likapo (likapo) wrote in linguaphiles,

Cross-cultural management

Hi, if this is allowed I would like to have a discussion about cross-cultural management.

It's not hard to believe that every nation in the world have their own ways to make business. But being in this global reality, it's necessary to know how to behave in front of a possible business partner with a different cultural background.

Here is a part of an article about the subject:

"Managing a truly global multinational company would obviously be much simpler if it required only one set of corporate objectives, goals, policies, practices, products and services. But local differences often make this impossible. A fairly obvious cultural divide that has been much studied is the one between, on the one hand, the countries of North America and north-west Europe, where management is largely based on analysis, rationality, logic and systems, and, on the other, the Latin cultures of southern Europe and South America, where personal relations, intuition, emotion and sensitivity are of much greater importance.

The largely Protestant cultures on both sides of the North Atlantic (Canada, the USA, Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia) are essentially individualists in such cultures, status has to be achieved. You don't automatically respect people just because they've been in a company for 30 years. A young, dynamic, aggressive manager with an MBA (a Master in Business Administration degree) can quickly rise in the hierarchy.

In most Latin and Asian cultures, on the contrary, status is automatically accorded to the boss, who is more likely to be in his fifties or sixties than in his thirties. This is particularly true in Japan, where companies traditionally have a policy of promotion by seniority. A 50-year-old Japanese manager, or a Greek or Italian or Chilean one, would quite simply be offended by having to negotiate with an aggressive, well-educated, but inexperienced American or German 20 years his junior. A Japanese would also want to take the time to get to know the person with whom he was negotiating, and would not appreciate an assertive American who wanted to sign a deal immediately and take the next plane home.

In northern cultures, the principle of pay-for-performance often successfully motivates sales people. The more you sell - the more you get paid. But the principle might well be resisted in more collectivist cultures, and in countries where rewards and promotion are expected to come with age and experience. Moreover, Singaporean and Indonesian managers objected that pay-for-performance caused salesmen to pressure customers into buying products they didn't really need, which was not only bad for long-term business relations, but also quite simply unfair and ethically wrong.

Another example of an American idea that doesn't work well in Latin countries is matrix management. The task-oriented logic of matrix management conflicts with the principle of loyalty to the all-important line superior, the functional boss. You can't have two bosses any more than you can have two fathers. Andre Laurent, a French researcher, has said that in his experience, French managers would rather see an organization die than tolerate a system in which a few subordinates have to report to two bosses.

In discussing people's relationships with their boss and their colleagues and friends, I am convinced we can also distinguishes between, universalists and particularists. The first believe that rules are extremely important; the second believe that personal relationships and friendships should take precedence. Consequently, each group thinks that the other is corrupt. Universalists say that particularists cannot be trusted because they will always help their friends, while the second group says of the first 'you cannot trust them; they would not even help a friend'."

From the book English for Business Studies of Ian Mackenzie

So my question is: Can you tell me about any other differences in the ways of behaving while doing international business?

I would like to say that I'm not trying to label any culture or country.

I'm really sorry if this is way out of the subject of the comm.

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