“Culture shock: If you don’t learn to bridge the gap, you may risk alienating potential business partners – Real Deal”

“Culture shock: If you don’t learn to bridge the gap, you may risk alienating potential business partners – Real Deal”

According to a July, 2003 article in Entrepreneur, “Culture shock: If you don’t learn to bridge the gap, you may risk alienating potential business partners – Real Deal,” negotiations are gaining increasing importance as the international, multinational and transnational business play a greater role in international business. This article describes the different cultural customs in each nationality and provides tips on how to improve negotiations.

The article describes the different cultures of Asians, Europeans, Africans, Hispanics and even Americans and their role in negotiations. Some examples given are that Japanese dislike direct confrontations, Koreans prefer teamwork, Nigerians prefer spoken negotiations, Indians prefer written agreements, while Hispanics heavily use body language to express themselves. Additionally, the article points out that Asian languages incorporate tones and body language while Spanish people are extremely individualistic. Compared to other cultures, it appears that Americans offend others with their impulsiveness and their need to quickly complete tasks.

Based on these cultural differences and their impact on business customs, negotiators are recommended to make an effort to learn about their partner’s culture to gain a position of advantage. This is especially true because many of these foreign negotiators do not speak English as their native language, which leads to native expressions getting lost in translation, so it is important that both sides attempt to build a mutual understanding to make negotiations work smoothly. Additionally, I agree with the suggestion of hiring a cultural consultant or translators to better understand foreign cultures because it would cut down time needed to research the many cultural nuances and it will give greater insights on how certain foreign negotiators operate.

Therefore, it is essential to better understand foreign customs since they can lead to successful negotiations. Because each culture and nationality have different approaches to negotiating, one must properly research their business customs to prevent misunderstandings and improve the ability to get demands met. As businesses become more globalized, it appears that so-called cultural consultants and translators are becoming more relevant in assisting businesses in international negotiations and have also forced negotiators to learn new ways of negotiating.

· Japanese – prefer information exchange over direct confrontation
· Russians – prefer direct confrontation, “compromise” is a loanword
· Spanish – extremely individualistic
· Koreans – prefer negotiating in a group setting
· Nigerians – prefer spoken word
· Indians – prefer written word
· Asian languages – high in context, should focus on inflections, body language
· Latin Americans – physically demonstrative
· Americans – impatient and obsessed with finishing tasks quickly

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