Business communication issues in an international business situation
According to Ireland, Hoskisson & Hitt (2008), communication is a vital aspect in any transaction may it business or any other activity. Most people, especially entrepreneurs do not understand the importance of acquiring effective communication skills leading to many problems when it comes to doing business both locally and internationally. The issue of business communication has been discussed by many experts trying to educate business people on how to deal with customers through good communication channels. Business communication in an international business situation requires a lot of experience and skills because it involves an interaction with people from different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. Because communication forms the backbone for a successful business in the present increasing competitive environment, firms doing businesses internationally should understand the main issues affecting their communication channels with international clients and investors (Schmidt, 2007).
The following report will analyze business communication issues in an international business situation. The analysis will be guided by the following thesis statement:
The outcome of this analysis will help in understanding the major communication problems associated with international business situation, with their proposed solutions and recommendations for upcoming international business entrepreneurs.
Business communication strategies adopted by an organization partly determines its profit levels. Managers sometimes ignore the aspect of communication in an organization and the factors that influence communication among employees, customers, stakeholders, and clients leading to a major problem. In an international business situation, organizations should be keener to ensure effective communication skills are practiced in order to increase the competitive advantage. Cultural differences are the most common factor associated with problems of international business communication. Business experts term cultural factors as invisible barriers, but they play a major role in influencing communication in an international business setting (Haynes, 2010).
The purpose of this report is to identify the key problems that introduce business communication issues in an international business. Studies show that changing business environments is associated with many issues, communication being one of the most crucial one. In order to get clear understandings of how one can research the key issues affecting business communication in an international setting; the following two key areas must be analyzed.
- Modes of communication in international business
Different entrepreneurs use varying modes of business communication in international business transactions depending on the type of industry that a business falls. In most cases, the aspect of culture plays a major role in international business communication, especially where people language barriers occur. Depending on the mode of communication used, whether through phone calls, face-to-face, emails, instant messaging, or emailing the two parties must ensure they communicate in a manner the promotes understanding to eliminate problems associated with a person misunderstanding one another (Ireland, Hoskisson & Hitt, 2008).
- Why entrepreneurs should understand international business communication strategies
When conducting an international business, entrepreneurs should understand the culture of the new area, government regulations, and business policies. International business communication requires stakeholders to understand the following processes of communication. These include the objectives of communication, the meaning of words, the context, who to communicate to and the type of language to use, and planning how to deliver messages to the target group (Ireland, Hoskisson & Hitt, 2008). Failure to understand these factors is what constitutes international business communication problems.
- The role of organization managers in solving business communication problems
Managers play a major role in streamlining all activities taking place in an organization. They have a responsibility of coordinating organization employees so that they offer quality products and services to consumers. When it comes to international business, management becomes more complicated because the organization deals with people from different cultures and guided by different policies. The manager plays a role of problem-solving in the international business. In case a problem occurs, the manager has a duty of holding a meeting with company employees and stakeholders to agree on how to solve the problem. When there is a communication problem, the management introduces a dialogue to find the way forward in order to avoid such an instance in future.
On the other hand, the management plays a role of conflict management. Conflicts in a firm lead to loss of potential and talented employees. The manager has a duty to manage any conflict caused by communication problem by bringing all parties together and resolving the issue.
Organizations conducting business internationally have better experience on the problems faced in an effort to develop effective communication strategies. An organization or an entrepreneur can only understand the key problems associated with business communication after a full discovery of the viability of markets. Understanding viability of markets requires an intensive research of the culture in which the organization is doing business together with its business and planning strategies (Lee, 2014). In order to understand key problems associated with business communication, an organization uses the already existing factors to get answers to the following important questions:
- What communication problems are there in organizations?
This question is tackled by understanding business communication skills in an international business situation. According to research experts in the field of business communication, cultural issues form the key problems to international business communication. Changing cultural values that occur because of globalization and changing business environments have contributed to most communication barriers encountered by organizations and international investors worldwide. Even with the availability of technology through internet, international business people find it hard conducting businesses in different cultures from those present in their mother countries.
- When do these problems occur?
In most cases, business communication problems occur when there is a disagreement about the price of a product of service. In such circumstances, both parties get hard times explaining to each other on the main cause of the problem because of communication barrier. A person from the African culture might find it a problem doing transaction with a Chinese person who does not know English. Changing from one culture to another caused the international business problems to take place.
- Where do people involved in communication issues of an organization take these issues?
In most cases business communication issues involving international businesses are solved by the senior managers in an organization. The key problem on these issues is social-cultural factors that interfere with communication patterns among international business operators. Some of these issues are sorted by business professions who have studied cultures of different communities.
- What are the impacts of business communication issues in the success of an international business?
This is a very important question because it focuses on the effects of availability of communication issues in an international business. After determining the causes of the problem, it is important to understand how the problem affects business operations. Some of the impacts of international business communication issues include poor customer turn up, poor public relations, and failure of a business to adapt to an international environment.
- Why do these problems occur? And
International business communication issues occur because of many factors. Clear understandings of these factors help entrepreneurs in avoiding such instances in the future. One the reasons why they occur are because of cultural influences on business communication. The interaction between culture and business communication depends on three perspectives; the effect of culture on consumer behavior through defining acceptable products, effects of culture on advertising, and the influence of culture to borrowing and change. Lack of knowledge about these perspectives may lead to business communication problems.
- How can they be solved
Solving international business communication issues require an understanding of the cultural practices of area where the business is located. This forms the only solution that organizations can manage to get rid of the problem.
Cultural differences have been researched to be the key problems associated with communication issues in international businesses. A close look at the literature also reveals that there are other alternatives problems leading to the same. Some of these potential alternatives include language and differences in communication tools.
Language forms the most common international issue affecting people from all corners of the world. Different people speak different languages depending on the country of origin. Organizations wishing invest in other countries and not their motherland face serious problems especially whereby people from the other country do not understand their languages. Speaking different languages is not the main issue associated with communication in international business situation, but the fact that different cultures use different languages. Problems arise because what a certain culture perceives to be very positive communication style may be considered a poor style in another culture. Every problem has a solution. The issue of people speaking different languages can be solved by the organization management paying more attention to regional varieties. Marketers should avoid using too much phrases and complicated words because they might end up confusing buyers and scaring them away (Serou, 2014).
Different communication tools
The most commonly used channels of communication used in international situations are emails, video conferencing, conference calls, but face-to-face communication is rarely used. These methods have come along because of the advancement in technology that has made communication more efficient and cheap. Poor management of these technologies may lead to a very serious issue especially for organizations conducting businesses internationally. The level of illiteracy and computer knowledge among citizens of the target country will determine the usefulness of these modes of communication. Foreign investors are asked to select the best communication medium that favors the prevailing situation in the target country to minimize communication problems (Serou, 2014).
Every business must have a problem regardless of its weight and impact. Communication issues in an international business have affected many organizations and the following solutions are meant to help such organizations solve these problems. From the above analysis, culture has been termed as the key problem affecting business communication in international business situations. This problem can be solved through adopting any of the following solutions.
Firstly, organizations should conduct an intensive research on the areas they wish to invest. If an organization wishes to invest in a country in Africa, for example Nigeria, they should send a team of experts to carry out feasibility in order to understand their communication characters. Once a research is done on the type of communication channels used and what approached work best, the organization should then struggle to train its staff on those communication basics. In addition, they can send a team of staff members to gain experience on the country’s culture in the name of touring the country, spending holidays. In addition, international investors should pay more attention to taboos because they assist in developing business empathy when it comes to communication.
Secondly, an organization can select staff from the same country they are investing. This solution works best because the local consumers will be in a better position understanding their fellow citizens and this reduces the problem of cultural barriers. Problems with advertising and promotion have been affected by culture because of norms and beliefs of some communicate. Using local people to carry out adverts and promotions ensure the community cultures and norms are not broken. To achieve this solution, business communication experts call for international business entrepreneurs to be culturally neutral and do away with their differences. In addition, foreign investors are urged not to assume concepts of culture could be transferred from one culture to another. Finally, they should use local people to explain about any decision making process. These could be local businesspeople or business management professionals.
The above two solutions are the best because they directly solve the cultural problems that have disturbed many foreign investors. In addition, adopting these solutions minimizes risks of a business losing customers in areas where only locals are allowed to carry out business transactions.
Recommendations and conclusion
Issues of business communication in an international business situation have been affecting many firms. Solutions are always there but the high rate of technology change and globalization has made some solutions irrelevant. In order to avoid such problems in the future, the following two recommendations are proposed.
Secondly, it is recommended that organizations invest in countries whose culture, language and communication channels are similar to those of their countries. By doing so, many issues related to communication barriers and misunderstandings of culture are minimized. For instance, an American company may invest in Japan or South Africa because they all speak English, and their cultures are almost similar. In addition, companies should conduct surveys on the best areas to invest to avoid opening a business in an enemy country.
The report has found out that cross-cultural communication is the key problem to communication problems experienced by international businesses. Some other minor problems discussed include language and different channels of communication. The findings of this report play an essential role in shaping the future of international investors because it provides them with knowledge on how to solve business communication problems that affect most international businesses. In addition, the above recommendations are very effective if implemented at international business level.
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