How Cultural Differences Affect Global Businesses

Every country in the world has a different culture that shapes consumer behavior. The cultural norms that are acceptable in one culture are not acceptable in other cultures. The entrepreneurs who want to spread their business across borders need to consider the cultural intricacies so that they target the foreign markets in the best suitable way. At present, many cross-cultural teams and multinational companies are working around the world. They share their knowledge, values with each other but they face a problem in dealing with cultural differences. Cultural nuances when considered in targeting the foreign market have resulted in globalization. It takes a lot of time and money to start your business in a foreign land. Cultural intricacies, if not taken into account, can lead to misunderstandings and result in loss. So for global businesses, it is important to overcome such differences and that’s where you need professional localization services.



Communication is very important in expanding your business across borders. Although English is considered the language of business, many cultures in the world want to be communicated in their native language. Even if you go for translation, a great risk is that you will get lost in translation. The official language of every country is different and different dialects are spoken according to their region so it is important to communicate in a manner that conveys your message effectively. For example, if you are communicating with an Indian audience then you need to be more indirect and nuanced in your communication and if you are communicating with Finns then you need to be outspoken and direct. In addition to verbal communication, nonverbal communication is also important in dealing with your global business in different cultures. What might be acceptable in your cultures like eye contact and a handshake could be considered offensive in other cultures. For this, you need to do thorough research in advance to know how to act professionally in different cultures so that none of the non-verbal communication fires back. If you are in doubt in any of your acts, do ask. Dealing with cultural intricacies is a big challenge so you need to handle this challenge with openness and sensitivity. In this way, you will be able to communicate your business message effectively to the target audience.

Workplace Etiquettes

Globalization has led businesses to expand in different countries. If you are a multinational company and have opened subsidiaries in other countries then it is necessary to understand the workplace etiquettes. For example, how you address your colleagues and business partners from around the world is different in every culture. In some cultures, people call each other by surnames, and in other cultures, people address each other by their first name. It not only depends upon the country’s culture but it also involves the culture of organizations. Asian countries like Singapore, China, and South Korea use Mr and Ms before the surname while Canadians and Americans used first names.

Punctuality is also observed differently in every culture. When you need to deal with business partners and colleagues from Russia, Japan, South Korea, and the United States, you need to be more punctual and expected to come on time. Contrary to this, in Russia, you are expected to come slightly late. In Brazil, you can be late for several minutes or you can follow English time to reach on time.

Working attitude is also greatly influenced by culture. It includes rules and regulations, workplace confrontation, and resumed working hours. In some cultures, working for long hours is considered a sign of achievement and commitment while in other cultures, it shows a lack of efficiency.

Different Negotiation Styles

Negotiations are very important in dealing with global business. Culture shapes human behavior and the way they think and communicate. It is pivotal for businesses to understand the cultural nuances to negotiate business deals and make the final decisions with global business partners. In Asian cultures, negotiations are an integral part of business deals and they help in building long term business relationships. Spanish speakers view negotiation as a way of finalizing their contract. Spanish people consider negotiation as a win-lose process whereas the Japanese regard negotiation as a win-win process.  

The way of communication needs attention to detail while negotiating with business partners. Americans are very direct in their communication so they want to know immediately whether their contract is approved or not. In contrast to Americans, the Japanese tend to be indirect. You need to be very careful in interpreting them so that you can know the approval or rejection of your proposal. Some cultures tend to be very emotional such as Latin America whereas some cultures are good at hiding their emotions like Asia.

Every culture also handles the contracts differently. Americans give attention to details and want everything to be mentioned in the contract. In contrast to Americans, the Chinese don’t want any details to be mentioned in the contract because it will lead to developing the relationship with the business partners.

Organizational Hierarchy

The worker’s attitudes towards organizational hierarchy and management roles also vary because of cultural nuances. Whether you can ask questions in meetings or stand by or against the decision is shaped by cultural norms. The attitudes of workers towards the chain of command are a result of the country’s societal norms and their sense of equality. The organizational hierarchy helps in giving the right roles and responsibilities to deserving people. This means that people who enjoy a high position in the hierarchy are more proficient in their work and deserve a certain level of formality and respect from the junior level. In Japan, organizational hierarchy is given importance. People respect seniors at their workplace. However, in Scandinavian countries such as Norway, societal equality is practiced and they follow the flat organizational hierarchy. You need to be very careful in dealing with the diverse attitudes of people in global organizations so that you can work professionally and take your business or organization to the next level.

How Chinese Translation Services Can Help?

There are different languages spoken in different cultures. Understanding languages helps in understanding the cultural intricacies and it can assist in making your mark in global markets. If you aspire to tap into multiple foreign markets, Chinese Translation Services can help! We are offering localization solutions in a wide range of languages at affordable rates. Get in touch for a free quote!

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Antonia January 21, 2021 0 Comments