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 consequences. It is crucial for today's business personnel to understand the impact of cross cultural differences on business, trade and internal company organization. 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 breakdown 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. Cross cultural blunders that could have been avoided with appropriate cross cultural awareness training are as following:
1. Locum is a Swedish company. As most companies do at Christmas they sent out Christmas cards to customers. In 1991, they decided to give their logo a little holiday spirit by replacing the "o" in Locum with a heart.
2. The Japanese company Matsushita Electric was promoting a new Japanese PC for internet users. Panasonic created the new web browser and had received license to use the cartoon character Woody Woodpecker as an interactive internet guide. The day before the huge marketing campaign, Panasonic realized its error and pulled the plug. The ads for the new product featured the following slogan: "Touch Woody - The Internet Pecker." The company only realized its cross cultural blunder when an embarrassed American explained what "Touch Woody's Pecker" could be interpreted as!
3. The Swedish furniture giant IKEA somehow agreed upon the name "FARTFULL" for one of its new desks.
4. In the late 1970s, Wang, the American computer company could not understand...