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International Business

Essay by   •  June 13, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,130 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,630 Views

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My company signed a once in a lifetime contract for work in Rio De Janeiro. The contract is for construction of a skyscraper in Rio De Janeiro and the plan is for this skyscraper to be the largest in the world. Portions of the requirements have already been mapped out. German engineers have been engaged and are responsible for the engineering and technology area, financing will be covered by a group from Dubai, all building materials are being supplied by China, and the labor will be hired locally in Rio but recruited and managed by a group out of the United States. In order to kick off this project I have hosted a meeting in the United States at our corporate headquarters and have invited representatives from all of the various department heads from around the world. It has not been as successful as I had hoped to this point; the different partners have not engaged with each other, they are tending to just chat amongst themselves with no real interaction with the others as I had hoped.

Why is this happening? What can I do to pull them all together? Are there any differences or similarities that I can draw upon to encourage and improve communications?

Additionally I have concerns regarding the communication styles between some of the countries. Not simply the language itself but the point that the United States is considered a low-context country and some of the other countries that our present and involved are from high-context countries, adding another challenge. In addition to these issues, I have not planned for an interpreter to be present for this meeting and have concerns that the presentation will fall short because of this.

To begin with I should not be surprised that I am experiencing the common cultural phenomenon related to international and multicultural mingling, or should we say lack thereof? This is a very common occurrence and understanding why it occurs also tends to make one wonder "is it really a phenomenon?" It is a totally understandable human process. We see it first at the high school dance, where the boys sit, stand and socialize in one area of the room, while the girls do the same thing in another. Not a whole lot of dancing amongst the early teens/freshmen, but you see quite a few couples mixing it up from the older grade levels. When the freshmen do dance it with members of the same sex; this is the most common phenomenon alive. Birds of a feather as my grandmother would say. Humans gravitate towards those that we are comfortable with and that is those that we have the most in common with. This is the same thing we are seeing at my meeting, Germans with the Germans, Chinese with the Chinese and the Indians with the get the gist, they can communicate with each other easily and are comfortable with one another. The lack of communication is easy to explain when you keep the above listed phenomenon in mind. Communication is easiest with those that speak the same or at least similar language. This does not mean that communication with other cultures is not possible, but it does help explain the lack of or hesitation in beginning to communicate with the members from the other countries.

Having some knowledge of these countries cultures can help me pull them together. Highlighting some of the commonalities between the countries could help foster this communication. For examples, pointing out the similar social systems that the Chinese share with the business men from Dubai could



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