Opinion / From the Readers

How to deal with cross cultural problems?

By eleven927 ( Updated: 2014-08-27 17:36

How to deal with cross cultural problems?

Foreign visitors arrive at the 109th China Import and Export Fair, known as Canton Fair, in Guangzhou city, south China's Guangdong province, on April 15, 2011.[Photo/IC]

With the globalization of business, growing numbers of companies are removing barriers to develop exports that accelerate benefit growth. In this global business environment, cross cultural negotiation becomes a key link. Because what is negotiated and how it is negotiated are both based on cultural values and beliefs.

The following essay focuses on how to deal with cross-cultural problems in international business negotiations.

First, we should learn the other side's culture. You can easily find a way to build trust so that it can help choose the right strategies during the negotiation. Behavior at the negotiation table is a product of culture and values. In general, the better you understand the values producing the behavior, the better you will be able to know how to adapt your own behavior in response. Take the other side's culture into account when preparing to negotiate.

Second, we should find ways to bridge the culture gap. Big diversity makes for huge disagreement. For example, when it comes to time, western societies are very 'clock conscious'. Time is money and punctuality is crucial. This is also the case in countries such as Japan or China where being late would be taken as an insult. However, in South America, southern Europe and the Middle East, being on time for a meeting does not carry the same sense of urgency. That's why we need to find ways to bridge the culture gap. During the negotiation, apart from adopting the other side's culture to adjust to the situation and environment, we can also try to persuade the other side to use elements of our own culture. We can try to find some common cultures and let them guide the negotiation.

Finally, we should employ different negotiating styles when facing different cultural systems. Attitude, beliefs, customs, laws, values and traditions are imbedded in the culture that affects the negotiation and its communication style. Culture is something we learn as we grow in our environment. Based on a nation's culture, geography, history and political system, we can use different styles to cope with problems.

All in all, international business deals not only cross borders, but also cross cultures. No matter how skilled and experienced the negotiator, it's impossible to understand all cultures. However, we can try our best to learn the other side's culture, find ways to bridge the gap and produce divergent negotiation styles.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and don't represent views of China Daily website.

How to deal with cross cultural problems?

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