The Challenges of International Collaboration – Us and Them

The Challenges of International Collaboration - Us and Them

Within our very own culture, we’re supplied with a code of behavior that we study on infancy. This code covers basic values and beliefs including attitudes towards different behaviors. There is right and wrong, professional and unprofessional, respectful and disrespectful. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as international etiquette which includes triggered many challenges for leaders in the worldwide marketplace. When someone begins to consider their behavior in an international context they instinctively check out their very own norms being the logical, acceptable means of being.

Sincerity is key to success, no less than for the short term. Europeans, Asians, and Americans meet regularly at business conferences and have the ability to avoid giving offense when you’re their honest, authentic selves. In the early stages of business relationships, any dissonant behavior is normally considered a faux pas and will also be “allowed”, as well as considered eccentric or charming.

However, it gets to be a different story once individuals move into more lengthy negotiations or JV coming into a collaborative partnership. Thus ongoing business relationships can put great stress on the tolerance of parties over time. eg the American habit of sprawling in chairs at business conferences might appear friendly and calm on the British but would position the Germans in a constant state of unease. The Latin temperament, whilst engaging at first for Northern Europeans (especially the Finns as well as the Swedes) has decided to drive them the wall. There is also a limit to the number of glasses of green tea a European can drink in almost any eventually!

Some the situation is much easier to identify, handshaking or bowing, chocolates or flowers for the hostess and some women first are universally known nevertheless the deeper you look into culture greater it gets. To form true international partnerships you ought to get within the skin of the natives, to peel back the membrane with the culture. It is critical that any international business traveler understands the important social norms, core beliefs, and sensitivities and vitally what is strictly taboo.

So what are some with the major etiquette gaffes that might offend and in many cases some from the more minor ones that might cause embarrassment?

Did you already know:

 It is bad manners to point one’s foot in an Arab in conversation or enquire about the fitness of his womenfolk? Sending yellow flowers female in some European countries may mean that she’s been unfaithful to her husband? If you are a lefty and eating in an Arab country you will need to inform the host beforehand as eating is reserved strictly for that right hand as lefty effort is for those associated with an unclean nature? Gifts are big in Asia – summary presents in red paperwhite conversely can be an unlucky color associated with death.

Never make an effort to “out gift” a Japanese or Chinese you will not ever win, extravagance on your part will still only result in an escalating expense on theirs? In Russia, people don’t answer other people’s telephones they only allow them to ring and ring and ring…? In Thailand, a pale face is a manifestation of beauty in the woman so don’t ask her if she is feeling unwell? In Malaysia it’s taboo to suggest with your index finger nevertheless, you may point with your thumb? In Indonesia the top is certainly a sacred part with the body and really should not be touched by another – it is also taboo for your go-to be higher than a more senior person (which can lead to lots of heads bobbing up and down)? In Russia, coats should stop worn indoors and it is bad form to face with your hands within your pockets?

The list proceeds and may become even more complex when status, leadership, and organizations come up since they do when collaborating in international business partnerships. Cross-cultural training is surely an essential part of any executives learning curve to make sure that they could breakthrough their unique cultural black holes.