Cross Cultural Business Etiquette

Topics: Etiquette, Geert Hofstede, French people Pages: 14 (5010 words) Published: November 19, 2011
Knowledge of cross-cultural business etiquette practices is a very important thing for multinational companies and other companies that operate in, and do business with, other countries to have. It is important to appreciate and respect the cultural diversity that comes hand-in-hand with global business operations. By working with other countries within their codes of business manners and etiquette, it will be easier to avoid causing unintended offense. It also helps to keep lines of communication open and make sure operations run smoothly. Displaying proper etiquette is vital, as a single mistake or impropriety can cost you money and new business relationships (French Business Etiquette, 2011). These skills should be required knowledge for all global business executives, managers, and employees. By definition, etiquette is the conventional requirements as to social behavior. They are properties of conduct as established in any class or community or for any reason. Specifically, business etiquette is the code of ethical behavior regarding professional practice or action among the members of a profession in their dealings with each other. Etiquette is synonymous with words like manners, politeness, civility, and protocol (Etiquette). Even though we interact with different countries more than ever due to globalization, there are still major differences between countries. When business deal in, or with, multiple countries, not only do they have to follow the rules of etiquette for that particular profession but they also have to adapt to the different social codes of etiquette for those different countries. The following portion of the paper will present various codes of business etiquette for four countries: France, Germany, Sweden, and Great Britain. For those people interested in working with businesses internationally, these rules and guidelines can help ease some of the difficulties in working, and communicating, with those from another country and culture. Business Etiquette in France

French business behavior emphasizes courtesy and formality to such an extent that Americans need to learn about what is correct behavior in dealing with French business people. Mutual trust and respect are required to get things done and this trust is earned through proper behavior (France- French Culture). To discuss French business etiquette, it is important to make sure it is set within the more general context of the French culture. One of the ways to do this is through exploring France’s scores on the Hofstede Assessment. In the uncertainty avoidance category the French score very high. They feel threatened by ambiguity and strongly resist any changes to these traditional beliefs and institutions. The French also score on the high end of the individualism spectrum. When it comes to power distance, French people respect authority and are more prone to accept unequal distributions of power within organizations. With its high power distance society, France is more centralized with hierarchical organization structures that feature a higher proportion of supervisors who give orders to those at the lower levels. France has a relatively low masculinity score and values cooperation, friendly atmosphere, group decisions making, more employee freedoms, and environmental conservation over money and material possessions ((1) Workman, 2008). Culturally, there are certain values that translate directly into the business world. Education is important and since it is almost free from primary school to Ph.D. level for French citizens it is expected that people dealing in business will have a good education (Priest, 2008). Punctuality is treated a bit more casually in France than in other nations, but it is still important. It is considered rude to just “drop in” on someone so always set an appointment beforehand or give notice of arrival (Priest, 2008). As stated previously, formality is key. Although...

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