Results of Poor Cross Cultural Awareness" reading (Read article below). Discuss the three most
important concepts you have learned and how these concepts can be
applied: (Just one page answer and cited APA style please)
Results of Poor Cross Cultural Awareness
Having a poor understanding of the influence of cross cultural
differences in areas such as management, PR, advertising and
negotiations can eventually lead to blunders that can have damaging
It is crucial for today's business personnel to
understand the impact of cross cultural differences on business, trade
and internal company organisation. The success or failure of a company,
venture, merger or acquisition is essentially in the hands of people. If
these people are not cross culturally aware then misunderstandings,
offence and a break down in communication can occur.
The need for
greater cross cultural awareness is heightened in our global economies.
Cross cultural differences in matters such as language, etiquette,
non-verbal communication, norms and values can, do and will lead to
cross cultural blunders.
To illustrate this we have provided a
few examples of cross cultural blunders that could have been avoided
with appropriate cross cultural awareness training:
* An American
oil rig supervisor in Indonesia shouted at an employee to take a boat
to shore. Since it is no-one berates an Indonesian in public, a mob of
outraged workers chased the supervisor with axes.Pepsodent tried to sell its toothpaste in Southeast Asia by emphasizing
that it "whitens your teeth." They found out that the local natives chew
betel nuts to blacken their teeth which they find attractive.
company advertised eyeglasses in Thailand by featuring a variety of
cute animals wearing glasses. The ad was a poor choice since animals are
considered to be a form of low life and no self respecting Thai would
wear anything worn by animals.
* The soft drink Fresca was being
promoted by a saleswoman in Mexico. She was surprised that her sales
pitch was greeted with laughter, and later embarrassed when she learned
that fresca is slang for "lesbian."
* When President George Bush
went to Japan with Lee Iacocca and other American business magnates, and
directly made explicit and direct demands on Japanese leaders, they
violated Japanese etiquette. To the Japanese (who use high context
language) it is considered rude and a sign of ignorance or desperation
to lower oneself to make direct demands. Some analysts believe it
severely damaged the negotiations and confirmed to the Japanese that Americans are barbarians.
* A soft drink was
introduced into Arab countries with an attractive label that had stars
on it--six-pointed stars. The Arabs interpreted this as pro-Israeli and
refused to buy it. Another label was printed in ten languages, one of
which was Hebrew--again the Arabs did not buy it.
* U.S. and
British negotiators found themselves at a standstill when the American
company proposed that they "table" particular key points. In the U.S.
"Tabling a motion" means to not discuss it, while the same phrase in
Great Britain means to "bring it to the table for discussion."
addition to interpersonal cross cultural gaffes, the translation of
documents, brochures, advertisements and signs also offers us some
comical cross cultural blunders:
* Kellogg had to rename its Bran Buds cereal in Sweden when it discovered that the name roughly translated to "burned farmer."
When Pepsico advertised Pepsi in Taiwan with the ad "Come Alive With
Pepsi" they had no idea that it would be translated into Chinese as
"Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead." American medical containers were distributed in Great Britain and caused
quite a stir. The instructions to "Take off top and push in bottom,"
innocuous to Americans, had very strong sexual connotations to the
* In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into "Schweppes Toilet Water."
In a Belgrade hotel elevator: To move the cabin, push the button for
wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should
press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by
* In a Yugoslavian hotel: The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.
* In a Bangkok dry cleaner's: Drop your trousers here for best results.
In an East African newspaper: A new swimming pool is rapidly taking
shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers.
* Detour sign in Kyushi, Japan: Stop--Drive sideways. At a Budapest zoo: Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.
conclusion, poor cross cultural awareness has many consequences, some
serious others comical. It is imperative that in the global economy
cross cultural awareness is seen a necessary investment to avoid such
blunders as we have seen above.Want more?
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For more information on how Kwintessential can aid you in your cross cultural needs please visit our Cross Cultural Awareness Briefings