International Business Etiquette: Being Polite in a Changing World by Tonja M. Myers

Topics: Culture, Cross-cultural communication, Eye contact Pages: 5 (1542 words) Published: May 5, 2013
International Business Etiquette – Being Polite in a Changing World Tonja M. Myers
BUSI 472 – Organizational Ethics
February 11, 2013


This paper looks at research journals done on the subject of the importance of proper international business etiquette. It examines proper etiquette for countries in Europe, Asia and Arabia, it stresses the importance of good communication in etiquette and finally sheds light on the effect good etiquette has on the global economy.

International Business Etiquette – Being Polite in a Changing World

With the explosion of technology we have experienced over the last decade, our world has become much smaller and many companies are conducting business with countries they never dreamed possible. Understanding the importance of etiquette in international business is crucial to being effective in this changing world. This paper will look at some things to be aware of when doing business in Europe, Asia and Arab countries. It will also look at the utmost importance of effective communication, both verbal and non-verbal, in international business. Finally, it will look at the effect of etiquette on the global economy.

When one is going to be doing business with a person or company from another country or culture from their own, it is very important that they do some serious research on that country or culture to avoid embarrassing or insulting snafus. Even though the United States was founded by European’s, our cultures are quite different. On top of that, each country in Europe has its own culture. For instance, “German directness and love for truth might be considered quite rude in more high-context cultures where communication is more sophisticated and veiled.” (Hamburg, 2012). In Russia, gift giving is common in business, but “Russian superstitions related to some colors and numbers - yellow, white, black and 13 bear negative connotations - should be accordingly kept in mind when offering a gift or decorating a room.” (Hamburg, 2012).  In the Czech Republic, “People have usually two or more cell phones, using them in the middle of a meeting is no sign for rudeness as it would be considered in most cultures.” (Hamburg, 2012). In France, “Serving lunch or dinner presents crucial importance in

professional relations.” (Hamburg, 2012). And in Spain “huggings and shoulder tappings are absolutely compatible with business relations.” (Hamburg, 2012). When moving to the Asian continent, some things are quite universal, such as the “importance of hierarchy, prestige (in their conception "face"), of building relationship, the role of intermediaries at the beginning of all contacts, a relaxed attitude to time and a peculiar high-contextual communication.” (Hamburg, 2012). However, there are also many differences between countries. For instance, in China “the decision-making process is quite long and slow, deadlines are flexible, therefore to meet the deadline one needs to display a self-confident attitude keeping at the same time harmony, as well.” (Hamburg, 2012). When giving presentations in Japan, “business people should prepare themselves for attentive and reflective listeners, however sometimes seeming to have fallen asleep but it is not the case, Japanese are just concentrating to what they get presented.” (Hamburg, 2012). Moving from Asia to the Arab countries people will find that “the Arab world and Indian people are much more expressive. Negotiations resemble in these parts of Asia a real show with tough bargaining and emotional manifestations. Coming too early to a deal deprives them of the pleasure of negotiating and insinuates that something went wrong.” (Hamburg, 2012). So, these are just some examples of the vast differences that occur in different countries and cultures that need to be studied and observed when conducting business.

Communication, both verbal and non-verbal, is crucial to proper etiquette in the global marketplace....

References: Glenn, S. M. (2002). When in rome. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 41(3), 220-227. Retrieved from
Hamburg, A. (2012). Good manners and their role in international business. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 2(4), Retrieved from|A3 08434143&v=2.1&u=vic_liberty&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&authCount=1
Martin, J. S., & Chaney, L. H. (2012). Global business etiquette : A guide to international communication and customs. (2nd ed.). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. Retrieved from 338
Okoro, E. (2012). Cross-cultural etiquette and communication in global business: Toward a strategic framework for managing corporate expansion. International Journal of Business and Management, 7(16), 130-138. Retrieved from
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