Module 4 - Case
January 20, 2014
First, please identify some "cultural mistakes" from the first article listed above ("The pitfalls of cross-cultural business").
Culture is a funny thing -although we all laugh the same, cry the same, and bleed the same; some simple actions that you might consider appropriate may be offensive to someone from a different culture and can set you a world apart from your fellow man. Giving the "A Okay" sign in Brazil is considered giving someone "the finger," as President Nixon found out on a trip to the country. Crossing your legs and exposing the sole of your foot is considered dirty to Muslim cultures. In Bulgaria, people show interest in what you have to say by shaking their heads "no," though they aren't actually disagreeing. In China, it is expected that a gift in red or gold paper is giving to the host company with two hands - that doesn't happen in American business meetings.
Aside from physical actions, being too bold can be offensive to some people from Europe and Asia. Unlike Americans who like to lay it all out there, get to the nutty gritty - other cultures would never speak so impolitely and forward. As well as being forward, Americans are used to having the ability to make decisions on their own. They walk into meetings expecting to solve problems and to get answers, while other cultures expect to go to a meeting to gather information and make a decision at a later date within a group setting. This atmosphere can be frustrating to fast paced Americans. In meetings, Germans need to be shown that whatever you are prosing can work - they need proof that you have a solid business plan. In...