Impact of Culture on international businessBEN - Going Global event Greville Commins Bristol, Entrepreneur in Residence
Overview All business deals are between people The cultures and behaviours of these people can affect the business deal. Environment & External influences Personal behaviour & style Language barriers Look at modifying your business strategy To adapt approach to fit cultural differences Be prepared for certain tactics or styles
Cultural differences affecting negotiations is not new Following the Vietnam war the two parties met in a neutral hotel to negotiate cease fire. The North Vietnamese party booked a floor in the hotel for two months. The US party booked theirs for two weeks. Both parties had differing approaches due to their cultures North Vietnamese just getting going as Americans packing to leave!
I’ll give you some Gaffs I’ve made along the way
These Gaffs could impact the business relationship
Warnings Presentation is based on personal first hand experience (and Gaffs) Stereotyping. When studying a culture, one must be careful not to over-generalize about behaviours. There are often significant individual differences within cultures. Modern business communications has blurred many boundaries
Business in China Chinese names appear in a different order. Speak in short, sentences no jargon. Avoid English expressions…. Very keen to exchange business cards Observe the routine Gaff: What not to do with a business card Admire respect, loyalty, harmony and trust.
Business in China Extremely friendly/open to different cultures English language spoken by many, but rarely during negotiations, one interface used. Discussions can be quite lively, loud, expressive and energetic Gaff: Not comfortable with changing positions Senior decision maker usually keeps quiet. The Chinese will not directly say “no” to you.
5 tips for China Be patient – you will be respected Eat, sing and drink – you will be observed Save Face, give face Use contacts with existing trust relationships Create trust – forget the NDA
Business in Japan Acquire a Japanese ally Discussions are quiet, considered, passive and polite Loud, decisive behaviour distrusted Uncomfortable with changing positions Think subjectively, feelings rather than empirical evidence. Silence is helpful
Success factors survey(Survey of negotiators) key indicators of success
Power is intrinsic to French business culture.
Business in France Discussions quiet, considered, passive Loud, expressive, aggressive behaviour rare Focus on long term objectives. Very direct, questioning, probing. Judge your ability to demonstrate your intellect. Negotiation is an intellectual exercise Negotiation techniques If reach impasse, they keep restating position. Deal changing, preoccupied with detail. Masters of the “Walk out”... My personal experience, was it a Gaff?
Business in Italy Hierarchy is key, especially in larger traditional businesses Decisions are made in “closed quarters” Final decisions are slow and protracted. Be patient, rushing or putting pressure on the decision-making process will be only an affront to Italian business protocol.
Business in Italy In business, the individual with authority rarely has to raise his or her voice. However, they speak loudly, animatedly, and interruptions are to be expected. May make sudden, unexpected demands as a way of unsettling the other side. Italians guided by their feelings.
Business in Germany People friendly and polite. Titles, ranks, protocols very critical Gaff: Over friendliness can offend Discussions quiet, considered, passive and polite Loud, expressive, aggressive behaviour rare Language can be a problem Organisation structure important Meet at peer levels Expect formal proceedings Fact based, personal feelings not so important
Do not expect substantial decisions to be made spontaneously at the table.
Summary Research customer culture in advance Visit www.executiveplanet.com Business is still between people Remember the 7 seconds rule Cultures affect the business deal. Honour cultural rituals and behaviours Beware of generalisations You will meet western educated customers which will modify the cultural effects Most are trying to understand you too.