Cross-Cultural Understanding Important in Global Business


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Cross-Cultural Understanding Important in Global Business

In a floundering global economy, cross-cultural understanding will be a key factor in developing strong international business relationships, says American Translators Association President Jiri Stejskal. For example, with China now being America's second largest trading partner, the U.S. business community would do well to gain a basic understanding of Chinese culture. Stejskal says that when dealing with Chinese colleagues, business relationships need to be more personal than in the U.S. Gifts and visits from colleagues play an important role in doing business together. Businesses working in China also need to know that there is no real equivalent to "yes" in the Chinese language. A Chinese colleague might use the term to simply acknowledge what has been said, rather than to express agreement. In the Chinese culture, people also try to avoid saying "no." For example, when a Chinese colleague says he does not think something will be possible, he often means that it is impossible. Stejskal notes that "mianxi" or "face" refers to the importance of respect in Chinese business relations. Public criticism of a colleague, even in jest, is considered an attack on the person's character and a loss of face. The term "keqi" refers to the need to show humility and modesty. Boasting about personal accomplishments would be unacceptable in a business relationship with a Chinese colleague. Americans should not expect to know everything about Chinese culture during a first business meeting, Stejskal comments, but being respectful, polite, and humble will help establish the groundwork for a long-lasting business relationship with Chinese colleagues.

From "Word Associations"
Adweek (01/14/09) Stejskal, Jiri

Source: ATA Newsbriefs - January 2009
Ο λόγος είναι μεγάλη ανάγκη της ψυχής. (Γιώργος Ιωάννου)


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