Probably one of the most challenging things that a businessman may have is to do business beyond the country’s territorial bounds (Zadorozhna, 2006). The idea of conducting business affairs in an international manner has long been taken into consideration for many years now. In the light of globalization, the sheer importance of adapting into various cultures, local customs, varying means of doing business heeded into the need of levelling off to other cultures in the world (Tanner, 2003).
The corporate game basically depends on how well corporate people would be able to adapt through this multi-cultural set-up (Tanner, 2003). Through this adaptation process, businessmen could strike out better deals which could make the company gain a wider perspective not to mention a broader business scope.
The Cross-Cultural Factors
According to the literature by Salacuse, there are six primary factors which are frequent to all cross-cultural business negotiations (Salacuse, 1991). These factors then do not necessarily apply to everything and distinguishes international business negotiations from domestic negotiations. The first one is the fact that cross-cultural negotiations deals with varying laws, policies and political authorities in more than one territory, although these laws and policies may be at times contradictory (Merchant, 2002). For instance, there was an incident in the early 1980s where U.S. companies operating in European continent were held up between the American embargo on business operations to the Soviet Union for their Trans-Siberian pipeline, and E.U.’s urging for the reconsideration to stick to the original corporate supply mandate (Calingo, 2002). Cross-cultural business deals must contain initiatives to tackle such inconsistencies. These measures usually consist of settlement clauses, specifications of the governing laws, and tax havens (Salacuse, 1991).
The distinct factor which can be considered in this study is the presence of national currencies that is unique to a particular country in which business operations are being made (Diemers, 2000). Diverse currencies induce two problems for business negotiations. The real cost of the prices or payments set in the negotiation process may differ, resulting in unanticipated losses or gains given that the comparative value of dissimilar currencies vary through time (Diemers, 2000). Running the influx of domestic and foreign currencies across national boundaries is yet another dilemma. So business negotiations frequently depend upon the eagerness of governments to provide the currency (McGinnis, 2005). Sudden changes in such financial policies can have striking effects on international business negotiations.
A third element inherent to cross-cultural corporate negotiations is the contribution of governments. National administrative offices overseas could be at times detrimental because Americans are not common to such practices. Business practices can significantly be affected by these government processes depending on the norms in the country. Sovereign immunity also can bring in legal problems into business deals. This rationale is explained by the both entities’ nature. Governments usually consider several factors and do not actually go for profits, which on the other hand, is the main goal of business organizations.
Fourth, cross-cultural business deals are defenceless to drastic and sudden changes in their situations. Much impact on international businesses is implicated by instances such as war, changes in administrative, or currency devaluation. These have greater implications as compared to the contact that common domestic changes have on overall ventures. Such hazards “require that international business negotiator to have a breadth of knowledge and social insight that would not ordinarily be necessary in negotiating a U.S. business arrangement (Asrani, 2004)”. International business negotiations are then protected against these factors by the hiring of political risk analysts whose main job is to assess the risk situations which permit for agreement cancellation under specific considerations.
Multinational business negotiators also encounter a wide array of ideologies. Different countries have a specific viewpoint on the nature of corporate ventures. Efficient negotiators will be alert on such differences in ideology. They would then provide their suggestions in such manner acceptable to the other party, or at least ideologically neutral.
Lastly, cross-cultural differences are vital aspect in international business ventures. The existence of varying cultures which entail a difference in business approach adds up to the language barriers. Certain information has various connotations in different cultures. For example, Japanese and American businessmen have an unlike analysis of the purpose of negotiations. The written contract is simply an expression of that relationship for the Japanese see the objective of negotiations as to create a long term professional relationship between different business partners. Unlike the Japanese, Americans view business negotiations as a way to produce a formal contract which creates specific responsibilities and liabilities. Americans see it as a tendency to renege while the Japanese view it as a reasonable enthusiasm to adapt a contract and to echo changes in the party’s corporate relationship. American persistence on loyalty to the original terms of the contract during business negotiations may be viewed as a sign of doubt by the Japanese.
Culture and the Workplace
In the advent of globalization, the present day’s groups are also moving towards the intermixture of races and culture in various groups in the society especially in a aspect of the workforce. Because of the changes in the demographics or the composition of the workforce which is brought to us by globalization, team-based management and performance was affected. This has lead to the development of multicultural groups, wherein the productivity may be different to that of a single-cultured group, or a homogenous grouping (Surowiecki).
There are some researches showing how this cultural diversity could lead to a better working group. This diversity includes the race, gender, religion, nationality, and sexual orientation, and that diversifying the groups would lead to a better productivity and outputs. This is probably because of a better performance that roots from their differences, wherein it encourages healthy competitions, thus leading to an increase in the quality of work done (Legace).
Some also say that cultural diversity in small groups would not be that productive as compared to homogenous groups. Results showed that groups which have a higher degree of cultural diversity – the norms and the social outlook of the members, influence the effectiveness and productivity of the groups. It is seen to be more effective in groups which are culturally homogenous as compared to the heterogeneous groups, as tested with some group tasks (Thomas).
Goal Orientation: The focus of high performance teams
In order to have high performance teams, the leader, along with his members should have a common goal in mind, and that is to have better productivity and outputs. When they do so, their focus would be on how to improve their performance in order to attain that goal. This would lead to better quality of work, thus reaching the common goal that they have set. The team should have a sense of commitment to the team, having a shared vision and shared goals in order to achieve that vision (Surowiecki). Because of the shared goals ad visions, these teams would be able to help each other, since they know what they what and what they are aiming for. Because of this, they would be able to reach these goals faster since they are helping each other. This would promote a good working relationship between the members, since they know that they all intend to reach the same goals, clearly unifying each other’s thoughts, thus creating a connection with the team’s members. Because of this, the team members would not only consider their individual performance but also their output as a group whether they reach their goals or not.
These are some of the various factors that could affect the performance of small teams or groups. It could either bring positive effects and boost the performance of the group, or affect it negatively and ruin the teams output completely. Through these factors, small teams or groups would be able to pinpoint their weak and strong point, thus knowing what they should do in order to improve as a group. These factors include the leadership aspect, the goals that the group sets, group cooperation and coordination and training.
Leadership in a diverse small group therefore will boost the effectiveness of the team since it will enable the members to fully realize their potentials and discover their strengths and how they deal with competition regardless of diversity. Through this, they would put more efforts in their works. It deals with getting the essentials out of the team and removing the barriers that could hinder the team’s performance and excellence. It doesn’t only work on the individual members, it also takes care of the how each members correspond with each other, thus creating combinations thru the team leader. Good leaders could get the most out of their teams. Thru them the team’s performance could be taken to the next level, wherein each member could strive to achieve leadership skills, making them more competitive, thus producing much better outputs than before. With a good team leader, the team would gain a great feeling of trust and respect not only with the leader but also with the other members of the team. Also, the team as a process becomes more efficient when they have a good leader to guide them, thus leading the flow of the team such as what is mentioned in Rebecka Nathan’s book “My Freshman Year” (Nathan). You cannot avoid having conflicts within the team, but when this happens, a team leader could mediate, thus leading to an effective conflict resolution. A leader could also motivate the team, thus leading to good team retention of what the leaders had guided them through.
Diversity is not that easy to deal with. Oftentimes, it causes conflicts in the workplace because of their different beliefs, ideas, point of views, and differences. This also applies to diverse teams. Differences of team members can destroy the team. But diversity also has its advantages.
Benefits from team diversity
In the case “Can Absence Make a Team Grow Stronger?”, 54 diverse teams were studied and were found out to be successful (Majchrzak). The article proved that not all diverse teams are unsuccessful. It only showed that any diverse team can achieve their goals as long as they are aware of their individual responsibilities and their responsibilities as a group. In the case, the teams are even more productive and benefited more from each other. Since the teams will not the able to assemble easily because of diversity, tasks are done faster because they do not have to wait for meetings and spend too much time in discussing about decisions. Another benefit is that members of the team are more comfortable working in their own offices. Another advantage is that team members can easily access their files in their own offices which leads to faster accomplishment of tasks. Lastly, there is little or no room for differences during conference calls and online team rooms that is why conflicts seldom happen.
Creating a diverse team
In creating a diverse team, a good leader is needed (Kottoli). The leader must be dedicated in creating a diverse team (Vinson). The leader must then choose not just diverse people but people who have different potentials and competencies. Of course, communication is very important. Diverse teams will not work if they will not communicate with each other because they seldom (or never) meet each other personally. Instant messaging services and teleconference calls are a necessity in creating a diverse team. The leader must not show any sign of favoritism to avoid conflicts. If possible, members of the team should be appointed of tasks that he or she is good of so that every team member can be comfortable with their work. In this way, diverse teams can become really successful in the financial industry (“A Review on “Can Absence Make a Team Grow Stronger?””).
Benefits of Effective Communication in Teamwork
Effective communication in a team can achieve shared understanding. A good example of this situation is the teamwork of a basketball team. First, the coach of the team must be the first example to show good traits on how to transfer information effectively. The coach must communicate to its player as one group or as a sub group of players. The coach must direct his or her team in such a way that the members of the team work together, not just by one player to achieve their goal in winning the game. Next are the players of the team. It is very important that each player knows the movement and attitudes of each player in the team so that effective communication can be done while playing. An effective communication can be observed when all the players are working together as a team. This can be achieved when one or two players give direction to each player in the court. The transfer of information must be clear enough so that the receiver can response correctly. (Asrani, 2004)
Another benefit that can bring by effective communication is that it directs the flow of information. Consider the example when an applicant for a job is being interviewed by the human resource manager of a company. Effective information can be attained if the applicant transfers the information in a clear and efficient way. The applicant must answer the questions in straight manner thus minimizing the confusion. It will direct the flow of information from the applicant going to the human resource manager. (Asrani, 2004)
Effective communication also helps people overcome barriers to open discussion. This is a very obvious situation because the purpose of effective communication is to transmit the information in a clear way so that full understanding between the speaker and receiver will be attained. Example of this kind of effective communication that is applied is when a group of people are in conference room. The speaker must use appropriate words that must be suitable on the agendas of the meeting. The speaker must know when to raise his or her voice and when to use body language and nonverbal communication. As a two way process, the receivers must obtain the information that the speaker wants to impart to the group of people. In this way, the speaker and the receivers of the information can achieved a shared understanding on the agendas of the meeting. The receivers may also shared there thoughts and ideas so that effective communication will be achieved through internet. This kind of communication is now popular to many companies because members of the executive committee of a company will have the chance in communicating with each other even tough they are far from each other. (Crosse) If some of the agendas were not delivered well by the speaker, they must ask questions regarding on the meeting so that the misunderstanding will be minimized.
Effective communication will stimulates others to take action to active goals. In an organization, the leader of the organization has purpose for the organization. The leader must communicate to its members so that as a group, they will know what to perform in order to achieve their goal. The leader will give a group of instructions that will guide the members of the organization. The instructions must be clear enough to understand well by the members.
Effective communication will result to channels information to encourage people to think in new ways and to act more effectively. The benefit of effective communication mentioned above can be observed on people working in an aviation company. One of the major problems encountered by an aviation company is plane crashes. Studies shows that these instances were mostly caused by human errors. This human error can be accounted as, miscommunication of the crew members, and low in cognitive traits of the members like low quality traits in team work. Effective communication is a vital requirement for an aviation industry because the safety of the passenger’s live is their main concern. There is a need in effective communication on many instances like the landing and takeoff of the plane. Communication and coordination must be done properly to minimize accidents. The characteristics of information to provide an effective communication needed in an aviation company must be clear, sufficient, precise and instructional. Prevent information that is vague, ambiguous, and in low volume to prevent confusion. Another major concern is the right time of transferring the information to a right specified receiver. Effective communication will make the actions of a people effective.
Effective communication also lessens the chance of accidents. Accidents can never be predicted if when it will happen but can be prevented. In our daily lives we encounter accidents. Example of an accident is a plane crash. There are many reasons why plane crashes occur. One may be on the performance of the plane’s equipment and another is the problem in the member of the crew in a plane.
Effective communication is vital for a group that works together. When a team is working together in making a given project, the group must realize that effective communication within the members of the group will benefit to the success of the group. Working together as a group will make the project’s goal be attained faster than in an individual effort. Like in the design of a building, the engineers must work together by providing the team with information needed to make the project be successful. They must share their own knowledge and experience to come up with a good design of a building and not individual efforts because it will only cause delay of the project.
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