General considerations A number of general considerations impact on international business dealings, including: ■ time differences and working hours ■ language differences ■ currency and exchange rates ■ cultural differences ■ political and economic climate ■ religious differences.
Time differences and working hours Look at fig 2.9 page 120. Question Pg 121 Q1 and 2 and 3. Use the table you just looked at to help you.
Currency and exchange ratesWhen transacting international business, many dealsare calculated on a particular country’s dollar value.For example, Australian dollars (AUD) may need to beconverted to United States dollars (USD) or to euros(EUR).Depending on the strength of our dollar, the conversion may costAustralian businesses more Money than what appears on paper. ACurrency converter is a useful tool for quickly calculating exchangerates.
Political and economic climate In the world economy, Australia has experienced the impact of poor economic decisions through its own governments but also as a result of a downturn in international markets, caused by events that, in the past, would have been considered far removed from our own shores. A good example of this was the global credit crunch—a tightening of monetary policies—which devastated many largecorporations during 2008 and beyond, impacting on the lives of many millions of workersWhat does this mean????
Language DifferencesWhile many of our foreign counterparts speakfluent English, most westerners who ventureinto the Middle East, East Asia, China andEurope with the hope of transacting businessdo not speak the local language. At the veryleast, you should be able to introduce yourselfand participate in some social ‘small talk’ usingthe host nation’s language.WHY???
Language Differences To help overcome some of the problems caused by language barriers, it is recommended that businesses employ a translator or interpreter In class question? What is the benefit of a translator when doing business in another country
Cultural differencesTo achieve intercultural effectiveness, which meansworking or living successfully in another culture,employees must demonstrate the ability to:■ adapt to local conditions—no matter how challenging they may be■ communicate effectively in order to gain trust■ immerse themselves and be at ease in the host culture.
Religious differencesWhen preparing for international business dealings, it is essential toresearch the country and its main religions, which can impact uponcustoms, diet, meeting times, choice of business gifts and dress, as well ashelp explain the significance of certain colours within that culture.As the host of a meeting—whether in Australia or the host country—consideration of these differences will be welcomed. Lack of research andignorance will most likely result in offence.For example, the food ordered to cater for meetings must take into accountThe dietary requirements of the participants’ religions, such as kosher orHalal meals. Conversely, if you have daily meetings during Ramadan,Muslims will not wish to eat or drink. Out of respect, non-Muslims shouldalso avoid eating or drinking during these meeting times.
Religious differencesIt can sometimes appear almost impossible not to make mistakeswhen dealing internationally. To achieve that success, businessesshould:■ avoid cultural stereotypes; instead, treat everyone as individuals■ be culturally sensitive■ have clear goals■ avoid the use of gestures and signals that can cause miscommunication■ be aware of their own prejudices and assumptions■ listen carefully and patiently without interrupting■ try to see things from another perspective■ be respectful