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GLOBAL BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT ASSIGNMENT

-KARAN BERI (4th semester)


Q1. Advantages of multi-cultural workforce? Ans. Todays workplace is increasingly made up of people who differ in language, race,
gender, age, culture, family structure, religion, and educational background. To communicate successfully with people around the world and within your organization, you must be sensitive to cultural differences. The concept of Multicultural Workforce is gaining currency in the US, as a large number of US business conglomerates is recruiting people of different nations for operating their worldwide business smoothly. In reality, multicultural workforce is associated with a number of advantages that have overshadowed some of its trivial disadvantages like cultural difference, personality conflict and communication problem. Some of the unique benefits of multicultural workforce are specified below: It gives a competitive edge. It inspires high level of creativity and promotes innovation in the workplace. Synchronization in workplace and high turnout. For example: Google has successfully incorporated the concept of multiculturalism in its work culture that has enabled it to promote innovation and to emulate its competitors in different fields. Half of the total Googles employees at its Mountain View headquarter in the US are from overseas. Presently almost 2000 employees are working on temporary visas in Google out of a total number of 20000 employees and a large section of them have not born in the US. Googles Mountain View office can be termed as a perfect showcase of international workforce and the rooms are named after some foreign cities to celebrate its multicultural workforce. Advantages of Multi-cultural Workplace An organizations success and competitiveness depends upon its ability to embrace diversity and realize the benefits. When organizations actively assess their handling of workplace diversity issues, develop and implement diversity plans, multiple benefits are reported such as: 1. More effective execution Companies that encourage diversity in the workplace inspire all of their employees to perform to their highest ability. Company-wide strategies can then be executed; resulting in higher productivity, profit, and return on investment. 2. Broader service range A diverse collection of skills and experiences (e.g. languages, cultural understanding) allows a company to provide service to customers on a global basis. 3. Increased adaptability

Organizations employing a diverse workforce can supply a greater variety of solutions to problems in service, sourcing, and allocation of resources. Employees from diverse backgrounds bring individual talents and experiences in suggesting ideas that are flexible in adapting to fluctuating markets and customer demands.

Q2. The challenges of intercultural communication? Ans. Two trends contributing to the rapidly increasing importance of intercultural
communication in the workplace are market globalization and the multicultural workforce. Culture affects both the substance and style of communication. Culture influences how people express themselves, to whom they talk, and how. For example, while some people may feel comfortable talking openly about their feelings with anyone, others will only talk openly and honestly with very close friends, while others may not talk that way at all. Such differences can cause people from different cultures to misinterpret both what is said and what is left unsaid, leading to misunderstandings. Poor Listening Skills o Successful communication requires that the parties listen actively and carefully--asking questions and confirming interpretations to make sure they understand what the other person is meaning. People seldom work this hard at listening, however. Often in conflictual situations, they hardly listen at all. Rather, while their opponent is talking, they are busy planning their own response. This frequently leads to misunderstandings. Misinterpreted Motives o Motives can be misinterpreted as easily as statements can be misunderstood. When parties are in conflict, there is a tendency to assume the opponent's motives are malign, even when they are not. Inaccurate and Overly Hostile Stereotypes o Often, communication difficulties arise because people think they know all they need to know about their opponents and that further communication is unnecessary. Yet images of opponents tend to be overly hostile and exaggerated. Opponents are seen to be more extreme and outrageous than they really are. Lack of Communication Channels/Avoided Communication o Often disputants do not have reliable methods for communicating with opposing parties. This may be because they do not want to communicate, or it may be because they are afraid to contact their opponents or have no way to do so. Sometimes the parties will break-off communication as a form of protest after a particularly disagreeable incident. However, the lack of communication can significantly increase the risk of future incidents. Language Differences o When conflicts involve people who speak different languages (or even different dialects), it is very easy for misunderstandings to arise. Even when skilled translators are used, it is difficult for translators to transmit complex feelings and emotions as clearly as they are originally spoken. Poor Listening Skills o Successful communication requires that the parties listen actively and carefully--asking questions and confirming interpretations to make sure they

understand what the other person is meaning. People seldom work this hard at listening, however. Often in conflictual situations, they hardly listen at all. Rather, while their opponent is talking, they are busy planning their own response. This frequently leads to misunderstandings. Secrecy and Deception o Sometimes information which is critical to the accurate understanding of a situation is not available to all parties. This frequently occurs in business conflicts, when companies try to keep details about products and processes secret. It also occurs in international conflicts when governments keep secrets for "security" reasons. This can happen in interpersonal conflicts as well when people simply choose to keep particular facts to themselves. o Poor communication also can arise when a party attempts to strengthen its position by deliberately providing opponents and other parties with misleading or inaccurate information. Inflammatory Media o Negative and inflammatory publicity is a problem in conflicts--before, during, and after negotiations. Before negotiations, the media can intensify a controversy, making it harder to get people to work together, or even talk. In the early stages of negotiation, parties often advance tentative ideas which could easily backfire if publicized. The resulting outcry and complaints could easily undermine an otherwise promising negotiation effort. Even after negotiated solutions have been developed, negative publicity can rekindle conflicts, making implementation of agreements more difficult. Inadequate Information Gathering/Time Constraints o Gathering the information needed to sensibly deal with conflict situations is time-consuming and expensive. In some cases, misunderstandings will arise because of the failure of the parties to invest the time and resources required to obtain important information. Sometimes adequate time is simply not available. When direct communication is cut off, it is easy to rely on unreliable third party sources--rumor and media stories especially. These are notoriously error-prone, and can lead to serious misunderstandings. Crisis Communication o In crisis situations, normal communication channels are likely to be much less effective. They often operate too slowly to keep up with the rapid pace of events, or they may have been cut off entirely. They may also be unable to resist the increased hostility and distrust which crises are likely to create. New, Poorly Informed Participants o In protracted conflicts, the people involved continually change. Often those playing leadership roles give up their positions and other individuals take their place. These new leaders frequently have a very limited understanding of the conflict's history and the current situation. This lack of information can cause these people to take actions which they would not have taken, had they been better informed.

Q3. Understanding the concept of culture? Ans. Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. However, the word
"culture" is most commonly used in three basic senses:

Excellence of taste in the fine arts and humanities, also known as high culture. An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization, or group

In 1873, Edward Tylor, sometimes called the "father of anthropology" introduced the concept of culture as an explanation of the differences among human societies. In the twentieth century, "culture" emerged as a concept central to anthropology, encompassing all human phenomena that are not purely results of human genetics. Specifically, the term "culture" in American anthropology had two meanings: (1) the evolved human capacity to classify and represent experiences with symbols, and to act imaginatively and creatively; and (2) the distinct ways that people living in different parts of the world classified and represented their experiences, and acted creatively. There are various aspects to what may be referred to as culture, the most commonly understood being national or ethnographic culture, the culture of the country or ethnic group to which each of the parties to a dispute or transaction belong and/or in which their business or project is located. Most fields of business or industry have their own particular culture, and there is often a characteristic corporate culture which may differ from company to company. There is, of course, the religious culture attendant to each belief, which normally will differ at least in part from sect to sect or community to community. And let us not forget differences in behavior between genders, or gender persuasions, which may also be characterized as a form or culture. There may be different cultural aspects of life found in different geographic areas or ethnic groups residing within a single nation. Urban dwellers very often behave differently from, and have different expectations than, inhabitants of rural or agricultural communities. In each of these aspects the differences from one such culture to another may affect their manner of negotiation, style of attire, diet and cuisine, degree of formality and conduct in interpersonal relations, manner of communication, corporate responsibilities and powers, respect for law and legal systems applied, role of and respect for government and its officialdom, attitude towards corruption, towards contractual obligations, borrowing, lending and other financial matters, importance of family, ways of building relationships of trust, view of conflicts of interest, values, concept of time, approach to truth, and many other matters. Every time we enter a country or other environment different from our own, if we have any sensitivity at all we immediately begin to notice some of the characteristic differences in behavior of the inhabitants of such new environment. Normally the first we notice are those that hit our senses: sounds (language, accent, intensity, music), sights (style,

formality and color of attire and decor, architecture, and natural attributes), or smells (food, tobacco, hygiene, burning incense or oils). Ethnic or cultural faux pas may be excusable for a tourist, shopper or casual acquaintance, but they can be extremely detrimental, even fatal, to ones purpose for a prospective business partner and worse for those of us who are seeking to resolve a dispute in one form or another.

Q4. Overcoming ethnocentrism and stereotyping? Ans. Ethnocentrism is making value judgments about another culture from perspectives of
one's own cultural system. The ethnocentric individual will judge other groups relative to his or her own particular ethnic group or culture, especially with concern to language, behavior, customs, and religion. These ethnic distinctions and subdivisions serve to define each ethnicity's unique cultural identity. A stereotype is a popular belief about specific types of individuals. Stereotypes are standardized and simplified conceptions of groups based on some prior assumptions. A bias is a tendency, most of these are good like knowing to eat food instead of paper clips, but sometimes stereotyping can turn into discrimination if we misinterpret a bias and act upon it in a negative manner. Overcoming Ethnocentrism and Stereotyping The first way to communicate with people from different cultures is to recognize the tendency to judge people according to our own cultures standards i.e. to overcome ethnocentrism. An even more extreme reaction is xenophobia, a fear of strangers and foreigners. To show respect for people in other cultures, we should adopt the attitude of cultural pluralism accepting other cultures on their own terms. Three habits will help you avoid ethnocentrism and stereotyping: 1. Avoid assuming that people from other cultures will act the same way you do, hold the same beliefs and values, and use language as you do. 2. Avoid judging people from other cultures as wrong when they act differently. 3. Acknowledge distinctions between your culture and other cultures.

Q5. Recognizing cultural variations? Ans. Cultural diversity is the quality of diverse or different cultures, as opposed to
monoculture, as in the global monoculture, or a homogenization of cultures, akin to cultural decay. For example, before Hawaii was conquered by Europeans, the culturally diverse Hawaiian culture existed in the world, and contributed to the world's cultural diversity. Now Hawaii has been westernized; the vast majority of its culture has been replaced with Western or American culture. The phrase cultural diversity can also refer to having different cultures respect each other's differences. The culturally destructive action of globalization is often said to have a negative effect on the world's cultural diversity. Recognizing Cultural Variations

The greater the difference between cultures, the greater the chance of misunderstanding. Learn to recognize and accommodate eight main types of cultural differences: contextual, legal and ethical, social, nonverbal, age, gender, religious, and ability. A. Contextual Cultural Variations Cultural context refers to the pattern of physical cues, environmental stimuli, and implicit understanding that convey meaning between two members of the same culture. But outside the culture, cultural context can result in misunderstanding. In high-context cultures the nonverbal actions and environmental setting are more important. The burden of communication is on the speaker rather than the listeners, and both speaker and listener are conditioned to respond to syntactical patterns such as chronological order and cause-effect relationships to infer meaning. In business these differences in context affect the way people make decisions, solve problems, and negotiate. B. Legal and Ethical Variations Legal and ethical issues can arise from cultural context. In low-context cultures the written word is tantamount to a binding contract, but in high-context cultures, a personal pledge is regarded as a point of honor and is more important than a legal contract. The cultural foundations of laws can result in totally different ways of interpretation. Under English common law, on which the British and American legal systems are based, a person is innocent until proven guilty. But in Mexico and Turkey, whose legal systems are based on the Napoleonic code, the reverse is true. Similarly, bribery is considered not only unethical but even illegal in the U.S., but in Kenya, China, Russia, Mexico, and the Middle East, it is an accepted method of making sure that things are done right. The best way to avoid ethical conflicts in intercultural communication is to follow four basic principles: Actively seek mutual ground be flexible and willing to compromise. Send and receive messages without judgment recognize and accept cultural differences. Send messages that are honest see things as they are, and accept the differences. Show respect for cultural differences acknowledge the other persons needs and preserve his or her dignity.

C. Social Variations Social etiquette is an important consideration in recognizing and respecting cultural differences. Informal rules, which are learned through observation and inference, are the basis of how one is supposed to behave, but sometimes they are difficult to explain. This is where cultural sensitivity becomes an important consideration. Social rules may vary among cultures in the following areas: Attitudes toward work and success In the U.S. the puritan work ethic dominates, and success is often measured by material comfort. Some countries consider leisure more important and work fewer hours. Roles and status In the U.S. and Western Europe, women have come to be regarded as mens equals in the business and professional worlds. How people show respect for rank varies among cultures. In America most professional are addressed by the

courtesy titles Mr. or Ms. In China titles are more reflective of a persons actual function Chairman or Manager, for example. Use of manners Social customs are often regulated by manners, and what is considered good manners in one culture is bad manners in another. Making small talk about the weekend is common in the U.S., but asking what someone did on the weekend would be regarded as intrusive in cultures in which business and private lives are kept separate. Concepts of time Executives from low-context cultures see time as limited, and consequently they focus on specific tasks. Executives from high-context cultures see the business day as more flexible and focus more on forming interpersonal relationships than on meeting deadlines. E. Age Variations Age is treated differently in different cultures. Whereas in America young employees can openly disagree with older ones, in many Asian cultures this disagreement would not happen publicly. F. Gender Variations Gender perceptions also vary among cultures. Although women are considered the equal of men in America, in tradition-oriented cultures women have fewer opportunities. Whatever the culture, men and women tend to have slightly different communication styles.

REFERENCES:
1. http://www.multiculturaladvantage.com/recruit/diversity/Diversity-in-theWorkplace-Benefits-Challenges-Solutions.asp 2. http://www.webguru-india.com/blog/benefits-of-multicultural-workforcegoogle-shows-the-way-in-us/ 3. http://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-disadvantages-multiculturalworkforce-18903.html 4. http://www.enotes.com/multicultural-work-force-reference/multiculturalwork-force 5. http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/encyclopedia/MorOff/Multicultural-Workforce.html 6. http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/cultural-services/articles/interculturalcommunication.html 7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture 8. http://www.arbitralwomen.org/files/publication/0007092540665.pdf 9. http://muellerr.people.cofc.edu/page3.html 10.http://muellerr.people.cofc.edu/page3.html 11.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_diversity

12.http://www.ask.com/questions-about/Ways-to-Overcome-Ethnocentrism 13.http://www.ehow.com/how_2066668_overcome-stereotype.html

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