An Essay: the Importance of Intercultural Competence

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It is very important to have knowledge about the cultural differences that may be on the international market. This knowledge is more important today than ever before, because companies have got endless opportunities of distributing their products on many foreign markets. Knowing the culture of the chosen market is vital in order to make a business succeed. Cultures can be divided in man categories such as deal-focused vs. relationship-focused, formal vs. informal and monochronic vs. polychronic cultures. Having a knowing about these variables is very important when dealing with foreign markets. For example, conflicts can easily occur when a company from a deal focused country as USA having plans on launching a product in India, which is a relationship focused country. In the states, businessmen are very determined in what they want. The keyword for deal-focused cultures is directivity. Deal-focused people use direct contact, direct language and are comfortable in making contact to strangers. This will not be accepted in India, where people don’t make business with strangers and where the communication is indirect. This means that everything must be “decoded” in order to get the real message. Relationship-focused people may even answer a yes, even if their real answer is no. They will never say anything that may offence you. Therefore, a conflict in communication can easily occur. For example; during a business meeting with a possible customer from India, you offer him something to eat. The customer politely says no thank you. Later in the meeting you offer something again, and the customer again thanks with a no. You are not bothering to ask again because in western culture, which is deal-focused culture, a no is a no. But in India a no can be a yes. The customer only said no because Indian people want to avoid to be too direct. However it was expected, in relationship-focused cultures, from the host of the meeting to ask many times and insist on the customer...
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