Saturday, July 28, 2012

Business managenment

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World is becoming closer because of globalization, and more and more business companies started to do the international business. As organizations become more global, the managers and staffs need to take on the cultures and customers of the areas in which they wish to operate. One of the major problems of globalization is how to manage cultural differences. Some may have relatively homogenous culture whereas others come from the less homogenous countries. When they are doing business, the managers will meet different countries businessmen who have diverse culture backgrounds. For example, some people have their evening meal at five o¡¯clock whereas others eat at nine or ten in the evening, which is just one example of cultural diversity. Obviously, cultural diversity plays an important role in the development of international business activities and in the problem of managing these activities.

¡°Culture is defined as an integrated system of learned behavior patterns that are characteristic of the members of any given society. It includes everything that a group thinks, says, does, and makes-its customs, language, material artifacts, and shared systems of attitudes and feelings.¡± (Czinkota, Ronkainen & Moffett, 00, p) Culture is considered a key factor in understanding how organizations to work, which can connect organizations together.

Homogenous culture means the similar culture, and people have similar values, beliefs, regions and language so on and so forth. People in this country are quite pure, such as Japan. ¡°Diversity, a word which originally meant simply variety, has come to be used as a specialized term to describe a workplace that includes people from various backgrounds and cultures.¡± (Speechley & Wheatley, 001, p4) ¡°It makes a distinction among ethnicity, race, color, gender, and wealth.¡± (Parhizgar, 00, ) It means that people have different values, beliefs and assumptions because of different race and background, and everyone uses his or her own ways to think and do businesses, such as Americans.

This is a kind of challenge for the homogenous-cultured company to do business with the culturally diverse culture countries. ¡°The challenge for managers is to handle the different values, attitudes, and behavior that govern human interaction.¡± (Czinkota, Ronkainen & Moffett, 00, p) On the international scale, the ability to manage different cultures has become an essential business skill for the managers.

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Challenges

First of all, different languages are the challenge that managers need to face when they doing business. Communication facilitates international business transactions through language. Without languages, conducting business would be very difficult. English is widely considered to be the language of international business, but there are a number of versions of English, such as British English, United States English, and even Canadian English, and each with its own grammar, spelling and meaning of many words. Furthermore, there were multiple versions of Dutch, French, Italian and Portuguese. Assumed that how a Japanese and American to do business if they only can speak their own languages. When working with people that normally use another language, it is always wise for a manager to seek feedback to ensure that the words used have identical meanings to each party.

Then, ¡°religion has an impact on international business that is seen in a culture¡¯s values and attitudes toward entrepreneurship, consumption, and social organization. The impact will vary depending on the strength of the dominant religious tenets.¡± (Czinkota, Ronkainen & Moffett, 00, p) Religious beliefs can be one of the most influential parts of a culture and managers need to understand their influence, and learn how to avoid giving offense. ¡°Indeed the later years of the twentieth century saw a rise of fundamentalist Muslim religious groups gaining political power with very determined religious, social and political agendas ¨C something that is still growing. Even in the US, the politics of certain areas have been influenced by religious beliefs ¨C as can be seen in the so-called Bible Belt.¡± (Cartwright, 00, p5-6) International managers must be aware of the differences not only among the major religions but also within them.

Additionally, when the managers are doing business, it is important to understand a people¡¯s manners and customs, which can help managers to avoid making embarrassing mistakes. For example, ¡°Arab culture considers the left hand is the ¡®toilet hand¡¯, using it to pour tea or serve a meal is considered very bad manners.¡± (Wild, Wild &Han, 00, p4) If the managers don¡¯t know this, it will offend Arabic persons.

Furthermore, the legal issues are a danger factor in global operation. Governments are naturally and normally very particular that their laws apply on their territory. For instance, ¡°US managers operating in Europe need to be aware that European Union law is superior to the national law of member stares. Equally, managers from other countries who are doing businesses in the US may be unused to a system where State law is so strong, allowing, for example, the death penalty in some states but not in others.¡± (Cartwright, 00, p6-7)

Moreover, time is another factor that different cultural groups have different meanings. In most developed countries, time is commonly viewed as the clock whereas in less-developed countries, time is often viewed in a natural sense, such as in many parts of Latin America. For example, ¡°businesspeople often arrive after the scheduled meeting time and prefer to spend time building personal trust before discussing business. Obviously, it usually takes longer to conduct business in these parts of the world than in the United States.¡± (Wild, Wild &Han, 00, p46)

In addition, managing the problems created by cultural diversity increases the transaction costs when the managers are conducting international business activities. If cultural differences between trading partners are large, the economic and benefits of engaging in business activities are large enough to offset the extra costs of doing business with different cultures.

Additionally, people who have different cultures must have different social structures. For instance, it may be very difficult for a manger from the US or Europe to appreciate the different social structures operating in a diverse country such as India, which has the caste system and organizational hierarchies. ¡°In many parts of India, organizations operate on a purely western model, but it is still possible to find more remote areas where other social systems are prevalent.¡± (Cartwright, 00, p4)

Last but not least, differences in values and attitudes affect management functions, which is also a challenge for the managers. The cultural values have to be used in the management of business functions. For example, dealing in China, the international managers will have to realize that making deals has more to do with cooperation than competition. The Chinese think that building the good relationships is the most important thing, and then the transactions follow. At the same time, the attitudes towards business are quite different. ¡°In most Islamic social systems, business is part of an all-important personal relationship which exists to provide goods and services based on mutual trust and respect.¡± (Harrison, Dalkiran & Elsay, 000, p11)

Solutions

It is quite normal for the managers meet the diverse culture countries when they do the global businesses nowadays. Therefore, companies should try their best to face these challenges appropriately, overcome the cultural barriers and make doing business smoothly.

First of all, managers who operate in the global business need to understand the nature of diverse culture and how it influences behavior in the workplace, and recognize that different parts of the world may have ¡°different attitudes and value systems in respect of hierarchies, gender, the family, age, social structure, disability, religion, legal issues affecting employment¡±. (Cartwright, 00, p4)

Then, every manager should have considered the culture of his own her own organization, and the influences that might have on other organizations and individuals who may operate to different norms. Managers should have a very clear idea of how his or her own organization works and why it works in that way.

In addition, the managers should recognize which and how cultural factors influence the expression of business structures and systems. If they know these first, the managers can avoid the barriers and problems in businesses.

Moreover, the most effective method of ensuring successful globalization is for an organization to study the cultures in which it wishes to operate, and then to consider the reasons why certain things are done in these particular ways. The managers and their staffs should know other countries¡¯ cultures and habits, and the companies can offer some training about the cultures for staffs. For instance, companies that operate globally, ¡°such as British Airways, provide cultural orientation training for staff before they are sent on a foreign posting. A considerable part of that training is devoted to the avoidance of unintentionally giving offense.¡± (Cartwright, 00, p-) Both sides should give careful study and consideration to the ways that others work and think, such as the different cultural contexts, which is always the danger in misunderstandings, which will affect the building and maintaining of the harmonious and positive relationships.

Additionally, the managers should learn more languages to facilitate their business. Learning a second language may give them chances of succeeding in business. Learning any other language will help the managers understand the culture of those who speak it. As the managers learn the language, they learn how things are done where the language is spoken. Simultaneously, they learn the beliefs, values, and assumptions of that society as well.

Last but not least, the managers should know that they couldn¡¯t expect members of another cultures to fit into his or her own cultural norms. The managers should respect other countries¡¯ cultures, and learn about specific cultures and others¡¯ strengths to facilitate the businesses and communicating. They should know that different countries must have their own cultures. At the same time, the managers should be sensitive. Sensitive handling of diversity and a willingness to listen and take new ideas on board is a critical skill for all managers.

Conclusion

All in all, as the development of globalization, the managers need to do the international businesses with other countries that have diverse cultures. Cultural diversity is everywhere. People from different cultures share basic concepts but view them form different angles and perspectives. Therefore, there are so many challenges that the managers need to face when they are doing businesses, which means that different cultural backgrounds bring a lot of communication barriers to people, such as different languages, values, beliefs, manners and customs, working attitudes, religions and social structures, legal issues and transaction cost so on and so forth. Manages should respect and learn others¡¯ diverse cultures, and try their best to face them appropriately and learn how to facilitate their businesses.

References

Cartwright R. (00), Managing Diversity, Capstone Publishing, Great Britain

Czinkota M. R., Ronkainen I. A. & Moffett M. H. (00), International Business, Sixth Edition, Thomson Learning, Inc., USA

Harrison A. L., Dalkiran E. & Elsay E. (000), International Business Global Competition from a European Perspective, Oxford University Press, Great Britain

Parhizgar K. D. (00), Multicultural Behavior and Global Business Environments, International Business Press, USA

Speechley C. & Wheatley R. (001), Developing a Culture for Diversity in a week, Hodder & Stoughton Educational, Great Britain

Wild J. J., Wild K. L. & Han J. C.Y. (00), International Business, Second Edition, Prentice Hall, USA



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