Managers in organizations of all types and sizes faces opportunities as well as challenges, for instance, the national culture, in managing global environment, and therefore it is important for them to have a good understanding of the global environment. A manager in a foreign country is faced with many new challenges that make it very hard for the manager to effectively manage the organization in such a global environment. It is therefore, important to have cultural knowledge of a particular country that the manager intends to engage in business with because every country believes in different cultures that can affect the business (Gulia, 2012). There are several cultural differences between US and China (China Daily Forum, 2012) when it comes to business dealings and they are discussed below.
Business relation: In China, there is a lot of socializing when doing business, and thus business is taken as secondary as the involved parties learn and know each other. Time is allocated for socializing even if it causes delays in making contract. Most of their business dealings are conducted on face-to-face basis. In order to launch business successfully in China, then managers will have to visit the place and build good relationships with their business partners through direct interactions. In US, business partners are more aloof. Business is taken to be the most important even if there are social gatherings and socializing is always sacrificed in order to have job done.
Sensitivity to Time: In US, most American people are very sensitive to time especially during meetings and meeting deadlines. For instance, when the meeting is scheduled to take place at a certain time, then all the parties are expected to be there at that specific time. In China, time is not viewed as absolute, and instead, as a suggestion. There is less attention on both the starting and the ending time of meetings as well as the deadlines. For example, if business report is expected on Friday, the American would be expecting the report before the business days ends. On the other hand, a Chinese would not bother even if it is received later.
Social Structure: In America, the social structure is much more informal and loose, and it is not uncommon to observe socialization of different social levels as well as knowing one another. There are limited things which are socially unacceptable to be crossed. In china, the structure is hierarchical and formal. This makes it necessary for people to know their fitting place in the structure and to follow the rules there. Crossing into the other areas is forbidden. This can be a barrier in business relationships when the incoming culture is not aware of it.
These cultural differences might cause some problems to the U.S. if it hopes to establish a successful business in China. For example, the Chinese communication styles, whereby people tend to be too reserved and quiet in business while the Americans tend to be eloquent as well as outspoken, may challenge the U.S. companies when obtaining the required information such as outright rejections, feedback and concerns. Many times a series of informal and formal meetings are necessary in order to reach the desired goals.
As a manager, I can learn the existence of cultural differences by applying the following principles as stated by Schultz, Rabinowitz and Berkowitz (2013):
Adoption of diversity: The aim of doing this is to ensure that the organization becomes culturally competent as guided by behaviors, values, policies, structures and practices which are making the cross-cultural communication possible. In my leadership, I will ensure that I recognize all cultures then respect, value, as well as integrating them into the system so as to meet all the needs of the diverse groups.
Holiday celebration of other cultures: This is the great way of learning other cultures. In my organization, I will ensure that we have a joint lunchtime meeting whereby we will be sharing some traditional food and learn what the celebration is all about and what it means. This is possible because people are similar underneath since festivals reflect important events of all the cultures.
Institutionalization of cultural knowledge: In my organization, I will ensure that the cultural knowledge is integrated in the entire organizational departments. The staff of the organization will be trained in order to be effective in the utilization of the knowledge gained. I will also ensure that policies are responsive to the cultural diversity while the program materials will serve to reflect all cultures in a positive way.
China Daily Forum (2012, September, 26).10 Major Cultural Differences between China and U.S. Message posted to http://bbs.chinadaily.com.cn/thread-808478-1-1.html
Gulia, M. (2012). Global Market Place: Environment and Management Challenges. VSRD International Journal of Business & Management Research, 2(4), 179-186. Retrieved from http://www.vsrdjournals.com/MBA/Issue/2012_04_Apr/Web/6_Monika_Gulia_627_Research_Communication_Apr_2012.pdf
Schultz, J., Rabinowitz, P. & Berkowitz, B. (2013). Building Culturally Competent Organizations. Retrieved from http://ctb.ku.edu/en/tablecontents/sub_section_main_1176.aspx