From Barriers to Bridges Continuing on the road to conducting business globally

Essay by msbonnielaneUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, August 2004

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Diversity is one of the most important factors in life today. From schools and daycares to businesses and corporations, we live and work with others from different backgrounds. Now studies on the economic changes in the U.S. show that there is are positive changes toward a gender-balanced workforce. Also, "increased globalization of business requires employees from different cultures to work together in cross-national teams." (Power & Shaw) Many encounter and learn from others whose backgrounds and characteristics that are different from their own.

There are many unique challenges and opportunities that come with dealing with multiple cultures and along with them, many advantages. Recognizing differences in values across cultures and their impact the corporate environment is one such advantage.

First of all, many do not realize that each country has its own laws and rules that govern how and what type of business they conduct abroad. "Doing business in a foreign country subjects you to the jurisdiction of that country."

(Astrita) Both Japan and European companies are rapidly expanding multi-national presence. In 1999 global and multi-domestic companies accounted for about 25% of total global output. (Power & Shaw)

Communicating across cultures can be as difficult as rewarding. (Newcomb) You must be able to not only effectively negotiate and converse but also be willing to listen. (Newcomb) Knowing how to respond to questions or statements is also just as important. For example, in the Chinese community if asked to do something you should not say, "I can't" or "I won't". Instead you say, "It may be difficult". It is the fact that you have considered it and would look into it that is very important as opposed to just saying "No". Knowing this prior to a potential business negotiation is imperative in order not to offend them.

When dealing with different...