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Contents
Executive Summary...............................................................................................3
Business Communication Report
Literature Review..................................................................................................4

on - Cross Culture
Introduction...........................................................................................................5
Origin of Cross Cultural Communication:...............................................................7
Communication in Japan, China
Importance of cross culture communication..........................................................8

and
Cross Cultural Communication Islamic countries
blunders..............................................................10
Submitted by Group 8:
High Context & Low Context................................................................................11
Sapana Sarawgi (MS 49)
Sonam Gensapa (MS 52)
Japanese Culture..................................................................................................14
Sonjoy (MS 53)
Dress and Appearance.....................................................................................14
Sourabh Gupta (MS 54)
Doing Business in Japan...................................................................................15
Srihari Thipparthi (MS 55)
Soumendu (MS 62) 2
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Business Meeting Etiquette..............................................................................15
Japanese business etiquette (Do's and Don'ts).................................................16
Business Negotiation........................................................................................16
Gift Giving Etiquette.........................................................................................17
Business Reception Etiquette...........................................................................17
Some Important Points to Remember...............................................................18
Chinese culture....................................................................................................20
Confucianism....................................................................................................20
Face..................................................................................................................20
Collectivism vs. Individualism...........................................................................20
NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION.........................................................................21
Chinese Emotion and Gesture................................................................................21
Positive emotions and speech acts...........................................................................22
Neutral emotion..................................................................................................24
Negative emotion................................................................................................25
Dining Etiquette:...............................................................................................26
Table manners:...................................................................................................26
Sitting etiquette in Dinner table:......................................................................27
Business etiquettes..........................................................................................27
Relationships & Communication.............................................................................27
Business Meeting Etiquette...................................................................................28
Business Cards...................................................................................................30
Business Negotiation........................................................................................30
What to Wear?..................................................................................................31
Meeting & Greeting:.........................................................................................31
Building Relationships:.....................................................................................32
Gift Giving Etiquette:........................................................................................32
Meetings and Negotiations:..............................................................................32
Conversations and Networking.........................................................................33
Meetings, Presentations, and Negotiation Tactics............................................34
Other................................................................................................................35
Comparison between Japan and China............................................................................36

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Cultural Comparison Graph...................................................................................36
Cultural Comparison between Japan and China by Hofstede analysis..............36
Cross Culture Communication - Islamic Countries...............................................37
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.....................................................................................37
Saudi Arabia Culture Overview.........................................................................37
Key Values and Concepts.................................................................................37
Working Practices in Saudi Arabia....................................................................38
Structures and hierarchies in Saudi Arabian companies...................................39
Working Relationships in Saudi Arabia.............................................................39
Business Practices in Saudi Arabia...................................................................39
Business Etiquettes (DO’s)...............................................................................40
Business Etiquettes (Don’ts).............................................................................41
Indonesia.............................................................................................................42
Indonesian Culture – Key Concepts and Values................................................42
Hofstede analysis for Indonesia........................................................................43
Greetings..........................................................................................................44
Business Etiquette & Protocol...........................................................................45
Business Meetings............................................................................................46
Improving cross-cultural communication.............................................................46
References-.........................................................................................................47

References- Executive Summary

In times of rapid growth, both in terms of economic development and globalization, an


increasing number of firms extend their businesses abroad. A subsequent challenge of this
development is the managerial implications of cross-cultural management. This study
employs an approach to analyze cross-cultural differences between China, Japan and Islamic
Countries.

The study aims to summarize the differences of management style, staff behaviours and
communication system in different culture context and find the barriers of cross cultural
communication in multinational firms. The barriers of communication come from the

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national culture’s influence on the work place and behaviours of people with different
identity. Moreover, culture also influences people’s way of thinking and behaving and result
in different understandings toward vision and purposes of firms.

The Japanese prefer to do business on the basis of personal relationships and belong to high
context culture. They focus on long term relationships and try to avoid uncertainty. We have
found that Chinese culture is very similar to Japanese as most of the etiquette followed is
similar. China generally follows an authoritarian structure where rank and position are very
important. . Doing business in the Muslim world is heavily affected by religion and related
cultural customs. As a consequence, understanding the cultural expectations of the religion is
crucial for successful business relationships and partnerships, because Islam permeates
almost every aspect of life for Muslims.

Thus it is important to look into different culture dimensions’ influence on the


communication in multinational firms. By contrasting the differences of management style,
staff behaviours and communication system between different cultures the barriers of cross
cultural communication in multi-nation firms will be found. Understanding the differences is
important to maintain long term relationships between the firms operating in different
countries.

Literature Review

Cross cultural management mainly focuses on the behaviour of people from


different culture working together as a group or an organization (Adler, 1983).
Most of cross-cultural management study aims at dealing with the issue of
organizational behaviour, such as leadership style, motivational approaches,
strategy, organizational structure (Morden, 1995; Elenkov, 1998). Three aspects
are discussed in this study as follows, communication system, management
style, and staff behaviour.

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As to the cultural concept, culture is a complex issue in some fields such as
sociology, anthropology and now become a hot topic in management. Several
contributions are devoted in this area by some authors, such as Hofstede (1997),
Hall (1976, referred by Richardson and Smith, 2007), Golbe (2004). It is no
exaggeration to say that Hofstede’s dimensions of national culture theory are a
dominant theory. Although a lot of people oppugn Hofstede’s theory and his data
are out of time (Holden, 2002, p20), however, the data of dimensions of national
culture is not an absolute value but relative values. At least, Hofstede’s
dimensions of national culture theory still are a famous and popular theory,
which is engaged by a large number of researches. Project GLOBE is a recent
study, in which culture is linked to behaviour in organization (Shore and Cross,
2005). Globe proposals nine cultural dimensions, some of these are similar to
Hofstede’s Dimensions of National Culture (Shore and Cross, 2005). However,
Globe’s theory is still a new theory without sufficient test; therefore it will not be
considered in this study. Hall’s high context-communication and low context
communication can perfectly serve for the cross-cultural communication study
and conflict-resolution studies (Kim, Pan and Park, 1998). In this study, both
Hofstede’s Dimensions of National Culture theory and Hall’s high context-
communication and low context communication theory are involved.

Dimensions of National Culture

“Culture is the pattern of taken-for-granted assumptions about how a given


collection of people should think, act, and feel as they go about their daily
affairs” (Joynt & Warner, 1996, p. 3). Hofstede (1980) argues that there are four
dimensions of national culture: low vs. High Power Distance; individualism vs.
collectivism; masculinity vs. femininity; and uncertainty avoidance. Before long,
the fifth dimension is found by Harris Bond, which was called Confucian
dynamism (Bond & Hofstede, 1988). Subsequently, Hofstede takes it into his
framework in terms of long vs. short term orientation

Introduction

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Cross-cultural communication or intercultural communication is a field of study that looks
at how people from differing cultural backgrounds communicate, in similar and different
ways among themselves, and how they endeavour to communicate across cultures.

Culture is the system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviours, and artefacts that the
members of society use to cope with their world and with one another, and that are
transmitted from generation to generation through learning. Culture isn’t something you are
born with, it is taught to us. Then there are values and beliefs, which is what is going on in
our hearts and minds. Values are ideas about what’s important in life. But also customs and
behaviours (norms), which is the ways you are expected to act and behave towards one
another within a certain culture. It is easy to realize that it is difficult to perceive the culture
you are actually living in, since large parts of it are unconscious to us. No wonder there are so
much misunderstanding between cultures when such large proportions of our view of the
world is formed by the cultures we live in, and those are not even clear to us.

Why do we develop cultures? The human being is a social creature and we need rules for
interaction with one another. Normative Conformity is a socio-psychological term, which
explains how we create norms for ourselves within a social group and those rules we are not
likely to break since we don’t want to be excluded from the group. Culture can also be
defined as: “Culture is the sum of all the forms of art, of love and of thought, which, in the
course of centuries, have enabled man to be less enslaved”.

Cultural identities stem from the following differences: race, ethnicity, gender, class,
religion, country of origin, and geographic region. Identities are determined by what people
identify with. In forming a cultural identity, people come to identify with and attach
themselves to (fuse themselves with) a particular set of ideas that are characteristic of their
larger family and tribal or national identity. This may include an identification with a
particular religious group, a particular ethnic or racial group, a particular country, a particular
language and dialect, a particular set of foods that are thought to be good to eat, a particular
set of holidays, of usual and unusual names that people might have, etc. By accepting these
ideas handed down by the larger tribe or nation or family a person comes to be an accepted
part of the group.

Cultural conflicts arise because of the differences in values and norms of behaviour of
people from different cultures. A person acts according to the values and norms of his or her

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culture; another person holding a different worldview might interpret his or her behaviour
from an opposite standpoint. This situation creates misunderstanding and can lead to conflict.

Given culture's important role in conflicts, what should be done to keep it in mind and
include it in response plans? Cultures may act like temperamental children: complicated,
elusive, and difficult to predict. Unless we develop comfort with culture as an integral part of
conflict, we may find ourselves tangled in its net of complexity, limited by our own cultural
lenses. Cultural fluency is a key tool for disentangling and managing multilayered, cultural
conflicts. Cultural fluency means familiarity with cultures: their natures, how they work, and
ways they intertwine with our relationships in times of conflict and harmony. Understanding
the other's culture facilitates cross-cultural communication.

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Origin of Cross Cultural Communication:

During the Cold War, the United States economy was largely self-contained because the
world was polarized into two separate and competing powers: the east and west. However,
changes and advancements in economic relationships, political systems, and technological
options began to break down old cultural barriers. Business transformed from individual-
country capitalism to global capitalism. Thus, the study of cross-cultural communication was
originally found within businesses and the government both seeking to expand globally.

Businesses began to offer language training to their employees. Businesses found that their
employees were ill equipped for overseas work in the globalizing market. Programs were
developed to train employees to understand how to act when abroad. With this also came the
development of the Foreign Service Institute, or FSI, through the Foreign Service Act of
1946, where government employees received trainings and prepared for overseas posts. There
began also implementation of a “world view” perspective in the curriculum of higher
education. In 1974, the International Progress Organization, with the support of UNESCO
and under the auspices of Senegalese President Leopold Sedar Senghor, held an international
conference on "The Cultural Self-comprehension of Nations" (Innsbruck, Austria, 27–29 July
1974) which called upon United Nations member states "to organize systematic and global
comparative research on the different cultures of the world" and "to make all possible efforts
for a more intensive training of diplomats in the field of international cultural co-operation ...
and to develop the cultural aspects of their foreign policy."

In the past decade, there has become an increasing pressure for universities across the world
to incorporate intercultural and international understanding and knowledge into the education
of their students. International literacy and cross-cultural understanding have become critical
to a country’s cultural, technological, economic, and political health. It has become essential
for universities to educate, or more importantly, “transform”, to function effectively and
comfortably in a world characterized by close; multi-faceted relationships and permeable
borders. Students must possess a certain level of global competence to understand the world
they live in and how they fit into this world. This level of global competence starts at ground

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level- the university and its faculty- with how they generate and transmit cross-cultural
knowledge and information to students.

Importance of cross culture communication

Communication is an important means of expressing yourself and there exists different ways
of expression and so different kind of communication depending on the culture you belong
to. The way of communicating will not be the same for all countries so it is important to
know some values of other cultures and so of other ways of communicating for, first of all,
avoiding some misunderstandings and then knowing better some aspects of different cultures.
That is why cross-cultural communication is an essential exercise to do; a person who come
from a certain country does not necessarily get the same ideas about time, death, identity, as
another from a different country because each person has its own identity .

First, a national identity, defined by a surname, a first name, citizenship, and a "personal"
identity perceived as what are your activities, your opinions about issues or your experience
in life. Sometimes, your own identity can be modified or influenced by different factors, for
example religion, your environment, your family. The latter example seems to be a paradox
because you can get your own opinions about something but you can be "influenced" by your
familial surrounding or the society where you live (especially some notions that parents and
even society teach you when you are a child, as patriotism or nationalism). This influence can
replace your previous vision of life and changing your way of expressing yourself and so
your way of communicating but you can also adapt this influence

The business community has had a cultural explosion. It's no longer sufficient to simply
speak to your next door neighbor, it's necessary to speak to the country next door - or across
the ocean. The Internet has brought the business world to the doorsteps of millions of new
customers. This makes cross-cultural communication more important than ever. If you don't
speak in a language your customers understand and in a way that doesn't offend them, you
might get to knock at their door but they will never open it. As the business world becomes
increasingly global, the need for effective cross cultural communication is essential. Cross
cultural communication in business plays a vital role in building international customers,

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employee relations and business partnerships. Cross cultural communication in business
requires effort, technique and the addressing of different hurdles that commonly prevent
communication from being effective. Cross cultural communication in business plays a vital
role in successfully establishing the product or service in a different area of the globe. When
the communication is effective, the product or service is appropriately tailored to the cultural
norms and expectations resulting in the use or purchase of the product. Ineffective
communication cross culturally can offend, confuse or send a misunderstood message which
could lead to broken relations with investors or employees.

The workforce today is considered to be the most diverse in our society to date. The fact that
4 generations of people are all actively working will certainly have some communication
barriers or challenges, not to mention that employees of various cultures, ethnicities,
disabilities, age groups, etc. will have another set of challenges coming as one. The key to
working with such a diverse group of employees is simple- study of cross cultural
communication.

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Cross Cultural Communication blunders

Cross cultural communication in business plays a vital role in successfully establishing the
product or service in a different area of the globe. When the communication is effective, the
product or service is appropriately tailored to the cultural norms and expectations resulting in
the use or purchase of the product. Ineffective communication cross culturally can offend,
confuse or send a misunderstood message which could lead to broken relations with investors
or employees. Some examples of cross cultural communication blunders:

1) A golf ball manufacturing company packaged golf balls in packs of 4 for purchase in
Japan. Unfortunately, pronunciation of the word "four” in Japanese sounds similar to
the word "death” making this package of golf balls unpopular.

2) Cologne for men pictured a pastoral scene with a man and his dog. It failed, because in
Islamic countries dogs are considered dirty and unattractive.

3) A disappointed salesman of Cola brand returns from his Middle East assignment. A
friend asked, “Why weren’t you successful with the Arabs?” The salesman explained,
“When I got posted in the Middle East , I was very confident that I would make a good
sales pitch as Cola is virtually unknown there. But, I had a problem I didn’t know to
speak Arabic. So, I planned to convey the message through three posters…
• First poster: A man lying in the hot desert sand…totally exhausted and fainting.
• Second poster: The man is drinking our Cola.
• Third poster: Our man is now totally refreshed and energised.
Then these posters were pasted all over the place.

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“Then that should have worked!” said the friend.
“The hell it should have?” said the salesman.
The reason for the failure of this campaign was because the Arabs read from right to left.

High Context & Low Context

The general terms "high context" and "low context" (popularized by Edward Hall) are used to
describe broad-brush cultural differences between societies.

High context refers to societies or groups where people have close connections over a long
period of time. Many aspects of cultural behaviour are not made explicit because most
members know what to do and what to think from years of interaction with each other. Your
family is probably an example of a high context environment.
 Less verbally explicit communication, less written/formal information
 More internalized understandings of what is communicated
 Multiple cross-cutting ties and intersections with others
 Long term relationships
 Strong boundaries- who is accepted as belonging vs who is considered an "outsider"
 Knowledge is situational, relational.
 Decisions and activities focus around personal face-to-face relationships, often around
a central person who has authority.
Examples: Small religious congregations, a party with friends, family gatherings, expensive
gourmet restaurants and neighbourhood restaurants with a regular clientele, undergraduate
on-campus friendships, regular pick-up games, hosting a friend in your home overnight.
Japanese, Chinese and Middle Eastern.

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Low context refers to societies where people tend to have many connections but of shorter
duration or for some specific reason. In these societies, cultural behaviour and beliefs may
need to be spelled out explicitly so that those coming into the cultural environment know how
to behave.
 Rule oriented, people play by external rules
 More knowledge is codified, public, external, and accessible.
 Sequencing, separation--of time, of space, of activities, of relationships
 More interpersonal connections of shorter duration
 Knowledge is more often transferable
 Task-centric: Decisions and activities focus around what needs to be done, division of
responsibilities.
Examples: large US airports, a chain supermarket, a cafeteria, a convenience store, sports
where rules are clearly laid out, a motel. European, Scandinavian and North American.

While these terms are sometimes useful in describing some aspects of a culture, one can
never say a culture is "high" or "low" because societies all contain both modes. "High" and
"low" are therefore less relevant as a description of a whole people, and more useful to
describe and understand particular situations and environments.

Ways that High and Low Context Differ


1. The Structure of Relationships
 High: Dense, intersecting networks and long-term relationships, strong
boundaries, relationship more important than task
 Low: Loose, wide networks, shorter term, compartmentalized relationships, task
more important than relationship
Main Type of Cultural Knowledge
 High: More knowledge is below the waterline--implicit, patterns that are not fully
conscious, hard to explain even if you are a member of that culture
 Low: More knowledge is above the waterline--explicit, consciously organized

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Japanese Culture

Wa - The most valued principle still alive in Japanese society today is the concept of 'wa', or
'harmony'. The preservation of social harmony dates back to the first constitution in 604 AD
and the teamwork needed when living and working on collective farms. In business terms,
'wa' is reflected in the avoidance of self-assertion and individualism and the preservation of
good relationships despite differences in opinion. When doing business with the Japanese it is
also important to remember the affect of 'wa' on many patterns of Japanese behaviour, in
particular their indirect expression of 'no'.

Kao - One of the fundamental factors of the Japanese social system is the notion of 'face'.
Face is a mark of personal pride and forms the basis of an individual's reputation and social
status. Preservation of face comes through avoiding confrontations and direct criticism
wherever possible. In Japan, causing someone to lose face can be disastrous for business
relationships.

Omoiyari - Closely linked to the concepts of 'wa' and 'kao', 'omoiyari' relates to the sense of
empathy and loyalty encouraged in Japanese society and practiced in Japanese business

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culture. In literal terms it means "to imagine another's feelings", therefore building a strong
relationship based on trust and mutual feeling is vital for business success in Japan.

Dress and Appearance

Dress and appearance is very important when going into any meeting, first impressions can
have a big impact on the outcome. When we dressing for meetings it are important to know
what type of meeting it is and what type of attire is acceptable as not all meetings require a
suit and tie. It is also important when travelling to a foreign nation to know how that culture
dresses for meetings. In Japan, men should wear dark conservative attire; while women
should wear dresses, suits (are not recommended) with shoes or heels but not so high of a
heel where they are towering over men this can show disrespect in Japan.

Like all meetings, your appearance should be in a manner where you look clean shaved with
a clean hair cut. Ensure you fingernails are trimmed as well. Your cloths should be dried
cleaned and pressed; your shoes should be shined as well. When deciding what types of shoes
to wear, we have to ensure that our shoes can be easily removed or wear slip on shoes that
look like dress shoes. We have to remember that you are not just there for a meeting, you are
representing your organization and if you look like a misfit they might think that the
organization is the same way.

Those who dress according to their status or position impress the Japanese. Dress to impress.
• Men should wear dark conservative attire. Business suits are most suitable.
• Casual dress is never appropriate in a business setting.
• Shoes should be easy to remove, as you will do so often. Slip-ons are the best choice.
• Women’s dress should be conservative. Little emphasis should be placed on
accessories. They should be minimal.
• Women should not wear pants in a business situation. Japanese men tend to find it
offensive.
• Women should only wear low-heeled shoes to avoid towering over men.
• A kimono should be wrapped left over right to do otherwise symbolizes death.

Doing Business in Japan

The Japanese prefer to do business on the basis of personal relationships. In general, being
introduced or recommended by someone who already has a good relationship with the

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company is extremely helpful as it allows the Japanese to know how to place you in
hierarchy relative to themselves. One way to build and maintain relationships is with
greetings / seasonal cards. It is important to be a good correspondent as the Japanese hold this
in high esteem.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw Japan swiftly embrace the numerous influences of
western technology. Following the country's defeat in WWII, Japan experienced a
remarkable growth in its economy and fast became the world's most successful exporter.
Since then, Japan's business and economy has witnessed a wavering of strengths, however
today, Japan is one of the world's leading industrial powers with a new, stable and exciting
business market open to foreign investment and trade

Business Meeting Etiquette

Business meetings begin with exchange of business card (meishi) followed by the customary
form of greeting: bow. However, some Japanese may greet you with a handshake, albeit a
weak one. If you are greeted with a bow, return with a bow as low as the one you received.
How low you bow determines the status of the relationship between you and the other
individual. When you bow keep your eyes low and your palms flat next to your thighs. The
business card should be given after the bow. In Japanese business protocol contracts are not
necessarily final agreements or a sign that business in over.

Appointments are required and, whenever possible, should be made several weeks in
advance. It is best to telephone for an appointment rather than send a letter, fax or email.
Punctuality is important. Since this is a group society, even if you think you will be meeting
one person, be prepared for a group meeting.

A specific seating arrangement is followed during meetings in Japan. The most senior
Japanese person will be seated furthest from the door, with the rest of the people in
descending rank until the most junior person is seated closest to the door. It may take several
meetings for your Japanese counterparts to become comfortable with you and be able to
conduct business with you. This initial getting to know you time is crucial to laying the
foundation for a successful relationship. You may be awarded a small amount of business as
a trial to see if you meet your commitments. If you respond quickly and with excellent
service, you prove your ability and trustworthiness.

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Never refuse a request, no matter how difficult or non- profitable it may appear. The Japanese
are looking for long-term relationships. Always provide a package of literature about your
company including articles and client testimonials.

Always give a small gift, as a token of your esteem, and present it to the most senior person
at the end of the meeting. Your Japanese contact can advise you on where to find something
appropriate.

Japanese business etiquette (Do's and Don'ts)

1. DO use apologies where the intention is serious and express gratitude frequently as it
is considered polite in Japan.
2. DO avoid confrontation or showing negative emotions during business negations.
Express opinions openly but evade direct or aggressive refusals.
3. DO greet your counterparts with the proper respect and politeness. If your counterpart
bows make sure you return the gesture, which is usually performed shortly and
shallowly. More often than not, a handshake is sufficient.
4. DON'T give excessive praise or encouragement to a single Japanese colleague in front
of others. Remember that the group is often more important than the individual.
5. DON'T address your Japanese counterpart by their first name unless invited to do so.
Use the titles 'Mr' or 'Mrs' or add 'san' to their family name; for example, Mr
Hiroshima will be "Hiroshima san"
6. DON'T use large hand gestures, unusual facial expressions or dramatic movements.
The Japanese do not talk with their hands.

Business Negotiation
The Japanese are non-confrontational. They have a difficult time saying 'no', so you must be
vigilant at observing their non-verbal communication. It is best to phrase questions so that
they can answer yes. For example, do you disagree with this?

Group decision-making and consensus are important. Written contracts are required.
The Japanese often remain silent for long periods of time. Be patient and try to work out if
your Japanese colleagues have understood what was said. Japanese prefer broad agreements
and mutual understanding so that when problems arise they can be handled flexibly.

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Using a Japanese lawyer is seen as a gesture of goodwill. Note that Japanese lawyers are
quite different from Western lawyers as they are much more functionary. Never lose your
temper or raise your voice during negotiations. Some Japanese close their eyes when they
want to listen intently. The Japanese seldom grant concession. They expect both parties to
come to the table with their best offer The Japanese do not see contracts as final agreements
so they can be renegotiated.

Gift Giving Etiquette

Gift giving is very important both for business and personal matters. Some points to consider
when exchanging gifts are as follows:

• Always wrap gifts. The selection of the wrapping paper is critical. Do not give
anything wrapped in white as it symbolizes death. Do not use bright colours or bows
to wrap the gift. It is better to have the hotel or the store wrap the gift to ensure that it
is appropriate.
• Do not surprise the recipient with the gift. Give your host some warning during the
evening that you intend to give them a present. Give the gift with both hands and
accept gifts with hands. Generally, gifts will not be opened in your presence. If your
host insist that you open the gift do so gingerly. They take pride in gift wrapping,
show that you appreciation the effort.
• Do not give gifts in odd number or the number four, as odd numbers are bad luck and
four sounds like the word for death in Japanese. Gifts should be given at the end of a
visit. The gifts do not have to be expensive. Modest gifts with the logo of your
company will suffice.
• Gifts that should be avoided are Lilies, lotus blossoms and camellias or white flowers
of any kind since they are associated with funerals.
• Gifts should be given at the end of a visit. However, be careful not to take too big a
gift as it may be regarded as a bribe.

Business Reception Etiquette


The host usually pays, in accordance with Japanese business protocol. To reciprocate either
invite your host out for a separate dinner or give your host a present from your home country.

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Similar to meeting, there is usually a specific seating arrangement for business receptions
(always wait to be seated) .Customarily, the highest-ranking person hosting a meal sits at the
centre of the table. The most important guest will be seated to the host's immediate right. The
"least" important guest will be seated near the entrance or door. When drinking with a
Japanese person, fill his glass or cup after he has filled yours. While he is pouring, hold your
cup or glass up with both hands so he can fill it easily. Never pour your own drink.

An empty glass is the equivalent of asking for another drink. Keep your glass at least half full
if you do not want more. Although depending on your host, he or she may continue to refill
your glass until it is full. Therefore, from experience, if you are not a drinker, it is often best
to leave your cup full when possible.

Toasting is very important in Japan and many toasts are offered during the course of the
evening. Wait for the toast before you drink. If a toast is proposed to you, ensure that you
reciprocate with a toast of your own. Usually the host is the first to begin eating. Afterwards,
the guests may proceed with the meal.

Japanese like to use karaoke as an ice-breaker. It is not whether you have a good voice that
wins applause but rather your willingness to make a fool of yourself. It is better to learn a
song and get used to having to get up and sing. When one goes out for a drink with Japanese
businessmen, you may be asked personal questions. (such as questions about your family,
your personal opinions, etc.) Japanese people use these receptions as an opportunity to get to
know their future partners and want to learn as much about you as possible.

Some Important Points to Remember

• The Japanese frown on open displays of affection.


• Avoid the "OK" sign; in Japan it means money.
• Pointing in not acceptable.
• Do no blow your nose in public
• Do not openly display money. It is important to use an envelope to pass money.
• In Asia the number 14 is bad luck, which sounds like the word for death.
• Personal space is valued. Because the Japanese live in such a densely populated area,
they value their personal space.

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• A smile can have double meaning. It can express either joy or displeasure. Use
caution with your facial expressions. They can be easily misunderstood.
• The Japanese are not uncomfortable with silence.
• Never point with your chopsticks or stick them directly into your food to rest them. In
Japanese culture this is done during a funeral service.
• Slurping of noodles and soup is customary in Japanese culture.
• Do not grab your host's hand when first meeting and give it a hearty shake - many
Japanese seldom shake hands and can be so uncomfortable doing so as to avoid
meeting again!
• Never pat a Japanese man on the back or shoulder.
• Never make derogatory remarks about anyone, including your competitors and own
employees.
• Remember to carry your Japanese business cards.

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Chinese culture

Confucianism

In essence Confucianism revolves around the concept of harmonious relationships. If proper


behaviour through duty, respect and loyalty are shown in the relationships between a ruler-
subject, husband-wife, father-son, brother-brother and friend-friend, society as a whole will
function smoothly.

When doing business in China it is possible to see how Confucianism affects business
practices. Of the less subtle manifestations are an aversion to conflict, maintenance of proper
demeanour and the preservation of 'face'.

Face

Roughly translated as 'good reputation', 'respect' or 'honour,' one must learn the subtleties of
the concept and understand the possible impact it could have on your doing business in
China.

There are four categories of face. 1) where one's face is lessened through their involvement in
an action or deed and it being exposed. The loss of face is not the result of the action, but
rather it's being made public knowledge. 2) when face is given to others through compliments
and respect. 3) face is developed through experience and age. When one shows wisdom in
action by avoiding mistakes their face is increased. 4) where face is increased through the
compliments of others made about you to a third party.

It is critical that you give face, save face and show face when doing business in China.

Collectivism vs. Individualism

In general, the Chinese are a collective society with a need for group affiliation, whether to
their family, school, work group, or country. In order to maintain a sense of harmony, they
will act with decorum at all times and will not do anything to cause someone else public
embarrassment. They are willing to subjugate their own feelings for the good of the group.
This is often observed by the use of silence in very structured meetings. If someone disagrees

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with what another person says, rather than disagree publicly, the person will remain quiet.
This gives face to the other person, while speaking up would make both parties lose face.

NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION

Chinese Emotion and Gesture

Nonverbal communication includes facial expression, tones of voice, gestures, and eye
contact. It plays an important role in our daily life, sometimes it is even more powerful than
the verbal interaction. Different gestures have different meanings. Different nationalities have
specific gestures and emotions. However, due to the different background and culture, even
the same gesture and emotion has different meaning for different people in certain contexts.
Thus, it is very useful for us to understand people by understanding their basic nonverbal
communicative skills.

China is one of the largest countries in the world, the birth place of ancient culture and
civilization. In general, one may say that by the influence of Confucius' philosophical
thinking, the Chinese have become more reserved or at least the gestures expressing emotions
are comparatively less expressive. As the verbal language, the nonverbal register of gestures
lasts for a long time, but in different historic times, there are different gestures. From a
historical point of view we will distinguish between dead and contemporary gestures. This
gesture categories are metaphorical because there may be archic gestures which are still used
somewhere in China, but in general we will try to pick up only gestures which are out of use
today. The metaphors refer to common idea of 'dead metaphors', since the gestures are to a
great extend symbolic expressions of meaning often in combination with iconic mode of
representation. In this way we are putting forward the idea of analysing gestures as
metaphors. The problem with the term "dead gesture" in realtion to "dead metphor" is that
dead metaphors are very much in use although they are not conceptualized as such by the
speakers but what we call "dead gestures" are not used anymore, they are archaic, as there as
archaic words and expressions in every language. However, since we consider the
metaphorical aspect of gestures as very important we will keep the analogy.

Nonverbal language includes not only gestures, which are part of the body language but also
mimics, which are facial expressions.

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In a sense mimics are also body language expressions since the face is a part of the body but
they have a special name because they are especially important for, so called, face-to-face
communication (in fact there is no expression like "body-to-body communication", and if
there is it will mean something specific, such as making love or fighting). However basic this
distinction is, here we are not going to observe facial expressions especially, but they will be
illustrated and discussed in relation to each gesture.

Positive emotions and speech acts

Greetings: When you meet your professor you should lower your head and bend slightly to
show respect. The same posture is used when a young man is greeting an old man.

Shaking hands is not used between people of radically different status, as the previous two
cases, but between socially equal people, friends or businessman.

Agreement :

This gesture is used in informal situations, when you reach an agreement with somebody
else. In China, it is not only a gesture, but also a good wish. Each of you hopes the agreement
will be long.

Promise:

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If you put your right hand on the position of the heart means it "sincere promise" but since a
promise is a promise only if it is sincere. The ancient Chinese thought that the calculating
functions and the memory of human beings are based in the heart, thus this gesture is a
typical iconic metaphor.

Satisfaction:

This gesture represents a feeling of self-satisfaction. It is usually used by women when they
feel satisfied and don't want other people to know it. Typical for the Chinese culture as a
whole is that Chinese women express their feelings in a more introvert or discreet manner.

Wishes:

"Thank you!"

"I wish you good fortune!"

In China, when you don't know how to express your gratitude to somebody, may be gesture 1
will be helpful, you don't need to say a single word, but everyone knows that you are

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expressing your thankfulness. But when you gesticulate like 2 especially on festivals, all the
people you gesticulate to will be very happy, because you wish them good fortune.

"Thank you for serving me! "

Nord Chinese gesture for "Thank you for serving me!"

South Chinese gesture for "Thank you for serving me!"

In China, when being served, it will be very polite to make a gesture to express your feeling
of thankfulness, but you should do it in different way if you are in the different areas of
China. In North China, you should do like that like in 1, but in South China, you should do
'the koutou' gesture (desribed also as a dead gesture above). It is especially important in
public occasions.

Neutral emotion

Hesitation:

This gesture symbolizes confrontation with difficult problems and attempts to solve them, in
other way, it means hesitation.

Negative emotion

Insulting:

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When people show gestures like this one, that means that they look down upon somebody.
And when you use one of your fingers to scrape your face looking at somebody, in fact, the
corresponding verbal expression may be said to be "Shame on you!"

Irritation and instigating:

If someone insults you, but you don't want to fight with him, the following gesture may
express your irritation. It means "Damn you!", but if you make this gesture first, it means "If
you have guts, come and take me!"

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Dining Etiquette:

• The Chinese prefer to entertain in public places rather than in their homes, especially
when entertaining foreigners.

• Bringing a small gift to the hostess is a good etiquette.

Table manners:
• To have a good term with your Chinese counterparts one should impress them in
dining table and learning to use chopsticks well would be a good approach.

• Wait to be told where to sit. The guest of honour will be given a seat facing the door.

• The host begins eating first.

• You should try everything that is offered to you.

• Never eat the last piece from the serving tray.

• Chopsticks should be returned to the chopstick rest after every few bites and when
you drink or stop to speak.

• The host offers the first toast.

• Do not put bones in your bowl. Place them on the table or in a special bowl for that
purpose.

• Hold the rice bowl close to your mouth while eating.

• Do not be offended if a Chinese person makes slurping or belching sounds; it merely


indicates that they are enjoying their food.

• Do not give a tip to anyone as it is insulting to them.

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Sitting etiquette in Dinner table:

In dinner table people of same post or level seat face to face. The principle host sits against
the principle guest. If someone is not present in the dinner, the place meant for him is kept
vacant.

Business etiquettes

Relationships & Communication

• The Chinese don't like doing business with companies they don't know, so working
through an intermediary is crucial. This could be an individual or an organization who
can make a formal introduction and vouch for the reliability of your company.

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• Before arriving in China send materials (written in Chinese) that describe your
company, its history, and literature about your products and services. The Chinese
often use intermediaries to ask questions that they would prefer not to make directly.

• Business relationships are built formally after the Chinese get to know you.

• Be very patient. It takes a considerable amount of time and is bound up with


enormous bureaucracy.

• The Chinese see foreigners as representatives of their company rather than as


individuals.

• Rank is extremely important in business relationships and you must keep rank
differences in mind when communicating.

• Gender bias is nonexistent in business.

• Never lose sight of the fact that communication is official, especially in dealing with
someone of higher rank. Treating them too informally, especially in front of their
peers, may well ruin a potential deal.

• The Chinese prefer face-to-face meetings rather than written or telephonic


communication.

• Meals and social events are not the place for business discussions. There is a
demarcation between business and socializing in China, so try to be careful not to
intertwine the two.

Business Meeting Etiquette

• Appointments are necessary and, if possible, should be made between one-to-two


months in advance, preferably in writing.

• If you do not have a contact within the company, use an intermediary to arrange a
formal introduction. Once the introduction has been made, you should provide the
company with information about your company and what you want to accomplish at
the meeting.

• You should arrive at meetings on time or slightly early. The Chinese view punctuality
as a virtue. Arriving late is an insult and could negatively affect your relationship

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• Pay great attention to the agenda as each Chinese participant has his or her own
agenda that they will attempt to introduce.

• Send an agenda before the meeting so your Chinese colleagues have the chance to
meet with any technical experts prior to the meeting. Discuss the agenda with your
translator/intermediary prior to submission.

• Each participant will take an opportunity to dominate the floor for lengthy periods
without appearing to say very much of anything that actually contributes to the
meeting. Be patient and listen. There could be subtle messages being transmitted that
would assist you in allaying fears of on-going association.

• Meetings require patience. Mobile phones ring frequently and conversations tend to
be boisterous. Never ask the Chinese to turn off their mobile phones as this causes
you both to lose face.

• Guests are generally escorted to their seats, which are in descending order of rank.
Senior people generally sit opposite senior people from the other side.

• It is imperative that you bring your own interpreter, especially if you plan to discuss
legal or extremely technical concepts as you can brief the interpreter prior to the
meeting.

• Written material should be available in both English and Chinese, using simplified
characters. Be very careful about what is written. Make absolutely certain that written
translations are accurate and cannot be misinterpreted.

• Visual aids are useful in large meetings and should only be done with black type on
white background. Colours have special meanings and if you are not careful, your
colour choice could work against you.

• Presentations should be detailed and factual and focus on long-term benefits. Be


prepared for the presentation to be a challenge.

Sitting manner in a Chinese meeting can be shown as below:

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Here, the principle host sits against the principle guest and the interpreter or other members
sit beside them.

Business Cards

• Business cards are exchanged after the initial introduction.

• Have one side of your business card translated into Chinese using simplified Chinese
characters that are printed in gold ink since gold is an auspicious colour.

• Your business card should include your title. If your company is the oldest or largest
in your country, that fact should be on your card as well.

• Hold the card in both hands when offering it, Chinese side facing the recipient.

• Examine a business card before putting it on the table next to you or in a business
card case.

• Never write on someone's card unless so directed.

Card giving and receiving manner is shown in the following picture:

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Business Negotiation

• Only senior members of the negotiating team will speak. Designate the most senior
person in your group as your spokesman for the introductory functions.

• Business negotiations occur at a slow pace.

• Be prepared for the agenda to become a jumping off point for other discussions.

• Chinese are non-confrontational. They will not overtly say 'no', they will say 'they
will think about it' or 'they will see'.

• Chinese negotiations are process oriented. They want to determine if relationships can
develop to a stage where both parties are comfortable doing business with the other.

• Decisions may take a long time, as they require careful review and consideration.

• Under no circumstances should you lose your temper or you will lose face and
irrevocably damage your relationship.

• Do not use high-pressure tactics. You might find yourself outmanoeuvred.

• Business is hierarchical. Decisions are unlikely to be made during the meetings you
attend.

• The Chinese are shrewd negotiators.

• Your starting price should leave room for negotiation.

What to Wear?

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• Business attire is conservative and unpretentious.

• Men should wear dark coloured, conservative business suits.

• Women should wear conservative business suits or dresses with a high neckline.

• Women should wear flat shoes or shoes with very low heels.

• Bright colours should be avoided.

Meeting & Greeting:

Doing business always involves meeting and greeting people. In China, meetings start with
the shaking of hands and a slight nod of the head. Be sure not to be overly vigorous when
shaking hands as the Chinese will interpret this as aggressive.

The Chinese are not keen on physical contact - especially when doing business. The only
circumstance in which it may take place is when a host is guiding a guest. Even then contact
will only be made by holding a cuff or sleeve. Be sure not to slap, pat or put your arm around
someone's shoulders.

Body language and movement are both areas you should be conscious of when doing
business in China. You should always be calm, collected and controlled. Body posture should
always be formal and attentive as this shows you have self-control and are worthy of respect.

Business cards are exchanged on an initial meeting. Make sure one side of the card has been
translated and try and print the Chinese letters using gold ink as this is an auspicious colour.
Mention your company, rank and any qualifications you hold. When receiving a card place it
in a case rather than in a wallet or pocket.

Building Relationships:

Relationships in China are very formal. Remember, when doing business you are
representing your company so always keep dealings at a professional level. Never become
too informal and avoid humour. This is not because the Chinese are humourless but rather
jokes may be lost in translation and hence be redundant.

When doing business in China establishing a contact to act as an intermediary is important.


This brings with it multiple benefits. They can act as a reference, be your interpreter and
navigate you through the bureaucracy, legal system and local business networks.

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Gift Giving Etiquette:

Unlike many countries, the giving of gifts does not carry any negative connotations when
doing business in China. Gifts should always be exchanged for celebrations, as thanks for
assistance and even as a sweetener for future favours. However, it is important not to give
gifts in the absence of a good reason or a witness. This may be construed differently.

When the Chinese want to buy gifts it is not uncommon for them to ask what you would like.
Do not be shy to specify something you desire. However, it would be wise to demonstrate an
appreciation of Chinese culture by asking for items such as ink paintings or tea.

Business gifts are always reciprocated. They are seen as debts that must be repaid. When
giving gifts do not give cash. They need to be items of worth or beauty. Do not be too frugal
with your choice of gift otherwise you will be seen as an 'iron rooster', i.e. getting a good gift
out of you is like getting a feather out of an iron rooster.

Meetings and Negotiations:

Meetings must be made in advance. Preferably some literature regarding your company
should be forwarded to introduce the company. Try and book meetings between April - June
and September - October. Avoid all national holidays especially Chinese New Year.

Punctuality is vital when doing business in China. Ensure you are early as late arrivals are
seen as an insult. Meetings should begin with some brief small talk. If this is your first
meeting, then talk about your experiences in China so far. Keep it positive and avoid
anything political.

Prior to any meeting always send an agenda. This will allow you to have some control of the
flow of the meeting. The Chinese approach meetings differently, so rather than beginning
with minor or side issues and working your way up to the core issue, reverse this.

The Chinese are renowned for being tough negotiators. Their primary aim in negotiations is
'concessions'. Always bear this in mind when formulating your own strategy. You must be
willing to show compromise and ensure their negotiators feel they have gained major
concessions.

Make sure you have done your homework before doing business in China. The Chinese plan
meticulously and will know your business and possibly you inside out.

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One known strategy for Chinese negotiators is to begin negotiations showing humility and
deference. This is designed to present themselves as vulnerable and weak. You, the stronger,
will be expected to help them through concessions.

Above all, be patient and never show anger or frustration. Practise your best 'poker face'
before negotiating with the Chinese. Once they see you are uncomfortable they will exploit
the weakness. Decisions will take a long time either because there is a lack of urgency,
simultaneous negotiations are taking place with competitors or because the decision makers
are not confident enough.

Conversations and Networking

• Chinese should be addressed with a title and their last name. Example: Mr., Miss,
Madam, and then the last name.

• Many Chinese adopt an English name to make it easier for North Americans to
address them.

• These names are usually odd-sounding because Chinese try hard to make their
English name different from other common names.

• Study China. Learn about their culture, history, and geography. Chinese people
appreciate this effort.

• Make an effort to learn some words in Chinese, but make sure that you know when it
is appropriate to use these words. Chinese people appreciate this effort as well.

• Avoid negative replies. Negative replies are impolite. Instead of saying no, say
maybe, even if you mean no. Chinese people do the same to you.

• If Chinese people say things like “this is not a serious problem”, or “this is not a big
deal”, it usually means there is a problem.

• Expect to answer intrusive questions about your age, income, title, family status and
other personal topics. If you do not want to answer a question, give a broad answer,
but remain polite.

• It is very important to initiate small talk, especially to start conversations. Small talk
topics could include weather, Chinese geography, Chinese Art, or positive
experiences you have had in China or other countries.

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Meetings, Presentations, and Negotiation Tactics

• Always be on time for a meeting or appointment. Being late is an insult.

• If you are handed a business card, make sure to look at it before you put it away.

• Not looking at a business card before putting it away results in a breach of protocol.

• When presenting your business card, do it with both hands. Also make sure that the
business card includes your title, and one side of the business card is printed in
Chinese.

• When designing presentations, keep material in black and white. Certain colors have
special meanings in Chinese culture, and the meanings are mostly negative.

• Remember that China is a Communist country, so negotiations and presentations must


be set up to support the Communist party.

• Do not mention deadlines. Remain patient, as Chinese like to extend negotiations


beyond official deadlines.

• When the meeting is finished, leave first. Chinese expect you to leave before they do.

Other

• Surprisingly, gift giving in Chinese business culture is forbidden, because this gesture
is considered bribery.

• Some businesses still practice gift giving, but the safest thing to do is avoid it.

• Keep in mind that Chinese businesses are very family-oriented.

• Chinese business culture is very relationship oriented. Expect the process of doing
business with the Chinese to be a long one. In business they build relationships first,
and do business afterwards.

• Remember that Chinese business culture is very hierarchical. It is very important to


respect seniority.

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Comparison between Japan and China

Cultural Comparison Graph

Cultural Comparison between Japan and China by Hofstede analysis

The Geert Hofstede analysis for Japan has comparatively lower power distance than
China. This shows that China generally follows an authoritarian structure where rank and
position are very important. Again the Individualism (IDV) is very low for China, which
reflects the collectivism long established in China. The communist school of thought has
caused this low score in Individualism (as low as 21), compared to a high score of Japan
(much higher at 45). The noticeable difference between these two countries is in Uncertainty
Avoidance (UAI). China scored a lowly 32 and Japan has scored a very high 94 in this factor
while the Asian average stands at 58 and the world average at 64. This demonstrates the

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sternness among Japanese and their strict rules, laws and policies. In the other hand China has
a very low UAI index which shows their openness to change and uncertainty.

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Cross Culture Communication - Islamic Countries

Islam is practiced all over the world by billions of people and is considered the fastest
growing religion. Doing business in the Muslim world is heavily affected by religion and
related cultural customs. As a consequence, understanding the cultural expectations of the
religion is crucial for successful business relationships and partnerships, because Islam
permeates almost every aspect of life for Muslims.
We have taken two Islamic countries, one is Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the other
is Indonesia

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


Saudi Arabia Culture Overview

A kingdom founded upon and unified by Islam, Saudi Arabia has fascinated travelers for
centuries. From its vast deserts and barren plains emerged the monotheistic religion of Islam,
the Arab race, and the country’s distinctive Arab culture. Occupying approximately 80% of
the Arabian Peninsula, today this south-west Asian monarchy, rich in Arab and Muslim
heritage and characterized by a high degree of cultural homogeneity is home to a plethora of
successful, oil-rich cities. A sound knowledge of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and in
particular, of the cultural background, is essential to an understanding of the principals which
have guided the Kingdom’s business development.

Key Values and Concepts

• Face - In a culture where confrontation and conflict are to be avoided, the concept of
face is a fundamental issue of daily life. Dignity and respect are key elements in Saudi
Arabian culture and saving face, through the use of compromise, patience and self
control is a means by which to maintain these qualities. Arabian culture utilizes the
concept of face to solve conflicts and avoid embarrassing or discomforting others. For

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instance, your Saudi Arabian counterparts will not take well to pressure tactics that
place them in an uncomfortable position, thus forcing them to lose face.

• Islam- In order to comprehend fully the culture of Saudi Arabia one needs to
understand the extensive influence of religion on society. The overwhelming majority
of the population of Saudi Arabia is Arabs who adhere to the Wahhabi sect of Islam.
Islam, which governs every aspect of a Muslim’s life, also permeates every aspect of
the Saudi state. As a result, Arabian culture is often described as detail orientated,
whereby emphasis is placed on ethics and expected social behavior such as
generosity, respect and solidarity. These are customs and social duties that also
infiltrate the Saudi Arabian business world and affect the way Arabs handle business
dealings.

• High Context Culture- Saudi Arabia is considered a very high context culture. This
means that the message people are trying to convey often relies heavily on other
communicative cues such as body language and eye-contact rather than direct words.
In this respect, people make assumptions about what is not said. In Saudi Arabian
culture particular emphasis is placed on tone of voice, the use of silence, facial cues,
and body language. It is vital to be aware of these non-verbal aspects of
communication in any business setting in order to avoid misunderstandings. For
instance, silence is often used for contemplation and you should not feel obliged to
speak during these periods.

Working Practices in Saudi Arabia

• Generally speaking, business appointments in Saudi Arabia are necessary. However,


some Saudi business executives and officials may be reluctant to schedule an
appointment until after their visitors have arrived. Appointments should be scheduled
in accordance with the five daily prayer times and the religious holidays of Ramadan
and Hajj. It is customary to make appointments for times of day rather than precise
hours as the relaxed and hospitable nature of Saudi business culture may cause delays
in schedule.

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• The Saudi working week begins on Saturday and ends on Wednesday. Thursday and
Friday are the official days of rest. Office hours tend to be 0900-1300 and 1630-2000
(Ramadan 2000-0100), with some regional variation.

• The concept of time in Saudi Arabia is considerably different to that of many Western
cultures. Time is not an issue; therefore Saudi Arabians are generally unpunctual
compared to Western standards. Despite this, it is unusual for meetings to encroach on
daily prayers and you will be expected to arrive at appointments on time.

Structures and hierarchies in Saudi Arabian companies

• There exists a distinct dichotomy between subordinates and managers within Saudi
Arabian companies. Those with most authority are expected and accepted to issue
complete and specific directives to others.

• Age plays a significant part in the culture of Saudi Arabia. For this reason, greater
respect must be shown to elders at all times. When first entering a room for example,
or greeting your Saudi counterparts for the first time, you should shake hands with the
most senior person first.

Working Relationships in Saudi Arabia

• Saudi Arabian business people prefer face-to-face meetings, as doing business in the
Kingdom is still mostly done against an intensely personal background. Establishing
trust is an essential part of Saudi business culture; therefore cultivating solid business
relationships before entering into business dealings is key to your success.

• Respect and friendship are values that are held very highly by the Arab people. In a
business setting, favors based on mutual benefit and trusts are ways of enhancing
these cultural values.

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• Due to the personal nature of business in Saudi Arabia, family influence and personal
connections often take precedence over other governing factors.

Business Practices in Saudi Arabia

• The customary greeting is “As-salam alaikum,” (peace be upon you) to which the
reply is “Wa alaikum as-salam,” (and upon you be peace). When entering a meeting,
general introductions will begin with a handshake. You should greet each of your
Saudi counterparts individually, making your way around the room in an anti-
clockwise direction. However, it is generally uncommon for a Muslim man to shake
hands with a woman therefore; it is advisable for business women to wait for a man to
offer his hand first.

• Business cards are common but not essential to Saudi Arabian business culture. If you
do intend to use business cards whilst in Saudi Arabia ensure that you have the
information printed in both English and Arabic.

• Initial business meetings are often a way to become acquainted with your prospective
counterparts. They are generally long in duration and discussions are conducted at a
leisurely pace over tea and coffee. Time should be allocated for such business
meetings, as they are an essential part of Saudi Arabian business culture.

• Gift giving in Saudi Arabia is appreciated but not necessary. Gifts are generally only
exchanged between close friends and are seen as rather personal in nature. It is also
advised to refrain from overly admiring an item belonging to another, as they may
feel obliged to give it to you. In the event that you are offered a gift, it is considered
impolite and offensive if you do not accept it.

Business Etiquettes (DO’s)

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• Titles-DO address your Saudi Arabian counterparts with the appropriate titles Doctor,
Sheikh (chief), Mohandas (engineer), and Ustadh (professor), followed by his or her
first name. If unsure, it is best to get the names and correct form of address of those
you will be doing business with before hand. The word "bin" or "ibn" (son of) and
“bint” (daughter of) may be present a number of times in a person’s name, as Saudi
names are indicators of genealogy.

• Business Dress-DO abide by local standards of modesty and dress appropriately. As


a sign of respect, it is essential to wear the proper attire during business meetings in
Saudi Arabia. For men, conservative business suits are recommended. Women are
required to wear high necklines, sleeves at least to the elbow, and preferably long
skirts below the knee.

• Eye Contact- DO maintain strong eye-contact with your Saudi counterparts and
expect a closer distance during conversation in both business and social settings. Both
forms of communication are ways in which to strengthen trust and show respect in
Saudi Arabia.

Business Etiquettes (Don’ts)

• DON’T appear loud or overly animated in public. This type of behavior is considered
rude and vulgar. It is important to maintain and element of humility and display
conservative behavior at all times.

• DON’T rush your Arabian counterparts during business negotiations.


Communications occur at a slower pace in Saudi Arabia and patience is often
necessary.

• DON’T assume during business meetings that the person who asks the most questions
holds the most responsibility. In Saudi Arabia this person is considered to be the least

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respected or least important. The decision maker is more often than not a silent
observer. For this reason, if you are in a business meeting, it is advised not to ask all
the questions.

Indonesia

Indonesian Culture – Key Concepts and Values

Communication Style- Indonesians tend to communicate in a subdued and indirect manner.


They do not always say exactly what they mean. Indonesians speak in a subtle tone and
therefore it is up to the listener to pick up on communication subtleties by paying attention to
body language and gestures. Indonesians are polite and diplomatic in their speech and will
make great efforts not to offend others. Indonesians will do anything to save face even if it
means avoiding confrontation or telling others what they want to hear rather than dealing
with immediate issues.

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Time- Time in Indonesia is approached in a very relaxed and flexible manner. Indonesians
do not rush through business negotiations and often do not take the time to plan everything in
great detail. Punctuality is not always observed, as Indonesians do not like to feel hurried and
do not have the western sense of urgency. The Indonesian attitude towards time is reflected in
that, to them, time is not money. They may show less interest in profit or material success but
rather building relationships.

Conformity- Indonesia is a collectivist society that places higher importance on the group
than the individual. Your Indonesian counterparts will always place family and community
concerns over that of the business or individuals.

Religion – Indonesia currently is the world’s largest Islamic nation Muslims pray five times
a day and in some workplaces in Indonesia there are separate rooms for daily prayers. There
are however varying degrees to which Islam influences Indonesian business culture, but it is
essential to remember its influence when working with Indonesian counterparts. Ramadan is
a major Islamic tradition that includes fasting for an entire month. Although foreigners are
not required to fast, it is considered impolite to eat or drink in front of others during this time.

Hofstede analysis for Indonesia

The Geert Hofstede analysis for Indonesia has very high power distance with
offsetting low individualism. This establishes an authoritarian structure where rank and
position are very important. Indonesia has Power Distance (PDI) as its highest ranking
Hofstede Dimension at 78. The high Power Distance (PDI) is indicative of a high level of
inequality of power and wealth within the society. This condition is not necessarily forced
upon the population, but rather accepted by the society as part of their cultural heritage. The
second highest Hofstede ranking for Indonesia is Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) at 48,
compared to the greater Asian average of 58 and a world average of 64. This reflects a more
moderated influence of this Dimension within the Indonesian society. Generally, a high
Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) indicates the society’s low level of tolerance for uncertainty. In
an effort to minimize or reduce this level of uncertainty, strict rules, laws, policies, and
regulations are adopted and implemented. The ultimate goal of this population is to control
everything in order to eliminate or avoid the unexpected. As a result of this high Uncertainty
Avoidance characteristic, the society does not readily accept change and is very risk adverse

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Indonesia vs China –
Hofstede’s Analysis

Indonesia has one of the lowest world rankings for Individualism with a 14, compared to the
greater Asian rank of 23, and world rank of 43. The score on this Dimension indicates the
Indonesian society is Collectivist as compared to Individualist.

Greetings

• Man greeting Man

• Warm handshake (right hand only)


• Many times the handshake is accompanied with a slight bow of the head and a
smile
• There are occasions where after shaking hands both parties put their palm to
their heart

• Woman greeting Woman

• Handshakes are a common form of greeting


• Simple nod of acknowledgement will also suffice

• Greetings between Men & Women

• It is always best to wait for the women to initiate.

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• Sometimes women will put their hands in front of their chest in the prayer
position, which indicates they prefer not shaking hands.
• In these instances it is best for the men to mirror the gesture.

Business Etiquette & Protocol

Business Cards
• Business cards are normally exchanged after the initial handshake and greeting.
Business cards should display your title. This helps enhance your image and
credibility.

• Although not required, having one side of your card printed in Bahasa shows respect.

• Give/accept cards using two hands or the right hand.

• Examine a business card you receive before putting it on the table next to you or in a
business card case.

• It is important to treat business cards with respect.

What to Wear?
• Business attire is generally conservative.

• Women should dress conservatively ensuring that they are well covered from ankle to
neck. Tight fitting clothes are best avoided.

• Remember it is hot, so cotton or at least light clothing is best.

Communication Styles
• Indonesians are indirect communicators. This means they do not always say what
they mean. It is up to the listener to read between the lines or pay attention to
gestures and body language to get the real message.

• Generally speaking Indonesians speak quietly and with a subdued tone. Loud people
would come across as slightly aggressive.

• Business is personal in Indonesia so spend time through communication to build a


strong relationship. Dealing with someone face-to-face is the only effective way of
doing business.

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• Indonesians abhor confrontation due to the potential loss of face. To be polite, they
may tell you what they think you want to hear. If you offend them, they will mask
their feelings and maintain a veil of civility. If an Indonesian begins to avoid you or
acts coldly towards you, there is a serious problem.

Business Meetings

• Initial meetings may be more about getting-to-know-you rather than business. Do not
be surprised if business is not even discussed.

• It is common for Indonesians to enter the meeting room according to rank. Although
you do not have to do this, doing so would give a good impression.

• Indonesians do not make hasty decisions because they might be viewed as not having
given the matter sufficient consideration. Be prepared to exercise patience.

• "Jam Karet" (rubber time) describes the Indonesian approach to time. Things are not
rushed as the attitude is that everything has its time and place. Time does not bring
money, good relations and harmony do.

• If negotiating, avoid pressure tactics as they are likely to backfire.

Improving cross-cultural communication

1. Enhance message clarity

• State message clearly; slow down.

• Repeat message using different words, if possible.

• Back up spoken message with written materials.

• Speak in the other’s language, if possible.

• Avoid using idioms, jargon, or ambiguous words.

• Convey message in ways that are not offensive or threatening to others.

2. Enhance message comprehension

• State your expectations and assumptions clearly.

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• Restate the positions of all parties during discussions to clarify common
understanding.

• Deal with questions and concerns as they arise.

• Be patient; repeat message as often as needed.

• Ask each side to state the other’s position as he/she sees it.

• Avoid being so polite or subtle that message context gets lost.

• Write down any agreements of additional information to be sought.

3. Minimize communication breakdowns

• Observe body language for signs of distress, anger, or confusion.

• Be patient and understanding. Take a break when appropriate.

• Mentally change places with others, asking yourself how they would respond
to what you are saying.

• Notice your own reactions to the situation.

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References-
• Doing Business in Indonesia, www.communicaid.com, accessed on 20th Feb 2011.

• Indonesia - Language, Culture, Customs and Business Etiquette, Retrieved Feb 20th , 2011
from http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/indonesia.html.

• Indonesia, Retrieved Feb 21st , 2011 from http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/indonesia.htm

• Saudi Arabia - Language, Culture, Customs and Business Etiquette, Retrieved Feb 20th , 2011
from http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/saudiarabia.html

• Saudi Arabia, Retrieved Feb 21st , 2011 from


http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/indonesia.htm

• Doing Business in Japan, www.communicaid.com, accessed on 18th Feb 2011.

• Japan- Language, Culture, Customs and Business Etiquette, Retrieved Feb 18 Th, 2011 from
http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/japan.html.

• Japanese Business Etiquette, Retrieved Feb 21st , 2011 from


http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/japan.htm

• China - Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette, Retrieved Feb 21st , 2011 from
http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/china-country-profile.html

• Chinese Business and Economy, Retrieved Feb 21st , 2011 from


http://chineseculture.about.com/

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• Understanding Chinese business culture and etiquette, Retrieved Feb 21st , 2011 from
http://www.chinese-culture.net/html/chinese_business_culture.html

• Searle, What is a speech act?, in (ed.) Davis, S.,Pragmatics. A Reader. Oxford University
Press, N.Y/Oxford, 1991, pp. 254-265

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