Section C Cultural Issues

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order to things, because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new.

Machiavelli, Niccolo, Translated by Bull, G., The Prince, Penguin Books 1961.

Business is about money and people. The money aspect of this equation is fairly universal. It is the people that are different. Any project in a country foreign to one's own home country will come up against cultural barriers.

Our first problem is our ethnocentric attitude, namely, our belief in the intrinsic superiority of the nation, culture, or group to which we belong. Unfortunately, our perception of our own behaviour is that it is rational and logical. Consequently, if we wish to succeed in a different culture, we need to change our behaviour in order to adapt our attitude to the differences, since it influences the way we communicate with people.

If we reject the food, fear the religion, ignore the customs, avoid the people, we had better stay home. If you are not prepared to find out about the other person's perceptions, rules, customs, and so on – don't go abroad.

This section lists some key cultural concepts that need to be considered when doing business in a foreign environment.

1 Some Definitions of Culture:

  1. It reflects attitudes ...

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