The Old Boy Network is still alive and is well used in the United Kingdom. However, with the changing time, women are becoming more common in managerial positions in the United Kingdom than in most EC countries, especially in service industries and public sector jobs. Foreign women will have little difficulty conducting business in Great Britain.
British are very reserved in nature, which makes them look cool and indifferent or overly formal sometimes.
Some commonly used words are love, darling or dearie so we should not feel insulted in that case.
In England, politeness, reserve, and restraint are admired. The English are very much courteous, unassuming, unabrasive and are very proud of their long and rich history.
British are very much friendly and helpful to foreigners. Your Russian colleagues will expect a thorough presentation associated with your topic. Bringing experts establishes your credibility, foresight and general expertise.
Although most people in Great Britain speak English, but Welsh a part of United Kingdom loves to spend free time with their families.
While sitting cross your legs at the ankles and not at the knees.
Initial greetings may come across coolly.
A handshake is always required with everyone present - men, women and children when greeting or leaving, regardless of the location i.e. at business or social meetings. Their handshakes are always light but not firm.
Women should extend their hands first to men.
Usage of last names and appropriate titles by British until you are specifically invited by your British hosts or colleagues to use their first names.
Dresses of the British people are more formal, especially in London.
Wearing blazer at work shows a country or weekend wear.
MEN: They wear dark suits in business meetings along with ties such as school army, university or club ties which represents an important symbol. They avoid wearing stripped ties that reflects the copy of British regiments.
WOMEN: They should wear business suits, dresses or skirts and blouses.
In formal events men prefer wearing business suits with black ties, morning coats or tails and women generally wear cocktail suits or dresses.
British people do not display affection in public. Hugs, backslapping, kisses and touching other expansive gestures are basically reserved for the family members and among very close friends or acquaintances.
They like a certain amount of personal space.
British people do not stand very close to each other or put arm around one's shoulder.
Staring a person is considered to be very rude gesture in United Kingdom.
In Great Britain people appreciate punctuality. Business meetings generally begin on time in Great Britain.
Business in Great Britain is best initiated with the help of a third party.
British people generally prefer a congenial business relationships but they tend to get right down to business after few moments of polite conversations.
No personal relationships are there in business meetings, rather they are congenial in nature.
Business organizations traditionally are multi- layered. It consists of several formal as well as informal committees.
Decision making of a business meeting in Great Britain takes a longer time.
Meetings in Great Britain must be scheduled well in advance and must have a concrete objective, such as making a decision, developing a plan or arriving at an agreement.
Presentations must always be detailed and subdued.
No contract is considered final until a contract has been signed.
Expecting formalities and protocol in business, especially in London.
Generally in business meetings, gifts are not exchanged.
Always bring a gift for the hostess of the gathering when you are being invited to someone's home. Always present the gift upon arrival to the hostess's house.
Give flowers, chocolate, wine, champagne or books.
It is always considered to be polite to end flowers in advance of a dinner party. Avoid sending white lilies which depicts death of someone.
The popularity of the business dining is increasing day-by-day. It is generally taken as the time for selling a deal.
Most of the business meetings or say entertaining is done in restaurants or pubs over lunch.
The host, i.e. the one who extends the invitation, pays the bill.
A British business associate may also invite you to watch cricket or to the regatta which are considered to be the prestigious events. Tweed sport coat or blue blazer are wore on that occasion.
The first toast is always initiated by the Host or hostess at a formal dinner.
Do not begin eating until the host invites you to start.
We must always keep our hands on the table and not on our laps during the meal and take care to keep your elbows off the table.
Knife and fork should be placed at 5:25 position after finishing the dinner and we must leave some amount of food in the plate.
Never leave the party before the guest of honor but it should also be remembered that you should leave the dinner party shortly after dinner ends up.
After the napkins are being folded up, it is indicated that the meal is over.
Always leave a thank you note to the hostess.
It is considered to be impolite to ask for a tour of your host's home.
Never try to impress British guests with an extravagant dinner, rather they prefer understatement.
In order to understand the differences between two countries, we need to know what is cross cultural communication.
Cross Cultural Communication
Cross cultural communication, which is also known as Inter-personal communication, is a field of study that looks upon how people from different cultural backgrounds communicate with each other, and how they endeavor to communicate across the cultures.
With the process of globalization increasing day-by-day, especially the increasing global trade, it is very obvious that different cultures will conflict and blend together. People from different cultures find it very hard to communicate not only due to the language barriers but are also affected by the cultural styles. Effective communication between people of different cultures is a very challenging task. The same words can mean different things to different people from different cultures, even when they talk in the same language.
Cross cultural communication is a combination of many other fields, like, anthropology, cultural studies, psychology and communication. Its basic responsibility is to produce some guidelines with which people from different cultures can communicate in a better way with each other.
Cross cultural communication is based upon the knowledge of certain factors which are as follows:
Cultural values, perception, manners and social structure of the other country
Understanding of how members of the group communicate, i.e., verbally, non-verbally, in person, in writing etc.
Business Culture of Japan
Japanese are highly structured and traditional people. Great importance is given to loyalty, politeness, personal responsibility and on everyone working together for the good of the larger group. Education, ambition, hard work, patience and determination are held in the highest regard. When you are doing business in Japan, make sure that you are not insulting any rule of Japanese culture, if you want your business deal to be successful.
Business meetings in Japan are conducted very formally and they are generally needed to be scheduled in advance.
Before everyone takes his/her seat, it is an essential on part of Japanese business to exchange their business cards. Business cards should be printed in a way such that one side is in Japanese and one side in the language of the card holder's home country. It is best interest to offer business cards with both hands as this denotes greater respect.
A handshake is appropriate at the time of meeting. The Japanese handshake is always limp with little or no eye contact.
Some Japanese bow as well as shake hands. The bow is a greeting used to show respect and is appreciated by the Japanese. A slight bow is acceptable to show courtesy.
Dressing is modern and conservative. The Japanese dress well every time. Japanese culture says that one should dress smartly for parties, even if the invitation says "Casual" or "Come as you are".
MEN: They should wear dark suits and ties for business.
WOMEN: They should wear formal dresses, suits and shoes with heals. Subtle colors and conservative styles are best for women in business.
Nodding is very important in Japanese culture. When Japanese is speaking, especially in English, nodding shows that you are listening and understanding the speaker.
Silence is a natural and expected form of non-verbal communication in Japanese culture. Do not feel a need to chatter.
Do not stand very close to a Japanese person. Avoid touching a Japanese.
Prolonged eye contact or staring is considered to be rude.
Do not show affection, such as hugging or shoulder slapping, in public. It is considered insulting by the Japanese.
Sit erect with both your feet on the floor. Never sit with crossed legs.
Be punctual for all business and social meetings.
If one has any degree of knowledge of Japanese culture, it is greatly appreciated.
Japanese exchange business cards even before they shake hands or bow. Make sure that your business card clearly states your position. This will determine who your negotiating counterpart shall be.
Keep in mind that the initial negotiations should begin with middle line managers. Do not attempt to go over to senior management.
It is considered acceptable to use a Japanese company interpreter in the first meeting. Once negotiations begin, you can hire your own interpreter.
Work is always undertaken in a group. The workgroup is strongly united without any competition; either all will succeed or all will fail. Decision-making is done by the whole group. Every person in the group must be consulted before making any decision. This is a very slow process.
It takes several meetings in the development of a contract. Whenever the time arrives, close the deal with a handshake. Leave the signing part of the written contract on the later meetings.
Always remember not to bring a lawyer. It is important to build business relations that are based on trust. The Japanese do not like complicated legal documents. Written contracts should cover essential points.
The value of the gift does not matter. Instead ritual of gift giving is more important.
Allow your Japanese counterpart to begin the gift giving ceremony. Present a gift in a modest fashion, like by saying, "This is just a small token," or "This is an insignificant gift."
It is very important to give and receive a gift properly. Give and receive a gift with both the hands along with a slight bow. The Japanese may refuse a gift once or twice before accepting it.
Do not give a gift to anyone unless you have one for everyone present in the meeting.
Correct wrapping of the gift is very important. Appearance counts more than the contents.
Always be prepared to give and receive a gift at the very first business meeting. Gifts are often given at the end of the first meeting. If you are not giving a proper gift there is a chance of ruining the business relationship.
Dining habits in a restaurant are crucial to business. A person is judged by his/her behavior during and after business hours. No business deal is completed without dinner in a restaurant.
Drinking is considered to be a group activity. Do not say "no" when you are being offered a drink.
An empty glass signifies that you are asking for another drink. Keep your glass at least half full if you do not want more drink. If a Japanese person initiates to pour more and you do not want it, put your hand over the glass, or fill it with water if required.
Similarly, an empty plate signals a desire for more food. Leave a little food on your plate after you have finished eating.
Toasting is a very important custom in Japan and many toasts are offered during the course of an evening. At dinner, wait for the toast before you start drinking. Respond to each toast with a toast.
Wait for the honored guest before you begin eating. If you are the honored guest, wait until all the food is kept on the table and everyone is ready before you start eating.
Business Cultural Differences between United Kingdom and Japan
In Japan, a person is always greeted with a bow, which expresses high respect, gratitude, sometimes sympathy or an apology. It is an integral part of Japanese culture. But in Great Britain, a person is greeted merely with a handshake. Handshakes are light but firm and there is no proper eye contact as starring is considered rude in British culture but in Japanese culture, handshakes are limp with little or no eye contact.
In Great Britain, tapping on the back is considered to be an expression of friendship or motivation but in Japanese business culture touching or back slapping is avoided.
In British work culture, there should not be a regular eye contact with the person whom you are talking with or greeting but in Japanese business culture prolonged eye contact is considered as rude.
In Britain, gift is given to the person only when you are visiting a family member or a close friend but in Japan, the value of the gift doesn't matter. Instead, gift giving is more important.
The problems that are discussed above are some of the cross-cultural problems that a person working in United Kingdom would face after going to Japan and working over there.
Ways to overcome the cross-cultural problems
Though bowing while greeting is vital in Japan but as a British, one is not expected to bow. The thing that is more important is to show respect and gratitude, it can be either with a handshake or a bow.
It is important to use full name followed by the company's name at the time of introduction. Always use proper titles when addressing someone.
Exchanging business cards is seen to represent the individual. So make sure to keep ample cards with you, with one side printed in Japanese. Always offer the card with both the hands with Japanese side up.
Communication is the main problem in cross cultural businesses. Always explain and clarify the meaning of what you are saying to maintain harmony and miscommunication.
Try to learn the culture and customs of the country in which you have to reside now. It is important to have a smooth and efficient life as you have to work in that country now, with the country men, so it is for your benefit.
The above discussion clearly explains that cross cultural differences will be faced by every person who changes his/her country either for work or some other purpose. In order to overcome the problems that arise due to cross cultural differences, it is very important for the person to understand the culture of the country he/she is shifting to. It is necessary for the person to adopt the new culture as soon as possible to avoid miscommunication with the local residents of that country.