Bridging the Culture Gap: A Practical Guide to International Business Communication

Overview

As globalization continues to gather momentum, the contact between business people from other countries is becoming more and more frequent. The more national boundaries a company crosses, the greater the scope for misunderstanding and conflict. To succeed internationally, it is essential to be able to break the barriers of culture, language and set patterns of thinking.

The second edition of Bridging the Culture Gap is a distillation of many years' work and is based on the ...

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Bridging the Culture Gap: A Practical Guide to International Business Communication

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Overview

As globalization continues to gather momentum, the contact between business people from other countries is becoming more and more frequent. The more national boundaries a company crosses, the greater the scope for misunderstanding and conflict. To succeed internationally, it is essential to be able to break the barriers of culture, language and set patterns of thinking.

The second edition of Bridging the Culture Gap is a distillation of many years' work and is based on the real-life business situations of the authors' international clients. Readers will learn how to interpret a company's "party line," communicate with style, get their message across, be sensitive to other cultures, and ultimately win the deal. This updated edition also includes a new chapter on making oneself understood in "offshore" English.

Packed with cases, cultural awareness scales, communication tests and practical tips, this lively guide will help anyone of any nationality become a better communicator. Whether one's task is to give a presentation to a cross-cultural group or to negotiate with an overseas client, Bridging the Culture Gap will ensure that the reader has the cultural awareness to communicate the intended message.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Highly recommended." — Choice

"One of the 30 best business books of 2005." — Soundview Executive Book Summaries

"[I]nformal, easy-to-read... engaging... a worthwhile read for any procurement and supply chain professional needing to communicate and negotiate internationally." — Supplymanagement.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780749452742
  • Publisher: Kogan Page, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 8/1/2008
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Penny Cart� has been the Research and Development Director at Canning, an international communications training agency, since 1988. She runs tailored courses for multinational clients.

Chris Fox joined Canning in 1999, specializing in running courses for managers in the pharmaceutical, financial and aerospace sectors. He has published papers and articles on political and cultural theory.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

1 Interpreting the party line

The harder the global organization tries to present a united front, the greater the scope for conflict and misunderstanding. How can you bridge the gap between HQ and subsidiary?

Mission statements; Corporate initiatives; Working rhythms; Communication styles

2 Knowing your place

On home ground, an employee usually knows where others fit into the hierarchy, and how they expect to be treated. Abroad, however, it’s easy to upset people without realizing it. How can you make sure you’re speaking to the right person in the right way?

Handling the hierarchy; Taking responsibility; Monitoring performance; Getting people to play ball

3 Knowing the limits

In their own culture, most people will have a pretty good idea of what they should or shouldn’t do. But, how well do your notions of right and wrong travel?

Rules, regulations and the laws of the land; Gifts, favours and bribes; Nepotism; Discretion versus dishonesty

4 Knowing the form

Good manners are valued by every culture. But how international are the social behaviours you learnt at your mother’s knee?

 Greeting people; Making small talk; Playing the conversation game; Choosing what to say and how to say it; Trying to be funny; Avoiding hidden dangers

5 Making presentations

Companies today spend millions on training their managers to make more effective presentations. But will the techniques you learnt at home be equally effective when you go abroad?

 Choosing the right style; Finding a concrete context; Speaking with impact

6 Making deals

The success of any deal depends as much on the strength of the relationship as on the clauses in the contract. But negotiating styles vary considerably from culture to culture. What adjustments do you need to make when you’re negotiating in the international arena?

 Picking the right people; Thinking about pace and place; Playing the game to win

7 Making yourself understood in English

Whatever your nationality or native tongue, you will probably use English to communicate with your international counterparts. But their version of English will be different from yours. How can you learn to speak Offshore English which is the true lingua franca of international commerce?

 Language; Communication techniques; Summary

8 Knowing yourself

Knowing yourself is the first step to knowing others. Where do you fall on the cultural preference scales? And how should you adapt your approach when you meet someone who is at the opposite end of the scale from you?

Relationships; Communication; Time; Truth; The meaning of life; Presentation style; A final word

Appendix: False friends

A list of words whose meanings may be misunderstood

References

Further reading

Index

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