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MAKING INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS WORK

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MAKING INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS WORK: OUTLINE
Commercial success through increased cultural understanding

Diversity of thinking and respect for other peoples’ perspectives are critical virtues for the leadership of global corporations, and the successful interaction of businesspeople across cultures. Misunderstanding between team members of different nationalities, or with customers from different cultures, can cause extreme problems in business.

This course is all about success through increased cultural understanding. It is a great help to anyone who:
• Works with colleagues from a range of countries and cultural backgrounds
• Deals with clients or colleagues in a range of other countries and cultures
• Needs to solve cross-border commercial issues swiftly and effectively

It is a distillation of all the best wisdom on the topic – the best writing, the most interesting interaction models, and the most informative anecdotes.

In the morning, we cover:
• What is culture?
• How do national traits affect individual behaviour?
• How do corporate cultures do the same?
• What are the cultural characteristics of different nationalities?
• How can they be used to deal effectively other cultures?
• How can different characteristics be deployed in multi-cultural teams?
• How does all this affect approaches to communication, decision-making, meeting etiquette, negotiation styles, scheduling, and trust?

In the afternoon, we address the specific issues of the attendees.
• In a team with multiple cultures, we examine what they all are, and explain the worldviews of all the nationalities present. Poignant examples lead to greater realization of the attitudes of others.
• Where attendees regularly deal with other cultures, we examine their characteristics to create greater understanding and increase the likelihood of harmonious business relations.
• All of this is applied to group work on the multi-cultural team or on specific clients.

To achieve this, I need a full rundown on the cultural backgrounds of all the attendees (and/or their clients) in advance, so that I can prepare the correct blend of tailor-made examples to match their specific needs.

Kevin Duncan has travelled to over 70 countries, and worked with people from dozens of different nationalities.

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MAKING INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS WORK

  1. 1. MAKING INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS WORK Commercial success through increased cultural understanding A new training scheme from September 2017 kevinduncanexpertadvice@gmail.com
  2. 2. WORKING HYPOTHESIS Diversity of thinking and respect for other peoples’ perspectives are critical virtues for the leadership of global corporations, and the successful interaction of businesspeople across cultures.
  3. 3. WHAT IS CULTURE? “Culture is the social programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one category of people from another.” Geert Hofstede “It is not innate but learned; the various facets of culture are interrelated – you touch a culture in one place and everything else is affected; it is shared and in effect defines the boundaries of different groups.” Edward T. Hall
  4. 4. WHAT IS CULTURE? “Culture is the social programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one category of people from another.” Geert Hofstede
  5. 5. WHAT IS CULTURE? “There’s always a reason why people do the strange things they do, the reason is almost never to upset you, and there’s always a way forward.” Craig Storti
  6. 6. WHAT IS CULTURE? General dimensions of culture include: Sense of identity (individualism v collectivism) Locus of control/human agency (internal v external) Sense of fairness (universalism v particularism) View of human nature (benign v sceptical) Sense of limits (unlimited v limited opportunity) Sense of time (monochronic v polychronic) Communication style (direct v indirect) Concept of face (more v less important)
  7. 7. WHAT IS CULTURE? Business/workplace dimensions are: Performance orientation (task v relationship) Management style (decentralised v centralised) Attitude towards power (high v low power distance) Concept of rank and status (egalitarian v hierarchical) Attitude towards assertiveness (positive v critical) Decision-making style (top down v consensus) Attitude towards risk/uncertainty (risk tolerant v averse) Degree of guidance and supervision (high v low) Negotiating style (win/win v win/lose) Worker-employer relations (opportunistic v mutual loyalty) Meeting style (problem solving v get-together) Short-term v long-term orientation
  8. 8. NATIONAL TRAITS, CORPORATE CULTURES AND INTERNATIONAL TEAMS: RICHARD LEWIS
  9. 9. CULTURE AND STRATEGY
  10. 10. CULTURAL TYPES
  11. 11. CULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS 1. Linear-Active: introvert, patient, quiet, minds own business, likes privacy, plans methodically, does one thing at a time, punctual (Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg, emanating out to the USA and UK) 2. Multi-active: extrovert, impatient, talkative, inquisitive, gregarious, plans grand outline only, does several things at once, works any hours, not punctual (Hispanic, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Chile) 3. Reactive: introvert, patient, silent, respectful, good listener, looks at general principles, reacts, flexible hours, punctual, sees whole picture, reacts to partner’s timetable (Vietnam, Japan and China) Understanding some of these traits can lead to a far better understanding of how to conduct meetings, negotiations, the passage of time, and many other interactions between different cultures, often inside a company.
  12. 12. CULTURAL ANCHORS 1. Linear-Active are anchored in facts, planning, products, timelines, word-deed correlation, institutions, and law. 2. Multi-active are anchored in family, hierarchy, relationships, emotion, eloquence, persuasion and loyalty. 3. Reactive are anchored in intuition, courtesy, network, common obligations, collective harmony, and face. There is a high correlation between linear active cultures and low context behaviour, in which the language is apparently obvious, so the context doesn’t matter that much. For reactive and Multi-active cultures, high context deduction is the norm. Context is everything.
  13. 13. CULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS
  14. 14. WE NEED EACH OTHER
  15. 15. MEDIATORS AND CONNECTORS
  16. 16. AREAS OF DIFFERENCE 1. RELATION TO AUTHORITY > POWER DISTANCE INDEX 2. INDIVIDUAL V GROUP > INDIVIDUALISM INDEX 3. MASCULINE OR FEMININE TRAITS > MASCULINITY INDEX 4. WAYS OF DEALING WITH AMBIGUITY > UNCERTAINTY AVOIDANCE INDEX 5. LONG V SHORT TERM > LONG-TERM ORIENTATION INDEX
  17. 17. POWER DISTANCE The higher the number, the more comfortable the culture is with power gaps.
  18. 18. POWER DISTANCE
  19. 19. POWER DISTANCE
  20. 20. INDIVIDUAL OR COLLECTIVE? The higher the number, the more individual the culture.
  21. 21. INDIVIDUALISM
  22. 22. INDIVIDUALISM
  23. 23. INDIVIDUALIST AND COLLECTIVE CULTURES (Hammereich & Lewis)
  24. 24. MULTICULTURAL ORGANISATION AND LEADERSHIP IN EUROPE (John Mole)
  25. 25. MASCULINE OR FEMININE? In masculine societies gender roles are clearly defined (men are supposed to be assertive, tough and focused on material things; women to be modest, tender and into quality of life. In feminine societies, these overlap). The Masculinity Index shows Slovakia, Japan and Hungary at the top, and the Nordics at the bottom.
  26. 26. MASCULINE OR FEMININE
  27. 27. UNCERTAINTY AND AMBIGUITY Uncertainty avoidance is the extent to which members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown situations. Expressive cultures score highest.
  28. 28. UNCERTAINTY AND AMBIGUITY
  29. 29. LONG V SHORT TERM OUTLOOK
  30. 30. VIEWS OF TIME The US regard it as linear. Time is money and can be divided into clear chunks. Latins see time as multi-active. Using human interactions to get things done, regardless of specific meetings and timetables. Eastern cultures see time as cyclical. Everything goes round in a circle. Madagascar have an interesting view. They see the future as flowing into their heads from behind, with the past stretching out in front of them. The past is visible in this regard, whereas the future is unknown.
  31. 31. COUNTRY PARADIGMS
  32. 32. THE CULTURE MAP: ERIN MEYER
  33. 33. EIGHT AREAS OF INTERACTION
  34. 34. 1. COMMUNICATING
  35. 35. LANGUAGE Benjamin Lee Whorf developed the hypothesis that: “the structure of the language one habitually uses influences the manner in which one understands his environment.” Language really matters.
  36. 36. 2. EVALUATING
  37. 37. 3. PERSUADING
  38. 38. 4. LEADING
  39. 39. EGALITARIAN V. HIERARCHICAL
  40. 40. 5. DECIDING
  41. 41. DECISION MAKING STYLES
  42. 42. 6. TRUSTING
  43. 43. WHAT IS THE TRUTH? For a German and a Finn, the truth is the truth. In Japan and Britain the truth is permissible, if it doesn’t rock the boat. In China there is no absolute truth. In Italy the truth is negotiable. To an American, seeing it from the American cultural norm, this would likely be viewed as a “corruption of justice”.
  44. 44. WHAT IS A CONTRACT? Depending on the culture, signing a contract can have many interpretations. To the Swiss, Scandinavians, British, and North Americans a contract is a formal document, a sacred covenant, that once signed must be adhered to. To the Japanese, a signed contract doesn’t mean it is settled at all. It is merely a starting point, and can be modified at will, as circumstances require. To them it doesn’t make sense to apply the contract terms if things have changed. To a South American mind, a contract is an ideal that is unlikely ever to be achieved. They will sign it just to avoid argument. In Italy, it is assumed that a signed contract is negotiable. Italians think an insistence on abiding by a signed contract is naive and idealistic. To them, it’s just being realistic to bend the rules to “get around” some laws or regulations if they don’t work in your favour. It’s the only intelligent course of action. Those who have the means, take full advantage of this cultural norm. And their courts support this view, with an elaborate system that allows for ‘arrangements to be made’ when needed.
  45. 45. 7. DISAGREEING
  46. 46. 8. SCHEDULING
  47. 47. PLOTTING HOW YOU INTERACT
  48. 48. NATION STATE TRAITS vs. CORPORATE CULTURES
  49. 49. NATION STATE TRAITS: FROM ENABLERS TO DERAILERS
  50. 50. CULTURAL MINDSET QUESTIONS 1. What significant values and assumptions about dealing with nature and its resources result from coping with a group’s physical environment? 2. How does the human environment and the way culture defines social structure mould mindsets? 3. How does the society’s collective past experience survive as culturally transmitted memory? 4. Is a unique deep cultural lens at work?
  51. 51. SUMMARY ACTION: INDIVIDUALS Action you might wish to take as a result of this thinking: 1. Understand what culture is and how it affects business and workplace interactions. 2. Identify the assumptions and values of your own culture. 3. Identify the assumptions and values of the other culture. 4. Identify the major differences between the two. 5. React as appropriate (based on awareness and the experience offered).
  52. 52. SUMMARY ACTION: COMPANIES Action companies might wish to take as a result of this thinking: 1. Determine the main dimensions of strategy and cultural alignment. 2. Classify the national type and its embedded values. 3. Identify where the company is in the lifecycle. 4. Establish how national culture may have enabled or derailed success at the most recent transformation point, and how it could affect the next one. 5. Diagnose signs of potential crisis accentuated by any cultural dynamics.
  53. 53. SUMMARY THOUGHT Diversity of thinking and respect for other peoples’ perspectives are critical virtues for the leadership of global corporations, and the successful interaction of businesspeople across cultures. A new training scheme from September 2017 kevinduncanexpertadvice@gmail.com

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