Global Business: Why Culture Matters

When it comes to business, there is more than one important facet to creating a successful and productive company. Most importantly, is the part culture plays. Think about it. Culture, defined, is an integrated system of learned behavior patterns that are characteristic of the members of any given society, and culture is thus shared through various groups of shared interests. Essentially, it’s the things people share together; language, social cues, behaviors, religions, and even various attitudes and manners that are accepted. In order to produce a successful business globally, you must learn these special aspects of culture, otherwise, you risk not only embarrassing yourself, but loosing an important deal.

Take China for example. While it has been in the news recently given Trump’s association with it, China has proven to be one of the most important countries for business, for the United States. This means by understanding the parts of this country’s culture, you could be in good fortune when it comes to business deals.

Learning the language in any culture is important, especially for expanding a business outside of your own country. In China, the most commonly spoken language is Mandarin, which is also the  #1 most spoken language in the world, with over 1.4 billion speakers (and counting). Pick up a book, grab a Rosetta stone, and learn the language. This might in fact be THE most important key to establishing yourself across the globe.

Now, you’ve passed the first round and have moved onto the business dinner. Sure, in America it is customary to discuss business over a few beers, split the check, and then bolt, but not in Chinese culture. Most often, the host will tell you where to sit and when to eat, while you converse over a long and drawn out meal. It is also customary when something is offered to you, that you try it, even if it might not be of your cup of tea.

When it comes to moving your business from national to international, the culture aspects are key. Whether it be learning the language, or recognizing certain social cues and reading up on these, culture is in essence the glue that allows you seal that deal.

What are some important cultural cues that should be paid attention to in your culture?

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