Tuesday, June 4, 2013

INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES

Communication is the lifeline of all organization as it is needed for the various roles in an organization such as the exchange of information between the various members of the organization, reaching agreements, conducting sales, executing and making decisions and also in making plans and various proposals. There are two types of communication which are widely recognized in the organisation for instance; external and internal communication. The former refers to communication with other firms outside the business. Negotiation is a type of communication that is used within firms to reach trade agreements. The firm seeks to create a win-win situation for all the firms that they are negotiating with as that has always been the main object of all negotiation undertakings (Chaney & Martin, 2003). The middleman recommended the importance of showing etiquette and understanding the social customs of the Asian negotiation. The essay will discuss the intercultural communication strategies of the firm. There are a variety of differences between the communication culture of the US Company and the Asian companies. The first difference is in their time orientations with US being monochromic while the Asian countries are polychromic. Polychromic time orientation involve concurrent activities and people while the monochromic view activities in a linear sequence where after one activity has been completed is when another can be stated. The American negotiators must therefore consider such issue as overlap of the talks, flexibility, lateness, high flow of information, flexibility of the start and end times of the negotiations. They must be comfortable with them as these are how the Asian cultures view time (LeBaron, n.d.). The Asian companies are oriented towards the activities that took place in the past and this must be the orientation that is taken by the negotiator. They should not take the American orientation of the present and the near future. Secondly there are also differences in the space orientations of the eastern cultures (Japan, china and South Korea) and that exhibited in the US. The personal space must be adhered to at all times; no holding hands in Japan for men, seating arrangement during negotiations with Chinese should be side by side as opposed to face to face commonly used in America. Thirdly there are also issues of nonverbal communication especially during the negotiations. Clear understanding must be achieved so that there can be no accusations or unease during the negotiation process. Japanese use a lot of silence while American has moderate silence (LeBaron, n.d.). This must be taken into consideration. There are also the issues of the power distance, masculinity index, individuality index, uncertainty avoidance index which were all proposed by Hofstede. `There are differences in the view of contract. The Chinese believe that there should be benefit for all the parties thus a win-win attitude. The Chinese believe that they cannot predict the future thus the contract is the beginning of the relationship, when conditions change in the future they would expect terms of the contract to change. There is thus no punishment when they violate the terms of the contract. Only now and the past are important for the Chinese. The Chinese contracts are flexible, compromise and mutual benefit. Future benefits cannot be used in contracts with the Chinese thus the benefits of the contracts must be short term (Katz, 2009). The situation in South Korea is similar to that of China as the contacts are viewed as rough estimates of the working subject to further negotiation when conditions change. This is a clear departure from the American notion of the contracts which is meant to be permanent. The written contract is not the real deal in most cases as the oral agreement carries more weight than the written contracts. In Japan, contracts are agreements underlying the various agreements that have been arrived at and the actions which result. Due to the high uncertainty avoidance, the contracts must be very detailed although they don’t have to b signed. Japanese firms never sue when contracts are not honored and in most cases, they use their mutual relationship to settle the dispute or use arbitrators if the former cannot work. Finally, we have to consider contract situation in America as they are the sole document for the agreement, with provisions for all eventualities. Contracts are very detailed just s the Japanese contracts. The legal system is used to enforce the contracts. Although companies may sue each other for breach of contract they in most cases continue in their business relationships. From the discussion, it can be established that taking Chinese firm to the court for breach of contract will severely damage the relationship (Katz, 2009). The firm must therefore assess the local realities for all the countries before they embark on the contract. The American firm must be flexible and work to develop relationship with the other counterparts in the Asian countries. Due to the almost similar culture of the people in the eastern countries for instance their view regarding space, time representation as well as the Hofstede’s cultural dimensions it can be wrongly concluded that the same negotiation styles will be used. However, there are differences which are peculiar to the different countries and thus a need to deal with each. The negotiators who are dealing with the Japanese must stress a more interpersonal style where they should show their dedication to their jobs (LeBaron, n.d.). Also, they should work to win the confidence of their co-negotiators, who are Japanese, have a good listening ability coupled with a broad perspective of the issues being discussed. In China, the negotiation must start interestingly then the negotiator tries to win the confidence and the respect of the co-negotiators. The negotiators should be able to clearly articulate the benefits of the deal to the Chinese; not in the future, but now. The method that is pursued in China will be similar to that which is used in South Korea as they share a great deal of values regarding negotiations (Katz, 2009). The South Korean negotiation begins with the development of a trusting personal relationship. Consensus among them is built as a group. There should be no use of adversarial negotiation skills as they may agree with you just to keep the harmony. Win-win model is important to firm as they will always want to do business with the firm. The negotiation should begin with a clear articulation of the goals, the trades, alternatives, the outcomes that are expected, the consequences, relationships and power. The negotiators must state their win conditions. If a conflict is noted in the different win conditions, the conflicts and the win conditions that brought them about are summarized. Option schemas are then prepared by the negotiators to deal with the conflicts (LeBaron, n.d.). This is done until a mutually agreeable condition is achieved. This will involve tradeoffs and delays thus there must be flexibility in the time. There are a variety of trade agreements and they affect the negotiations differently. There are restrictions in China for instance those regarding exports which have led to increase in the factors of production in the countries where the exports are destined for instance the US. This will lead to a significant amount of time being used in the negotiation as the cost dimension must also be brought into the discussions. However, this has been lessened by the China’s entry in the WTO. There would also be an increase in the rights of the American firms for instance through the free trade agreements thus the negotiators can always ask for more (Sino Mania, 2012). The free trade agreements in Japan have also increased the outcome of the negotiations (Ahearn, 2005). References Ahearn, R. (2005), Japan’s Free Trade Agreement Program, [online] http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/assets/crs/RL33044.pdf Retrieved 27/01/2012 Chaney, L. H. & Martin, J. S (2003), Intercultural Business Communication, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall Katz, L. (2009), Global Contract Practices, [online] http://leadershipcrossroads.com/mat/Global%20Contract%20Practices.pdf Retrieved 27/01/2012 LeBaron, M. (n.d.), Culture-Based Negotiation Styles, [online] http://www.gevim.co.il/image/users/89301/ftp/my_files/CultureBased%20Negotiation%20Styles.pdf Retrieved 27/01/2012 Sino Mania (2012), Details of the USA - China - WTO Trade Deal [online] http://www.sinomania.com/CHINANEWS/china-wto.html Retrieved 27/01/2012