jP K. Speak up

K.i. Interview.

Use these questions as a guide to interview your partner. Add questions of your own.

  1. What is your attitude to the problem of the mass expansion of Russian top-managers to the foreign countries? Try to explain this fact.
  2. Can we assert that in 1970s the Russians were full of fear and operated under an ideological press? Have they got this feature now? Does it hinder our businessmen now?
  3. Do you think businessmen from different countries working in one company can always work well together with their partners despite their cultural differences?
  4. How can the non-verbal communication influence business partners’ relations?


Case Study.

Read the article and do the exercises.

The Other Customs Barrier Cultural Research Avoids Business Blunder

Margaret Kammeyer, “Export America ”

Discovering cultural differences in business practices should be an integral part of conducting market research for new opportunities. Whether you are a new exporter or are exporting but looking for new markets, cultural factors play a very important role in determining the success of the venture. As markets open and the demand for American goods abroad increases, challenges beyond the traditional details of exporting now face firms doing business abroad.

Doing business with international clients requires more than just an understanding of the myriad of international rules and regulations. A lack of knowledge about a customer’s culture can lead to misunderstanding, frustration, potential embarrassment and even loss of business. As David

  1. Ricks writes in Blunders in International Business, “Cultural differences are the most significant and troublesome variables... the failure of managers to fully comprehend these disparities has led to most international business blunders.”

Savvy exporters are now not only expected to be familiar with country marketing reports but should also conduct research on their clients’ culture and regional etiquette when preparing to enter new markets.

The building of successful business relationships is a vital part of any venture, and such relationships rely heavily on an understanding of each partner’s expectations and intentions. Export representatives will want to ensure that they make the best impression on potential clients. This means that in addition to understanding preconceived notions about American business practices, it is also important for the international representative to have at least a basic familiarity with the customs and practices of the country in which the company is considering conducting business. Gift giving, proper forms of address, appropriate dress, entertainment, holidays, business hours and sense of time, are just some cultural differences of which to be aware. Mastering international business etiquette and understanding foreign customs is imperative for success in exporting.

Each culture has its own idiosyncrasies when it comes to social business relations and successful marketing strategies — what applies in one country often does not apply in another. Strategies that thrive in Japan will most likely fail in Hong Kong; therefore, not only is it important for new to export companies to be aware of the ramifications of cultural differences but also for already successful exporters contemplating expansion into new markets.

Some Interesting Cultural Observations

  • In the People’s Republic of China, don’t write notes using red ink. This suggests that the writer will die soon. Avoid using the number four at all costs because this, too, signifies death.
  • In India, the significance of a business arrangement is often determined by the amount of time spent in negotiations.
  • In Thailand, it is considered offensive to show the sole of the shoe or foot to another. Therefore, it is necessary to take care when crossing your legs.
  • In Saudi Arabia, the law prohibits the wearing of neck jewelry by men, and westerners have been arrested for neglecting to observe this rule.
  • In Argentina, do not be offended if your business associate arrives 30 to 40 minutes late to a meeting.
  • In Costa Rica, if you are invited for dinner to a home, bring flowers, chocolates, scotch or wine.
    Do not bring calla lilies; they are associated with funerals.
  • In Germany, first names are reserved for family members and close friends. Moreover, in German business culture, it’s not uncommon for colleagues who have worked together for years not to know of each other’s first names.

K.3. Work in groups and discuss the questions.

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of working with international clients?
  • Where can a lack of knowledge about a customer’s culture lead to?
  • What should business partners do when entering new markets?

K.4. Sum up the main arguments of the article and add your own ideas on the problem.

K.5. Prepare a five-minute presentation on the problem of economic development and cultural diversities.

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Источник: Е. Н. Малюга. Английский язык для экономистов: Учебник для вузов / Е. Н. Малюга, Н.              В. Ваванова, Г. Н. Куприянова, И. В. Пушнова. — СПб.: Питер,2005. — 304 с.: ил.. 2005

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