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Success In Intercultural Environments

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Success in Intercultural Environments

Business students in today's society are under a consistent amount of pressure. If college classroom work is not enough then the lagging economy for jobs when we graduate and the ever evolving business environment should be sufficient. The business world has no boundaries anymore. The accessibility to better business anywhere in the world is here. If a student today wants to be successful in this environment they need to learn how to communicate on a different basis than before. Different social norms exist in every continent and we need to be accepting of this, and learn how to take advantage.

In order to understand what people are saying when they speak the origin of the language needs to be known; the culture is what makes the language. Edward Sapir (1921) a structural linguist defined language as a "non instinctive, acquired, cultural function" representing a "socially inherited assemblage of practices and beliefs." In the past as well as today linguists believe that language is construct of social, professional, and organizational communities, past, present, and future (Boiarsky 1995). In and around the world different cultures have different social norms. "Saving face" is a social norm for people of the Middle East (Boiarsky 1995). This is when people of the same identity bend the truth in order to save embarrassment. Asians have a few customs to know. They are more personal and informal before making business relations. First, becoming friends before making business transactions is necessary. An American traveling to Asia might spend a few days traveling before even speaking of business. Then before the Chinese make new business they need to know "kwan shi." This is the when another business speaks well about doing business with that company by "kuchi komi," word of mouth (Boiarsky 1995).

Written communication also varies from country to country. The Chinese expect talk of good health and good fortune in the beginning of letters. These letters are written in semi-block style in order to get a more comfortable, more person effect (Boiarsky 1995). The Chinese have a greater respect for sensuality and they expect this same type of respect in return. No one knows what form the future of communication we will for to be accustomed too. Timothy Weiss (1993) a linguist thinks culture will become "hybridized," the idea that many cultures will conform to one, in turn forming the English language to one of different cultures. Weiss's assumption is that it will make the English language more flexible, to become more easily incorporated throughout the business society. This will test peoples pride and faith and will be a much rockier transaction than Weiss might think.

When dealing with the social issues we can look back to the Romans. Merchants in the Rome era where expected to "do as the Romans do" in order to make business with the Romans (Francis 1991). The merchants and peasants believed that the similarity between them and the Romans would attract the Roman's to them and there for obtain the business. International travelers are being instilled with this same idea today when traveling abroad to different business environments. Many researches direct these rules, norms, and foreign values of these cultures so international negotiators could adopt these ideas and be successful we doing it (Francis 1991). However if someone were to come to America and loose there values and traditions just to please a firm in order to make the deal, less respect is given for doing so. Studies show that levels of attractiveness is influenced by the amount of competitiveness (Francis 1991). The more competitive we are the more we are attracted to the distinguished, and or different idea. The less competitive the more we are attracted to the more similar (Brown 1984). An example for the more competitive nature is a business transaction; a less competitive situation would be a personal relationship. Lastly in these social issues



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