The ignorance or confusion

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Blunders are the serious mistakes caused by ignorance or confusion. "Culture is the integrated sum total of learned behavioural traits that are shared by members of a society". (Terpstra, 1994). Cultural sensitivity is defined as, being sensitive to the client's cultural background. This essay portrays the Blunders in International Business due to the lack of cultural sensitivity. The culture impacts family, gender, peer group, religion and political belief. As managers play a major role in any company, they need to be aware of their own attitudes on how they impact on the service delivered. Congruency of the attitudes and understanding any specific cultural needs of the client is said to be culture sensitively good. Further, this essay illustrates the effect of culture on managers and the necessary remedies that are to be opted to avoid these blunders. The organizational example in the latter part of the essay illustrates the fact that it is due to lack of cultural sensitivity the blunders are taking place and the culture on managers with reference to communication and decision-making. Latter on this essay ends up with a conclusion.

Communication affect of culture on manager's:

The only unique constraint in International Business is change (David A.Ricks,1999). Foreign environment has been especially difficult for some to analyze. Culture has a great impact on the role of a manager, for suppose many mistakes have been made because the managers have failed to remember that the consumers differ from country to country. Buyers, influenced by local economies constraints and by local attitudes, values and tastes differ in what they buy, why they buy, when they buy, how they buy and where they buy. Those who forgot these issues have committed a lot of blunders in the International Business. Cultural differences are the most troublesome variables encountered in most multi- national companies. For example, McDonald's which is internationally famous and in fact in France it faced a cultural difference that led to years of litigation. But, McDonalds' was very good at selecting a French partner whose characteristics are good to ensure an increase in sales.

Affect of communication with reference to managers leads to blunders in international business. Out of all, culture and communication has been the most critical and certainly leading to numerous blunders as stated by (David A. Ricks,1999). Managers when working in a different country need to be very careful in their verbal accent or else serious blunders pop up.

Good communication linkage must be established between a company and its customers, its suppliers, its employees and its host government. Technology offers to commit new blunders due to lack in understanding what's technology is? For example, usage of internet in the daily world. More people are using internet but not without challenges. Many text books provide more material which interfaces with the books available on the internet. Instead the material can be updated which could provide valuable information for the learning experience. Professor Michael Moffett and Arthur Stonehill had a problem with their textbook "International financial management,1998 edition", when the readers where given an internet address for their learning progress. The problem was that the address given was slightly incorrect and it turned out to provide X-rated material. Companies must be very effective in communicating with the potential buyers. Messages can be translated incorrectly because of reasons like inappropriate media use, regulations overlooked and the economic & taste differences(Terry W.Loel,2000).

Communication or lack of it is the leading cause of workplace dissatisfaction and that the problem encompasses between the employ and the boss, between senior management and management staff(Suzanne L. Rey, 2006). She cites the frequent lack of management experience as a primary reason why communication is such a problem in the workplace. Every day thousands of employs receive promotions into management positions and the majority have no experience in managing employees. She says there's no surprise even if the managers don't know how to effectively communicate to their staff.

Three main reasons why workplace loyalty continues to decline : (Suzanne L. Rey, 2006).

  1. Lack of communication
  2. Ineffective hiring strategies
  3. Unethical business practices.

Organizational example in regards to system failure can be illustrated in the Pentagon's National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). It is the inadequate testing the delivery system of Titan IV rocket that has lead to losing Two Titan rockets, meaning that expensive military equipment necessary to the U.S. Governments defence program were unable to be deployed. The head of the N.R.O has attributed this to a "misplaced decimal point" in software, which controlled the rocket (Ben Meadowcroft).

Communication has major part in all fields, even sophisticated professors of International Business have been known to make mistakes. For example, Indiana University hosted an important International Business Conference in 2002. Dr. John Daniels, the president of the Academic International Business was one of the distinguished speakers. When Dr.Daniels was about to start his presentation he had a problem. Sitting in the audience was a person whom Dr. Daniel identity circulated in the newspaper as dead. Body language is yet another fact in communication, people of different cultures uniquely utilize body movements as methods of communication. The meaning of motions and signs in one culture may differ from the other. For example, the OK sign is commonly used in the US. In France, it signifies zero and in Japan it symbolizes money. Head shakes are particularly difficult to interpret. People in the US shake their head up and down indicating 'yes', whereas people in the UK do the same but indicate that they can hear and not necessary that they agree. The Indians sometimes shift their heads from side to side in a slightly jerky manner to indicate interest. However, in New Zealand people suck in a bit of air to show the same interest (David A. Ricks). Pointing of finger is a dangerous action in many cultures and cultural greetings are mandatory. Hand shake greet is quite common in almost all cultures. Failure to be aware of these customs leads to awkward and embarrassing situations. Managers with all these qualities are justified to have a long relationship with staff and the customers leading the company to good prosperous years of service. Hence, effective communicators are needed for a company's in formulating a good strategic plan.

Negotiation to affect of culture on managers:

Negotiation is the process of bargaining that precedes an agreement. According to Taheb (1998), language is one of the major issues when it comes to negotiations with trade partners from other countries. Although, it is not always indispensible to know the partner's language. Taheb also states that there are some aspects of culture that manifest themselves in a negotiation situation. Foreign partners not only speak language other than one's own, but also have a reason for cultural tendencies. For example, some people prefer to do their meetings with foreigners in a formal way, that would be offended by addressing with their fist name. Some might believe that using an informal style and first name would rather give a sign of being trusted. Two partners from these cultural background may misunderstand each other if they negotiate without previous knowledge of one other's ethics and values. The middle level managers and the upper level managers are the chief architects in designing negotiation strategies for companies(Pandey,2009).

Adaptation to foreign culture is good when it comes to negotiation and co-operations, there's a limit for how far should a manager should try to accommodate the foreign culture (Johansson,2000).

(Rodgers,1998) states the cultural differences are well known for their habits and social activity of an organization. He illustrates an example on how negotiations can be different from what European countries are may not be used to, can be found in the Brazil Carrier Guide(2008). Here the actual negotiation can really take long time and the issues that are taken into consideration are the trust, commitment and nurturing. Because of the relatively new investments from foreign countries, the government of Brazil has its own caution and regulations when dealing with foreign business people. Bargaining is a part of the negotiation process and leads to building trust and relationships. Rodgers(1998) says that especially in Latin countries jobs and relationships goes hand in hand, power and status can give the impression of mistrust.

According to Ball et al.(1996), doing business with another culture is not an easy task and to be successful every foreign company must follow some rules to make their business activity more compatible. He states six rules of thumb for doing a business in another culture. These rules can be applied when doing business in the home country, but it becomes more crucial when going abroad. The rules are:

Be prepared, slow down, Establish trust, understand importance of language, Respect the culture, Understand the components of culture. Hence negotiation also plays a major part in the role of a manager. Effective negotiation and communication to managers of an organization leads to its prosperity.


To sum up the whole, blunders are caused in almost every industry and in every field. But, not to say that the organization gets a black remark. In both the reference topics it is the managers who have to be cautious over every situation. Proper understanding on all the cultures may lead in minimizing the blunders in the international business. Based on the whole I would support the topic.


Professor Anders Pehrsson[2008], " International Marketing Startegy "[pg:21-24],Vaxjo University.

David A. Ricks "Blunders In International Business",[4TH Ed,2006], BlackWell publishing.

Suzanne L. Rey,"Secrets from a Body Broker: A Revealing No Nonsense Handbook for Hiring Managers, Job Seekers and Recruiters",,.

Terry W. Loe, Linda Ferrell, Phylis Mansfield " A Review of Empirical Studies Assessing Ethical Decision Making in Business"[vol:25, 2000, pg:185-204]

accessed on : 12th feb,2010, 4pm.

Tayeb, M. [1998]. "The Management of a Multicultural Workforce, England: John Wiley & Sons".

Terpstra, V. [1994]."International Marketing Management", USA: The Dryden Press.

Pandey.Kundan [2009], "Negotiation Strategies for Managers and Executives".