UNIT 9. CULTURES IN BUSINESS



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UNIT 9. CULTURES IN BUSINESS



READING

I. Before reading the text learn the following words.

impact breed SBU = strategic business unit TQM = total quality management   JIT = just-in-time MBO = management by objectives circumstance pay-for-performance sequence preconceived guideline doctrine physical monetary to grasp authority bureaucracy creativity fellowship verification accountability     влияние поколение стратегическая бизнес-единица комплексное управление качеством точно в срок (по графику) целевое управление обстоятельство плата за (по) результатам последовательность, итог заранее составленный общий курс, директива теория, догма физический, материальный монетный, денежный, валютный хватать, постигать власть бюрократия творчество, креативность членство, братство сверка, подтверждение ответственность, необходимость отчитываться  

 

THE IMPACT OF CULTURE ON BUSINESS

Take a look at the new breed of international managers, educated according to the most modern management philosophies. They all know that in the SBU, TQM should reign, with products delivered JIT, where CFTs distribute products while subject to MBO. (SBU = strategic business unit TQM = total quality management, JIT = just-in-time, CFT = customer first team, MBO = management by objectives.)

But just how universal are these management solutions? Are these 'truths' about what effective management really is: truths that can be applied anywhere, under any circumstances?

Even with experienced international companies, many well-intended ‘universal’ applications of management theory have turned out badly. For example, pay-for-performance has in many instances been a failure on the African continent because there are particular, though unspoken, rules about the sequence and timing of reward and promotions. Similarly, management by objectives schemes have generally failed within subsidiaries of multinationals in southern Europe, because managers have not wanted to conform to the abstract nature of preconceived policy guidelines.

Even the notion of human-resource management is difficult to translate to other cultures, coming as it does from a typically Anglo-Saxon doctrine. It borrows from economics the idea that human beings are Resources' like physical and monetary resources. It tends to assume almost unlimited capacities for individual development. In countries without these beliefs, this concept is hard to grasp and unpopular once it is understood. International managers have it tough. They must operate on a number of different premises at any one time. These premises arise from their culture or origin, the culture in which they are working, and the culture of the organisation which employs them.

In every culture in the world such phenomena as authority, bureaucracy, creativity, good fellowship, verification and accountability are experienced in different ways. That we use the same words to describe them tends to make us unaware that our cultural biases and our accustomed conduct may not be appropriate, or shared.

From Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Cultural Diversity in Business by Fons Trompenaars, Nicholas Brealey Publishing Ltd., London, 1993.

I. Which do you think of the three statements (A, B, or C) given below the extract offers the most accurate summary.

A There are certain popular universal truths about management which can successfully be applied in various cultural contexts.

В Cultures are so varied and so different throughout the world that management has to take account of differences rather than simply assume similarities.

С Effective management of human resources is the key to everyone achieving their full potential.

 

II. Read the text again. Identify the following:

a) the problem with 'universal' management solutions

b) an example of the failure of pay-for-performance

c) an example of the failure of management by objectives schemes

d) the problem with human-resource management

e) three cultures affecting international managers

f) six areas in which different cultural interpretations apply.

a) tomorrow night / a show or visit the town/ or have a meal.

b) this evening / a meal in a restaurant / different colleagues.

c) when you come / what would you like to do?

 

III. a) The chief executives of two British-based companies have produced a ten-point guide on how to export successfully to Japan. Before you read the article, predict what advice they will give. Make suggestions under the headings Do and Don't

b) Read the first sentence only of each paragraph in the article. Were any of your guesses correct?

c) Now read the whole article. Then, summarise the information. Use the headings below.

· language · personal contact · patience · currency · middlemen · dialect, climate · country of origin   · customer visits · meals · gifts · culture

 

LIVERPOOL TO TOKYO

Ian Hamilton Fazey examines a ten-point guide to doing export business in Japan.

Boodle & Dunthorne is a jewellery designer and retailer. Joloda makes equipment for loading goods on trucks. Both are based in Liverpool, UK. The chief executives are Martin Wainwright (Boodle & Dunthorne) and Wojtek Kordel (Joloda).

1. Be prepared for important cultural and language diffi­culties. This may seem obvious but some people try to get by in Japan without hiring a good interpreter who can also explain Japanese traditions and customs.

2. Trade on personal contact at a senior level. This is more important than trading on price. Physical presence matters. Only now, after 10 years of selling to Japan, is Joloda introducing a new salesperson. Wainwright says regular exhibitions at national trade shows in Japan are critical to building a profile in the sector you sell to.

3. Patience pays dividends. It may take several visits before an order comes through. Boodle & Dunthorne took about 16 months to get going and Wainwright spent £40,000 before getting an order. He had gone back to the UK from a trade show ready to call it a day when his sales manager, who was due to follow him the next day, got a call to see the Mitsui Corporation three days later. Boodle & Dunthorne was suddenly in.

4.Avoid middlemen so as to speed delivery. Joloda uses an agent in Japan but was able to give faster service by minimising the length of its distribution chain. Boodle & Dunthorne employs Rebecca Hawkins, a leading designer, and manufactures its own jewellery, so providing a fast, direct service with original designs.

5.Quote in local currency. Your bank should be able to help you; if it cannot, change banks.

6.There are wide variations in dialect, climate and cul­ture. You may need a different distributor in Osaka from Tokyo, for example — and a different interpreter — because your Tokyo man may well not have the right network of contacts.

7.Emphasise your product's country of origin. Britain, say Kordel and Wainwright, is seen as quaint, old fashioned, but full of history. Whether you sell jewellery or engineering products, stress any hand crafting of your goods and the heritage of the city where you are based.

8. Develop your intuition. Wainwright and Kordel say a culture of politeness prevents the Japanese from expressing dislike and disagreement. If they visit you in the UK, Wainwright says to remember they do not usually eat big meals or too much meat. Fish restaurants are safer.

9. Some of Joloda’s customers from the regions are unfamiliar with western culture. Kordel advises that UK visits by them should be well-supervised from arrivalto departure, with an interpreter provided at all times.

10. Offer gifts. The Japanese enjoy giving and receiving beautifully presented gifts,' Kordel says. 'Status is critical, so a prestigious brand is appreciated best. However, it is not the value of the gift, but the fact it is a present from you that counts,' says Wainwright.

FINANCIAL TIMES

World business newspaper.

From the Financial

 

DISCUSSION

1. What is culture? Choose the four factors below which you think are the most important in creating a culture.

Climate institutions ideas and beliefs cuisine   language arts religion geography   social customs and traditions historical events ceremonies and festivals    

 

2. What do you miss most about your country or culture when you go abroad?

3. Why is cultural awareness important for buisiness people? Give examples.

4. Do you think cultures are becoming more alike? Is this a good or bad thing? For example, think about:

improved communications chip foreign travel   Global business Trading groups (EU, ASEAN, etc.)  

 

5. How important are the following things when doing business in your country? Are they: a) important b) not important, or c) best avoided?

· exanging business cards · shaking hands · kissing · socializing with contacts · small talk before meetings · accepting interruption · using first names   · formality (how you dress, how you talk to colleagues, what names you use, etc.) · punctuality · humour · giving presents · being direct (saying exactly what you think)  

 

VISITORS FROM CHINA

 

Background

Toyworld is a profitable toy retailer based in Seattle, US, with subsidiaries in over 30 countries. Toyworld buys its products from suppliers all over the world.

Mr Lee Chung, head of a toy manufacturing firm based in Guandong, China, is going to visit the Toyworld subsidiary in your country. He will be accompanied by his Export Manager, John Wong. The purpose of his visit! is to get to know Toyworld's management better and to learn more about the company. I He may set up a joint venture with Toyworld il he has confidence in them and considerl them to be a suitable partner. This is Mrj Chung and Mr Wong's first visit to youfl company, and to your country.

Task

You are members of the planning committee for Mr Chung's visit. Read the documents. Then, plan a draft programme in small groups. After that, compare your ideas with the rest of the class and produce the final programme.

 

1 Chinese relationships are built on personal trust and respect. Everything you do during the visit must show that you consider Mr. Chung and Mr. Wong to be important people.

2 Relationship building activities and a successful social programme will be more important than the business meeting.

3 Mr. Chung communicates fairly well in English, but has some problems understanding difficult expressions. Mr. Wong has a much higher level of English.

4 Both men are rather fussy about food. For example, Mr Chung was unhappy when he had to attend a wine and cheese party last year he hates cheese! They both enjoy high quality alcoholic drinks.

5 Your visitors will expect to have some basic information about Toyworld, and to be offered activities which give them a better understanding of the company.

6 Mr. Chung and Mr. Wong will be particularly interested in your warehousing facility and in your sales network.

7 Be careful about topics for discussion at social events. Do not embarrass your visitors by introducing 'difficult' topics.

8 They will be eager to learn about life in your country and about its culture.

9 Punctuality is very important to Mr. Chung. He gets angry if people arrive late for a meeting - he thinks it shows a lack of respect.

10. 'Sincerity' is a word which Mr. Chung and Mr. Wong use frequently. They value it a lot.


Good luck with the visit!

Best wishes,

Kenneth Eng

 

Key questions for the planning committee

2 Where will the visitors stay?

3 Who will meet them? What transport will be used?

4 What arrangements should be made for meals?

5 When will the business meeting take place?

6 What topics would be suitable for discussion at meals?

7 How will the visitors be entertained? Trips? Special events?

8 What gifts would be suitable? When and how should they be given?

9 Should there be local press and television coverage?

10 Is it necessary to provide an interpreter?

11 Any other arrangements to encourage 'relationship building'?

 

WRITING

As Marketing Director at Toyworld, send a fax to Mr Chung with details of the programme for his visit. The tone of the fax should be friendly and show that you and your colleagues are looking forward to meeting him soon.

 

 



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