Cultural awareness training is becoming increasingly critical to business success with telecommuting, freelance and contract work on the rise. Many employees these days are part of a workforce that embraces a global business environment. An important part of these partnerships is the acknowledgement and endorsement of fundamental cultural differences to develop a strong cultural dialogue.
Our Doing Business across Cultures course can assist teams and organisations to optimise their ability to operate in an international environment. Subjects covered include the key elements of doing business with a global mindset, how to manage cultural differences, and how to motivate and negotiate with cross-cultural teams.
Whether your colleagues are from England, Germany, France, India, Mexico, Japan, Brazil, China or the Arab Middle East, our course will prepare you to ‘go global’ with your workplace relationships!
Outcomes achieved by undertaking cultural awareness training include:
- Exploring the art of doing business in Japan, China and the Arab Middle East
- Studying the art of doing business in England, France and Germany
- Gaining insights into the art of doing business in Brazil, India and Mexico
- Learning the seven keys of doing business with a global mindset
- Examining cultural differences in all aspects of business
- Understanding underestimating cultural influences
- Learning about culture basics — how culture and a global mindset work
- Exploring culture and personal style
- Gaining an understanding of the seven keys to managing across cultures
- Studying hierarchy and egalitarianism
- Gaining insights into communication styles and group focus and relationships
- Understanding time orientation, change tolerance and motivation/work-life balance
- Learning how to manage talent across cultures in terms of hiring, training and retaining
- Exploring how to manage cultural differences including global leadership
- Studying culture and a changing world and intercultural communications
- Gaining insights into women leaders in global business
- Examining diversity and inclusion and how to build personal ethics
- Understanding collocated and virtual teams and transitions and relocations
- Learning how to do business in the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Australia
- Exploring how to do business in Europe, Russia, Great Britain, Ireland, France, Germany and Italy
- Studying how to do business in Africa, Canada and the United States
- Gaining insights into praising across cultures including motivating cross-cultural teams
- Understanding local cultural norms and how to adapt to different praise cultures
- Learning about engagement, motivation and cross-cultural leadership
- Exploring the mistakes, most managers make with cross-cultural training
- Gaining an understanding of how to overcome the adaptability challenge
- Studying training exercises that give employees to hone their skills in a real-world context.
- Gaining insights into emotional intelligence across cultures
- Examining how to interpreting emotions accurately
- Understanding how to read other people’s verbal and nonverbal expressions
How Corporate Cultures Differ Around The World
Cultures exist on many levels. Within organisations, variations can be found by workgroup and even functional area, and patterns in behavioural values and norms can also exist at the regional and national level. A two-year survey conducted by business magazine, Harvard Business Review, surveyed readers from across the globe and received over 12,000 responses.
For each respondent’s organisation, they examined eight distinct cultural styles across two dimensions — how people interact and how people respond to change. Not surprisingly, a few patterns emerged across the responses, and some patterns were remarkably consistent across regions.
‘Results’ and ‘caring’ were the most popular cultural attributes across organisations, which reflects an orientation towards achievement and collaboration in the workplace. ‘Enjoyment’ and ‘authority’ ranked lowest overall, which could indicate that spontaneity and decisiveness were lower priorities.
How People Respond to Change
An organisation’s tendencies towards flexibility versus stability were first examined. African organisations exhibited substantial flexibility and an openness to change through agility, innovation and an appreciation for diversity.
Conversely, many organisations in the Middle East and Eastern Europe exhibited a strong degree of stability. An emphasis on safety was evident in these regions, and business continuity, authority and preparedness were prioritised.
How People Interact
It was then analysed how people interacted with one another in terms of independence versus interdependence. Organisations in North and South America and Western Europe leaned towards a high level of autonomy, and there was a strong emphasis on achievement, results and goal-orientation. In South America,’ enjoyment’ ranked highly, which reflected the preference for a fun, exciting and light-hearted working environment.
Conversely, organisations in Australia, New Zealand and Asia were more focused on coordination and interdependence. These workplaces emphasised caring and a sense of planning and safety. And in Asia in particular, many organisations emphasised order through a respectful, cooperative and rule-abiding culture.
How Employees Are Affected
Even though external environments can shape the culture of organisations, everyone has their individual work style. However, looking at regional patterns can help us understand how others might perceive our actions and behaviours.
Say, for example, an organisation implements a new software package. In an organisation where learning is valued, this move will probably be applauded. In an organisation that favours consistency and order, it may be met with frustration. Recognising that behavioural patterns differ across the world, allows employees to better collaborate and communicate across diverse team environments.
How Managers Are Affected
While cross-cultural teams can provide cost savings and help organisations access global teams, cultural differences can be sources of friction. Tensions can also arise when organisations enter new markets because managers then need to contend with many different cultures within a regional context. Cultural awareness training and a careful analysis of the attributes of cultures can determine which should be preserved and which can be evolved.
Managers should be careful that they don’t stereotype others or make broad assumptions based solely on regional origins. Instead, they should make an effort to acknowledge and understand the cultures that operate within the organisation.
Those who lead teams also need to recognise the influences of the external environment on employee behaviours when managing others. For example, when setting up work teams and reporting structures, they need to take into account whether cultures favour collaboration over independent effort. They also need to understand to what degree employees expect structure and hierarchy.
When it comes to conference calls and meetings, managers should consider whether differences in culture may cause employees to offer their views voluntarily or reserve their opinions until asked for them. Cultural considerations also come into play when it comes to employee training, motivation and the implementation of decision-making processes.
The Difference Between BATNA and ZOPA
Abbreviations for ‘Best Alternative To A Negotiated Agreement’ and ‘Zone of Possible Agreement’ between two parties, these negotiation theories are an important part of cultural awareness training.
Best Alternative To A Negotiated Agreement (BATNA)
Also known as the ‘no-deal option’, BATNA refers to the most advantageous alternative course action managers take if an agreement can’t be reached and negotiations fail. It can include a range of situations including the execution of strikes, the formation of other alliances, the transition to another negotiating partner, or a suspension of negotiations.
BATNA is the key focus behind successful negotiations. However, care needs to be taken and things like the relationship value and whether the other party will live up to their side of the bargain taken into consideration. Unfortunately, these are difficult to value as they are often not quantifiable or measurable factors. Negotiators won’t generally accept a worse solution than a BATNA, and certainly not a WATNA (Worst Alternative To A Negotiated Agreement)!
Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA)
Also known as the ‘Zone of Potential Agreement’, this refers to the range of options available to two parties involved in negotiations where the minimum targets of both parties overlap. Critical to successful negotiations, parties must first understand their BATNA and then explore each other’s values and interests. This should be undertaken early in the negotiation and adjusted as more information is gathered.
ZOPA’s size is also essential. Where parties have a small ZOPA, it may be challenging to find agreeable terms. If the ZOPA is broader, parties may use tactics and strategies to influence the distribution within the ZOPA.
If no overlap is present (where no rational agreement is possible), then a NOPA (No Possible Agreement) applies, as no amount of negotiation will yield an agreement.
Gain cultural awareness training to negotiate successfully, manage cross-cultural relationships and ‘go global’ with your international counterparts with our Doing Business Across Cultures course.