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Cross-Cultural Challenges

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Rebecca Lange

on 17 March 2015

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Transcript of Cross-Cultural Challenges

Styles of communication
Non-verbal communication
Attitudes to the negotiating process
Agreement form
Team Organisation
Cross Cultural Communication Challenges
Outline and discuss the main communication challenges
Outline the effects on cross cultural negotiations
Explain how these challenges may be resolved
Illustrate examples
Intercultural communication is the process of sending and receiving messages between people whose cultural backgrounds could lead them to interpret verbal and nonverbal signs differently.
Cross Culture Communication is important because globalisation is increasing and cross border movement of people, goods and data bring more and more cultures into contact with one another and increases the potential of Cross Cultural Communication.
What is Cross Cultural Communication?
Negotiation defined by Gulliver(1979) as "A problem solving process in which two or more parties attempt to resolve their disagreement or conflict in a manner, and through a process that is mutually agreeable."
Weiss Framework
Stephen Weiss (1994)
Iona Macleod
Rebecca Lange
Douglas Macmillan
John MacGregor

"Culture can therefore be seen as a language, a "silent language" which the parties need in addition to the language they are speaking if they are truly to communicate and arrive at a genuine understanding"
Communication challenges when conducting cross cultural negotiations:
"Non-verbal behaviour may be defined as any behaviour, intentional or unintentional, beyond the words themselves that can be interpreted by receiver as having meaning"

Everyone will recognise that language barriers cause problems but not many recognise that non-verbal barriers can cause greater problems

Examples of non-verbal communication includes expressions, body language and gestures displayed as well as greeting behaviour, space (proxemics) and time

Knapp (1980) estimated that 65-90 percent of what we communicate is in fact non-verbal
- For example, in Bulgaria nodding your head actually means 'no' rather than 'yes'
(Hendon et al, 1996)
(Munter, 1993)
Greeting behaviours differ in all cultures and can range from a handshake to a hug or a shoulder pat

Handshakes are often very different in different countries - in Australia they like a firm and hearty handshake in comparison to France where a light and quick handshake is preferred

(Edward T. Hall, 1959)
Negotiating Attitude: Win-Lose or Win-Win?
Persons appear to approach deal making with one of two basic attitudes: that a negotiation is either a process in which both can gain (win-win) or a struggle in which one side wins and the other loses(win-lose).
A survey was conducted by Salacuse in 1998 of 310 respondents of different occupations and nationalities regarding ten ways that culture affects negotiating style.
Proxemics is the study of the way people use physical space to convey a message

Different cultures define the acceptable extent of space zones differently

Different types of distance:
- Public
- Social
- Personal
- Intimate

Chronemics is the way time is used in culture
There are 2 types:
- Monochronic time schedules - Low context
- Polychronic time schedules - High context

Tung (1995) estimated that 70% of the world is high context

Hall observed that the germans are highly time sensitive but less so with respect to their willingness to devote large amounts of time to negotiations

Proxemics and Chronemics in Negotiation
Greeting Behaviours in Negotiation
Whilst the survey did experience varied feedback, it was clear the varied response was more aligned to culture than any other attribute such as gender etc.
Ethnocentrism as an Attitude
"Ethnic" refers to cultural heritage, and "centrism" refers to the central standing point... so "ethnocentrism" basically refers to judging others from our own cultural point of view.
The belief in the inherent superiority of one's own culture in which all countries should be measured.
Ethnocentric individuals judge other groups relative to their own ethnic group or culture, especially with concern for language, behavior, customs and religion.
Agreement Form
Moran and Stripp 1991
common interests
conflicting interests
The four C's
common interests;
all parties have/want something the other parties has or wants.
conflicting interests;
occur when parties don't agree on certain aspects e.g payment, profit or contractual responsibilities.
hand in hand with attempting to resolve the areas of disagreement or conflict.
the conditions in which the negotiation takes places - determined by political, economical, cultural and social aspects of a country.
(Moran & Stripp 1991)
(Moran & Stripp 1991)
(Hendon et al 1996)
Bircan, Tuba. (2010). Diversity, Perception and Ethnocentrism. . A Multilevel Analysis of Ethnocentrism in Belgian Communities. 9
Browaeys, M.J. Price, R. (2011)
Understanding Cross-cultural Management
, 1st edition, Pearson.
Hall, E. T, (1959).
The Silent Language
. New York: Doubleday.
Hall, E.T, Hall, M.R. (1990)
Understanding Cultural Differences
, Consortium Book Sales & Dist.
Hendon, D.W, Hendon, R.A, Herbig, P. (1996)
Cross-Cultural Business Negotiations.
Quorum Books.
Knapp, M. (1980
) Essentials of Nonverbal Communication.
New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Moran, R.T. and Stripp, W.G. (1991)
Dynamics of Successful International Business Negotiations.
Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing Company.
Munter, M (1993)
Cross-Cultural Communication for Managers,
Business Horizons pg. 69-78
Parboteeah, P. (2011)
Strategic International Management
, 5th edition.
Ricks, D. (1983)
Big Business Blunders.
Homewood, Ill.: Dow Jones-Irwin.
Salacuse, J. (1998).
Ten Ways That Culture Affects Negotiating Style: Some Survey Results.
Negotiation Journal. 1 (1), p221-240.
Thill, J & Bovee, C. (2001). Communicating Interculturally. In: Excellence in Business Communication. 6th ed. London: Pearson Prentice Hall. 66-90.
Tung. R. (1995)
International Organisational Behaviour
, Luthans Virtual OB McGraw-Hill, pp 487-518
Weiss, S.E. (1990)
The Long Path to the IBM-Mexico Agreement: An Analysis of the Microcomputer Investment Negotiations, 1983–1986.
Journal of International Business Studies 21.
Weiss, S.E. (2012) "Negotiators' effectiveness with mixed agenda: an empirical exploration of tasks, decisions and performance criteria", Group Decision and Negotiation, 21(2), 255-290
The framework would be successful in
individualistic countries
(e.g USA or United Kingdom). This is because Individualistic countries are not afraid of conflict or saying 'no' so problems would be vocalised and this framework could be put into place.
The framework however would not be successful in
collectivistic countries
(e.g Japan or Arab countries) These countries often dislike conflict and rarely bring it up so this would not be a problem. also in countries like Japan they avoid using the word 'no'.
Cultural factors often influence the form of the written agreement parties try to make.
Weiss asks the questions ...
Agreement form is dependent on an each individuals cultural communication preference.
Some cultures prefer a traditional agreement in the form of a contract whereas other cultures prefer a more general relationship based agreement.
Culturally responsive
Reflect the skills of the individuals involved
Take into account the circumstances in which they are working.
the knowledge and skills required to perform these crucial acts is often limited ...
Which strategies to use?
Weiss advises the strategy selected should be:
The most
, i.e it should fit with the counterparts approach.
The most
in terms of the relationship and circumstances surrounding the interaction.
The most
in terms of the managers own values.
Team Organisation
In any international negotiation, it is important to know how the other side is organised and makes decisions.
For example, one extreme is the negotiating team with a supreme leader who has complete authority to decide all matters - many American teams tend to follow this approach.
In contrast, other cultures stress team communication and consensus.
"When in Rome do as the Romans do."
Weiss Framework (1994) applied
Ethnocentrism, as defined earlier is a major reason for problems amongst members of different cultures when negotiating.
Example: Americans tend to value technological advancement, industrialization, and the accumulation of wealth. An American, applying his or her own standards to a culture that does not value those things, may view that culture as “primitive” or “uncivilized.” Such labels are not just statements but judgments: they imply that it is better to be urbanized and industrialized than it is to carry on another kind of lifestyle.
Weiss framework could be applied in both scenarios.

(Parboteeah 2011)
Styles of Communication
Communication can be verbal or non-verbal, direct or indirect and high context or low context

In cultures that value directness, it can be expected that they will have clear and definite responses to proposals

While in cultures that rely on indirect communication, responses may be relied upon by interpreting indefinite comments, gestures and other signs

High context communication is implicit and indirect and involves implying a message through that which is not spoken

Whereas low context occurs predominantly through explicit statements in text and speech
(Hall and Hall, 1990)
(Salacuse, 1998)
(Salacuse, 1998)
(Munter, 1993)
Moran & Stripp's Four C's framework discusses how the ideal negotiation situation should occur through identifying the common interests or the reason why the negotiation is happening. Also identifying any areas of conflict, how to resolve those conflicts and finally taking into consideration the conditions in which the negotiation takes place.
Strategies should be:
In conclusion, the main communication challenges when conducting cross cultural negotiations are Nonverbal Communication, Styles of Communication, Attitudes to the Negotiation Process, Form of Agreement and Team Organisation.
These aspects all contribute to communication problems that can occur during cross cultural negotiations.
Weiss (1994)
(Bircan & tuba, 2010)
Weiss framework identifies key areas to be focused on during cross cultural negotiations. This allows both parties to make sense of the negotiating process as well as using their own attributes to the best of their ability. Weiss also states that where necessary the skills of the other should be used to aid negotiation.
Argued this is a simplistic approach
(Thill, J & Bovee, C. 2001)
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