Culture Clues: When yes means no

In Indonesia, China and Japan, there is often the effort to try to avoid saying ‘no’ directly to a person for fear of appearing rude, defiant or offending the other person’s ‘face’ (personal integrity). Saying ‘yes’ is much preferred, even though it is actually a ‘no’. Therefore, if unsure whether the ‘yes’ is a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, it is best to repeat the request, then follow up.

Have you ever been in this situation? Share your story in the comment section below!

There Is Sunshine Above the Clouds (Part 10)

Part 10: Universities and Internationalization.

30 years ago, the essentials of communication were one of the main problems that CEOs had to face in their efforts with internationalization. New information technologies have brought progress leading to a substantial reduction in the transaction costs in international business. These changes in technology have been further helped by the establishment of English as the lingua franca in business and science in nearly every country in the world. This greater ease of communication already supports processes within universities through greater access to and transparency of findings.

Just like with cable television, however, it’s not just availability but content which is of major importance to the creation of value. In developing content, universities should concentrate on specific aspects in which to become multidisciplinary experts. Specialization has worked for firms, and will also provide benefits to higher education by allowing universities to provide more value added to society. It will also be important to provide the connectivity between business, research and policy. In the longer term, economic considerations or even profits by themselves are not sufficiently enticing for society to prosper.  Religion, family, culture, security and many other concerns are taken into account by voters and governments. Universities are the ones who can incorporate these multiple concerns into a systemic perspective, and thus set their thinking apart from others. They can also serve as the foundation for multilateral approaches. By doing so, universities can become the transmission belt for the internationalization of their economy.

Universities can also track international developments of knowledge, and attract or repatriate scientists from abroad as resources. Just as a soccer club attracts top level players to move into the higher league, universities can bring in international researchers to develop or fortify a strategically isolated position.

Others need to assist universities to achieve a more prominent role in international business. Firms and government need to recognize their stakeholder positions and be supportive with information, network development and funding. It will be helpful, for example, for governments to facilitate the granting of visas, the recognition of qualifications, and the issuance of residency and work permits.

Most important for all players, once they have recognized the urgent need to collaborate, will be the formation of a university memory. It would be a terrible waste to have to re-learn internationalization for every new generation of faculty members. Considering the universe is the core mission of universities. Their work on the accumulation and dissemination of knowledge about the world will let them play the societal role they deserve.

This post is the last in a series by Michael Czinkota of Georgetown University and Andreas Pinkwart of Handelshochschule Leipzig on international business research and the new role of universities. Find Part 9 here.

About this blog

Each article, blog post and the accompanying cartoon (remember, a picture can be worth a thousand words) are thought opportunity to chew on, which the reading taking only a very short time – and the major investment being made in the chewing. I hope that the opportunity for comparisons, the recognition of the presence both of rapid shifts but also of permanence, and the appreciation that in many instances the future was 2000 years ago, provides for good thought stimuli. Be it for bedtime reading, for beefing up on a topic before a “wise table dinner”, or just for racking the brain, I wish you well with these blog posts. There is the old Native American saying that “When storms come about, little birds seek to shelter, while eagles soar.” By reading and enjoying this blog, you are hopefully likely to prefer the altitude of the eagles!