Intercultural Communications In The Global Workplace Discussion

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The requirements are included in the following doc. It's kind of like write a paper. One question should be one page. So the total amount should be four pages. Q1 is required to answer. I will upload the required book. Make sure you use it.

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1 Instructions • Answering Question #1 is REQUIRED • Select any 3 (three) other questions to answer. • So you will answer 4 questions in total with #1 and three others. • Where appropriate you MUST include some reference to intercultural theory or other cross cultural communications concepts from the text (ie Hofstede, Hall, etc), readings, outside references, videos, or discussion boards in each of your answers. • Your citations need not be APA style but it must be clear where they originated. (Example: Varner, p26; or Early on CI). This should be done in your response to each question. If you wish to add a more detailed reference section to correspond to more obscure in-text citations, please do so at the very end of the quiz and not at the bottom of each question. This will avoid you having to include repetitive references after each question. Web links are fine, but be sure they are active when clicked. • Unless noted otherwise you should limit each of your answers to 1 singlespaced, 12-point font page. Longer is not better, as clear and concise yet comprehensive answers in a tight packet is a key grading element. We are professional communicators not epic novelists. Creativity is always encouraged. Again one full page for each question response. Four pages minimum for the entire quiz submission. • While the quiz is worth 30% of your grade and every answer is important, I score on the totality of the work. • Be sure to add your name at the top of the Word or PDF document. Also, be sure to paste just the question header (i.e. #9 Hiring Translators) at the top 2 of your answer. Do not add the full question before your answer. Finally, include your family name in the file name. • Grammar, sentence structure and spelling count heavily on the writing rubric for this final quiz, so please check your work closely before submitting. REQUIRED ! - Question #1 – Direct & Indirect Plans of Organizing Routine Communication Using the concepts developed in Chapter 5 of Varner, give 3 specific examples of a Direct Plan and 3 examples of an Indirect plan of communications. For maximum credit, use must specific examples of some of the actual terminology you might use in such correspondence. In other words, provide examples of the exact sentences that you would use in the correspondence that reflect each of the communications styles in your corporate correspondence. In essence you will be corresponding with the recipient of these messages. Question #2 – Food, Gifts & Intercultural Communications Describe five (5) detailed intercultural communications implications related to how a lack of understanding of food, eating and gift-giving etiquette/rituals could affect a meeting between a Saudi Arabian and Japanese business delegation. Question#3 –Gestures & Culture Provide five (5) specific examples and descriptions how gestures (hand, face, body, etc.) differ across cultures and how these might be misinterpreted if unaware of the variances; or how your counterpart may be insulted by a seemingly normal gesture in your country. 3 Question #4 – Budgets and Intercultural Communications Discuss 5 factors that you feel could dramatically affect the budget of intercultural communications projects or events. Discuss how you would prioritize certain aspects of such projects so as to assure maximum cross cultural impact with sensitivity to cost efficiencies. For example: If your management asked you to cut $10,000 from your $100,000 worldwide managers retreat, what are some of the cuts you might consider on “intercultural luxuries” without causing embarrassment. Question #5 – Cultural Dimensions Give examples of how wide differences in uncertainty avoidance and collectivism/individualism could be a significant factor when combined in an international business negotiation between countries with two opposite contexts? What would you do to overcome these differences or to leverage the strengths of such context pairings? Be sure to include details on the theoretical dimensions of that culture. Question #6 – Two Countries Divided by a Common Language Your company CEO has not been fortunate enough to have the CMN 6080 course. He tells you that he wants to save money and use the same advertising and promotional materials in the UK that he uses in the States albeit with the local contact information edited in. You know better than to let him do this. What “two countries divided by a common language” cautions would you give him that would reinforce the possible cultural mishaps/insensitivities that could occur with such a decision? Provide specific examples of US versus UK differences. Feel free to use outside examples beyond the text and attempt to go deeper than just language differences. Again, use as many specific examples as possible of British versus American English words, phrases and idioms to support your answer. No examples = No points Question #7 – Photoshop 4 You sent the ad below to your international Microsoft offices for marketing purposes. You found that your office in Poland has photoshopped-out the head of one of the persons in the ad and replaced it with someone else’s’ head (suit and hand remain the same). As the HQ person responsible for this material, what would you do? Please use as many specific actions steps as possible. Question #8 – Job functions as cultures It has been argued that many job functions are similar to countries in their cultural context. For example people in human resources have a very different culture than people in finance or engineering. If you could match 5 countries and their dimensions with 5 job functions, what would those pairings look like. In other words, what job function would have a culture similar to a Japanese cultural context? Extra grading points for creativity. Be sure to add commentary to your pairings. 5 Question #9 – Hiring Translators Describe some of the key elements and strategies in hiring translators that would be used in negotiations between a mild mannered Japanese executive and a forceful Russian executive, both in the healthcare industry. You should approach this question as hiring for both the Russian and the Japanese sides. Think well beyond the obvious of just culture. Question #10 – Cultural Intelligence You have been asked by senior management to develop a one-day cultural intelligence course for 20 American employees who have been given a one-year assignment in an international subsidiary. What would you do to give the expatriates elements from the head, body and heart dimensions of cultural intelligence in their training? Provide specific instructional elements for each of the three CI dimensions! (You may choose the country where this subsidiary is located to best pair the course elements with the cultural characteristics). Question #11 – Universal Truths & Commonalties Describe the universal truths and themes that supersede culture and language found in the following Chinese advertisement. In other words, what are the commonalities in this video that go well beyond just the Chinese culture. You should also note any elements that would be difficult to apply outside of China. 6 Question #12 – Corporate Newsletter from Human Resources You are the worldwide human resources director and you have been asked to send out a newsletter to all employees that reinforce certain aspects of a global corporate culture. What are 3 of the themes that would probably have universal acceptance and what are 3 that might have difficulty travelling across certain borders because of Hofstede’s or Hall’s cultural context/dimension. Question #13 – Create your own question Use this option to post your own question and a 250-word response. The answer must include some analysis using the Hofstede, Hall or some other cultural theorist as part of the response. You will be graded on both the depth of the question and the insights in your response. “Shallow” questions will result in lower scores. Deeper questions and insights in answers will score high. Try to make my brain hurt with your creativity!! ☺ var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page i Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace Fifth Edition Iris Varner Professor Emerita, Illinois State University Linda Beamer Emerita Professor, California State University, Los Angeles var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page ii INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION IN THE GLOBAL WORKPLACE, FIFTH EDITON Published by McGraw-Hill, a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. Copyright © 2011 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Previous editions © 2008, 2005, and 2001. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written consent of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., including, but not limited to, in any network or other electronic storage or transmission, or broadcast for distance learning. Some ancillaries, including electronic and print components, may not be available to customers outside the United States. This book is printed on acid-free paper. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 DOC/DOC 1 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 ISBN: 978-0-07-337774-2 MHID: 0-07-337774-0 Vice President & Editor-in-Chief: Brent Gordon Vice President EDP/Central Publishing Services: Kimberly Meriwether David Publisher: Paul Ducham Sponsoring Editor: Laura Hurst Spell Editorial Coordinator: Jane Beck Associate Marketing Manager: Jaime Halteman Project Manager: Erin Melloy Design Coordinator: Margarite Reynolds Cover Image Credit: © Photodisc Production Supervisor: Nicole Baumgartner Media Project Manager: Suresh Babu Composition: S4Carlisle Publishing Services Typeface: 10/12 Times Roman Printer: R. R. Donnelley Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Varner, Iris I. Intercultural communication in the global workplace / Iris Varner, Linda Beamer.—5th ed. p. cm. Beamer’s name appears first on the previous ed. ISBN 978-0-07-337774-2 1. Communication in management—Social aspects. 2. Business communication—Social aspects. 3. International business enterprises—Social aspects. 4. Intercultural communication. I. Beamer, Linda. II. Beamer, Linda. Intercultural communication in the global workplace. III. Title. HD30.3.B4 2010 658.4'5—dc22 2009054446 var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page iii For Carson and David var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page iv Preface to the Fifth Edition Welcome to the fifth edition of Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace. The fourth edition has been used around the globe. We are grateful for the reception of the earlier editions, particularly the many comments and suggestions users have given us. We have incorporated those comments into the fifth edition and are confident that this book presents a valuable tool in your understanding of the impact of culture on international business communication. The effects of culture on human behavior in general and on global business activities in particular make headline news almost every day. More than ever businesspeople cite cultural understanding as the single most important factor in international success. Prof. Dr. Marion Debruyne is quoted as saying “Culture is the real power of globalization.”1 Dramatic changes in communication technology—the growth around the planet of satellite and cellular telephony— since our first edition have made international communication commonplace. When we wrote the first edition, e-mail was just starting to be used widely, but it was almost impossible to attach files to an e-mail. We used FedEx to send book chapters to each other for comments and suggestions. Today, files can be sent easily all over the world; we can talk to each other and even see each other on our computer screens. Blogs, Facebook, and Twitter have revolutionized communication. Technology allows us to use rich channels that do not just transmit text but also our gestures, facial expressions, and pauses. We can communicate over vast distances as if we sat in the same room. Companies have embraced this new technology to facilitate communication among their employees from around the world. A survey of new media published in The Economist magazine in April 2006 reported that thanks to broadband technology, mass media are being replaced by personal media created by the users of the Internet.1 Since 2006, personal media devices have developed further, and offer, in addition to a chance to speak and listen, the capability to receive and transmit data to and from mobile devices. “Nowadays, YouTube streams more data in three months than all the world’s radio stations plus cable and broadcast television channels stream in a year.”2 It’s a long way from the development over 40 years ago of technology to allow internetworking—the origin of the “Internet”—to exist. The technological revolution means that organizations need intercultural communication skills even more today than they did when this book was first written. The fifth edition of Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace has updated discussions of globalization and new technology in business communication. The discussion of multicultural teams in the workplace has been expanded. iv var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page v Preface to the Fifth Edition v What else is new? The fifth edition has a new discussion about the study of communication in different cultures, and the study of communication between cultures. It also shows how intercultural communication research fits within the dominant research paradigms, and includes an analysis of their strengths and weaknesses. The descriptions of religions and their influence on intercultural business communication has been expanded. The concept of Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is now discussed in greater detail throughout the book. Chapter 3 has a new section on culture’s influence on how people reason, and Chapter 4 has a new section on self-identity and self-construal in relation to culture. Chapter 8 includes an expanded discussion about culture’s effect on conflict management. Chapter 12 ties together the concepts discussed in all the other chapters. It applies updated intercultural knowledge to the case of DaimlerChrysler and examines the cultural reasons for the failure of the merger within just seven years of its beginning. This chapter also introduces the role diverse teams play in the success of international business. Two in-depth cases in the Appendix to Chapter 12 provide an opportunity to apply intercultural knowledge to specific problems. Throughout the book we have added more short cases, and kept the introductory vignettes to each chapter to illustrate the issues covered in that chapter. New illustrations and examples have been added, often drawn from cultures not mentioned in the earlier editions. Users of earlier editions will notice that the appearance of the fifth edition is more user-friendly, as we continue to improve the book’s layout and add new exhibits. These changes reflect our continued commitment to provide a source for readers that addresses culture and cultural variations, communication across cultures for business purposes, and the way culture affects organizations. Many new books have arrived in the marketplace since we finished our fourth edition, but we are convinced this one is unique: It addresses the issues of culture and communication within the context of international business. The fifth edition of Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace, like the first four editions, provides examples of how cultural values and practices impact business communication. We explore the relationships among the cultural environments of the firm and the structure of the firm. We look at how companies and individuals communicate. Throughout the discussions about specific communication tasks, we concentrate on the underlying cultural reasons for behavior. This approach, as we asserted from the very first edition, we confidently believe will help the reader develop an ability to work successfully within an environment of cultural diversity both at home and abroad. We have continued to strive to avoid specific cultural viewpoints in this book but have come to realize since the first edition that total cultural neutrality is not possible. Nor is it desirable in a sense; every human has some cultural filters through which she or he views the world. And comments from users have confirmed this. Nevertheless, the framework we develop here applies to all var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd vi 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page vi Preface to the Fifth Edition readers regardless of their native cultures. This book is for anyone from anywhere around the globe who wants to develop and improve intercultural business communication skills. Intercultural business communication is an exciting field, and we are proud to be able to contribute to a broader understanding of it. Notes 1. The Economist, April 2006. 2. “The Internet at 40,” The Economist, September 4, 2009, http://www.economist .com/sciencetechnology/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14391822. var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page vii About the Authors Iris I. Varner is the Director for the International Business Institute and a Professor Emerita in international business at the College of Business, at Illinois State University, where she taught the cultural environment of international business and international management. Her PhD, MBA, and MA are from the University of Oklahoma. She has the Staatsexamen and Assessorenexamen from the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg, Germany. Varner has extensive international experience. She grew up in the former East Germany and studied in Germany, France, Great Britain, the United States, and Taiwan. She has given seminars and lectures around the globe, including New Zealand, Russia, France, Belgium, Japan, Germany, and China and has spent time in many other countries. She is an ad hoc professor at the University of Lugano, Switzerland, where she teaches in the Executive Masters Program for Corporate Communication Management and at Shanghai University, China. Varner is the author of over 80 articles in the area of intercultural managerial communication. Her research, which she has presented at regional, national, and international conventions, has focused on the connections between culture, communication, and business practices. She has been honored with the Outstanding Membership Award and the Meada Gibbs Outstanding Teaching Award of the Association for Business Communication. She was named a Fellow of the Association for Business Communication and a Caterpillar Scholar and State Farm Fellow by Illinois State University. As a president of the Association for Business Communication in 2000 to 2001, she contributed greatly to the internationalization of the organization. She was chair of the Ethics Committee and is an active member of the International Committee. Varner is a member of the Academy of Management and the Academy for Human Resource Development. She also serves as a reviewer for a number of scholarly publications and consults for a variety of national and international firms. Linda Beamer is an Emerita Professor of California State University, Los Angeles, where she taught undergraduate business communication, intercultural communication, and diversity in the workplace, and courses in high-performance management and international business in the MBA. She received the honors students’ Professor of the Year award in 2001, and in 2002 she received the Outstanding Professor award from her campus, followed by a Distinguished Woman award in 2005. She subsequently taught intercultural communication to vii var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page viii viii About the Authors undergraduate and postgraduate students at Unitec New Zealand, where she and her husband make their home. She has taught and consulted in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, the Middle East, China, Argentina, Mexico, Hong Kong, Japan, and New Zealand. Her BA is from the College of Wooster in Ohio (with one year in Scotland at Edinburgh University), and her MA and PhD are from the University of Toronto. The latter led to dual U.S.–Canadian citizenship. Her research, resulting in about two dozen publications and 70 presentations, has focused primarily on the effects of culture on business communication, with a special interest in Chinese communication issues. She has served on the Editorial Board of Business Communication Quarterly and was Associate Editor of the Journal of Business Communication; she frequently reviews for other publications as well. She served as President of the Association for Business Communication in 2004, as Chair of the Intercultural Committee of the Association for Business Communication, and as a member of the Board of Directors. In 2005, she was honored with the Fellow award. She was also voted a Fellow of the International Academy of Intercultural Research at its inception in 1997. Beamer has been the recipient of several research grants and received the Outstanding Publication award from the Association for Business Communication. She held a six-year Visiting Professor appointment at Unitec New Zealand before moving to Auckland, and held a three-year Visiting Professor appointment at Shanghai University until 2009. She taught at Chuo University in Tokyo in 2004 and 2010, and has been a guest lecturer at many campuses around the world. var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page ix Acknowledgments Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace is the result of many years of work. Although this book is based to a great extent on our professional research and personal experiences, we also want to acknowledge the suggestions and advice we have received from our families, friends, clients, colleagues, and students. We are particularly indebted to the users of previous editions for giving us valuable feedback. Many people have been generous in sharing information with us, and we are grateful for their support. We give special thanks to the reviewers who carefully read the fourth edition and offered their insights and suggestions. Last, but not least, we thank the people at McGraw-Hill/Irwin, and particularly Jolynn Kilburg, the developmental editor. Their work and support made this edition possible. ix var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page x Introduction The Need for Intercultural Business Communication Competence What does culture have to do with business? In the past, many business majors and practitioners immersed in questions of financial forecasting, market studies, and management models did not examine culture and the way it affects business. Unlike the hard data from measurable issues, culture is soft and, at times, slippery. Although it can be elusive, culture is still undeniably important. It’s often easiest to spot culture at work when something goes wrong, when a key element of culture is overlooked. Here is an example: Mickey Mouse took up residence in Hong Kong in 2005, but Mainland Chinese visitors to the new theme park seemed unsure about the meaning of the Happiest Place on Earth. Disney film characters like Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Tinkerbell are based on fairy tales and stories from Europe that are unfamiliar to children in China. Disney television shows with cartoon characters for children haven’t been aired in China for decades, as they have in the United States. Meanwhile, visitors who were puzzled by the theme park wandered aimlessly up Main Street and had their pictures taken with Marie the Cat—a character from the 1970s movie The Aristocats, whose appeal is in her appearance: It is remarkably similar to the hugely popular Japanese figure, Hello Kitty. However, in early 2006 sparse crowds were replaced by hordes, and visitors’ mild bafflement turned to outrage. Hong Kong Disneyland was deluged by crowds. Three times during the “Golden Week” of the Chinese New Year the gates to the park were closed after the first 30,000 visitors came through, and thousands more visitors with paid tickets in their hands were turned away. Many parents who had spent large sums of money on travel to the promised holiday treat were photographed attempting to climb the fence or toss their child over it. Disappointed patrons threatened to sue Disney. Disney made a public apology. The problem of too many visitors had come about because Hong Kong Disneyland, worried about lack of sales, had sold tickets that were good for up to six months. Many bought their tickets and then held on to them until the New Year holidays, something the Disneyland managers hadn’t anticipated. The chairman of the rival Ocean Park was quoted as saying it was a mess: “Many of the problems ‘were things that somebody who did their homework should have realized and understood.’”1 Nor was the Golden Week debacle the first cultural bump in the road for Hong Kong Disneyland. Initially, a park restaurant planned to serve shark fin’s soup, a Chinese delicacy that was later withdrawn from the menu because of animal rights protests. Local celebrities were invited for public relations appearances, but they subsequently complained they weren’t treated well by Disney executives from the United States. Disney also had learned that Chinese visitors to parks preferred places for taking photographs over roller coaster rides, so they put fewer rides into this park, which is the smallest of the six worldwide. As a result, shortly after it opened the park was criticized for being too small. x var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page xi Introduction xi Other culture-related issues that plagued the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland were the danger to children’s health from people smoking in nonsmoking areas, and the threat to sanitation from some visitors’ practice of urinating on the flowerbeds near food areas. Hong Kong Disneyland isn’t an isolated instance of cultural misunderstandings. The history of the Disney theme park in France is notorious. Euro Disney had similar problems with unplanned crowds when it first opened. Locals who had postponed their visits during the summer tourist season surged to visit in September 1992. French critics called Euro Disney an example of U.S. cultural imperialism, and hundreds of employees left their jobs after a few days. The Disney prohibition on the sale of alcohol in its theme parks did not fit with the French custom of drinking wine with meals. But by 2006 it had become France’s number-one tourist destination with 50 million visitors a year.2 Similarly, the future of tourism in Hong Kong is bright, and Disney has adapted to take advantage of it. The people of Hong Kong may have had more patience with the U.S. company than the French did. Chief Executive Donald Tsang said when the theme park opened: “We have to remember that Disneyland is a new organization [in Hong Kong] . . . It may need time to understand the situation of Hong Kong and especially the culture of Hong Kongers and figure out how to make all its employees happy.”3 More and more organizations with strong success records at home, like Disney, are finding themselves involved in communication between cultures, either because they are doing business in unfamiliar foreign countries, or because they are sourcing from another country and seeking financing and a workforce from another country. Companies around the world have increasingly multicultural workforces. In the United States, for example, Latinos (from Mexico and Central and South America) have become the biggest minority group. In Europe, the composition of the population is changing as more and more people emigrate from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. In the Middle East, many workers come from India, the Philippines, and Southeast Asia. Countries like Holland and Australia are considering an examination system to see if immigrant applicants are culturally suited to living in those countries. As a result of these migrations, people with diverse cultural backgrounds and different languages are working side by side in many countries, creating a workplace that is multicultural. Business communication today is intercultural communication. To communicate with people from another culture, one needs to understand the culture. To do that, one needs a method. This book offers an approach to unfamiliar cultures that makes understanding easier and consequently makes business communication with those cultures more effective. We believe intercultural business communication skills can be learned. At its lowest level, business communication with unfamiliar cultures means simply finding a translator for conducting discussions in a foreign language. However, as more and more corporations are finding out, communication must take into account unarticulated meanings and the thinking behind the words—not just the words alone. To be effective, communication must be culturally correct, not merely grammatically correct. To understand the significance of a message from someone, you need to understand the way that person looks at the world and the values that weigh heavily var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd xii 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page xii Introduction in that person’s view of the world. That view includes meanings that are assumed to be universal (even when they are not), the importance of the words that are used, and the way the message is organized and transmitted. You also need to know what to expect when someone engages in a particular communication behavior such as making a decision known, negotiating a sales agreement, or writing a legal contract. And you’d be wise to know something about the organization that person works in and the way its structure—a result of culture—affects communication. In applying intercultural communication skills to practical business concerns, this book makes an important contribution. Most books about doing business with people from other cultures come from one of two areas, either intercultural and crosscultural communication scholarship and its near relative, intercultural training, or international business. Intercultural and cross-cultural communication scholarship is grounded in a body of theory but has little direct application to business communication. Intercultural training draws from psychology and related fields and specializes in preparing people for sojourns in foreign countries for development work, such as for the Peace Corps, for studying abroad, or for working in an expatriate posting, but this training typically has little application to business communication. Books on international business, in contrast, concentrate on business functions such as finance, management, marketing, shipping and insurance, and accounting. They tend to ignore the importance of the all-encompassing communication tasks and the skills necessary to complete them successfully. They also tend to ignore the different priorities in other cultures that affect the act of communication and its outcomes. This book connects business communication and understanding of cultural priorities with actual business practices. Of course, business practices themselves, as the book points out, are culturally based. By combining intercultural communication skills with business, this book helps you become a successful communicator in culturally diverse workplace environments both at home and abroad. As more and more firms are finding out, effective intercultural communication is crucial for success domestically and internationally. Intercultural Business Communication Competence and Growing Domestic Diversity All over the world, nations are trying to come to terms with the growing diversity of their populations. Reactions range from a warm welcome, to conditional acceptance, to mere tolerance, to rejection. As migrations of workers and refugees have increased globally, some countries are trying to control diversity by establishing strict guidelines for emigration from other countries. Other countries are attempting to develop government policies concerning the rights of immigrants to preserve their own cultures in their adopted homelands. Canada is an example of a bicultural (English and French) country where federal and provincial governments have ministers of multiculturalism to protect the cultural “mosaic” pattern that immigrants bring to Canada. New Zealand is an example of a country that has var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page xiii Introduction xiii issues of biculturalism (Māori and non-Māori) to work through and that needs additional energy and resources to attend to the increasing cultural diversity of immigrants. The United States historically afforded a home to people of diverse cultures. But even in the United States, with its ideals of equality and tolerance, the advantages and disadvantages of acknowledging diversity are debated hotly. Social critics in the United States have voiced opposition to measures that preserve immigrants’ cultural differences. They say the insistence on diversity separates Americans from one another by forcing them to focus on what differentiates them. This view holds that the “melting pot” that has been alleged to describe American culture depends on the fusing of all cultural identities into one, in keeping with the American ideal of offering equal American-ness to everybody. Furthermore, they warn that multiculturalism may threaten the very characteristic that is so American: the union of one from many. We don’t subscribe to this view. We do acknowledge that uniformity is easier to deal with than diversity. Diversity is difficult, although it also can be very rewarding. Often the impulse to deny cultural differences comes from embarrassment at focusing on difference, since frequently to be different is to be excluded. It isn’t polite to point out that someone looks different, talks differently, wears different clothes, or eats different food. Thus, many times, out of a concern to avoid making someone feel uncomfortable, difference is played down. This attitude may be motivated in the United States by a sincere desire for equal behavior toward people regardless of their ethnic or cultural background under the all-encompassing umbrella of the ideal of equality. After all, most people who call themselves “American” have ancestors who were immigrants. Today, many still have a strong desire to include newcomers in a friendly and tolerant national embrace and to affirm the high priority of equality in American culture. This is also true of some people in other countries with recent immigrant populations, such as New Zealand, Canada, Argentina, and Australia, as communities struggle to reconcile national identity with newer cultures. People from different cultures really are different (as well as similar) in how they see the world. That’s a great thing about being human, and a potential source of delight and wonderment as much as a source of fear and suspicion—the choice is ours. As people of different cultures we begin with different databases, use different operating environments, run different software and process information differently to get to what are often different goals. To pretend we’re all alike underneath is wrong and can lead to ineffectual communication or worse. The way to deal with diversity is not to deny it or ignore it but to learn about differences so they don’t impair communication and successful business transactions. We also need new models to describe diverse populations. The description of the United States, for example, as a “melting pot” is neither an accurate description of the reality nor an ideal that many of the more recent immigrants embrace. Even the immigrants from Europe of a previous century did not “melt”; they created a new culture with distinct differences based on cultural heritage. Some have described this integration as a salad or a pizza or a stew, in which each var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd xiv 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page xiv Introduction element retains a recognizable identity but contributes to the flavor of all. The combination gains something from each ingredient. The United States’ value of tolerance has in some cases given immigrants to that country the freedom to keep their own identities while becoming part of a new culture. In other countries, similar cases exist, and they represent a goal to which all can aspire. Cultural differences don’t prevent us from working with each other or communicating with each other or transacting productive business with each other. Indeed, we must learn to work with each other. The future of any organization depends on it. When connections are formed with people from other cultures, similarities appear. We weave fabrics of cooperation in which we see recurring common threads. It’s a source of delight to realize someone from a culture very different from one’s own has the same attitude or value or behavior. Furthermore, to see and accept different priorities and views can provide strength and create new synergies. The essential ingredient for a successful cultural mix is skill in putting into operation the knowledge you acquire about another culture; this is intercultural communication competence. Many companies around the globe, such as HewlettPackard in the United States, have discovered the value of intercultural communication skills and the increased productivity they bring. These organizations have instituted diversity programs to train employees. Changes in Communication Technology and Political Structures The 20th century nurtured unprecedented change in communication technology. The first decade of the 21st century brought even faster change. International communication that only a few decades ago took days, if not weeks, now takes nanoseconds. With e-mail, faxes, the Internet, satellites, cellular telephones, and conferencing software we contact our international partners at a moment’s notice. If we want a more personal exchange, audio and video desktop technology, video teleconferencing, and Skype bring the other person right into our office. Today’s techno-developments are in the realm of participatory communication. In the first decade of the 21st century, words like “blog,” “wiki,” and “podcasting” appeared in our dictionaries. Podcasting (“pod” coming from the Apple product the iPod, for downloading music and audio as well as video from the Internet, and “casting” from broadcasting) allows podcasters to record anything and then upload it to the Internet where it can be downloaded by other users. Every garage band can play to unknown listeners. Every orator can declaim to the globe. At sites like Second Life, people create virtual identities for themselves, called avatars, and engage in creative ventures such as making films. How this kind of participative communication will impact the entertainment industry, such as Disney with whom we began this introduction, remains to be seen. The variety of channels of business communication has also increased. Instant Messaging, wikis in the workplace, blogs and texting by mobile phone, BlackBerry, iPhone, or other smartphone devices carry written messages. They also can var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page xv Introduction xv transmit still and moving visual images. Voicemail, podcaster feeds, and Skype systems carry audio and video messages. The choice of which channel to use in a particular situation is influenced by cultural priorities and values, and those choices are multiplying. The changes in technology have facilitated the exchange of ideas, but they also have magnified the possibilities for cultural blunders. It is so easy to assume that the person on the other end of the connection communicates just as we do. After all, he or she uses the same technology and maybe even the same business terminology. In addition to changes in technology, political and economic changes affect business communication internationally. China, the world’s largest market for mobile telephony, is adopting more and more Western practices and a market economy. India is a technological powerhouse. Small industrialized countries jostle with big ones. Non-Western countries are becoming more assertive and protective of their cultural values and behaviors and do not accept Western dominance in business practices any longer. These new voices are increasingly powerful. Not long ago an elite group of industrialized countries could more or less dictate economic practices. This is changing. Today, the first-world “overconsumers” are being forced to take into consideration the cultural values and practices of “sustainable consumers.” As a result, understanding other cultures is more important than ever. If we consider that people with the same economic, political, and cultural background have problems communicating effectively, we can appreciate the difficulties and challenges that people from diverse cultures face when trying to communicate. Misunderstandings will always be a part of intercultural communication. One of the goals of this book is to minimize misunderstandings through an awareness of the priorities and expectations of business partners. International Business and Corporate Responses Managers in the past talked about the need for faster and more efficient communication, as if speed guaranteed effective communication. They paid lip service to the need for good intercultural communication, but staffing decisions typically were based on technical knowledge rather than good intercultural communication skills. Now with growing competition and increasing globalization, that attitude is beginning to change. International experience in more countries is becoming more important for making it to the top of the corporate ladder. The car industry is a good example for worldwide alliances, mergers, and joint ventures that have required an increasing understanding of international business practices and intercultural communication dynamics. The trend toward a global business environment is not restricted to car manufacturers or big industrialized countries such as the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Canada, and Great Britain. Nor is it restricted to large cities or trade centers on the coasts. Global business involves geographic locations that just a few years ago were considered to be wholly engaged in domestic business. Many small towns in the landlocked states of Mexico, for example, are involved in var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd xvi 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page xvi Introduction international business today. Chinese investments in Africa show that international business has new players today who are not only based in the Western world. Local firms may export or import; they may be owned by foreign firms, or foreign firms may establish subsidiaries. People who never dreamed of going into international business may work side by side with recent immigrants from different cultures. The salesperson in a small business in a small town in any one of a hundred countries may have to answer inquiries from around the world. The salesperson doesn’t have time to think about how to deal with a foreigner. She or he must be ready to communicate on the spot. The Foundation for Intercultural Business Communication The first step in effective intercultural communication involves self-analysis, self-awareness, and understanding. You can’t understand the other party unless you understand yourself. The next step is the understanding and acceptance of differences. That does not mean we have to agree with another culture’s viewpoint or adopt another culture’s values. It does mean we (and they) must examine our (and their) priorities and determine how we all can best work together, being different. In the process, we will realize that a person entering another culture will always have to adapt to a number of cultural conditions. That doesn’t mean turning one’s back on one’s own culture or denying its priorities. Rather, it means learning what motivates others and how other cultural priorities inform the behavior, attitudes, and values of business colleagues. This approach means adding to one’s own culture, not subtracting from it. For example, a businessperson from New Zealand going to Japan must adapt to many Japanese practices, just as a Japanese businessperson going to New Zealand must adapt to a variety of New Zealand practices. In attempting to understand another culture’s perspective, we will gain greater ground if we take off our cultural blinders and develop sensitivity in the way we speak and behave. That is not always easy. We are all culturally based and culturally biased. For example, people in the United States refer to themselves as “Americans.” They often say that they live in “America.” Most Europeans use the same terminology. Germans, for example, refer to the country of the United States as die Staaten (the States) or as USA, but they always refer to the people as Amerikaner (Americans). The French call the people of the United States les americains (Americans); they refer to the country as les Etats Unis (the United States) or l’Amerique (America). The Japanese refer to people from the United States as america-jin. But these are not precisely accurate terms; they constitute an example of cultural bias. People from Central America and South America call themselves “American,” too, and call people from the United States yanquis (Yankees). “North Americans” are people from Canada, Mexico, and the United States. As residents of the United States, accustomed to using the word American to refer to people of the United States, we have struggled with the terminology in the writing of this book. We have attempted to distinguish between other Americans var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page xvii Introduction xvii and those in the United States. But no exclusive term exists for the people of the United States—such as Statesians or USians—comparable to Mexicans or Canadians. We use the United States when referring to the country and often use the phrase people of the United States and United States businesspeople to refer to the people. But occasionally, when we feel the context is clearly the United States, we also use the term Americans to denote the people. The third step in intercultural competence is to challenge the knowledge we have gained about other cultures and to see our understanding as flexible and incomplete. In any intercultural encounter, variations will occur. What we expect won’t be exactly what we get. Openness and willingness to learn characterize the skilled person in intercultural communication. The fourth step is analysis of communication behavior to reach conclusions about what has been successful and what has not. This book offers many examples of both success and failure. Specific communication tasks presented in the following chapters help with learning beyond stereotypes. Business correspondence, greeting behavior, conflict management, face-to-face and technology-mediated communications, and negotiations appear in the book, and they offer us an opportunity to model the analyses a good intercultural communicator must make. The final step in intercultural communication competence is enacting what one has learned. You know as a newcomer to a culture when you have done something that is culturally incorrect; you also know when you can behave in accord with the other culture. At that point, you are walking in the shoes of the other culture. That is the ultimate goal of learning about a culture and learning the skills to communicate with that culture: to behave as if you are of that culture. In addition to this individual-level goal, you can also apply these principles to business organizations, as illustrated in the cases at the end of the book. The Organization of This Book This book has three major parts: 1. An understanding of culture and how to get to know unfamiliar cultures for business, and how to understand culture’s impact on communication. 2. The application of intercultural communication skills to specific business communication tasks. 3. The implications of intercultural business communication for the domestic multicultural/international/global firm. Part One This section begins with an introduction to culture followed by the first steps in developing intercultural communication skills and a look at the way culture affects communication. A discussion follows about the study of communication across cultures. Chapter 2 examines the issue of language in communication with an unfamiliar culture and discusses the important role of the interpreter. Chapters 3 and 4 present a structure for understanding the dimensions of an unfamiliar var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd xviii 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page xviii Introduction culture by posing specific questions. The questions are in five different categories, and they cover the priorities or values of any culture that are important for business. Examples show how these priorities affect business transactions. Part Two Chapter 5 discusses the influences of cultural values and language patterns on the organization of business messages. Chapter 6 looks at the role of nonverbal communication across cultures. Chapter 7 discusses what happens when people from different cultures encounter one another in specific social contexts that have different meanings for each party, and also touches on ethics across cultures. Chapter 8 examines the impact of cultural priorities on information gathering, decision making, problem solving, and conflict managing—all activities that involve certain communication tasks. Chapter 9 concludes this section on the application of intercultural communication skills to business negotiations across cultures and to multicultural teams. Part Three Chapter 10 explores the legal environment and the communication implications for the international/global manager. Chapter 11 ties intercultural business communication practices to the organization and structure of the international/global firm. A broad variety of examples illustrates the impact of structure on communication. The last chapter applies the concepts from all the previous chapters to the case of DaimlerChrysler. Through this case analysis, you can see how culture affects real business decisions in the real world. This chapter also discusses how companies can use the work of intercultural teams to take advantage of the potential synergies of diverse groups in achieving corporate goals. In connecting intercultural communication theory and international business concerns, this book presents a unique approach. It probes the reasons for cultural priorities and behavior and identifies the major applications in intercultural business communication tasks. In this process, it establishes a framework that will help readers ask the right questions and identify cultural issues so they can communicate effectively in new cultural settings. This book is based on many years of research and experience living and working in a variety of cultures. The many examples make the book particularly valuable for anyone who wants to be an effective player in international business. Notes 1. Bruce Einhorn, “Disney’s Mobbed Kingdom,” BusinessWeek Online, February 6, 2006, Academic Search Premier database (retrieved April 25, 2006). 2. “Introduction to Disneyland Paris,” Frommer’s. destinations/disneylandparis/0796010001.html (retrieved August 15, 2006). 3. Paul Wiseman, “Miscues Mar Opening of Hong Kong Disney,” USA Today, Section: Money, November 10, 2005, p. 5b, Academic Search Premier database (retrieved April 25, 2006). var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page xix Contents in Brief 1. Culture and Communication 1 8. 2. The Role of Language in Intercultural Business Communication 43 Information, Decisions, and Solutions 289 9. Intercultural Negotiation Teams 329 3. Getting to Know Another Culture 93 4. The Self and Groups 139 5. Organizing Messages to Other Cultures 173 6. Nonverbal Language in Intercultural Communication 217 7. Cultural Rules for Establishing Relationships 251 10. Legal and Governmental Considerations in Intercultural Business Communication 365 11. The Influence of Business Structures and Corporate Culture on Intercultural Business Communication 403 12. Intercultural Dynamics in the International Company 447 xix var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page xx Contents Preface to the Fifth Edition iv About the Authors vii Acknowledgments ix Introduction x Chapter 1 Culture and Communication 1 The Importance of Learning about Cultures 2 Making Sense of Our World 3 The World Is Becoming Increasingly Diverse 4 People around the World ARE Different 4 Preventing Mistakes 4 Responding to Different Cultures 6 Hostility to Difference 6 Curiosity about Difference 7 Denying Difference 7 Cooperating with Difference 8 Understanding Culture 9 Culture Is Coherent 10 Culture Is Learned 11 Culture Is the View of a Group of People 11 Culture Ranks What Is Important 12 Culture Furnishes Attitudes 13 Culture Dictates How to Behave 13 Onstage and Backstage Elements of Culture 14 Transactional Cultures 15 Adopting Another Culture’s Behavior 16 Self-Knowledge and Understanding One’s Own Culture 19 Cultural Intelligence 23 The Question of Change in Cultures 24 Are Cultures Merging into One Global Culture? 24 Ever-Changing Popular Taste 25 The Study of Communication across Cultures 26 xx Three Characteristics of the Discipline of Cross-cultural Communication 27 Study of the Communication of Groups versus the Study of Individuals’ Communication 27 Intercultural and Cross-cultural Communication Study 27 Two Broad Approaches to Communication Research in the Social Sciences 29 Study of Culture and Communication: Individuals or Cultures 34 Intercultural Business Communication 35 Perception and Communication 35 A Schemata Model for Intercultural Communication 36 Chapter 2 The Role of Language in Intercultural Business Communication 43 The Relationship between Language and Culture 44 Language as a Reflection of the Environment 46 Language as a Reflection of Values 46 The Meaning of Words 47 Changes in Language 48 Acronyms 51 Implications of the Language Barrier 51 Selection of the Right Language 52 Linguistic Considerations 52 Business Considerations 54 Political Considerations 56 The Appropriate Level of Fluency 56 The Company Language 58 Choosing a Company Language 58 Using Additional Foreign Language Expertise 63 The Role of the Interpreter 64 The Importance of Choosing a Good Interpreter 66 The Effective Use of an Interpreter—Some Guidelines 67 var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page xxi Contents Communication with Nonnative Speakers 70 Are Divine Powers or Humans at the Center of Events? 120 How Is Time Understood, Measured, and Kept? 130 Is Change Positive or Negative? 132 Is Death the End of Life or Part of Life? 133 Effective Face-to-Face Communication 70 Effective Written Communication 73 The Impact of Technology on Oral and Written Communication 80 Some Guidelines for Communicating with Businesspeople from Different Cultures 86 Communication with a Multicultural Workforce 88 Chapter 3 Getting to Know Another Culture 93 Ways to Study Culture 94 Research Approaches to Studying Cultures 94 Studying Whole Cultures 94 Cultural Generalizations 95 Hofstede’s Research and Other Studies 96 The GLOBE Study 97 Studying Individuals 98 Culture as a Theoretical Construct 98 Generalizations and Stereotypes 99 High-context Communication and Low-context Communication 100 The Cultural Dimensions Approach in This Book 103 Where Can Information about Cultures Be Found? 104 Category 1: Thinking and Knowing 106 Does Knowing Come from Concepts or Experience? 106 Does Learning Come from Asking Questions or Mastering Received Wisdom? 107 Does Knowledge Have Limits? 108 How Do People Reason? 109 Category 2: Doing and Achieving 112 Is Doing Important or Is Being Important? 112 Are Tasks Done Sequentially or Simultaneously? 112 Do Results or Relationships Take Priority? 113 Is Uncertainty Avoided or Tolerated? 115 Is Luck an Essential Factor or an Irrelevance? 115 Are Rules to Be Followed or Bent? 118 Category 3: The Big Picture 118 Do Humans Dominate Nature or Does Nature Dominate Humans? 119 xxi Chapter 4 The Self and Groups 139 Category 4: The Self and Self-identity 140 Self-identity—A Social Psychology Approach 141 Self-identity—A Communication Approach 141 Self-identity—A Critical Approach 141 Self-identity and Cultural Value Dimensions 142 Self-construal: Independent and Interdependent 142 The Basic Unit of Society: The Individual or the Collective? 143 Obligation and Indebtedness: Burdens or Benefits? 147 Age: Is Seniority Valued or Discounted? 150 Gender: Are Women Equals or Subordinates? 151 Category 5: Social Organization 156 Group Membership: Temporary or Permanent? 156 Form: Important or Untrustworthy? 161 Personal Matters: Private or Public? 163 Social Organizational Patterns: Horizontal or Hierarchical? 165 Approach to Authority: Direct or Mediated? 167 Conclusion 169 Chapter 5 Organizing Messages to Other Cultures 173 Review of the Communication Model 174 Meaning and the Communication Model 174 Why: The Purpose and Factors of Communication 176 Who in Business Communication 179 Where: Channels of Communication 179 When: Time and Timing of Communication 181 var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd xxii 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page xxii Contents Organizing Routine Messages 181 The Direct Plan 181 The Indirect Plan 182 Organizing Persuasive Messages and Argumentation 186 Argumentation and Logic Persuasion Tactics 191 187 Organizing Unwelcome Messages 192 Communicating about Problems Saying No 194 192 Organizing Problem-Solving Messages 195 Storytelling 195 Analogy 197 Syllogistic and Inductive Reasoning 198 Bargaining Discourse 199 The Role and Force of Words 199 The Relative Importance of Encoding Messages in Words 199 The Role of Words in Arabic Cultures 200 The Role of Words in Japanese Culture 202 The Role of Words in English-Speaking Cultures 203 The Effect of Language’s Structure 203 Channels of Business Messages 206 Internal Channels for Written Messages 206 External Channels for Written Messages 208 Structured Behavior Channels 209 Oral Channels 209 Communication Style 210 Formal or Informal: Hierarchical or Horizontal 210 Framed Messages 211 Chapter 6 Nonverbal Language in Intercultural Communication 217 Paralanguage 220 Vocal Qualifiers 220 Vocalization 220 Nonverbal Business Conventions in Face-to-Face Encounters 221 Eye Contact 221 Facial Expressions 223 Gestures 226 Timing in Spoken Exchanges Touching 230 The Language of Space Appearance 244 Silence 247 234 Chapter 7 Cultural Rules for Establishing Relationships 251 Respect for Authority and the Structuring of Messages 252 Signals of Respect 252 Positions of Authority 254 Dress as a Symbol of Authority 256 Power Distance and Symbols of Power and Authority 258 Tone and Behavior of Power and Authority 259 Language as an Indicator of Power and Authority 264 Family and Societal Structures as Indicators of Power 267 Assertiveness vs. Harmony 268 Standing Up for One’s Rights Preserving Harmony 270 268 Recognition of Performance as a Signal of Authority 271 Monetary Recognition 271 Nonmonetary Rewards 272 The Role of Social Contacts in Intercultural Business 274 Conventions for Extending Invitations 274 Mixing Social Engagements and Business 276 Appropriate Behavior for Hosts and Guests 276 Gift Giving 278 Dealing with Controversy in Social Settings 280 Holiday Greetings 281 Ethical Considerations in Intercultural Engagements 282 Chapter 8 Information, Decisions, and Solutions 289 The Nature of Business Information 291 228 The Impact of Culture on What Constitutes Information 291 The Assessment of Information 291 var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd 2/19/10 10:27 AM Page xxiii Contents The Possession of Information 292 Formal and Informal Information 295 Soft vs. Hard Data 297 Criteria for Business Information 298 Code Law 371 Anglo-American Common Law 372 Islamic Law 373 Socialist Law 374 Sources of Business Information 299 Formal Sources 299 Informal Sources 300 Information and Knowledge Management 301 Decision Making 303 Making Decisions Based on Ends 304 Making Decisions Based on Means 305 Problem Solving and Conflict Resolution 308 Defining Problems and Dealing with Them 309 Managing Conflicts 310 Conflict Management Modes 312 Conflict Communication Modes 316 Communicating about Conflicts between Members of Different Cultures 320 Chapter 9 Intercultural Negotiation Teams 329 Intercultural Negotiation 331 What Really Happened with Canwall in China? 332 How Knowledge of Culture Can Help Factors in the Negotiation Task xxiii 334 342 Expectations for Outcomes 343 Orientation of the Negotiating Team 345 The Physical Context of the Negotiation 349 Communication and Style of Negotiating 352 The Phases of Negotiation 356 The Development of a Relationship 356 Information Exchange about the Topic under Negotiation 357 Persuasion 358 Concession and Agreement 361 Chapter 10 Legal and Governmental Considerations in Intercultural Business Communication 365 Communication and Legal Messages 367 Specific Legal Systems 371 Dispute Settlement 375 Direct Confrontation and Arbitration 375 Communication with Agents 377 Trademarks and Intellectual Property 379 International Enterprise and the National Interests 381 Legal Issues in Labor and Management Communication 385 Labor Regulations 386 Employment Communication 386 Laws for Safety on the Job 388 Equal Opportunity 390 Legal Considerations in Marketing Communication 391 Investment Attitudes and the Communication of Financial Information 394 Chapter 11 The Influence of Business Structures and Corporate Culture on Intercultural Business Communication 403 Corporate Culture and Intercultural Communication 405 Stages in Internationalization 409 The Import–Export Stage 410 Reasons for Exporting 410 Communication in the Import–Export Environment 412 The Multinational Corporation 415 The National Subsidiary 415 The International Division 417 The Global Firm 426 The Structure of a Global Firm 426 Communication in a Global Organization 427 Implications of Cultural Aspects of Business Structures for Communication in an International Firm 433 Communication in an Organization Based on Credentials 433 Communication in an Organization Based on Context 435 var77740_fm_i_xxiv.qxd xxiv 2/19/10 11:07 AM Page xxiv Contents Communication in an Organization Based on Family Orientation 438 Communication in an Organization Based on Political Principles 440 Chapter 12 Intercultural Dynamics in the International Company 447 Cultural Issues in the DaimlerChrysler Merger 450 Preparation and Training 451 Attitudes toward Management 452 Attitudes toward Compensation 453 Regulatory Issues 454 Reports on the Merger 455 Intercultural Business Communication as a Strategic Tool for Success 458 The Process of Intercultural Business Communication 458 Dynamics of Culturally Diverse Teams 463 Culture in the Context of Corporate Strategy 471 When Teams Are Not Effective 476 Try to Adapt to Each Other’s Expectations 476 Specific Abilities that Make up Teamwork CQ 476 Subdivide the Team and Tasks 480 Have a Manager Intervene 480 Remove Member(s) or Disband the Team 481 Applying Your Cultural Knowledge to Business Situations 481 Appendix Case 1: What Else Can Go Wrong? 485 Questions for Discussion 488 Case 2: Hana, a Joint Venture Between Health Snacks and Toka Foods 488 Questions for Discussion 494 Index 494 var78253_ch01_001-042.qxd 1/6/10 C H A P T E R 8:41 PM Page 1 O N E Culture and Communication Martin Walpert is the president of a family-owned business called Walpert Industries Ltd. in Montreal, Canada, that produces Christmas crackers. The company, located in French Canada, is one of the world’s top five suppliers of the product (mainly to consumers in English-speaking countries), and exports two-thirds of its output to the United States. Walpert estimates that the international market for crackers is about $150 million, with the majority sold in Great Britain. Crackers are paper tubes with small trinkets inside. When the twisted ends of the cracker are pulled, it pops or “cracks,” causing the contents to spill out. Crackers are a tradition dating from Victorian England, and they are still very popular in England and in the countries Britain dominated in the 19th century. The story of British crackers begins with an English confectioner in France, who saw Parisians selling paper twists of candy and brought the idea back to England. Instead of using candy, he filled his twists with little novelties and romantic verses. The result was a 19th-century success story of intercultural adaptation, because crackers became a tradition among British Christmas revelers. Today, crackers often have jokes instead of poems, a funny paper hat to wear at dinner, and prizes ranging from gimmicks and noisemakers to small watches. (In J. K. Rowling’s book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, for instance, Harry Potter pulled crackers that emitted a loud explosion and produced mice and admirals’ hats.) Crackers are colorful—usually red, green, and gold—and are typically laid alongside place settings at Christmas dinners or hung on Christmas trees. Like many companies today, product manufacture at Walpert Industries Ltd. spans several countries. While its home office is in Canada, its crackers are manufactured in China, where in 1997 the company invested in a plant outside Beijing. Locating in China has given Walpert a competitive edge because labor costs are lower there than in Canada. However, due to the transnational nature of his company’s production, Martin Walpert was soon to learn a valuable lesson regarding the role of culture in business.1 In December 2002, when some Canadian families opened their Christmas crackers made by Walpert, they had an unpleasant surprise. They discovered tiny plastic panda bears wearing military-style caps with a swastika on them. Some were saluting. 1 var78253_ch01_001-042.qxd 1/6/10 8:41 PM Page 2 2 Chapter 1 Martin Walpert is well aware that the swastika is the symbol used by the German Nazi party in the mid 20th century, and represents the horrors the Nazis perpetrated against Jews and other groups in World War II. A swastika was the last thing he wanted in his Christmas crackers. He wondered if he was the victim of a deliberate attempt to sabotage the company’s business. After receiving complaints and seeing newspaper articles about the swastika-wearing pandas, Martin Walpert launched an investigation. He already knew that in China panda bears are a cute, positive symbol appropriate for a holiday, especially a holiday for children. Furthermore, he knew that when Walpert Industries in Montreal approved the design of the red, green, and gold crackers, the panda bears did not wear swastikas. The swastikas, Walpert concluded, had been added by someone in China. But why? Through his investigation, Walpert learned that the swastika, so negative in European cultures today, is a very old and positive Buddhist symbol of prosperity in Eastern cultures. In fact, the swastika has been used by many ancient cultures all over the world. In Greece, it is known as the G cross (crux gammata), because the Greek letter gamma, which looks like an upside-down L, appears as the four arms of the symbol. In Hindu culture, the swastika is associated with the god Ganesh. Celts, Romans, and ancient Germanic peoples also used the swastika. In the early 20th century, English-speaking people believed it to be a good luck symbol, and the four L arms stood for luck, light, love, and life. The swastika also has been found in central Asia, as well as in Mayan and southwestern U.S. native cultures. The unauthorized addition of the swastika to the panda bears in the Christmas crackers was well-intentioned, not sabotage. However, Martin Walpert’s customers primarily saw the meaning of the swastika as negative, and his company has made sure that no more swastikas appear on its products. The Importance of Learning about Cultures Why learn about foreign cultures when you are doing business internationally? Because understanding others’ cultures is important to success. Understanding foreign cultures is not only important for companies that operate in more than one global area and market internationally. It is just as important for organizations at home that employ workers from more than one culture. Workplaces are increasingly multicultural around the world as employees are recruited globally. In the workplace, companies need to understand the cultural basis of behavior for everyone, and culture’s role in the way people make meaning. Understanding culture is also important for individuals who work in the global workplace. Often culture comes to our attention when something goes wrong at work. Something we feel is important seems to be overlooked or set aside. Or perhaps we know a little bit about another culture, but what we know makes us puzzled. We may hear people speak or see their actions and not comprehend it. The two important reasons for understanding culture are to learn how others make sense of their environment, and to prevent mistakes and miscommunication. var78253_ch01_001-042.qxd 1/6/10 8:41 PM Page 3 Culture and Communication 3 Making Sense of Our World An example of the challenge of making sense of our world occurred when Disney opened a theme park in Hong Kong that many visitors from China went to experience. In Hong Kong, children watch TV programs made by Disney, the American entertainment giant. For many years, Hong Kong children have grown up with these cartoon characters in their stories. Many characters are animals who act like humans—Donald Duck, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse—and other characters come from children’s stories and folklore, like Aladdin. But the people in mainland China were not familiar with the characters. The cartoon characters had not been on their TVs. They wandered around Hong Kong Disneyland unable to make sense of it. When they encountered people in the costumes of Disney characters, they were baffled. A similar experience awaits visitors from Europe or North America who go to Dubai and visit the Ibn Battuta shopping mall. The largest themed mall in the world, it has six sectors, each representing a region Ibn Battuta visited in his unparalleled world travels: Andalusia, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia, India, and China. If you don’t know who Ibn Battuta is, however, the costumed host who greets you will baffle you, or have no meaning. To make sense of the theme of the Dubai shopping mall, you need to know something about the culture. In Focus Ibn Battuta, a young Islamic law scholar, was curious to travel and learn about the world. Shortly after his 21st birthday in 1325, he set out on a journey to Mecca, on the Muslim pilgrimage called the hajj. He returned to his home in Tangiers, Morocco, 24 years later, after traveling through almost the whole of the Islamic world. He still wasn’t finished, though. He made further journeys, only coming back to Morocco for good in 1354. He has been called “the world’s greatest pre-modern traveler.”2 Like many young adults, Ibn Battuta wanted to experience the world. However, unlike most students today, he traveled more than 75,000 miles, acquired a number of wives on the way, had narrow escapes from death and imprisonment, and served many of the 14th century’s most important rulers. Fortunately, he dictated his travels to a scholar named Ibn Juzayy, at the court of the Sultan of Morocco. The resulting book, Rihla (the Journey), tells how Ibn Battuta first went to Mecca through North Africa and Egypt, then to Syria and Palestine. His next journey was to Iraq and Mesopotamia, then back to Mecca again. Then he traveled to Yemen, Aden, Mombasa (in east Africa), Kulwa, Oman, Hormuz, Bahrain, and back to Mecca for his third hajj. His fourth itinerary was to have been to India, but instead he revisited Egypt and the Middle East, then modern Turkey, the Black Sea, and the southern Ukraine to Constantinople. Then he turned east and eventually crossed the Hindu Kush mountains into Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. He next made a roundabout journey from Delhi to China, passing twice through the Maldives Islands in the Indian Ocean, and finally reaching Canton (southern China) via Sumatra (Indonesia), Malaya, and Cambodia. His long journey back from China took him to India, and then to Muscat (Oman), then through Iran, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt, to Mecca again for his seventh and final hajj. (continued ) var78253_ch01_001-042.qxd 1/6/10 8:41 PM Page 4 4 Chapter 1 When he arrived back in Tangier, he learned his mother had passed away in the Black Death pandemic. His father had died earlier. He decided to travel again, this time to Andalusia, the part of southern Spain under Muslim rule, and his final journey was by camel train across the Sahara to Niger and Timbuktu in central Africa. Ibn Battuta described for Ibn Juzayy his culture shock, his impressions of the local scene, the people he met, and the ways of life he experienced. You can read more about him3 and also watch trailers for the BBC television series about Ibn Battuta on YouTube. Even if you haven’t traveled to other countries, you may have met or observed people from other cultures and felt baffled. You may have been unable to figure out what their behavior meant or what meaning lay behind their symbols. If you haven’t yet met people from other cultures in your work, you will. When you do, you will want to understand them. This is why we study culture. Culture explains how people make sense of their world. The World Is Becoming Increasingly Diverse All over the world, nations are experiencing more and more people from other cultures coming into their countries. Some people give newcomers a warm welcome. Some are less warm, but allow foreigners to thrive. Some reject those who come from a different culture. Tourism is expanding, migration is increasing, and people are moving in large numbers. Some governments (for example, Australia and the Netherlands) are proposing to manage immigration by having newcomers take tests to see how likely they are to fit into those nations. Other countries (Canada, for example) are trying to develop government policies to help immigrants keep their own cultures. The United States has a long history of offering a home to people from many other countries. But in spite of its ideals of equality and tolerance, some people in the United States argue against allowing immigrants to keep their own language— in school, for instance. They say recognizing difference actually separates people, rather than enables people to tolerate others who are unlike them. Because people from different cultures get jobs all over the world, you will experience cultural difference when you go to another country. At the same time, if you stay home, you will likely be working with people from other places and cultures. In order to do your job, you will need to make sense of other people’s cultures. People around the World ARE Different People from different cultures really are different (as well as similar) in how they see the world. Cultures are the amazing products of human imagination, and that is a reason to celebrate differences. We people of this earth have created many interesting cultures throughout human history. They are a source of delight and wonder. The variety of cultures expresses what it means to be a human being. Preventing Mistakes The Walpert case that opened this chapter is one example of how a lack of cultural understanding can create problems for businesses. It also shows that cultural mistakes can be unconscious or unintentional, but damaging nevertheless. var78253_ch01_001-042.qxd 1/6/10 8:41 PM Page 5 Culture and Communication 5 Documented cultural mistakes in international business are easy to find on the Internet. The blunders-and-bloops literature is full of instances in which the error was fatal and the deal came apart, as well as instances in which the error was laughable. Many cases have led to a loss of business. The failures usually result because someone didn’t understand the reasons why people think as they do and value what they do. Today, businesses are looking for markets, suppliers, associates, partners, subsidiaries, joint-venture partners, customers, employees, and a favorable image in more than one country. Successful businesspeople must be able to communicate interculturally both at home and abroad. Donald Hastings, chairman emeritus of Lincoln Electric, attributed many of his company’s mistakes abroad to the attitude that since the company’s practices were successful in the United States, they certainly would succeed in other countries. In Focus Donald Hastings had been chairman of Lincoln Electric, a leading manufacturer of arc-welding products, for only 24 minutes on the July day when he first learned the company was suffering huge losses in Europe. The losses meant the company might not be able to pay U.S. employees their expected annual bonuses. Since the bonus system was a key component of the manufacturer’s success, with bonuses making up about half the U.S. employees’ annual salary, this was a much more significant threat than simply a disappointing performance by the company. For the first time in its 75-year history, it looked like Lincoln would have to report a consolidated loss. Lincoln Electric, based in Cleveland, Ohio, had expanded hugely, spending about $325 million to acquire foreign companies. But according to Hastings, lack of knowledge about the cultures of the acquired companies, and the cultures of the countries where they operated, was a critical factor in the company’s financial nosedive. First, the company didn’t realize that a bonus system was not an incentive to European workers, who were hostile to the idea of competing with co-workers for their annual pay. Their pay scales were negotiated by labor leaders. The idea that some workers, based on individual performance, might earn more or less than the agreed income was unacceptable to European workers. Second, Lincoln Electric learned that products not made in a European country would not be able to penetrate a European market that easily because of a cultural loyalty to domestically produced goods. A third problem was that executives of the recently acquired European companies wanted to deal only with Lincoln’s top executives, not with lower-level people sent over from Ohio. This status issue arose primarily in Germany, from the cultural characteristic of hierarchy in German culture. A fourth cultural issue was that workers in Germany, France, and other European countries typically have a month of vacation in the summer, and so production gears down during that slow time. Lincoln wasn’t used to that in its U.S. operation. A fifth and fundamental problem was that nobody in the executive ranks at Lincoln had had international experience or had lived abroad. The Chief Executive Officer didn’t even have a passport, and a last-minute panic occurred when the company scrambled to get one for him for an urgent trip to Europe. Finally, Hastings realized that he could not hope to bring Lincoln back to profitability without moving to Europe, where he could be at hand to deal with problems immediately, while learning what he and the other executives needed to know about that culture. var78253_ch01_001-042.qxd 1/6/10 8:41 PM Page 6 6 Chapter 1 The U.S. workers of Lincoln Electric, who had been fully informed of the company’s negative financial situation in Europe, rallied to help the company. Their enormous efforts paid off. At the same time, the chairman and executives painfully learned the lessons of culture they needed to know to operate overseas.4 Most businesspeople want to act appropriately and avoid offending their counterparts in foreign countries. They want to know what people in other cultures value, if only for the sake of making a sale. One researcher suggests that McDonald’s is successful in 118 countries because it practices a localized approach. McDonald’s succeeds because it offers what local people want.5 That means being sensitive to the cultural needs of the immediate market. Responding to Different Cultures When members of different cultures find themselves face to face, a number of responses are possible. History shows that one response is to clash and struggle for dominance of one set of values over another. History also shows conflict is not the only result. Contact and communication between people from different cultures is as old as human existence on earth. Consider, for example, the life of Moses (Musa in Arabic). Moses was born about 1228 B.C.E. when his mother, an Israelite, was a slave in a foreign country, Egypt. Her son was adopted into the family of the ruler, the Pharaoh. Thus, Moses was raised in two cultures. He married a woman from yet another culture, the culture of Midian, where he lived for eight to ten years. (Midian today is variously identified as southern Jordan or Ethiopia or northwest Saudi Arabia. In any case, the Midian culture was a different culture from either the culture of the Israelites or the culture of the Egyptians.) According to some accounts, when Moses led the Jews out of Egypt, he and the children of Israel encountered Amalekites, Canaanites, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, and Midianites. Reports tell how Moses’people interacted with the people of these different cultures. Some encounters were in battle (Amalekites, Canaanites), some were in making efforts to avoid hostility (Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites at first), and some encounters involved sexual seduction by women (Midianites, whom the Israelites later slaughtered). The responses ranged from hostility to cooperation to close personal relationships. Thus, the life of one person who lived long ago shows us that encounters with people from different cultures are not new, and neither are the various responses to difference. They have been going on even longer than records tell. Hostility to Difference Hostile responses to immigrants show up in the histories of many countries. Immigrants speak languages that may be unrelated to the host culture’s languages; they may write in systems the hosts cannot decipher; they often have worldviews that have been developed without reference to the host culture. It is sometimes a shock to realize that far from wanting to become part of the dominant culture, some immigrants reject it out of fear they will lose their own culture. Immigration stories from every continent include experiences of hostility. var78253_ch01_001-042.qxd 1/6/10 8:41 PM Page 7 Culture and Communication 7 In the past few years, hostility toward immigrant groups has made the news in France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, and Italy, along with countries in the Middle East, Asia, and all the nations of the “new world.” In companies, too, people of one culture may experience hostility from people of another culture. But hostility is by no means the only inevitable response to members of other cultures. Curiosity about Difference Ibn Battuta was curious to experience other cultures. Seven hundred years later, people all over the world are still curious about people from other cultures. The Internet and sites like Facebook and YouTube bring us more closely together than ever before on a larger-than-ever stage. An open, respectful interest in learning about another culture motivates many people to connect around the globe and at work with members of other cultures. In addition to satisfying one’s curiosity, another reason to learn about a culture is to establish connections with people who think differently. Close personal relationships can endure between people from different cultures, to the mutual enrichment of both. Along with the connection may be a wish to compute the meanings of things by using a different mental operating environment and running different mental software. To connect with someone who is different is to affirm something that is importantly human. Denying Difference In some cultures, showing curiosity about difference is not good manners. Furthermore, some argue that emphasizing difference separates people, and does not help us get along with each other. They support a denial of difference, whether out of a misguided but well-meaning wish to avoid conflict, or out of fear and lack of skills for finding out about difference. Denial of difference is the opposite of curiosity. The productive way to respond to cultural difference is not to deny it exists, but to learn about difference and how to communicate about it. Assumptions of Superiority A common human response to differences in cultures is “Of course they’re different, but we’re better. If they really knew our culture, they’d prefer to be one of us.” English-speaking cultures encode this assumption of superiority by using words such as backward and primitive to criticize those whose cultures are different. Other languages have their own terms for the same thing. Of course, such evaluations are one cultural view, not an absolute assessment. They really say more about the person holding the opinion than about the persons being criticized. For instance, the Japanese think of outsiders as barbarians; the Chinese call their country the Middle Kingdom and for centuries considered only Chinese to be “cooked” and all outsiders to be “raw” (uncivilized, because not familiar with the Chinese culture). Your culture has its terms for outsiders, and its attitudes—not var78253_ch01_001-042.qxd 1/6/10 8:41 PM Page 8 8 Chapter 1 always acknowledged—about the superiority of your culture. All groups tend to look at their own culture as superior, and others as inferior. Ethnocentrism “The Germans live in Germany, the Romans live in Rome, the Turks live in Turkey, but the English live at home.”6 You generally can depend on this: Members of other cultures, deep down in their heart of hearts, are convinced their own culture is the normal one. People everywhere tend to assume their own culture has got things right, and they tend to assess all other cultures by how closely they resemble their own. The self-reference criterion is an important concept that explains this behavior. Through the self-reference criterion, people tend to evaluate everything they see and experience on the basis of their own background and then act on their evaluations accordingly.7 People in all cultures use this self-reference criterion in considering other cultures. It’s a kind of mental comparison that goes on consciously and unconsciously. Those with little experience of other cultures are especially inclined to believe that their own culture (ethnicity) is normative and at the center of human experience—hence ethnocentrism. The further from our own another culture is, the more it seems to belong on the fringe, to be peripheral and not normal. Conversely, the closer to our own culture another culture is, the truer it seems to be. Along with a preference for cultures that are similar to our own is the view that difference is dangerous. It threatens the norm. It’s only a small step from there to viewing difference as dismissible, or even wrong. For this reason, ethnocentrism can lead to a complacency about one’s own culture, a lack of interest in understanding another culture, and actual discrimination against people of other cultures. Assumptions of Universality One of the comments people often hear from travelers to foreign countries is, “They may talk (dress, eat) differently, but underneath they’re just like us.” This notion is profoundly incorrect. People underneath are not alike. Culture is the whole view of the universe from which people assess the meaning of life and their appropriate response to it, and those views are not the same. Let’s put this another way: People begin with different operating environments and run different software. They have different databases and process information differently, with different goals for their information processing. They arrive at different results. To pretend we are all alike, or should be, can lead to miscommunication or failed communication. The future of businesses and indeed of the world may well depend upon people who think differently acting together. Cooperating with Difference Cultural differences don’t prevent us from working together. We can communicate and have productive business relationships even though we are different. Indeed, we must work together. var78253_ch01_001-042.qxd 1/6/10 8:41 PM Page 9 Culture and Communication 9 Geert Hofstede, the Dutch researcher who laid the foundation for cross-cultural studies, advises: “The principle of surviving in a multicultural world is that one does not need to think, feel, and act in the same way in order to agree on practical issues and to cooperate.”8 We can agree to be different and to celebrate diversity. The more we know about other cultures, the more we will know about our own. Then we can begin to explain why people from different cultures behave the way they do in business situations. Their behavior will differ even if their workplace is in the same culture. When connections form between people from different cultures, similarities appear. Together we weave a fabric of cooperation, in which we see common threads. It is a source of delight to realize someone from a different culture has the same idea as you. It is very satisfying to connect in friendship and cooperation with someone who has a different culture but similar goals. We don’t have to become like people from other cultures. We don’t have to adopt their customs. We don’t even have to like them. But we do have to learn about what makes sense in their culture, and how to communicate effectively with them. Three things are necessary in order to minimize and prevent mistakes across cultures. Knowledge about one’s own culture is the first step. With this, knowledge about another culture is easier to learn. The second requirement is motivation— the drive to know and to use the knowledge. The third step is implementing knowledge, and behaving in a way that makes sense in the other culture, the one in which you want to do business. Understanding Culture Culture is difficult to define because it is a large and inclusive concept. Over 500 definitions of culture exist. Some are not helpful, because they are too general, such as “everything you need to know in life to get along in a society.” Culture involves learned and shared behaviors, values, and material objects. It also encompasses what people create to express values, attitudes, and norms of behavior. Culture is largely undiscussed by the members who share it. E. T. Hall wrote: Culture [is] those deep, common, unstated experiences which members of a given culture share, which they communicate without knowing, and which form the backdrop against which all other events are judged.9 Culture is like the water that fish swim in—a reality that is taken for granted and rarely examined. It is in the air we breathe and is as necessary to our understanding of who we are as air is to our physical life. Culture is the property of a community of people, not simply a set of characteristics of individuals. Societies are shaped by culture, and that shaping comes from similar life experiences and similar interpretations of what those experiences mean. If culture is mental software, it is also a mental map of reality. It tells us from early childhood what matters, what to prefer, what to avoid, and what to do. Culture var78253_ch01_001-042.qxd 10 1/6/10 8:41 PM Page 10 Chapter 1 also tells us what ought to be.10 It gives us assumptions about the ideal beyond what individuals may experience. It helps us in setting priorities. It establishes codes for behavior and provides justification and legitimization for that behavior. In order to understand another culture, you need to understand your own. Culture determines business practices, for instance. Business practices are not neutral or value-free. Neither are communication practices. You need to understand the cultural values you transmit when you interact with someone from another culture, as well as understand the other person’s cultural values. You also need to recognize the likelihood that there will be gaps in your comprehension, and holes instead of connections, in your interaction. From among the many definitions of culture, here is the definition this book will use. Culture is the coherent, learned, shared view of a group of people about life’s concerns, expressed in symbols and activities, that ranks what is important, furnishes attitudes about what things are appropriate, and dictates behavior. This definition merits a closer examination. First, it contains three characteristics of culture—coherent, learned, and shared—and then it outlines three things that culture does. Culture Is Coherent Each culture, past or present, is coherent and complete within itself—an entire view of the universe. A pioneer researcher into the study of cultures, Edward Tylor, said in 1871 that culture is: . . . the outward expression of a unifying and consistent vision brought by a particular community to its confrontation with such core issues as the origins of the cosmos, the harsh unpredictability of the natural environment, the nature of society and humankind’s place in the order of things.11 The fact that different groups of human beings at different times in history could develop different visions is a cause for wonder. Often, as we shall see, different cultures develop different behaviors but have similar visions. The incredible variety of cultures fascinates historians, anthropologists, travelers, and nearly everybody else. It makes all our lives richer when we glimpse, and even claim, a bit of this treasure of human achievement. Regardless of how peculiar a fragment or single thread of a culture seems, when it is placed within the whole tapestry of the culture, it makes sense. The completeness of cultures also means that members looking out from their own seamless view of the universe probably do not see anything lacking in their unifying and consistent vision. This is the source of ethnocentrism. Here is a hypothetical case to illustrate the coherence of culture. Let’s imagine that a boat full of south-coast Chinese sets sail for San Francisco, which has been known as “Old Gold Mountain” in China from the 19th century, a place where immigrants can acquire gold. But a storm blows the boat off course and wrecks the navigation instruments. Eventually the Chinese make landfall off the coast of var78253_ch01_001-042.qxd 1/6/10 8:41 PM Page 11 Culture and Communication 11 Mexico, although they don’t know where they are. It is the last week of October, much later than their intended arrival in San Francisco. They wearily go ashore to the nearest town. To their horror and dismay, in every store window and every home’s doorway are images of skeletons, skulls, and graves. In China, death is not mentioned, let alone broadcast by images everywhere. “What sort of people live here?” they ask each other. The Chinese voyagers have arrived in Mexico at the time of el Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. It is a fiesta with deep meaning for Mexican families. It emphasizes family ties that reach beyond the grave, as departed family members are remembered and brought to join the living family through a celebration. The skulls and skeletons in the windows are made of candy and bread, and are meant to be eaten, to show how unimportant death is, and how the people are not afraid of death as the end of family relationships. In fact, the Chinese traditionally hold a celebration with a similar objective, called Qing Ming, on the fifth day of the fourth month, or April 5. They too visit the graves of departed family members to reaffirm their family union in spite of death. If the Chinese were able to learn why Mexicans display skulls and skeletons everywhere, they would understand the Mexicans’ attitudes toward death symbols. But if they were to see only the cultural fragment—a bit of behavior—they would regard it as bizarre, unnatural, and odious. Culture Is Learned Culture is not something we are born with; rather, it is learned. Much of what is learned about one’s own culture is stored in mental categories that are recalled only when they are challenged by something different. We all have to be taught our culture. The process begins immediately after birth—and perhaps even earlier, according to some. If culture is learned, it is also learnable. That means nobody has to remain for a lifetime locked inside only one culture. If you want to understand other cultures, you can learn them—not just learn about them but actually get inside them and act according to what is expected. Many people have learned more than one culture and can move comfortably within and among them. When circumstances dictate, they make the transition from one culture to another easily. Businesses don’t have to accept failure in another culture simply because they do not have an employee who grew up in that culture. This book is about how to learn other cultures. We believe it is not only possible to do so but also interesting, rewarding, and necessary. Culture Is the View of a Group of People A culture is shared by a society. Members of the society agree about the meanings of things and about the why. Along with everyone from whom they have learned their culture—family, teachers, spiritual leaders, peers, and legal, political, and educational institutions—they have interpreted life experiences in ways that validate their own culture’s views. They agree about what the important things are—the things that truly merit respect. They agree without having to talk about it. var78253_ch01_001-042.qxd 12 1/6/10 8:41 PM Page 12 Chapter 1 Societies are motivated by common views, which are a dynamic force enabling them to achieve goals such as protecting economic resources and developing alliances. People in a culture share symbols of that culture. The most obvious set of symbols is language. Much more will be said about the role of language (in Chapter 2) and communication (later in this chapter). Visual symbols such as company logos, icons, religious images, and national flags form the visual vocabulary of a culture. Thus, the three characteristics of culture are that it is coherent, learned, and shared. Now we’ll look at three things culture does. Culture Ranks What Is Important Cultures rank what is important. In other words, ...
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Explanation & Answer


Intercultural Communications - Outline
Thesis Statement: Due to the increasing cultural dynamism across the modern world,
organizations must strive to achieve efficiency in intercultural communication among their
employees and other stakeholders

Question #1 – Direct & Indirect Plans of Organizing Routine Communication
Question#3 –Gestures & Culture


Question #6 – Two Countries Divided by a Common Language


Question #12 – Corporate Newsletter from Human Resources


Intercultural Communications




Intercultural Communications
Question #1 – Direct & Indirect Plans of Organizing Routine Communication
Due to the increasing cultural dynamism across the modern world, organizations must
strive to achieve efficiency in intercultural communication among their employees and other
stakeholders (Varner & Beamer, 2011). Intercultural communication in organizations can be
implemented through direct or indirect plans.
Direct plan of communications Examples
Example 1
We kindly request you to supply us with 100 boxes of mini diapers; each with 100
packets containing 48 pieces of diapers; on 5th April 2019. The total diapers to be supplied will,
therefore, be 480,000 pieces. Also, furnish us with a proforma invoice before the supply date and
deliver the final invoice during delivery. Deliver to the following address:
Brilliant Enterprises, Westfield World Trade Center, Fifth floor.
285 Fulton Street, NY, 10007.
We thank you for the continued support.
Example 2
You are hereby requested to appear before the resident magistrate of the Supreme Court
in Washington D.C at 8:00 am on 4th April 2019; in courtroom 289b. Ensure to carry your
national identity card. We appreciate your cooperation in advance.



Court clerk
Example 3
Kindly avail yourself at the main b...

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