavior is governed by a series of informal rules which are determined by one’s cultural background. In the global business context, actions carried out by business partners from different cultures may be interpreted in divergent ways.

For instance, one’s body language may send out different signals in varied cultures. It should be noted that these informal rules do not always have to be a problem; they will only become so when a rule has been violated. For instance, some cultures do not like it when a business partner calls them by their first name or is too friendly.

Such preferences are common in Asian cultures since such societies are extremely hierarchical and they have a deep respect for authority. Consequently, colleagues or partners from western cultures tend to be offensive when they get too familiar with their cross cultural counterparts from the East.

Cultural variations in this regard can either mess up business or they can strengthen it depending on how people choose to approach it. If business partners keep comparing their actions, behaviors and expectations with that of another group then they are likely to be disappointed within that business environment. However, if they comprehend the social, historical and political backgrounds of their counter cultural counterparts then cultural variations need not be an impediment.

How personal dignity is impacted in the intercultural global business industry

Global businesses will often cause people from divergent cultures to interact and exchange ideas, money etc. Certain parties may hold personal dignity in higher esteem than others. Consequently, those parties may try as much as possible to save face. In doing this, most will try to avoid situations that could harm another person’s dignity.

Therefore, global businesses create scenarios in which conservative cultures may do business with non conservative ones. One group may threaten harmony in the conservative one and this may affect their personal dignity; which is something so important to them. The global business industry will require a business partner to either accept or reject a proposal.

Some cultures do not believe in directly saying yes or no because they want to maintain personal dignity (Holtgraves, 1997). This implies that the industry threatens their ability to maintain their personal dignity. The need to maintain personal dignity is so important that it may ruin relationships within such contexts.

On the other hand, global business can also enhance personal dignity by showing appreciation for people from cultures that hold this virtue in high esteem. When an individual is placed on the spotlight or is made to feel as though he is on the spotlight then chances are this may sever their personal dignity.

Also, sometimes global businesses may require individuals to act in ways that do not signify cooperation. Those cultures that value personal dignity and personal responsibility over individual good may have a hard time coping with these demands. If their counterparts come from non conservative cultures, then chances are that conflicts may arise in such scenarios. This is especially true if the parties concerned do not understand one another and are unwilling to make compromises.

How interpersonal relationships might improve with the implementation of the strategy as a part of an intercultural experience

The proposed strategy is likely to improve interpersonal relationships through its effect on the emotional aspect of the interpersonal relationships. Since some communities tend to be task-focused while others tend to be emotionally focused, it is crucial to ensure that these emotional preferences do not come in the way of achievement of business objectives.

Sometimes some communities may think that it is unprofessional to bring personal matters into work and they may prefer sober, neutral employees over happy or gloomy ones. On other hand, some managers believe that assessing and monitoring interpersonal relationships can go a long way in ensuring that team members are more productive.

Eventually, these differences in orientations in terms of emotions can ruin the intercultural experience (Chua et. al., 1988). The proposed strategy will deal with these differences and will eventually improve interpersonal relationships.

The strategy is also likely to affect cross cultural communication. It will help them deal with the process of understanding both direct and indirect cues. It will also facilitate the manner in which verbal and non verbal communication occurs across cultures and will therefore contribute towards better working conditions amongst parties in this industry.

It will assist them in understanding some of the misconceptions that are likely to occur when having conversations with people from a different culture and how to seek clarifications for issues that they do not understand. Through an examination of the individualism – collectivism continuum, they will be informed about communication patterns from these various groups and interpersonal relationships will definitely improve.

The strategy will also assist users to manage conflicts. Cultural inclinations often dictate how groups perceive conflict and harmony. Some may believe that conflict should be avoided at all costs. In other words, they may assume that any kind of conflict will cause failure in the team.

Conversely, some cultures do not think that conflict will necessarily halt team processes. Although they may not encourage conflict, it is likely they may be more tolerant of it. This strategy will assist members of cross cultural teams to understand the issue of conflict and how it can be managed so as to get the most from a cross cultural team. This would also boost interpersonal relationships (Holtgraves, 1997).

Industry specific roles of cultural variations in intercultural, interpersonal relationships

In the global business industry, cultural variations affect the values, rights and needs of people doing business together and this alters their interpersonal relationship. In any society, rights are assumed based on the consensus and norms of that community.

For instance, some societies consider it a woman’s right to hold high positions in any kind of position. However, some may have some inhibitions about gender minorities in positions of power. This can lead to a range of complications during negotiations and transactions with people from other cultures and would ruin interpersonal relationships (Fiske & Haslam, 1996).

Global business also place parties with different economic, social and political hierarchies at one table. These differences often bring out the power relations between the divergent cultures. Such persons may disagree on the other person’s place in these interpersonal relationships.

The situation can be further aggravated when one of the parties feels a sense of entitlement because they think that their economic or political systems are superior over others. Stereotyping of others would cause much tension between the groups because none would want to appear like they are losing. In this industry, most representatives from developed nations may stereotype their counterparts in developing nations and this can definitely ruin their interpersonal relationships.

Cultural variations do not just affect interpersonal relationships in terms of differences in rights and needs. They also affect people in terms of the situation that they are in. Global business by its very nature may put parties under pressure i.e. time and resource pressures. If this is the case then chances are interpersonal relationships will be affected.

Global businesses themselves often present scenarios in which the parties involved have never met one another. If they come from different cultures then they will probably need plenty of time and patience in order to understand one another or in order to build relationships.

When the situation is high pressure and there is little time then parties may resort to aggressive tactics to get their way. Others may be overwhelmed by fear or anger and these could definitely ruin the exchange. In this regard, when cultural variations are combined with high pressure situations then they are likely to create a number of problems concerning interpersonal relationships.

How the strategy will improve interpersonal relationships within the global business industry and foster intercultural competence

This study will be a multi-thronged approach to the issues of cultural variations and interpersonal relationships in the global business industry. First, the strategy will involve sensitization of global business participants about possible cultural variation and the second part will entail training them about how to harness these variations.

In sensitizing them, they will get to learn about semantic differences between countries that speak similar languages. They will also be sensitized about the role of religion in business, individualist and collectivist cultures of the world and the importance of etiquette. The second phase which is training will also involve a series of things.

Participants will develop their verbal skills by learning a number of pointers such as avoiding use of words that have more than one meaning in different cultures or sticking to common words and elaborating meanings about words (Chua et. al., 1988).

Next, participants will learn how to improve the non verbal skills by informing them about being sensitive to thought patterns and pitch, volume of words, body language, issues such as equality, warmth and respect. They will be sensitized about the importance attached to time and scheduling of meetings.

Global businessmen will also know how they can observe signals from different parties around the world and how this should be interpreted in their perspective. Lastly, this integrative communication strategy will also entail teaching people about how to develop a perceptual framework about people from another culture. These issues will foster intercultural competence and interpersonal relationships.

Conclusion

The intercultural variations in the global business industry affect interpersonal relationships through communication, conflict and approaches to personal dignity. The proposed strategy will tackle these issues by sensitizing members of the industry about challenges of cultural variations and then training them about the issues surrounding these differences.

References

Fiske, A. & Haslam, N. (1996). Social cognition is thinking about relationships. Current directions in psychological science, 5(5), 143-148.

Chua, E., Ting-Toomet, S. & Gudykunst, W. (1988). Culture and interpersonal communication. Workforce, 3(7), 28-30.

Holtgraves, T. (1997). Styles of language use: individual and cultural variability in conversational indirectness. Journal of personality and social psychology, 73(3), 624-637.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Intercultural Global Business Industry." April 7, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/integrative-intercultural-communication/.

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