INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION AND ITS ROLE IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS Ingrida Sedliaková Abstract In the current global marketplace, is still increasing the emphasis on intercultural communication, which

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INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION AND ITS ROLE IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS Ingrida Sedliaková Abstract In the current global marketplace, is still increasing the emphasis on intercultural communication, which greatly affects the business not just in the national, but also in the international environment. For that, that the manager of 21st century could do the business successfully and trade in different countries of the world, he must confess not just in one, but in several cultural worlds. Without the basic understanding of the motives, that cause, that people in different business cultures think in a different way and how these differences directly affect communication behaviour to others, success is almost impossible. Keywords: intercultural communication, trade negotiations, cultural differences. 1 INTRODUCTION From international business life are known many different events, when because of a cultural ignorance, or better said due to ignorance of intercultural communication several business meetings almost failed, or failed completely. The most famous story is considered to be that one, which is claimed by T. Borec (2008), in which a business contract between an European and an Chinese company almost failed just because of the ignorance of the basic ethical values of Chinese from European trading partner. In the process of preparing executives to operate in foreign countries, firms and companies in many cases put the primarily emphasis on the perfect language training, and just then start to think about the personal skills of individual managers, and hence on the ability of intercultural communication. In the current turbulent time is increasing the need for awareness of the necessity of acquiring cultural awareness for each target country to which the manager travels, or from which he receives his business partners. This means not just the deepen knowledge of the history, politics and culture of the country, but also the knowledge of the local business ethics, rules of polite behavior, clothing, dining, the eating habits, as well as differences in addressing, formulating requests, instructions, criticism, till the differences in thinking, conducting interviews and negotiating strategies. As it is written by J. Průcha (2010), intercultural communication should be construed not only theoretically, but also by it s embedding in real practice, and by the use of many findings, which are illustrating this practice. 1.1 What does the term intercultural communication mean? Intercultural communication in its most basic form refers to an academic field of study and research. It seeks to understand how people from different countries and cultures behave, communicate and perceive the world around them. The findings of such academic researches are then applied to real life situations such as how to create cultural synergy between people from different cultures within a business or how psychologists understand their patients. The definition of intercultural communication must also include strands of the field that contribute to it such as anthropology, cultural studies, psychology and communication. There are many researchers and academics of note within the intercultural field, which all have different definitions of intercultural communication. For example J. Průcha (2010), who says that if we are talking about intercultural communication, we must think about one of its three basic meanings: 1. Intercultural communication as a process of verbal and non-verbal sharing, going in different social situations. 2. Intercultural communication as a scientific theory and research dealing with the real processes of intercultural communication. 3. Intercultural communication as educational and support activities for practice and knowledge based on the scientific theory and research. Or V. Dolinská (2004), who writes that in the process of intercultural communication is created a new cultural structure, that minimizes the uncertainty, and therefore it is necessary to educate people to develop their ability to communicate with members of other cultures, and thus develop their intercultural competence. The theories developed by the researchers and academics can and have been applied to many fields such as business, management, marketing, advertising and website design. As business becomes more and more international, many companies need to know how to structure their companies, how to manage their staff and how to communicate with customers. Intercultural communication gives them an insight into the areas they need to address or understand. 1.2 Nonverbal communication and business negotiations Communicating in a business environment requires more than just effective verbal and written communication. It's likely that the non-verbal communication of the manager cues enter the room before he starts to speak. Everything from gestures, eye contact, posture, appearance and facial expressions offer an indication of moods and thoughts. Because of this, it's for the good manager of the 21st century important to be aware of the non-verbal signals that he sends and receives in business meetings, the most important signals are the following: - Evaluation gestures- assessment is reflected by clenched hand on chin and cheek, while the index finger is facing up. This gesture is considered to be true only in the case when the hand is attached to the face lightly, if the hand supports the face so that the index finger points upward and other fingers are in the front of the chin, the listener has reservations about the speakers or the content of lectures. Thumb substantiating chin is a clear signal of the critical attitude of the listener. - Scraping the chin- if someone rubbed his chin, then crossed his arms and legs and leans against the chair, his answer will probably be negative. If, the speaker notices this before the other person expresses this, he will get more time to re-submit his proposal, its advantages and thwart the rejection. In the case, that someone scraps his chin, leans forward with hands apart, reaches for the present sample, or design, the speaker can expect informed consent. - Sets of avoidance- people who are wearing glasses, same as those who are smoking, are using their glasses, cigarettes, pens and pencils or fingers in their mouth as a gesture of the decision making, as well as the gesture or the neediness of a longer time. Object in their mouths allows them to wait and not to respond immediately. In the case of trade negotiations it s needed also the higher attention to the diversity in the gestures. If the foreign partner sees that the other business partner shows on him with a finger, it can be seen as something not very flattering and vulgar. For example in Thailand is this gesture means raw contempt, which is possible to alleviate so, that we will stroke the victims head, which is in this country regarded as the seat of the soul. In India, is offensive when you are stretching your legs (note-feet are considered to be the unclean parts of the body) to the seated. In Malaysia, it as the unclean part of body considered the left hand, what means that it is impolite to use this hand for eating, or to pet someone with her. Other from many differences between each cultures are for example, that while Arabs consider the laud conversation and the deep look into other person s eyes as a sign of strength and confidence in Japan is this gesture, better said this kind of conversation considered as extremely rude. Americans think that keeping direct eye contact is a sign of openness, honesty and assertiveness. Italians, Arabs and Latin Americans use their hands a great deal to emphasize or support what they are saying. The French shake hands without particular conviction and without even a verbal greeting, which a German may misread as indifference. 1.3 Colors and business negotiations According to many different researches, it s the impression of seriousness and credibility created by a dark blue costume, or suit, while reddish tuned accessories suggest the will to agreement. To ladies are also encouraged colors as muted pink, peach, or pastel shades and colors with a yellow base that evoke friendliness, accessibility and kindness. On the contrary, as inappropriate is considered the dress with shimmering effects, gaudy colors or hues that evoke coolness and distance, as well as checked and striped clothes that evoke a sense of the trellis. In terms of intercultural communication should be into account taken also the diversity of cultures. While in Saudi Arabia raises the yellow color the association of strength and reliability, in Mexico and Taiwan is this color associated with death. Color associated with death are also white (note - in Japan, Hong Kong and India), purple and blue (note - in Brazil), which are in Iran considered as the color of immorality. 1.4 The body language and business negotiations For the right interpretation of body language of people from different countries is important to come out from the basic segmentation of countries on contact and non-contact countries. The members of so-called contact cultures are for example Italians, French, Greeks, South Europeans, Turks, Arabs and Latin Americans. These members are during the communication keeping a smaller distance, they are frequently touching the person with whom they communicate, they are shooting their body to the other once, they are keeping a longer eye contact, as well as they are communicating louder. On the other hand, members of so-called non-contact cultures are for example Germans, Danes, North Europeans, Americans, Japanese and Thais. These members are applying a higher distance in communication, they are touching their partner less, or they do not affect him at all and rarely directed at him, his body and face. The most common misinterpretations of body language arise when there are made negotiations with members of the so-called Eastern cultures. For example attentive listening, respect and interest in these cultures suggest indirect eye contact and no direct view of the partner, as we are used to. Listener there also intended to the speaker with one ear and not with the whole face, because rotation of the body directly to the other person in these cultures means confrontation and reproof. 1.5 The formality and informality in business negotiations Frequent problems arise when the managers with informal behaviors meets with a managers with formal behaviors. While manager with informal ways of behavior comes from an egalitarian business culture, which favors equal status, manager with formal behaviors comes from a hierarchical society where are preferred the position on the corporate ladder and the differences in status. For that reason, there are frequent misunderstandings and problems that can be prevented, or better said avoided in the case when both sides realize, that the different behavior is based on the different business culture and is not meant personally. Formality in business negotiations is reflected in how partners demonstrate respect. The primary example of demonstration of respect is for example the salutation. While in the United States, or in Scandinavian countries it is typical, that soon after the first meeting of the partners they start to use only their first names, in some Asian countries are approaching this way of salutation as a gross discourtesy, lack of respect, even contempt. 1.6 Intercultural specifics of trade negotiations The intercultural specifics of social relations in individual states or groups of states are mainly due to differences in their social, economical, political, cultural, climatic, and religious backgrounds. German business partners- The German way of meeting business partners is for most foreigners considered as mysterious and ambiguous. Germans are known by their knowledge and compliance of ethics discussions, as well as by their rationality, purposefulness, perfect preparation for a business meeting, a clear and understandable argument and exact compliance with the agreement even though it is not confirmed in writing. They are striving for accuracy and punctuality. A very important part of the trade negotiations are also so called business lunches, where business topics are discussed just before and after lunch, but never on them. They are accessing their business partners individually in order to obtain the maximum benefit for the company. French business partners- they are known especially by that, that they are always starting and ending a business meeting with a handshake, and by that, that hugs and multiple kisses are considered as natural speech. Nevertheless the fact that French managers can speak many foreign languages, they prefer if the trade negotiation should be conducted in their native language. In trade negotiations are French managers known as very polite, always sleek, usually very rational and well prepared. They tolerate so-called academic fifteen-minute, but they do not like the verbiage and turning on the topic and are willing to end the negotiation with the unprepared business partner. Arab business partners- they have a tendency to use elaborate and ritualized forms of communication, especially during greetings. Even in markets, loud and boisterous bargaining is accepted and expected and accompanied with gestures and animated facial expressions. Arab women s bodies are not to be seen. As a sign of trust and friendship, Arab men may be seen holding hands. During greetings, men kiss each other on the cheeks. Generally, Arabs have a smaller personal space, they tend to stand very close while interacting, sometimes in order to smell their partner s breath. During negotiations, Arabs will personalize arguments and appeal to emotions. Japanese business partners- prefer traditional Japanese politeness, which is meticulous to the smallest details. These business partners show respect and expect the same from their business partners. They do not use hand shaking, but they prefer bows (15 O angle for the public, 30 O angle for imperial family members and 45 O angle for the Emperor and Empress). Japanese business partners tolerate the 20 to 30 minutes delay in the arrival to the negotiation. The meeting always begun by the exchange of business cards and introduction. The contract has the character of a general orientation with treatment; Japanese do not place an emphasis on its writing. Japanese partners do not like to express right to the point, they consider it as an insult, it is impolite to ask them direct questions and go straight to the point. They do not like if their business partners get them into the situation where they have to say no , for Japanese it means insult, they rather mumbled something like it will be difficult , we need to look for it again , popular options are also maybe and it will be a little inappropriate . Indian business partners- are known by their problems with the organization of their own time, for Indian business partners is typical hour delay for business meetings, but on the other hand, they appreciate the accuracy of their trading partners. They do not use hand shake in welcome, guest are welcome by joining their hands and a deep bow. Prominent guests are also welcome with flower garlands, which should not be putted down before they say goodbye to guests at the hotel. Indians recognize the social status of women more than it is in the Arab world, women are participating social events with their husbands, but they do not introduce them, and if they do it, do not serve them your hand. They still recognize the cult of ranks, it is recommended to put all your titles on the business cards, as well as the cult of age, which means that the family member with older age has the last word; father respectively elder brother might change the decision of younger brother. 2 CONCLUSION Doing business and managing people in a culture other than one s own is a daunting task indeed. This article has discussed how the principles presented throughout the text can be applied to the business world across cultures. An understanding of the cultural, microcultural, environmental, perceptual, sociorelational, verbal, nonverbal and relational contexts of the host culture increases the probability of being an effective and productive manager across cultures. Five diverse cultures, German, French, Arab, Japanese, Indian, are active participants in the global marketplace, each with its own unique way of doing business. The German are forthright and direct, French are polite and well prepared, Arabs are expressive and intuitive, Japanese are subtle and indirect and Indians are rooted in cults. Managers who understand the contexts of these cultures are in a much better position to do business. References 1. BOREC, T Aj v biznis etikete platí- iný kraj, iný mrav. In efocus [online]. 2008, vol. 1. Dostupné na: [cit ] 2. BOREC, T Aj v biznis etikete platí- iný kraj, iný mrav. In efocus [online]. 2008, vol. 2. Dostupné na: [cit ] 3. DOLINSKÁ, V Prieniky kultúr v globálnom priestore. Banská Bystrica : Univerzita Mateja Bela, s. ISBN 4. GORDON, R Umenie rokovať. Bratislava: Eko-konzult, s. 5. GIBBS, P Obchod v Evropském společenství. 1. vyd. Praha: Grada Publishing, s. 6. HENDON, D. W., HENDON, R. A., HERBIG, P Cross- Cultural Business Negotiations. Westport: Praeger Publishers. 158p. 7. KNAPÍK, P Obchodné rokovania: Business negotiations. Bratislava : Familiaris, s. ISBN MORRISON, T., CONAWAY, W., BORDEN, G Kiss, bow, or shake hands: How to do business in sixty countries. Holbrook, MA: Adams Media Corporation p. 9. PEASE, A., PEASE, B Veľká kniha reči tela. Bratislava. Ikar, 2010, 316 s. ISBN PEASE, A., PEASE, B Řeč těla. Praha: Portál, s. ISBN PRŮCHA, J Interkulturní komunikace. 1. vyd. Praha: Grada Publishing, s. ISBN TANNEN, D The Pragmatics of Cross-Cultural Communication. In Applied Linguistics Vol. 5. No. 3. p Contact: Ingrida Sedliaková, Ing. Department of Management, Faculty of economics and management, Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Tr. A. Hlinku 2, Nitra, Slovakia
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