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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds TAPE RECORDER STARTS Hello and welcome to the first in our series of the Big Question discussions on cross-cultural management issues. My name is Liz Avery and I’ll be your host for this fascinating exploration of national and organizational cultures within an international business management environment. We have with us Ge Liu, Hilary Park and Roza Mohammed. Let’s begin by looking at one of the big questions on this course; Roza, what type of problems or issues do you think are caused by cultural differences? So, it’s difficult from the management perspective to try to engage with different cultures, people from different backgrounds because there’s no one-fit theory or one-fit leadership style that can actually reflect on everybody’s cultural background.

Skip to 0 minutes and 57 seconds This can include their language, their belief, their values, the environment they’re working on so it causes problems of how to embed all of that into the organisational culture of that organisation and how to respond to that. Hilary, what would you like to add? Nowadays it’s a complex environment and this is a global economy so multinational firms need to expand their business to another country. So, for example, trade, the supply chain or buyers, so many things are connected nowadays. However, the culture is a system of the values as Roza indicated. So some countries’ background, some origin of the companies they are from high context in the communication. Some countries they are from low context in their background.

Skip to 1 minute and 47 seconds Which means with high context there is heightened meanings in their communications, there is no direct meaning. So, from the low context the participants and ‘man-managers’ need to catch what does this all mean in the situation. So, there are communication barriers because of the cultural differences. For example, low context culture most of the cultures are from Western countries, so USA or British, so they want to talk directly. So, I want to sell my pencil maybe for like five dollars. But for example in Japan and in China they’re from high context, so they don’t want to start conversations with the money because they are from high context.

Skip to 2 minutes and 31 seconds They want to build trust first and then they want a relationship with the buyers or suppliers, so there’s different ways of communication, so sometimes it causes conflict and misunderstanding. I have my own example of dealing between those two cultures. I used to be involved in a team which was dealing with translations for a website, and I used to meet with a team in Japan every two weeks.

Skip to 2 minutes and 57 seconds At the beginning I used to wonder when I asked a question on the conference call why it seemed to take a while for anyone to then to speak up and get back to me and then I realised that often I was asking the question of somebody that was lower down in the hierarchy, and then they in the background were then asking, behind the scenes, for permission from the person higher up in the hierarchy to get back to me.

Skip to 3 minutes and 23 seconds So, after I realised that, I learned to put my questions directly to the person with the highest status in the group so that I didn’t put people in an awkward position, so that was a really valuable lesson for me in dealing with people from a different cultural background to my own. I’d like to thank Ge, Roza and Hilary for joining me today for the first of our Big Question discussions. I’d like to thank you, our students, for joining us, too. We look forward to having you join us for the second of our Big Question discussions for Short Course Two.

Skip to 4 minutes and 0 seconds In the meantime, we look forward to hearing what you have to say in the discussion forum, but, for now, we wish you the best of luck and good-bye. Bye! TAPE RECORDER STOPS OUTRO MUSIC

What kinds of problems can be caused by cultural differences?

Let’s begin by looking at one of the big questions in this course: What kind of problems can be caused by cultural differences?

Watch the video to hear three lecturers in business from Coventry University, Ge Liu, HyunMi Park and Roza Mohammed, discuss this week’s big question.

Culture can have an impact on nearly every aspect of an organisation’s strategy and business operations, including marketing, sales and market expansions.

From an organisational behaviour perspective, culture affects employees’ values and working styles, as well as the leadership styles of managers.

Your task

You’ve just heard our three academics give their opinion on the big question, now we’d like to hear about your experience and background.

What kind of problems do you think can be caused by cultural differences?

Share your answer to this big question with your fellow learners in the comments area at the bottom of this page.

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This video is from the free online course:

Business Management: National and Organisational Cultures

Coventry University