Law of the Land Knowing your host country before doing business

Essay by msbonnielaneUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, August 2004

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Although 20th century advances in transportation and communications promise a smaller, more accessible world, we each perceive that world through our personal experiences and cultural development. Language is one of the most obvious and one of the most complicated defining features of a culture. Each of us belongs to many groups that function in ways similar to larger cultures. Not all cross-cultural experiences take place in other countries or between people who speak foreign languages or come from different racial backgrounds. Attending worship services, for example, with a friend who holds different religious beliefs is a cross-cultural experience. Still, cross-cultural contact is a fact of our local, national, and global lives. It is more important than ever that each of us develop a perspective that celebrates diversity and tolerance. With that, important factors must be taken into consideration when conducting business: different business protocols that are expected, greeting behaviors between different cultures, and religion, morals and the superstitions of that culture.

It is best to seek guidance and advice at the outset of a business meeting rather than when it's too late or difficult to make appropriate reparations.

In the United States, we are used to the type of business practices that portray the "take charge" attitude. In fact, you are looked upon more highly when that initiative is presented. Typical meetings usually begin with the short, informal hellos and handshakes. When we ask, "How are you doing?" we really don't care. In America, greetings are just a formality. Being aware of what is considered good or offensive manners is relevant prior to meeting potential business colleagues from different countries.

In Moroccan Arabic the standard basic greeting is "Salam oo-alley koom." It translates literally to "Peace be unto you." The appropriate response is "Oo-alley koom salam," meaning "And unto...