Cultural Differences in Business

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Touro University International

MGT 501
Module 1, Case Assignment
Dr. Debra Louis

The purpose of this report is to identify at least three specific ways that cultural differences would affect doing business internationally, as well as what specific skills global managers would need to address with these differences, and finally if I think expatriate or foreign-national managers would be better equipped to deal with these challenges. This report will provide the reader with some facts on cultural differences and the affect on business internationally. It will also give some skills global managers can utilize to address those cultural differences. By discussing these topics I hope to offer some knowledge and solutions on the affects of cultural differences. I will conclude this report with a brief summary of the entire analysis, highlighting some of the most significant parts that the report contains.

In the book “Blunders in International Business” by David A. Ricks he explains, “Cultural differences are the most significant and troublesome variables … the failure of managers to fully comprehend these disparities has led to most international blunders.” Some ways that cultural differences could affect doing business internationally could first start with technology. In the article titled, ‘What Does the Future Look Like?’, Peter Cochrane explains “we are very, very good at predicting what technology is going to evolve into and at approximating when. But we’re bad at predicting what people will do with the technology when they get it.” I think that technology plays a huge part in the cultural differences. For example In the United States (which is technological giant), we have become very dependent on computers playing a huge roll in our daily work load. In my job as a Health Service Management Administrator, I use many computer-based programs to input medical diagnoses and medical fee schedules. I have become so dependent on this system that when there are problems with one of the programs, I find myself trying not to panic while I quickly call our information system specialist to come down and fix the problem. While on the other hand, there are some areas in Africa that does not have the same technological advancements as the United States. If you were to send an American worker to those areas they may find it hard to get use to the idea of doing the work manually. If someone is not used to working with the technology that we have become so accustomed to, it may prove to be difficult to get them to use our technology. Another cultural difference could be language; not understanding you’re your international business partner could cause a problem. For example, if you were on a business trip in Mexico, one cultural difference you may notice, is that many Mexicans tend to affix the word “no” to the end of a statement, seemingly turning each statement into a question. Many statements are not meant to be questions and can be recognized as such by body language common to both countries. Another prime example of this can be found in India. The Indian English is not the same as American English. Indian accents can sometimes be difficult for Americans to understand, not to mention that there are different Indian accents. Also, Indians often use a side-to-side head gesture to signal agreement rather than disagreement. Finally, consider international customs as another type of cultural difference. For example, if you were to write a note stating that a meeting will be on 3/4/06, in Mexico they will think the meeting will be held on April 3, 2006 instead of March 4, 2006. In Chile, women often greet both other women and men with a kiss on the cheek, while in Russia women often walk arm in arm with their female friends.

Aaron Pun, a Canadian ODC net correspondent, wrote: "In studying cross cultural differences, we are...
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