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National Cultural Variables with reference to Business Communication in global context

A Concept of Culture:
Culture is the behavioral characteristics of a group. Culture generalizations applicable to an entire nation are not possible. Knowing core characteristics of a country are basic to better international communication. Another term you should know is ethnocentrism that is judging other groups or countries by the cultural standard of your group.

National Cultural Variables:


Education Laws and Regulations Economics Politics Religion Language

1)Education: Management education including training in business communication is more prevalent in the United States than in other countries. Some countries have no academic courses in communication training. For example, if your future work takes you to Asia, you will find that most Asian and Chinese managers have had a less formal education than USA. A quick assumption might be that Asians, particularly the Chinese, are less interested in education, that the nation is ill-equipped to hold its own with other parts of the world. Chinese managers lack extensive education. You must go beyond surface conclusions: 1) In relation to its size, China does not have many institutions of higher education-in contrast to the United States. In 1980 there were only 675 institutions of higher education, increasing to 902 in 1984, and by 1985-the latest figures-the number had reached 1,016. 2) China is an agrarian economy. Over 800 million people still live in the countryside; 69 percent of the labor force is agricultural. Education, some early Chinese leaders felt, was not needed in such an environment. 3) Most universities were closed during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). 4) Self-study and private tutoring occurred during the Cultural Revolution, but for most

young, college-aged people, education was not available. 5) A less educated Chinese manager-except between 1977-1980-faced an age maximum (age 25) for taking a college entrance examination. 2)Laws and Regulations In both the under-developed and developed nations, various government regulations affect business communications and sale of products. The type of product to be advertised-for instance, Cigarette is restricted in Europe; also money spent on advertising is limited. Other countries such as France, Mexico and the province of Quebecalso have restriction on the use of foreign languages in advertisements. 3)Economics: Availability of capital and transportation and the standard of living per capita vary from nation to nation. The opportunity to borrow money the rate of inflation and the exchange rates influence business and a countrys ability to communicate that business. 4)Politics: Even concepts of democracy will vary as interpreted in Korea, the Philippines or Great Britain. Indeed the is weeping political changes in Eastern Europe and the altered concepts of government will affect future business relations. 5)Religion Be especially careful of religious belief within foreign countries. Although some basic beliefs overlap, there are major differences that if not understood can result even in personal harm. Religious holidays affect international communication, interrupting work schedules or delaying responses to requests. The International Herald Tribune is the excellent international newspaper that lists the current and upcoming holidays around the world. 6)Language: Every body knows that knowing the language of a country is the most significant contribute to improved communication, on personal and business level. Your communication is good when both sender and receiver have same language. An important constraint that under girds all the preceding is language. English is a world language and to a major extent the language of business. But, you know some basic vocabulary of your host country. Each language has it is own sentence patterns and vocabulary. Thus, writing and speaking in a second language are more prone to errors. It is an easy take to find support for this assertion: language problems are often core to communication misunderstandings. 7)Social Norms:

In various ways any national environment constraints-education law and regulations economics, Politics, religion- affect a nations social Norms. In many countries a male line of the family profoundly influences some business decisions. Then the family and how its members relate to one another-decisions, buying patterns, pooling of resources, special interests-affect behavior and business communication.