In today's ever globalizing economy, global managers must utilize specific skills in order to navigate and overcome the cross-cultural situations which affect international business practices. Dependant upon the situation, both native and expatriate managers can be qualified to handle these cross-cultural challenges.
There are a plethora of cultural differences that can have an affect on how business is done internationally. These differences can be any number of actions that we take for granted when interacting in one's own culture. Every culture has deep structures built upon religious, social and ethical values which will influence the way in which another will reason and react as well as how they will listen or what they will expect from us (Burnam 1998).
An example of a cultural difference that could affect international business is the misinterpretation of hand gestures. In the United States the "thumbs up" hand gesture is a common sign relaying a positive meaning usually meant to convey the message "good" or "OK".
This is different than in the Arab culture where the same hand signal is the equivalent to one of our more negative hand gestures here in the United States. Therefore using this signal with someone from an Arab culture would most certainly not produce the desired positive effect but rather a negative one. One skill a manager could develop to combat the ignorance of another culture with whom he is doing business with is to immerse himself into that culture and learn their customs through observation and interaction, becoming aware of how to adapt to the situation. This developed ability to observe and adapt would no doubt aid a manager in future cross-culture settings. This type of adaptation is evident in Cassandra Hayes' article "The Intrigue of International Assignments". One of Hayes' subjects in the article, J. Eric...