International Business: Is The World Flat Or Spiky And The Implications This Has On Singapore

1723 words - 7 pages




I. Introduction ..............................................................................................................2 II. Cultural Intelligence ...............................................................................................2 Communicating across cultures .........................................................................2 Culture Shock .....................................................................................................4 ...view middle of the document...

Cultural differences influence our behaviour and ultimately our skill and competence in this area results in the success or failure of communications. This paper aims to examine both the problems and causes of cultural differences and recommend cross cultural strategies management can apply to minimise or eliminate theses issues. For the purpose of this study, three case studies – Case Study 1: Tokyo, Case Study 2: Foreign Correspondence, Case Study 3:Multicultural Management were reviewed.

II. Cultural Intelligence

In order to understand the problems associated with each case study, it is important to understand the cause of these problems. The common theme between each case study is the lack of cultural intelligence. Culture plays an integral role in society, whether at work or socially. Culture can be driven by many things, key examples being; religion, geography, nationality, politics, family values, education.
The lack of Cultural Intelligence creates the following common causes, in turn creating their own set of problems and challenges as highlighted in each case study: • • • Communicating Across Cultures (cultural ignorance) Culture Shock Business Etiquette Ignorance

Communicating across cultures


Culture has three primary dimensions – languages, physical and psychology (Borden, 1991, p.171). The dimensions of culture relate to how we communicate verbally and nonverbally, how we understand things, our knowledge, beliefs and mental activities (Chaney and Martin, 2007, p. 5). A person’s communication style is reflected from his or her country culture and later on organisational culture. A high-context culture will communicate covert and implicit message; facts and figures are not readily available or taken seriously. In comparison a low-context culture presents objective information in a direct and explicit way (Deresky, 2008, p 99).
Communicating across different cultures caused conflict in Case Study 3: Multicultural Management. This was due to the different styles of communication used – direct vs. indirect, informal vs. formal were clearly detailed. It also highlighted the role of status and how individuals interact as a team. The manager initially thought his team was aligned after a meeting. Later it was established due to cultural differences and value placed on keeping harmony they were not.

In addition cultural variables also affect the communication process. These variables influence a person’s perception. Chronemics, proxemics, oculesics, olfactics, haptics, kinesics and chromatics are all interdependent and contribute to our overall thought patterns and process of reasoning. Hecht, Andersen, and Ribeau (1989) describe it as “Encoders and decoders process nonverbal cues as a conceptual, mutlichanneled gestalt.”

The three case studies all displayed problems with cultural variables and in particular chronemics. Attitudes towards time vary from culture to culture. In business, time is predominately related...

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