Global Business Etiquette & Intercultural
by Hasan Bilokcuoglu
RELATED LITERATURE REVIEW
Surveying the recent literature, it can be observed that the modern business context is globally interconnected. It also exhibits that contemporary leaders should be aware of cross-cultural business etiquette, so that they can establish strong interpersonal relationship abroad. Moreover, getting trained in cross-cultural etiquette will aid managers with foreign assignments cope with cultural variations.
Chhokar, Brodbeck, and House (2007) underline the significance of global awareness and cultural assessment across both developed and developing areas of the globe in order to prevent failures of global managers in their assessments. Thus, it is vitally significant to appreciate such things when establishing lasting impressions, being conscious about the way to introduce oneself and others during business meetings and at other business-related situations, and comprehending basic and suitable communication etiquette.
Harris and Moran (2000) state that embodying cultures of global business affect the way managers deal with the competitive surrounding, particularly with simple communication etiquette. They further argue that managers should be trained towards cultural sensivity, impression management, and comprehending the significance of keeping business relationships. Also, they should be informed about the complexities in international culture.
According to Connerley and Paul (2005), to have an effective management of multinational responsibilities, cross-cultural communication skills and interpersonal negotiation competence are very essential. Thus, they argue, global managers need to be sufficiently equipped not only with interpersonal but also with nonverbal communication competence for multinational responsibilities.
Today's global developments and trends point out the requirement to highlight business etiquette and cross-cultural skills as vital management obligatory since a growing number of organisations are setting up global strategic alliances. Moreover, since the global settings of business management and marketing include efficient and effective communication among various stakeholders, cross-cultural etiquette and ethics become vital skills.
Cook and Cook (2004) argue that business etiquette today plays an essential role in the success or failure of business challenging for global market share.
According to Ephraim Okoro (2012), appropriate and respectful behaviour would involve sensivity to cultural differences whilst making introductions, exchanging business cards, acknowledging status and position, dining practices and habits, giving presents, communicating with the proper tone across cultures, tipping etiquette, and employing clear nonverbal communications in social environment and global business.
Carte and Fox (2008) claim that the struggling part in international business is to understand and to anticipate cultural divergents in international business etiquette and also being able to adjust this accordingly for any successful international business. Despite the fact that a successful international business mostly relays on how well business firms behave in a foreign culture, not a lot effort has been employed to realising global business etiquette and its place in international business relationships. The authors claim that it is very important to different cultures and their behaviours around the globe, in order not to jeopardise success. They also point out that knowledge about the culture the ability and motivation to adapt to different behaviours call for adapting business etiquette to business persons from other countries in an effective way. As for an example, the giant retailer Mal-Mart learnt this lesson the hard way when they attempted to penetrate into German. Since some customers sometimes misinterpreted smiling as flirting, store clerks opposed Mal-Mart's policy of constantly smiling.
In the end, due to some cultural false steps, Wal-Mart had to leave the German Market (Bovee and Thill, 2010). The key to establishing good business relationships with individuals and business in other countries is to become aware of different countries to become aware of different countries' business etiquette.
O'Rourke (2010) states that the inability to adapt to foreign ways of thinking and acting unprofessionally are the most common factors of failure in international business contexts. Furthermore, they point out that one of the most significant elements for (business) success and development is acquiring the skills of proper etiquette at the international level.
David Ingram (2009) states his thoughts about the importance of business etiquette as follows,
Although certain ethical beliefs are nearly universal, much of the concept of ethics is subjective. Theft has been considered unethical in virtually every society since the dawn of civilization, for example, while certain forestry practices are perpetually debated. Although businesses operate within a wide range of regulations aimed at enforcing ethical standards, the subjective nature of ethics means that even perfectly legal business practices can come under scrutiny as unethical behavior. Businesses must take extra care to respect the ethical perspectives of all of their stakeholder groups.
He also states that in business etiquette, there are several factors, such as verbal and non-verbal communication which are the largest part of etiquette, taboo topics, communication styles, and preferred speaking distances that vary culture by culture. According to him, the other significant features of etiquette are appearance and dress, since business people are expected to look professional. He adds that the other element is time sensivity. It is obvious that some cultures put emphasis on punctuality, while others view it as eagerness or hastiness. Furthermore, he suggests that an understanding of business etiquette aids cross-cultural communication and trade; plus it improves productivity in the work place. Also, he states that united business from around the world can trigger industrial progress and innovation through sharing the ideas. He believes that individuals with various experiences and cultural backgrounds can bring the worlds brightest minds together and provide a commonly understood frame work for social and work place interaction. However, he also adds that there exist some challenges. He claims that small business owners and managers need to devote time examining the unique codes of business etiquette of each country or location in which they maintain business. Moreover, he says that since managers concentrate on staying within local business culture, their communication and negotiation styles may become neglected.
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