Gesteland - cadeiras.iscte.pt

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Patterns of Cross-Cultural Business Behavior
Marketing, Negotiating and Managing Across Cultures
R. Gesteland
Copenhagen Business School Press, 1999
Two Iron Rules of
International Business
In International Business,
the Seller Is Expected to Adapt to the Buyer
the Visitor Is Expected to Observe Local Customs
THE PATTERNS OF CROSS - CULTURAL
BUSINESS BEHAVIOR
1. Deal-Focus vs. Relationship-Focus
2. Informal vs. Formal Cultures
3. Rigid-Time vs. Fluid-Time Cultures
4. Expressive vs. Reserved Cultures
I. Deal-Focus vs. Relationship-Focus
This is the "Great Divide" between business cultures. Dealfocused (DF) people are fundamentally task-oriented while
relationship-focused folks are more people-oriented.
Conflicts arise when deal-focused export marketers try to do
business with prospects from relationship-focused markets.
Many RF people find DF types pushy, aggressive and
offensively blunt. In return DF types often consider their RF
counterparts dilatory, vague and inscrutable.
Countries: Deal- and relationship-Focus
DEAL-FOCUSED
CULTURES:
MODERATELY DEALFOCUSED:
RELATIONSHIPFOCUSED:
Nordic and Germanic
Europe
North America
Australia and New Zealand
Great Britain, South Africa
Latin Europe
Central and Eastern Europe
Chile, southern Brazil,
northern Mexico
Hong Kong, Singapore
The Arab World
Most of Africa,
Latin America
and Asia
MAKING INITIAL CONTACT
•
•
in DF cultures the marketer can make initial contact with the
prospective buyer without any previous relationship or
connection. Having an introduction or referral is helpful but not
essential.
The Indirect Approach
RF firms do not do business with strangers. The proper way to
approach someone who doesn't yet know you is to arrange for the
right person or organization to introduce you. A third-party
introduction bridges the relationship gap between you and the
person or company you want to talk to
DEAL FIRST OR ...?
• Getting down to Business
In deal-focused markets you can usually get
down to business after just a few minutes of
small talk
... OR RELATIONSHIP FIRST?
• Getting to Know Each Other
building trust and rapport with your customer is important
everywhere in the world, not only in relationship-oriented markets.
The big difference is that with Arabs, Africans, Latin Americans and
most Asians you have to develop that climate of trust before you
start talking business. In RF markets, you first make a friend, then
you make a deal.
You Need to Develop a Personal Relationship
The Importance of Face -to-Face Contact
The Role of the Contract
Deal-oriented business people rely on written agreements to prevent
misunderstandings and solve problems. U .S. business people in particular tend to
take a rather impersonal, legalistic, contract-based approach when disagreements and
disputes arise.
Many U .S. companies bring a lengthy draft contract and a lawyer to the negotiating
table with them. They then proceed to discuss the proposed agreement clause by
clause, consulting the legal adviser every time a question arises.
But it can be counter-productive in RF cultures where business people rely more on
personal relationships rather than on lawyers and detailed contracts. In strongly RF
markets a better approach is to keep the lawyers in the background until the late stages
of the discussions, conferring with them during breaks.
DIRECT VS INDIRECT LANGUAGE
RF and DF business cultures also differ in the way
they communicate.
Deal-oriented negotiators tend to value direct, frank,
straightforward language, while their relationshipfocus counterparts often favour a more indirect,
subtle, roundabout style
Harmony vs. Clarity
It is all a question of priorities. When communicating
with others, the priority for DF business people is to
be clearly understood: they usually say what they
mean and mean what they say. German and Dutch
negotiators for example are known for their frank,
even blunt language.
RF negotiators in contrast give top priority to
maintaining harmony and promoting smooth
interpersonal relations. Because preserving harmony
within the group is so important, RF people carefully
watch what they say and do to avoid embarrassing or
offending other people.
Communication and "Face"
In the highly relationship-focused cultures of East and Southeast Asia, both
sides lose face when a negotiator on one side of the bargaining table loses his
temper.
Saying It Like It Is vs. Saving Face
A Dutch or German negotiator will choose his words carefully so that his counterparts will
understand exactly what he is saying. He wants no ambiguity, no beating around the
bush.
Meanwhile his Arab, Japanese or Indonesian counterparts are choosing their words even
more carefully - but for a completely different reason. RF negotiators want to make sure
that no one at the meeting will be offended. No rude directness, no crude bluntness, no
loss of face.
The Two Meanings of "Sincerity"
To English speakers from the deal-centered part of the world, sincerity
connotes honesty and frankness. A sincere friend for instance is one who
tells you the truth even when that truth happens to be unpleasant.
In contrast, for RF people a sincere friend is one who always shows his
willingness to be helpful.
"High-Context" Communication
RF negotiators tend to use indirect language in
order to avoid conflict and confrontation. The
polite communication of Asians, Arabs,
Africans and Latins helps maintain harmony.
The meaning of what they are saying at the
bargaining table is often found more in the
context surrounding the words rather than in
the words themselves.
The U.S. anthropologist Edward T. Hall, guru of
cross-cultural communication, coined the useful
term "high-context" for these cultures.
"Low-Context" Communication
In contrast, when northern Europeans,
North Americans, Australians and New
Zealanders speak, more of the meaning
is explicit - contained in the words
themselves.
A listener is able to understand what
they are saying at a business meeting
without referring much to the context.
Hall termed these cultures "low-context".
II. Informal vs. Formal Cultures
Formality actually is about status, hierarchies,
power and respect.
Whereas informal cultures are supposed to value
status equality, formal cultures value hierarchies
and status differences.
Breezy informality offends high-status people
from hierarchical cultures just as the statusconsciousness of formal people may offend the
egalitarian sensibilities of informal folks.
Countries: informal - formal
INFORMAL CULTURES
Australia USA Canada
New Zealand
Denmark, Norway,
Iceland
FORMAL CULTURES
Most of Europe and Asia
The Mediterranean
Region and the Arab
World
Latin America
Informal vs. Formal Cultures
People from egalitarian societies are often unaware of
the importance of status distinctions in hierarchical
cultures.
Nonverbal Ways of Showing Respect
W hen dealing with government officials in hierarchical countries
it is important to show proper respect and deference. This
advice is particularly important for Europeans, Americans and
Australians negotiating with senior officials in countries with a
history of Western colonial domination
Status Barriers
- People on the lower rungs of the corporate ladder in their own company,
- Young people of either sex,
- Women,
- Men and women of any age involved in international sales and marketing.
III. Rigid-Time vs. Fluid-Time Cultures
One group of the world's societies worships the
clock and venerates their Filofaxes. The other
group is more relaxed about time and
scheduling, focusing instead on the people
around them.
Conflict arises because some rigid-time visitors
regard their fluid-time brothers and sisters as
lazy, undisciplined and rude while the latter
often regard the former as arrogant martinets
enslaved by arbitrary deadlines.
Rigid-Time vs. Fluid-Time Cultures
In rigid-time societies punctuality is critical, schedules are
set in concrete, agendas are fixed and business meetings are
rarely interrupted. Edward T. Hall invented the term
"monochronic" for these clock-obsessed, scheduleworshipping cultures.
In direct contrast are "polychronic" cultures, where
people place less emphasis on strict punctuality and are not
obsessed with deadlines. Polychronic cultures value loose
scheduling as well as business meetings where several
meetings-within-meetings
may
be
taking
place
simultaneously.
Countries: monochronic - polychronic
MONOCHRONIC
BUSINESS CULTURES
Nordic and Germanic
Europe
North America
Japan
MODERATELY
MONOCHRONIC
Australia/New Zealand
Russia and most of
East-Central Europe
Southern Europe
Singapore, Hong Kong,
Taiwan, China South
Korea,
South Africa
POLYCHRONIC
BUSINESS CULTURES
The Arab World
Most of Africa, Latin
America
South and Southeast
Asia
Rigid-Time vs. Fluid-Time Cultures
Europe: The North/South Divide
Polychronic Culture Shock
Monochronic Culture Shock
Agendas: Fixed vs Flexible
Monochronic meetings tend to follow an agreed outline or
agenda. At a typical negotiation in Germany, Switzerland
or the Netherlands you can expect that to start off with a
few minutes of small talk and then proceed in linear
fashion from Item 1 to the last item on the agenda with no
major digressions.
In France or Italy however the "warm up" chat is likely to
last several times as long. And if there is an agenda at all
you may start with Item 5, proceed to Item 2 and then
wander off in several different directions at once.
Polychronic meetings tend to follow their own inner logic
rather than a fixed outline. The important thing is that
everyone has his or her say.
Schedules and Deadlines
Some strongly polychronic cultures have an aversion to
rigid deadlines.
With counterparts from polychronic cultures it can be a
mistake to set rigid deadlines and try to enforce them.
IV. Expressive vs. Reserved Cultures
Expressive people communicate in radically different
ways from their more reserved counterparts. This is
true whether they are communicating verbally,
paraverbally or nonverbally.
The confusion that results from these differences
can spoil our best efforts to market, sell, source,
negotiate or manage people across cultures. The
expressive/reserved divide creates a major
communication gap.
Three types of interpersonal
communication:
 Verbal communication has to do with words and the
meaning
 of words.
 Paraverbal language refers to how loudly we speak those
words, the meaning of silence and the significance of
conversational overlap.
 With Nonverbal communication (also called body
language) we communicate without using any words at all.
Countries: expressive - reserved
VERY EXPRESSIVE
CULTURES
The Mediterranean
Region
Latin Europe
Latin America
VARIABLY
EXPRESSIVE
USA and Canada
Australia and New
Zealand
Eastern Europe
South Asia, Africa
RESERVED
CULTURES
East and Southeast
Asia
Nordic and Germanic
Europe
Paraverbal Negotiating Behavior :
Vocal Volume and Inflection
The Meaning of Silence
Conversational Turntaking vs Conversational Overlap
Conversational behavior across the international
bargaining table
EXPRESSIVE NEGOTIATORS: Overlapping each other.
1st Speaker:
2nd Speaker:
________
_________
--------------------
_______
------------------
RESERVED NEGOTIATORS: Taking turns to avoid overlap.
1st Speaker:
________
2nd Speaker:
_________
-----------
_______
--------
JAPANESE NEGOTIATORS: Intervals of silence between speakers.
1st Speaker:
2nd Speaker:
________
____
-----
-----
_____
Nonverbal Negotiating Behaviour
PROXEMICS: Spatial Behaviour, Interpersonal Distance.
HAPTICS:
Touch Behaviour.
OCULESICS: Gaze Behaviour, Eye Contact.
KINESICS:
Body Movement, Gestures.
Distance Behaviour: The Use of Space
CLOSE: 20 to 35 cms (8 to 14 inches)
DISTANT: 40 to 60 cms
The Arab World
The Mediterranean Region
Latin Europe, Latin America
Most Asians
Northern, Central and Eastern
Europeans
North Americans
Touch Behaviour
HIGH CONTACT
CULTURES
The Arab World and
Mediterranean Region
Latin Europe and Latin
America
VARIABLE CONTACT
Eastern Europe, North
America, Australia
LOW CONTACT
CULTURES
Most of Asia
UK and Northern
Europe
Eye Contact
INTENSE EYE
CONTACT
FIRM
Northern Europe
and
North America
The Arab World and
the Mediterranean
Region
Latin Europeans
MODERATE
and
Korea and Thailand
Latin Americans
Most Africans
INDIRECT EYE
CONTACT
Most of Asia
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