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International business cultural differences and how to cope with them 1 Introduction Organizations around the world are reaching out beyond their domestic markets to become international players This development is a challenge for all of us who will be working in different countries all over the globe Altough the word has become a global village cultural differences prevail and their influence on business has to be taken into account We have to be able to understand different customs values and attitudes and try to overcome cross-cultural barriers Understanding and heeding cultural variables is one of the most significant aspects of being successful in any international business endeavor A lack of familiarity with the business practices social customs and etiquette of a country can weaken a companys position in the market prevent it from accomplishing its objectives and ultimately lead to failure Although each culture is unique and very complex it is possible to distinguish three main cultural types vAutonomy cultures Seek individuality and independence Dependence on others is seen as weakness Conformity is expected to a certain degree Eg USA Canada Australia most parts of Western and Northern Europe vConsensus cultures Seek harmony homogeneity conformity Stabilty within groups is important Eg most parts of Asia China Japan Korea vStatus cultures Honour respect and loyalty to leaders are very important Status-conscious Individual is determined by membership in a certain class tribe clan or family Eg Southern Europe Spain Italy South America Africa Middle East Business can only be successful if we learn to adapt to these cultural differences This process involves identifying certain cultural patterns and trying to respect them Autonomy CulturesConsensus CulturesStatus Cultures Pragmatic task-focused driven by quick resultsJBe flexible decisive action-orientatedJShow optimism confidence initiativeJBe punctual meet deadlines help others reach their goalsRelationships and long-term business are importantJInvest time in lasting relationships and respect formalitiesJDo not
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