Cultural Challenges

culture
by timtak

In the first article (The pitfalls of cross-cultural businesses), there were cultural mistakes that were made especially when people mistook their own cultural definitions or beliefs to have the same meanings when they visited other countries. In this case, the definitions and beliefs of people in one country or culture are different from those in another country. For instance, in 1950, the former president Nixon when he visited Brazil, he waved people using a certain sign which was intended to show his good intentions to the Brazilians. Basically, this was a cultural mistake as this sign had a different meaning in Brazil as it was equivalent to giving someone the middle finger. Another example of cultural mistake that is portrayed in this article is the fact that in the Middle East the bottom of a foot is not supposed to be shown as it is believed that it is dirty (Wade, 2004).

Contrary to this, in America Americans have the culture of sitting down while crossing their legs. This implies that a cultural definition or meaning that is possessed by people in one country is different from another country and hence people should be very cautious when interpreting their cultures in other cultural backgrounds.

In this article, it is indicated that in some places like Asia and Hungary taking alcohol in business meetings is allowed and hence anyone who refuse a drink in such meetings is viewed as being untrustworthy or rude. In this respect, an individual from other parts of the world may make a mistake of in interpreting these cultural traits of the Asians and people of Hungary especially when it comes to taking alcoholic drinks during business meetings (Lieh-Ching, 2003).

According to the national culture of Germans or Sweden people, people are always on time but this is not the case in Spain, Costa Rica, and Italy who tend late or tardy and hence it is advisable for one to be very careful to avoid jamming schedule with appointments.

Being capable of adapting to local customs, tastes, laws, and regulations is certainly very crucial when a company enters into the global market. Taking the example of Domino in Japan, in order for this company to go abroad, it had to modify its delivery processes and procedures as addresses are determined by a building’s age and hence they are not sequential. For instance, Domino Company in Aruba had to be very careful because the climatic and weather conditions in this area are not similar to those in Japan. In this respect, it soon found that the use of motorcycles in delivering pizzas was made dangerous by the areas strong winds. It should be noted that, before a company start operating in a certain country there is need to study the culture of the people in order to determine how it may modify its operational programs (Holden, 2001). For instance, Domino Pizza Inc. in Iceland had to be operated long hours than in any other country as Icelanders stay up all hours. By studying the national culture of a people, a company is guided on what to do in order to satisfy all people by providing them with products and services at all times. In Philippines, Domino Pizza Inc. had to study about the culture of Philippines especially in matters relating selecting locations for stores. It is believed that in this country location of stores is selected using a Chinese art that position buildings in accordance to spiritual flows called feng shui (Nathan & Ruggieri, 2009).

In Italy, the Domino Pizza Inc. was unable to run its businesses as the Italians found its pizzas as being too Americans. This indicates that the pizzas were too bold and the toppings too heavy and hence this company pulled out of this country as local barriers proved to be insurmountable. This implies that there are some national cultures that can hinder the performance and profitability of a company in the global market (Carlo, 2006). It is therefore very significance to study these cultures before investing in abroad markets in order to avoid operating at a loss.

The cultural mistakes made by companies when going abroad is to relate its home country’s cultures with those of the foreign countries. In this case, businesses in the United States of America are different from those in Asian markets. The best way a company should manage its cultural mistakes is employing and individual who is from that region or who have knowledge on that region’s culture. For instance, Domino Pizza Inc. when entering into Philippines should hire an individual who is well informed on the methods that are used in locating a store (Gibson, 2006). This usually helps in minimizing chances of risks and maximizing profits. Additionally, if this company had hired an expert in the Italian market it could have not failed in this country as it could have produced pizzas that fits the preferences and tastes of Italians.

In conclusion, different countries have different cultures and hence it is very imperative to study these cultures before entering into international markets in order to avoid making cultural mistakes. Domino Pizza Inc. could have been very successful in Italy if it employed someone who is well informed about the Italian cultures.

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