Sample Essay on Culture, Attitudes and Ethics in International Business
Culture and all the expectations people have within cultures do have an effect on all business transactions. It is essential for an American franchise business to understand the expectations of their supposed international markets. Failure to master the basic cultural elements would be tragic for the business (Rugman & Hodgetts, 2003).
Culture is a key factor affecting business ethics. It is of profound importance that a company studies the numerous societal norms and intricacies that are in play in international business before it commits to international expansion. Among the issues that involve social behavior in reference to employees that ought to be taken into consideration before an international expansion include, and but not limited to ; attitudes towards women, , work ethics and attitudes, religious influences ,values, social etiquette and manners, and ethical standards.
It is generally agreed that the ethical behaviors of a company’s managers are directly related to that country’s culture. The said behavior is seen in how they make public and corporate statements on ethics and their ethical values and attitudes.
Relying on an individual’s perceptions and the analysis of social behaviors might lead to misconceptions and stereotypical conclusions. In a bid to avoid avert these misconceptions an organization can carry out a number of trainings. One among such is attribution training. This training entails raising awareness of the individual’s cultural background and the difference from the culture of the new location (Rugman & Hodgetts, 2003).
Coaching is the other form of training that the fast food business can employ in order to avoid cultural conflict. Primarily, coaching should demonstrate high levels of sensitivity to the intricacies of the host culture. Coaching should also provide specific in providing the employees with particular examples of their expectations in regard to beliefs, customs and practices.
Culture Shock is the abrupt and disturbing notion on one’s concept of a culture brought about by some unwelcome occurrence in a foreign culture. The outcome is an exciting feeling, depression or a thrill (Marx, 1999).
Culture Shock is a completely normal physical and psychological reaction to a foreign environment. Experiencing Culture Shock is not a weakness. Culture shock and its outcomes is normal and as such, it is part of successful adaptation to new cultures. It is considered then means through which one can best experience and understand new cultures. There are anxieties and stresses related to the process of adapting. The adjustment experience depends wholly on how well an individual is coping with the symptoms of culture shock.
The outcomes of culture shock will trigger motivation to adjust and adapt to the new culture in that it forces one to reflect on one’s own culture and realize the key differences that are overwhelming. It helps on to realize that there is a lot to explore in the host culture as well as from own culture.
Learning the culture and even the language of the host country is key in understanding the attitudes, beliefs and way of life of people in the host country. The relevant knowledge can be sourced from reading books, engaging with people who have had past experiences with the host culture, watching cultural television programs, or by generally observing the behavior and mannerisms of members of the host culture. Going through Intercultural training would also go a long way (Marx, 1999).
Just because the culture and the practices of the host country are noticeably different, they should not automatically be perceived as wrong or inferior. It is advisable that any form of judgment be withheld to allow one to remain an objective observer. This will facilitate a speedy process of the guest’s cross-cultural understanding. It is a necessary to do a little background check on the history and the culture of the country you intend to visit, this is especially important if you have limited or no information about the country. As one learns about the host country, it is important to keep an open mind. Objectivity of the mind will enable one to find a reason for some of the practices they find hard to understand (Becker, 2000).
Even as your understanding of their customs, rituals, and protocol in the host country deepens, beware of attributing explanations and rationales to what you think you now believe you know. Limited knowledge can be dangerously misleading. As Geert Hofstede, a psychologist, once noted, culture can be compared to an onion with several layers that should be peeled in order to reveal its content. The process of understanding a culture in its historical and social setting is laboriously long and complex.
Sourcing services of expeditors
The decision of whether to contract the services of an expeditor when establishing franchise business abroad should be made as soon as the decision to roll out it other countries is made. The practice is illegal in America but functional in other countries. This is mainly because of the ease of breaching legal and social systems or the allowances made by their culture (Rugman & Hodgetts, 2003).
A strict code of ethics would ensure that the company’s employees or outsourced expertise act within what is legal and morally right in any given societal setting. A clear list of rules and regulations citing all prohibitions and the allowed practices across countries would be very helpful. Unfortunately, such a list will only reflect what is legal but not what is culturally acceptable or not. For example, giving of gift is not prohibited in many cultures. Giving out money as a gift for something done may not be considered a bride in such a case. However, in some cultures, giving gifts may be considered unethical. In China, presentation of a small, unique business gift is viewed as a respectful gesture and the great value attached to the business relationship.
Some of the ethical concerns that may follow solicitation of expeditors services are bribery, extortion, illegal or unethical accounting practices, falsification of documents , non-compliance with specific areas of labor laws and regulations internal auditing, fraud and decline of shareholder’s wealth protection. Whether to source the services of expeditors or not lies wholly with the core values of the business (Rugman & Hodgetts, 2003).
Becker, K. (2000). Culture and international business. New York: International Business Press.
Bradach, J. L. (1998). Franchise organizations. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business School Press.
Rugman, A. M., & Hodgetts, R. M. (2003).International business (3rd ed.). Harlow, England: Prentice Hall/Financial Times.
Marx, E. (1999). Breaking through culture shock what you need to succeed in international business. London: Nicholas Brealey.
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