Managing cultural dissimilarities and its ramifications on international business part 1 of 2


The landscape of modern business has expanded dramatically and this trend began since the wake of the 21st century. The inclination towards globalization of businesses has been consolidated and reinforced by a variety of factors. Accelerated progression in technology and rapid dissemination of information are some of the major factors that have propelled many enterprises towards having global operations, global brands and global presence.


Businesses continue to find improved ways to navigate through the clutter of cultural dissimilarities while creating vibrant consumer markets in other countries.

While globalization has many perks, there are many limitations to a comprehensive global presence. Businesses are confronted with seemingly insurmountable challenges that often militate against the attainment of the desired business objectives. Cultural dissimilarities often affect the seamless coordination of business operations and the coherence of business services and brands that is delivered to prospective consumers.


It becomes vital for the board of corporation to recognize the various cultural dissimilarities that exists in the countries in which they operate with the goal of designing tactics that will sustain enduring interactions.
One attribute of culture is that it can be learnt and this means that corporation can try to assimilate cultures and modify their practices to meet its peculiarities. Culture is an integral part of man’s essence and it is often based on the acceptable conduct of a group of people.

Culture is formed in at three various stages which are the visible artifacts, Ideals and Fundamental assumptions. Visible artifact is the concrete aspect of culture and refers to food, folklore, music, clothes and other parts of culture that can be seen. Ideals cannot be determined immediately and can only be identified after studying the culture for some time to know about their beliefs. Fundamental assumptions refer to the established ways of the people, their etiquette and silent rules.

For a company to engage an existing culture, insight into all of the three stages of culture must be very comprehensive before embarking on investing resources and man power into any operations. It is vital for a company to have a clear insight into a culture’s underlying assumptions. This is a necessary requirement for a company to create sustainable and mutually beneficial interactions with an existing culture.


Failure to understand the etiquettes and silent rules of a culture would often result in strained relations which is harmful to business.


It becomes clear that it is impossible for a business to function effectively in a foreign terrain while a proper insight into the fundamental assumptions of the culture. Remember that fundamental assumptions refer to the unspoken rules and etiquettes that pervade every aspect of a culture.


For instance, representatives in countries like Holland would be focused on closing a deal. On the other hand, representatives in India would be more concerned with fostering lasting relations.


Various investigations into the nature of business negotiations in foreign countries reveals that while effective communication skill is crucial a clear insight into the framework in which these negotiations exist is required for lucrative deals.
If your business is planning on going global, it is imperative that you are effectively equipped with knowledge of the cultures you would be interacting with. It is based on this knowledge that a business can develop tactics that would create the required connection for astounding operations in diverse cultures.

There are numerous comparisons and dissimilarities that exist between cultures of the world. Expectedly, the extent of comparisons and dissimilarities between various cultures would differ from one culture to the other. However, the key is to realizing the various comparisons and discrepancy is to examine cultures against the backdrop of your cultural upbringing.


What is your perception of the world and how is your response?


Just like introspecting to know what your thoughts and views are about certain things and situations, it is also important to evaluate your perception of the various cultures of the world. Similarly, it would help to know the perception of your business relations and the way the both of you behave in the global business environment.

When a business is culturally detached, it increases the likelihood of the business suffering tremendous setbacks in foreign markets over time.

Making cultural errors could have a devastating impact on a business with many undesirable ramifications. Fallouts from cultural related errors would encompass widespread civil indignation, damage to business reputation, problems with clients and decline in consumer patronage and loyalty. All of these would culminate into reduction in returns and make operations unsustainable in worse scenarios.

After an investigation into the connection between cultural sensitivity and international business, it was uncovered that every international business should cultivate dynamic tactics that accommodates the cultures of various regions as this is a requirement for uninterrupted transmission of information to customers and for building lasting interactions.
There are numerous difficulties that an organization would encounter when it begins business interactions ad operations in a foreign culture: some of the difficulties that may impact negatively on business are dissimilarities in semantic, customs, values, perceptions and inclinations.

Expectedly, it is impossible for an organization to thrive or survive without adjusting and familiarizing its business operations and interactions with the existing culture. It has been detected and established that relevant intercultural interactions is only possible when the framework of messages are clearly comprehended.


1. They have the capacity to cause challenges with interactions and dissemination of information.

As an illustration, when you get “that is tough” as reply to your business offer from Japanese, you would most likely be under the impression that there is still room for continued negotiations.
Because the Japanese culture does not like direct oppositions and refusals, “that is tough” could in fact mean “NO”.

2. Cultural disparities cause confusion of each other’s manners and disposition.

In America, employing spouse and kin is viewed as partiality and bias. However, in Lebanese perceive employing spouse and kin as a honorable act and a way to ensure safety of business operations and reliability.

3. Cultural concerns affect the nature and constituent of contract.

From the outset, McDoanld’s served American delicacies unswervingly in Thailand
Well along, McDonald reconsidered their stance after constant demand to incorporate local delicacies. Soon, McDonalds incorporated the sale of noodles and this translated into a rise in sales.

4. Anticipations over how to be received by a foreign associates and entire business impression could affect business contract badly.

Based on the cultural practices of businesses in china, receiving a foreign associate would require providing a complete program from the moment they arrive to the moment the foreign business associates leave. While many foreign associates would find this enervating, refusal to oblige would create a rift in negotiations and relations.
The potential effects of these four considerations on receiving and accommodating foreign business associates.


How to begin?


What is the best way to behave and how do you coordinate your business itinerary?


Read part 2 of this article in next month article–> GO


Bad experiences will have an effect on your business deal and how to avoid it?

With all the topics we discussed and shared knowledge, you can become better in filling out the needs and expectations of your business relations.

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The online version will be supported by real practical examples of companies who did do business before with people from a certain background you are specifically interested in.


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The next article will be part 2 of Managing cultural dissimilarities and its ramifications on international business
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