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Doing the deal, globally Cross-cultural aspects of international business negotiations


ISBN: 978-90-79646-04-3 NUR: 812

First edition 2010 Editorial team: Farhana Faroque, Sander Schroevers Editorial manager: Liza de Bruijn Series editor: Sander Schroevers Inner design: Sandra Grutter Cover template: Creja ontwerpen, Leiderdorp Cover design: Farhana Faroque, Joey A-Tjak Cover graphic: Jasper van der Heiden of Heibaservice, Joey A-Tjak Copyright Š the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, 2010 Text copyright Š the respective authors, 2010

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a database or retrieval system, or published in any form or in any way, electronically, mechanically, by print, photo print, microfilm or any other means without prior written permission from the editor: s.schroevers@hva.nl In so far as the making of copies from this edition is allowed on the basis of Article 16h-16m of the Auteurswet 1912 jo., the Decree of the 27th of November 2002, Bulletin of Acts and Decrees 575, the legally due compensation should be paid to Stichting Reprorecht (P.O. Box 3060, 2130 KB Hoofddorp, The Netherlands). For the inclusion of excerpts from this edition in a collection, reader and other collections of works (Article 16 of the Copyright Act 1912) please refer to the publisher. The greatest care has been taken in compiling this book. However, no responsibility can be accepted by the respective authors, the editorial board or the Hogeschool van Amsterdam for the accuracy of the information presented. All material has been scanned on plagiarism on Ephorus beforehand, any inadvertent omissions can be rectified in future editions. Where opinion is expressed, it is that of individual authors and does not necessarily coincide with the views of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library, the Library of Congress and the Netherlands Deposit Collection of the royal library in The Hague. Books from this series are available at the Studystore bookshops on the Leeuwenburg and Fraijlemaborg campuses, or through online booksellers like www.bol.com.


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Table of contents Acknowledgment

9

Preface - Hans Seubring-Vierveyzer

11

Negotiating internationally - Sander Schroevers

13

Methodology - Sander Schroevers

21

Belgium - Mark Alosery, Kevin Verwaard

22

Brazil - Wendy Besoo, Lucille Dijkman, Marrit Ormeling

32

China - Khadija Amhaouach, Melanie van Engel, Jeffrey Vogel

42

Czech Republic - Rosina Bassaur, Sylvia van Laar

52

Denmark - Kevin Lagas, Olaf Sassen

62

France - Michiel BoerĂŠe

70

Hong Kong - Joey A-Tjak, Farhana Faroque

76

India - Sadaf Banyardalan, Angel Matindas

86

Italy - Berry Beerenfenger, Louis Fiene

96

Japan - Daniel Andrade, Rafael Goceryan, Berit Mulder

106

Morocco - Faouzi Jamal, Brahim El Malki

116

Turkey - Serap Dag, Danielle van de Lem

124

United Arab Emirates - Aynur Devre, Othman Chahid

132

United Kingdom - Claudia la Lau, Victoria van Zwet

142

United States - Jasper van der Heiden, Thomas Steetskamp

152

Keyword index

163

Bibliography

164

Picture credits

167

Abouth the authors

169


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Acknowledgments I would like to thank all the individual co-authors for their thoughtful writing and their constructive comments regarding this very first edition. Naturally this publication wouldn’t exist without the helpful work of the editors, I particularly would like to thank Farhana Faroque, Joey A-Tjak and Liza de Bruijn for their fine work and excellent assistance with the preparation of the manuscript. And of course no book is the sole domain of authors and editors, as other people contributed to this edition, I would like to acknowledge and thank them as well; I begin by thanking our programme manager, Mrs. Hans Seubring-Vierveyzer for her high-minded support for this ‘minor’ and her encouragement to advance new didactical ideas: ‘geweldig!’. Further my special thanks for the professional and kind help from graphic designer Sandra Grutter . I also want to acknowledge Guy Wilson for editing our uncomfortable errors of syntax to native-English. Finally, on behalf of the editorial team, I take responsibility for any errors that may have inadvertently found their way into this book.

Sander Schroevers


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Preface Not that long ago, a delegation from our department went abroad to concretise plans for internationalising the curriculum. We took a plane from Amsterdam, melting pot of cultures and perhaps a classic example of a globalised city, to Barcelona; one of Europe’s principal Mediterranean ports. In this vibrant city our team experienced in practice what it means to try to establish cross-boarder educational cooperation. We conducted talks with our Catalan colleagues, teaching staff with similar educational backgrounds and shared educational objectives. We were so similar and yet so different. The experience made us face facts; besides a competence in a foreign language, further skills are necessary to successful international cooperation must include an open mindset and a good understanding of cross-cultural behaviour. On the way back in the plane, the necessary elements of a minor ‘Cross Cultural Business Skills’ were easily chosen. The following book, ‘Doing the deal globally ’, has been co-written by students of the above mentioned ‘minor’ in a spirit of cooperation. They have explored the meaning of negotiating internationally and they have investigated what it takes to deal with some of the leading trade cultures of the world. In pairs they have compared the dimensions that separate national from international communication styles. In their research they made use of the institute’s finest databases and of recent pioneering publications in the field, as well as lectures on the sociological and psychological processes that influence cross-cultural contacts. And the result of their efforts is notable! The department’s first publication not only proves the competence of the students involved, but also constitutes a new work of reference for future students of the minor ‘Cross Cultural Business Skills’ course. Ms. Hans Seubring-Vierveyzer Programme manager part time department of Commercial Economics School of Economics and Management Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of Applied Sciences June 2010


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Negotiating internationally Sander Schroevers

Globalisation, not to mention the European single market, has strongly influenced the way we work. As a consequence, we find ourselves communicating more and more with people from other countries. This chapter will introduce some of the communication functions that play an essential role in international negotiating. Recent research shows that international managers spend approximately twenty percent of their time on some sort of negotiation activity. Because negotiating is to a large extent communicating, it seems only logical that local differences influence the communication process. Most books on international negotiating seem to depart from the idea that there is one universal way of negotiating. In ‘Doing the deal, globally’ however, the authors try to describe how adapting the usual negotiating tactics in line with particular cross-cultural differences will most probably improve the results of the negotiation.

Potential pitfalls

Techniques that work well at home may fail in another country where the expectations of a negotiation party may simply be very different. The usual focus on win-win or win-lose outcomes cannot solve expectations in the fields of: • • • • • •

Behaviours related to eye contact, interruption, intonation etc. Terms for making convincing arguments. Normal bargaining techniques. Expectations with regard to seniority. Ideas about hierarchy or decision-making authority. Use of time.

A recent European study (Elucidate) clearly shows that around forty percent of the international negotiations in a European programme failed because of comparable cross-cultural conflicts. The problem is that most people who need to negotiate internationally have not been schooled in that area. Usually only governments or large multinational corporations have specialists in that field. For most companies, negotiations abroad are carried out by those in middle management positions or by technical specialists. They will probably, therefore, need to improvise, which in terms of risk management can, of course, be a challenge.

Unspoken codes

There are various ways to express differences. Many of these are unspoken codes, or subtle distinctions. Differences that for foreigners can be hard to distinguish. The point is that we are often taught certain values during our upbringing. Cultural groups such as, for instance, the Germans, Swiss, Scandinavians


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More implicit

NEGOTIATING

more explicit

or Dutch tend to be quite direct in their communication and usually express exactly what is meant. Scientific research has shown that the way in which the Dutch express their thoughts can be quite to-the-point. The problem is that other cultures may sometimes perceive this directness as just plain bluntness. Native English speakers tend to opt for the much more scripted language of request-making. Therefore, try to be aware that specific levels of directness appropriate for given situations might differ cross-culturally. And remember that languages such as Dutch or German tend to use more direct-level requests than, for instance, British English. The table below shows the selected cultures described in this book and their levels of directness in communication.

Switzerland (German-speaking) Germany Norway United States Denmark Czech Republic France United Kingdom Italy Belgium (Walloon) Brazil Turkey Morocco India United Arab Emirates Hong Kong China Japan Table: levels of directness in negotiations, by country

The table also makes clear why Americans generally use more direct and explicit communication. And indeed, British English can seem vague at times to people from the cultures positioned higher in the table. But there is a very simple reason for that: vagueness is used to maintain politeness and avoid confrontation. The same applies to friendly small talk, humour and understatement, which are all normally used to soften style. Humour comes in many varieties in Britain, and can often be used for many different situations: humour, self-mockery, criticism, paying a compliment, awkward moments etc.


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Non verbal communication

International differences exist in the way people understand certain non verbal information. This may involve elements not always thought of, such as certain of one’s habitual and familiar gestures. A well known example is the OK-sign (thumb up) and the perfect-sign (thumb to forefinger, making a circle). These signals can have offensive or insulting meanings in other cultures. The thumb-up is comparable to raising the middle-finger in large areas of Asia Minor, and the circle sign means ‘zéro’ in France, money in Japan and, in Brazil, the posterior opening of the alimentary canal. Such unexpected differences can cause misunderstandings. Typical to Greece, for example, is the habit of nodding one’s head which may be understood by many to mean ‘Yes’, where in fact it means ‘No’. This is comparable to countries such as Bulgaria, parts of Turkey, Iran and India among others. When doing business with someone from a different cultural background, it is worth preparing this often overlooked element of communication.

Humour and jokes

Naturally, cultural differences are reflected in our varying ways of holding meetings. In talks we will probably use some of the same strategies to convince or ask someone as we are accustomed to in face-to-face contact. The point is that use of certain meeting styles will influence the reaction of attendees. This applies to the use of humour and jokes in meetings. Anglophone negotiators make more and easier use of humour than, for example, German or Scandinavian speakers. A French or Russian speaker will probably prefer not to make jokes, as that damages the desired image. Finding the correct type of humour is somewhat tricky, as humour does not always travel well. In Asian countries, styles of humour such as sarcasm, satire and parody are not always understood or appreciated.

Timing differs

The right moment to start the negotiating process differs culturally. Do all cultures follow the same timing pattern as in, for instance, the Netherlands? The answer must be: absolutely not. Even people in neighbouring countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands have different ideas on this. When, for example, would be the right moment to make an offer during a business lunch (dînatoire) in France? The answer here is: probably close to the time desert is being served. It is often felt that starting business any earlier could be too blunt. The overview below shows us which selected trade cultures open their talks immediately and which cultures indulge in more small talk, when starting straight away would be considered less well-mannered;


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Country

Early

Half

China

 

Czech Republic Denmark

Emirates

France

Germany

Hong Kong

India

Italy

 

Japan Morocco

Netherlands

Turkey

United Kingdom

United States

Late

Table: starting moment of negotiations, by country

Using interpreters

For most of the cultures mentioned in this book, people will either fall back on speaking English or on using an interpreter. It is of great importance to prepare an interpreter or translator beforehand. This is done at a small premeeting by exchanging lists of jargon, key-terms, common abbreviations or, for example, brand names. When negotiating with an interpreter, try to maintain eye-contact with your negotiating counterpart, not with the interpreter. An interesting anecdote about how a senior Russian negotiator obtained an advantage in his negotiations with an American, concerned his use of the interpreter. Despite the fact that the Russian spoke English adequately, he still made use of an interpreter but for an entirely different reason: while the interpreter was translating, the Russian could study the American’s non-verbal communication without hindrance and when the American spoke, the Russian had twice the response time.


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Different goals

Scientist interviewed negotiating teams from, amongst others, countries such as Japan, Brazil and the United States about their expectations for specific negotiations. The analysis showed that culture does indeed influence the expectation of a negotiation. The Japanese for instance were much more focused on the long term relationship, whilst the Americans were mainly concerned with the short-term deal. The principal goals of the different negotiators also showed significant differences; where the Brazilian chief negotiator was concerned with achieving a respectable negotiation outcome, the Japanese negotiator was mainly focused on market share, and the American on short-term high profit. It is fair to say that some knowledge of specific Asian, Latin or Western expectations will lead to better results.

Local negotiation techniques

Scientist have studied negotiation techniques in Japan, Brazil and the United States in a combined research of Universities from those same countries. They interviewed various participants and analysed many hours of video recordings. The results showed some remarkable differences;

Table: starting moment of negotiations, by country


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The Japanese, for instance, can maintain several seconds of total silence. If a negotiator is not aware of this, he or she may be influenced by such a silence in that they may perceive it to mean something other than intended. In Mediterranean cultures, on the other hand, people can overlap in their conversation, meaning that people can talk simultaneously. The same applies when interrupting people. This is considered rude in North-Western European cultures but in more Southern cultures it is quite normal, and as such, thought of as a form of active listening. The table above also shows us that Brazilian negotiators touch their counterparts much more. The so-called comfort-zone between people in Brazil is also much smaller than, for instance, in Holland. Latin people feel that they want to stand closer to each other, especially when talking about confidential matters. Northern people, however, usually feel uncomfortable with close proximity to others and try to create space, often by stepping back a bit. It can sometimes lead to amusing movement patterns by the participants at international summits.

Compromises

Making a compromise is considered positive in certain cultures but not in others. For instance, Dutchmen, Belgians or Swedes learn to compromise from a young age, whereas Russians, Spaniards or French, for instance, have developed their skills in other directions. A Spaniard, for example, generally believes that a compromise might damage honour (pundonor). Some knowledge of such cultural differences can help to prepare differently, and probably negotiate with more success.

Look me in the eyes

As the table above shows, direct eye-contact amounts to only thirteen percent of the total time in a country like Japan. Indeed, in Asian cultures continued eyecontact is generally seen as too assertive or emphatic. Many people in the West would not trust someone who avoids at least some kind of eye contact and people in the Middle-East even use much more intense eye contact in negotiations.

Listening habits

The way you prepare for a negotiation should take into account which opponent you are addressing. Research shows that the way specific cultures talk and listen differs to a great extent. As an example: German, Swedes, Dutch and Finnish business cultures put great emphasis on factual information and they know how to listen well to that. Spaniards, French or Italians, according to their expectations, prefer an imaginative topic. They prefer using eloquent phrases and knowing how to present themselves. They would much rather hear


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things brought out with flair or grandeur than as dry facts or technical details. The same applies to the listening span, which can be relatively shorter. In Dutch meetings, one is used to a data orientated and linear build up of informative talks. However, not every negotiator will react and respond in the same way, including in their methods of dealing with interruptions or delays.

Strategic negotiating framework

Stephen Weiss examined cultural aspects of the international negotiating process. He concluded, after studying many negotiation cases, that for successful outcomes it mattered that negotiators reflected on their own cultural negotiation script as well as on that of the other parties involved. By choosing strategies accordingly, better results were achieved. A choice of negotiation sequences or scripts could be made, depending on the level of knowledge each party has of the other party’s culture. The scale of such awareness will determine which of four possible scripts can be chosen for an optimal international negotiating outcome. The model below shows the four options of the Weiss framework;

Country specific negotiating

In this introductory chapter you became acquainted with useful theories on negotiating. The following chapters of this book the different authors will explain specific communication habits and local value differences per country. Their work is useful as the world seems to be getting smaller and smaller. Thus the chances of negotiating with partners from less familiar cultures are greatly increased. Such negotiations often take place in English, but because language only counts for some thirty percent of communication, it is helpful to have some insight into the other elements that influence the way people communicate in particular countries. Trainers, consultants and Chambers of Commerce offer various seminars to help business people prepare for negotiating with foreign opponents. It seems there is a practical need, a need for which participants of the Minor Cross Cultural Business Skills at the Hogeschool of Amsterdam now have written chapters, describing such country-specific behaviour for the following countries: Belgium, Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Morocco, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.


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Methodology Sander Schroevers

In the different chapters you will come across tables containing some relevant cross-cultural differences in the field of international negotiating. The following indicators have been used: 1. Ease of doing business, 2. Enforcing contracts, 3. Corruption perception, 4. Achievement orientation, 5. Hierarchical orientation, 6. Individualism. The values of the numbers one and two are ranking indicators, of which the ‘Ease of doing business’ and the ‘Enforcing contracts’ come from the yearly country ranking of the World Bank (183 countries in total). The first indicator is based on the study of laws and regulations which influence doing business in a country. Thus, if a country has a low ranking, it is logical to expect influences on the time line of a negotiation, and a delay doesn’t necessarily have to mean tactics of the negotiating partner. The third indicator: ‘Corruption perception’ is a yearly index of ‘transparency.org’ (180 countries). These three mentioned rankings are weighted in order to offer you a more long-term view. For this table, the average from 2004 to 2008 is taken and added to the 2009 score. Where possible or applicable, future forecasts of the ‘Economist Intelligence Unit’ have been used for rounding off an amount to the nearest decimal. The indicator numbers four to six are at a country level and unchangeable. The three indices used are: ‘Achievement orientation’, ‘Hierarchical acceptance’, and ‘Individualism’. They refer to the country scores of the cultural dimensions research by Geert Hofstede. In his (original) study, scores from 1 to 100 were possible. For example, the German 35 score for hierarchical acceptance (originally called: PDI or power distance index) is much lower than the Chinese score of 80, but more than double the Austrian score of 14. We can also see that the average German score is much higher than the Chinese score as far as individualism is concerned. Such statistics may help to predict behaviour and think of a strategy when preparing for negotiations. For example, in the case of China, the power of a decision of a negotiating partner may be limited by hierarchical approval, whereas a German export manager may have more possibilities to make decisions on the spot. This means that negotiations might take longer, which in turn has an influence on the planning of a business trip and the number of possible appointments. Another interesting aspect is that research shows that in countries with a high hierarchical acceptance score, the value of written contracts is considered lower than the opinion of the highest management. In short: although this table presents a great many combinations of dry numbers, it does in fact offer the reader a chance to forecast negotiating positions driven by culture.


Photography: Michel Meynsbrughen

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Belgium Kevin Verwaard & Mark Alosery


Photography: Dimitri Castrique

Doing the deal, globally |24


Belgium |25

Belgium Belgium lies at the geographical heart of Europe. The country has a tradition of openness and can be seen as the cradle of European unification. Brussels is known as a capital of Europe because of its role as the administrative centre of the European Union.

Demographics

With an area of 30,528 km2 Belgium (officially called kingdom Belgium) is a relatively small country. The capital of Belgium, Brussels, is also the administrative centre of the European Union. Belgium lies very favourably in the northwest of Europe and is bordered by the North-Sea to the west, the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, and Luxembourg and France to the south and west. Belgium is divided in three districts: the Flemish district, the Walloon district and the metropolitan district of Brussels. Federal Belgium has 10,446,000 residents, comprising three communities: Flemish in the north (58% of the Belgian population), French in the south (38% of the Belgian population) and the German-speaking community (less than 1% of the Belgian population) who live in the extreme east of Belgium.

Brief history

During the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the Belgian and the Dutch provinces became united as one Kingdom and thus Belgium was controlled by a Dutch king. Protests arose in the form of revolution which broke out in the Belgian provinces on 23 September 1830. The revolution broke Belgium away from the Northern provinces and on 4 October the independence of Belgium was proclaimed. LÊopold van Saksen-Coburg became the first king of Belgium in 1831. However, difficult years followed. After the first World War Belgium was hit by economic downturn and the danger of Germany grew after Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. On 10 May 1940 Belgium was invaded by Germany. Belgium became a federal state after four state reforms. Politics become controlled by the economic problems and internalisation. Belgium has played a large role at the advancement of the Belgium-Luxembourg economic Union, the Benelux and the European Union the headquarters of which are in Brussels.

Business background

The economy of Belgium is based on services, transport and trade. Belgium is one of the ten largest trade nations in the world (mostly because of the countries central demographic position). The importance of industry was very large in the past, but has decreased in the last few years. Mining stopped when the last mine closed in 1991.


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The city of Antwerp on the North Sea is the second largest port in Europe and plays an important role in international trade. In 2009, the port had a transhipment of almost 158 million tons. Antwerp also has a long tradition as a city of diamonds. Since the 15th century the city has played an important role in the diamond industry. Today Antwerp is one of the most important trade centres in the world. More than 40% of the industrial diamonds, 85% of harsh diamonds and 50% of sly diamonds are traded in Antwerp.

Governmental points of interest

Between 1970 and 1993 Belgium became an efficient federal structure by means of five state reforms which also resulted in the rearrangement of cultural and financial interests. Firstly, three cultural communities arose from the Flemish, German and French-speaking populations. Secondly, financial interests were pursued by the Flemish, Walloon and Brussels Metropolitan districts which have similarities to several states of the United States of America. Moreover the federal state has important powers to do with country partitioning, justice, public health, finances, social security and domestic and foreign affairs. Economically Belgium rates highly, being the biggest exporter per capita.

Religious/philosophical influences

Belgium is religiously tolerant, having six main religions, namely: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Islam religion. 70% of Belgians are Catholic. A large number of Muslim migrant workers went to Belgium after the second World War and as a result Islam has been firmly established in Belgium since 1976. With 300,000 practising Muslims, Islam and is now the second most practiced religion in Belgium.

Language

Belgium has three official languages: Dutch, French and German. The language border was set out legally in 1963, and French or Dutch became the governing board language of municipalities and provinces in Belgium. The Flemish district is Dutch-speaking, the Walloon district is French- and German-speaking and in the metropolitan district of Brussels the Dutch and French language is legally equivalent. In spite of Brussels bilingualism, most residents have French as a mother tongue.


Belgium |27

Country specific communication

The Belgians are friendly, hard-working people characterized by an absence of dogma and strong opinions. They are conservative and prefer to avoid confrontations. Belgians will not respond boastfully or overbearingly. The Dutch-speaking Flemish are known to be more egalitarian and relaxed while the Frenchspeaking Walloons are more Latin in temperament and more conscious of class and rank. Belgians have a traditional approach to politeness. A strong hierarchy dominates, which implies that everyone is addressed very formally. It is very usual call someone Mr. or Ms. As soon as people get to know each other they will address each other by first name. It is important to know who one’s business partner is before doing business in Belgium. It should be made it clear that one knows that the Flemish are not Dutch and that the Walloons are not French. Care should be taken to avoid speaking French to Flemish or Dutch to Walloons. It is usual to shake hands with everyone present at the beginning and end of a business meeting. Eye contact is important when shaking hands. It is normal to maintain at least an arm’s length distance between people when talking. Hands should be kept out of pockets and good posture should be maintained. Business cards should be presented when meeting people for business purposes. Business cards in English are acceptable, but cards printed in English on one side and French or Dutch on the other make a better impression. Normally it is not usual to give or receive gifts though an exception can be made in the case of a celebration at, for instance, the closure of a deal.

Listening styles

Belgians are polite and respectful people who gladly listen to others. Belgians will not interrupt a conversation quickly. They are open-minded to outside information and will engage anyone in a discussion on facts, principles, or theories. Flemings listen to each other “in a circle”. They are very attentive, as the end result is likely to be an amalgamation of all ideas put forward. Everyone should know the strategy. In Wallonia, the meetings are mostly for briefings. The most senior person with the highest authority in the group leads the meetings and will have the most say in taking decisions. Staff do not always know what the strategy is.


Doing the deal, globally |28

Argumentation styles

Belgians are polite and purposeful people. They are not aggressive and prefer to avoid confrontation. Belgians like to discuss decisions and will only rarely make a decision directly after a conversation, preferring to take a little time to consider. Belgians are specialists in closing compromises. They can appear detached and do not immediately say what they think. In the worst case a Belgian says no when he means yes and vice versa.

Decision-making

Belgians like to get to know with whom they will be doing business. The first meeting with a new contact may be low-key and devoted to making social contact. In Belgium relationship-building is very important and the warmth of personal discussions and trust will be important to the success of business ventures there. Decisions within the three Belgian districts have three distinct decision-making processes. In Wallonia, even after long discussion, the final decision is usually made by the person with the highest authority in the negotiating group. While in less hierarchical Flanders, a group is more likely to be reached a decision by consensus. Therefore, to all members of the negotiating group should be heeded. In Brussels, where the administrative centre of Europe and many international companies are established, decisions are taken in a more international manner such happens in the US and the UK.

Management or hierarchy characteristics

Most Belgian companies work with a ‘top-down’ strategy. The senior executive decides on a deal after his team researched all the possibilities. People from Walloon attach more value to this hierarchy then people from Flanders.

Negotiation teams

There are a number of differences between meetings with Flemish and Walloon trade partners. At Flemish meetings the negotiations take place with a group in which everyone exerts influence on the negotiation process. Flanders involves also the staff with a lower function. Walloons like to represent themselves with group employees. However, only the manager negotiates and takes decisions. This because of their Latin influences.


Belgium |29

Contracts, legal concepts

The following rules apply to closing deals: • Both groups must be competent in making business deals, • A complete agreement between the groups must exist, • Coercion or fraud cannot be spoken of, • The agreement is related to a legitimate object, • The cause of the operation must be lawful. Furthermore it is useful to mention appointments such as the delivery deadline in the contract, these are binding and can be skilful when there are disputes.

Use of time

Office hours: Most offices in Belgium are open on Monday up to and including Friday between 8.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m.. It is prohibited to work on legal holidays and offices remain closed on these days. January 1 - New Year’s Day, March/April - Easter Monday, May 1 - Labour Day, 6th Thursday after Easter - Ascension Day, 7th Thursday after Easter - Whit Monday, 21 July - National Holiday, 15 August - Assumption of the Virgin Mary, 1 November - All Saints Day, 11 November - Armistice Day, December 25 - Christmas Day. Gastronomic timing: Eating is very important in Belgium. Much business is regulated at lunches and dinners. An hour is usually taken for lunch. Some companies are closed during lunch. Punctuality: In Belgium it is important to make appointments and these must be scheduled a couple of weeks before the meeting. If an appointment is made by telephone, this is often confirmed by letter or e-mail. It is essential to arrive at a meeting on time; Belgians attach much value to this. Lateness, postponement and cancellation must all be dealt with in plenty of time. Duration: Belgians attach importance to investing time in building relationships. Belgium is a contact country. Business partners should be contacted regularly in order to maintain a strong relationship. Beside building a relationship, also doing business is time-consuming. Belgians are not always direct while they doing business. They are specialists in making compromises and so discussions can last longer than some are used to.


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Fast facts Belgium

Koninkrijk België Royaume de Belgique, Königreich Belgien

Population

10.827.519

Area

30.528 m²

Export

Top-5 trade partners

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Germany 19,7% France 16,9% The Netherlands 12% UK 7,9% US 6,2%

Import 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

The Netherlands 18,3% Germany 17,3% France 11,2% UK 6,6% Ireland 5,7%

Official languages

Dutch, French, German

Currency

Euro (EUR)

Time zone

Central European Time

Licence plate code

B

Internet, e-mail

.be

Calling code

+32


Belgium |31

Most widely known foreign languages First foreign language

English

59%

Second foreign language

French

48%

Third foreign language

German

27%

Value facts Ease of doing business

22

Enforcing contracts

21

Getting credit

43

Trading across borders

43

Corruption perception

21

Achievement orientation

54

Hierarchy acceptance

65

Individualism

75

Women empowerment

6


Photography: Karen-Louise Clemmesen

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Brazil Lucille Dijkman, Wendy Besoo & Marrit Ormeling


Photography: Anselmo Garrido

Doing the deal, globally |34


Brazil |35

Brazil Brazil, the largest country in South-America, is twice the size of Europe and has beautiful beaches, tropical rainforests and the world’s biggest waterfall. Brazil has had the power to attract the rest of the world ever since the 16th century, not only when it comes to tourism but also regarding business. Not surprisingly, the country has the tenth-largest economy in the world.

Demographics

Brazil is the sixth most populous country in the world. Its population is around 185 million, and consists in the largest part of young people: 62% of Brazilians are under 29 years of age. SĂŁo Paulo, with a population of 10,990,249, is the largest city in Brazil and Rio de Janeiro is the second largest with 6,161,047 inhabitants. The most populated areas are on the south-eastern coast. Brazil has many different races among its population, the three main groups being Europeans (Portuguese), African and the indigenous Indian population. These different races came to Brazil for various reasons. When the Portuguese came to Brazil in 1500 they also brought slaves from Africa. Italians came to Brazil to work on the plantations in about 1800. During the same period, settlers from Germany, Italy, and Poland, started farms in parts of the South. Japanese, Lebanese, Turks and Syrians came to Brazil in 1900. This is why Brazil has such a large diversity of races.

Brief history

Originally a Portuguese colony since the 1500s, Portuguese colonists discovered that the country had a perfect climate to cultivate sugar-cane and this became their number one export. In 1807 coffee replaced sugar as the major export. In 1889 a military coup forced the Portuguese to leave and from then onward the country was ruled by military and civilian presidents. During that period the country suffered from inflation and a weakening economy. The economy recovered in the 1980s due, among other reasons, to international financial support. Nowadays the country has the tenth-largest economy in the world, though with an unequal spread in wealth amongst its residents.

Business background

The Brazilian Economy is one of the largest in the world. Besides its international export of agricultural and stock-breeding products (sugar, coffee, oranges, beef, poultry and soy), Brazil manufactures and exports many industrial products. The airplane, invented by Alberto Santos-Dumont (1873 - 1932), can be seen as one of Brazil’s most important inventions. Also some well known corporations have their home-base in Brazil. For example; Petrobras (oil and gas


Doing the deal, globally |36

giant), Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (world’s biggest mining company), banks such as Itau-Unibanco, Bradesco, Banco do Brasil and Caixa, iron-ore producer CVRD together with jet manufacturer Embrear and Avibras (aeroespacial). Brazil’s main business areas are concentrated in the South. Industrial production is particularly located in São Paulo. One of the world’s most famous events is Carnival in Rio (end of February - beginning of March). As with elsewhere in the world, Brazil has several national holidays such as Good Friday, Easter, Labour Day and so on. Other country-specific events include; Washing of the Steps of Bonfim Church (3rd Thursday in January), Founding of Rio de Janeiro Day (January 20) and Founding of São Paulo Day (January 25).

Governmental points of interest

Brazil is a federal republic of 26 states. The seat of government is Brasilia, with Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva being the current president. Brazilians have had the right to vote since 1989 and elections are held every four years. The country’s legal system is mainly dysfunctional in dealing with corruption problems. The crime rate is high, mainly due to drugs businesses and high unemployment rates. Brazil is a member of several market groups: Mercosur (Southern Cone Common Market), LAIA (Latin American Integration Association), UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) and WTO (World Trade Organization). In the 1990s the country introduced the liberalization of commerce, which has led to an increase in international trade. Important economic sectors were privatized and the country’s production and distribution became more efficient. However, Brazil levies several import rates and imposes other import barriers. The tax system is complex and for the average company in Brazil taxes can add up to around 71% of profits. These high taxes are a major disadvantage for businesses compared with other countries.

Religious/philosophical influences

Brazil has a large diversity of religions. Around 70% of people are Catholic and there are other churches such as Protestant, Pentecostal, Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran and Baptist. There are followers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, small groups of Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and followers of the Candomble and Umbanda religions. The reason for all these different religions is the diversity of immigrants who came to Brazil in the past. Candomblé and Umbanda, were brought by slaves shipped from Africa to Brazil. Now Umbanda followers leave offerings of food, candles and flowers for their spirits. Candomblé is, for example, practiced in festivals in the Northeast.


Brazil |37

Language

Most people in Latin American countries speak Spanish. Brazil, on the other hand, distinguishes itself by the fact that almost all of its inhabitants speak Portuguese. Naturally there are some exceptions, for example, Arawak, Carib, Gê and Tupí is spoken amongst Indian groups. Brazilian Portuguese varies from European Portuguese in its different vocabulary and pronunciation. The Roman alphabet is used, generally, however, without the letters K, W and Y. The letters Á, À, Ã, Â, Ç, Ê, É, Í, Õ, Ô, Ó, Ú, Ü are used, but not specifically mentioned in the alphabet itself. English is spoken fluently by only a few Brazilian business people.

Country specific communication

Personal relationships are considered important when doing business in Brazil. Brazilians aim for a long term business relationship and will not conduct business before they have met their business partners and have formed a relationship with them. Therefore, it is important to make a good first impression. They are usually ready to do business after two or three visits. As a communication method, people in Brazil prefer face-to-face meetings. They will begin with small talk to get to know one another and then get down to business later on. When a relationship has been established, a gift can be given to emphasize the new relationship. The gift should not be too expensive though, for this could be interpreted as bribery. There are no strict rules when it comes to manner of conversation. Everyone is allowed to express their opinion and communication is often informal. In Brazil gestures are used excessively during conversation and emotions are shown publicly. Brazilians have small personal comfort zones and during conversations people stand close together. When men greet, they use a handshake or an embrace, while women greet with an air kiss. You should maintain eye contact when shaking hands as well as during conversation. When greeting a group, it is expected that you shake hands with everybody in the group, both at the beginning and end of the conversation. Brazilians have an indirect communication style. They do not want you or themselves to lose face, which is why they will not criticize their business partners directly. During trade, it is appreciated if you stay calm and reasonable and it is important to work in a respectful way by showing good manners and being well dressed. If you show interest in the people around you, loyalty and kindness will be given to you in return.


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Listening styles

Brazilians have a relatively short attention span. They are merely focused on their own contribution to a conversation and often interrupt each other. They neither listen very efficiently to their interlocutor nor are they very interested in facts. They pay more attention to appearances in order to assess if the interlocutor could be a potential business partners.

Argumentation styles

Brazilians are interested in details and backgrounds. In large companies arguments are clarified with facts, but in small organizations it is also common to give arguments based on feelings. They have a temperamental argumentation style in which they put forward their statements passionately and often interrupt each other. They are not fond of making concessions and they only do so when they absolutely have to. Brazilians are keen on discussions and will not evade them.

Decision styles

Final decisions are made by the person with the highest authority, but lower ranked employees are involved in decision making as well and can influence the decision maker if they have work experience and prominent connections. However, they have to do this in private to prevent face-losing situations. Frequently, your business partner does not have the authority to make the final decision on his own, but the decision will be made behind closed doors. The decision making process can be lengthy, because many parties at different levels are involved. Therefore, it can take a while before a decision is made. Decisions are not made on the basis of rules and laws, but rather on personal feelings, intuitions and experiences. Brazilians are tough negotiators and do not hesitate to reject a business offer. You should include a considerable margin in your initial offer, so there is some room to make concessions. There may be a difference of 40% between the initial offer and the final agreement.

Management or hierarchy characteristics

There are many family-owned companies in Brazil with a top-down leadership style and a strict hierarchy. Nepotism is common and it is difficult for nonfamily members to obtain a leadership position. However nowadays, more large companies have changed to a business style in which promotion is based on educational level and performance. Most management positions are executed by men, but the number of women is increasing. Status in the business culture is determined by social class, money, education and family background. This applies not only to Brazilians but also to the foreign business partner. Therefore, you will make a better impression if you dress well, show intellectual interest and stay in a first class hotel.


Brazil |39

Value systems

If we look at the Hofstede cultural dimensions chart Brazil is almost equal to other Latin countries. The highest score for Brazil is the Uncertainty Avoidance at 76. This means that the country has a low level of tolerance toward uncertainty. To minimize this level, rules, laws, policies and regulations are implemented. The goal is to control everything in order to take away or avoid the unexpected. The result of this high Uncertainty Avoidance is that the people do not accept change and do not want to take risks.

Negotiation teams

Brazilian meetings tend to be a little chaotic and people interrupt each other constantly. Everybody in the meeting comes up with new ideas and tries to please the team by letting them know what they want to hear. They will often say that they have the solution to the problems when in reality this is not always the case. They will begin a first meeting on a new project very enthusiastically but they have problems staying motivated all the way to the end which can result in unfinished projects.

Contracts, legal concepts

Brazilians will spend a long time checking the details of a contract. When you do business with Brazilians they are not always the one who will have the authority to make the final decision. The decisions are made by the highest ranking person. It is important for foreign businessmen to bring local lawyers and accountants to a business deal instead of their own people. If you use non-local professionals it may be interpreted as mistrust and you could offend them. Besides, if a problem occurs, a local professional will usually find a way around it. Brazilians do not usually sign documents immediately after parties have reach an agreement but are prepared to sign later. A written agreement is not always binding and it may possibly change from the originally agreed version. In other countries signed contracts are binding and business begins when a contract is signed. In Brazil a contract can be revised and changed and deadlines can also change.

Use of time

Office hours: Average office hours in Brazil are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with an hour or two for lunch. Businesses in Brazil are usually open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Larger businesses can be open longer hours. Gastronomic timing: Brazilians love chatting (bate-papo) and spending time with each other. They do this often during lunches or coffee breaks. Coffee is usually served before or during a meeting. They usually eat a light breakfast between 7 and 9 a.m. and lunch starts around 2 p.m.. Dinner starts after 7 p.m..


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Punctuality: Brazilians are not always punctual but this should not be interpreted as rude; they see time as something outside their control. Punctuality and strictly scheduled business meetings are not common. Brazilians are not lazy but have a different approach to strict time schedules. Busy traffic and long meetings are usual causes of delay, so showing up late to a business appointment is not usually a major issue in Brazil. Duration: Brazilians take their time in business meetings, and negotiations can take much longer than others are used to. They often delay or cancel meetings. Meetings can be scheduled for after 6 p.m. Fast facts Federative Republic of Brazil

RepĂşblica Federativa do Brasil

Population

192.719.000

Area

30.528 m²

Export

Top-5 trade partners

1. Europe 25,1% 2. Latin America 24% 3. Asia-Pacific 17,5% 4. North America 14,6% 5. Other countries 9,2%

Import

1. Europe 24% 2. Asia-Pacific 22,1% 3. Latin America 16,8% 4. North America 16,6% 5. Africa and the Middle East 12,5% Official languages

Portuguese

Currency

Real (R$ - BRL)

Time zone

(UTC) Universal Time, Coordinated

Licence plate code

BR

Internet, e-mail

.br

Calling code

+55


Brazil |41

Most widely known foreign languages First foreign language

English

-

Second foreign language

Spanish

-

Third foreign language

Italian

-

Value facts Ease of doing business

129

Enforcing contracts

100

Getting credit

87

Trading across borders

100

Corruption perception

75

Achievement orientation

49

Hierarchy acceptance

69

Individualism

38

Women empowerment

82


Photography: Alexander Rist

42


43

China Khadija Amhaouach, Melanie van Engel & Jeffrey Vogel


Photography: Daniel Cubillas

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China |45

China 中國 China is the world’s third-largest country in area after Canada and the Russian Republic with a surface area of 9,597,00 km2. China has an interesting culture and a long history. The economy is one of the fastest growing in the world. By entering the World Trade Organisation China has accomplished a lot over the last past years.

Demographics

With a population of 1.338.612.968 billion people (July 2009 est.), China has the largest population in the world. They represent one-fifth of the global total. 72.1% of Chinese people are 15-64 years of age, 19.8% are 0-14 years old and 8.1% are 65 and over. 53.53% of the Chinese population is male and 48.47% is female. An imbalance between men and woman has been created by the ‘one-child’ policy. During that time there was a stronger preference for boys. To neutralise the imbalance China has to attract (foreign) woman so that men will stay in China and not leave the country to seek women elsewhere. China distinguishes around 56 ethnic groups. Han Chinese are the largest ethnic group and make up approximately 92% of the population. The major groups after that are the Zhuang, Manchu, Miao, Hui, Uygur, Tibetan, Mongol, Yoa, and Korean. Shanghai has the biggest population; at least 11.799.900 million people live there, followed by: • Beijing - 8.260.200 million, • Guangzhou - 6.743.900 million, • Chongqing - 6.085.800 million, • Tianjin - 5.876.600 million.

Brief history

China has a hugely influential and long history, therefore only important changes linked to the business world will be discussed in this chapter. Chinese business, food, culture, herbs and movies are appreciated everywhere around the world today. China has added power to its economic transformation by welcoming foreign investment. The open-door policy has led to foreign trade and direct foreign investment in the country, creating more jobs. It links the Chinese economy with international markets. Most Chinese are wage earners who live and work within the framework of large bureaucratic organisations. Personal life is not more secure than in the past, but it is more predictable and susceptible to rational planning. There are differences in income and opportunities between organisations. An individual’s standard of living and opportunities for mobility depend on the organisation for which he works. Since the Cultural Revolution there has been a drive for increased equality and solidarity within organizations.


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Business background

After the reforms of 1978 China developed a rapidly growing economy. In the last 30 years there has been a shift in the economic system. China has moved the economy from being centrally-planned to a more market-oriented economy. The GDP has quadrupled during that time. According to World Bank criteria, approximately 160 million Chinese people live in absolute poverty. The government is aware of the growing difference between rich and poor and wants to give the country a positive boost by creating better conditions for farmers and developing tax-reforms. China invests mainly in social security and infrastructure. Important trade-countries bordering China include Russia, Mongolia, Vietnam and North-Korea. China’s major exports include machinery, transport equipment, clothing, textiles, mineral fuels and toys. Imports include plastics, iron, steel, chemicals and mineral fuels. Agriculture is the leading industry in China; rice is the main cash-earner, but tea, sugar and fibre are important as well. Other big industries in China are coal oil production, textiles, chemicals, processed food, electronics, mineral mining and toys. China is also the world’s largest consumer and producer of cotton. The automobile industry is emerging as an important economic player, China has the largest car market. The sector that outshines others is the service sector. Banks orientate themselves more commercially thus increasing their capital.

Governmental points of interest

The largest ethnic group in China are those of Han Chinese origin, a society under communist rule. Despite the growing influence of capitalism, China can still be considered a country with communist values, aiming for modernisation without the major influences of westernisation. There are three major hierarchies in China: The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the government and the military. The current President is Hu Jintao, the Vice President is Xi Jinping, the Premier of the State Council is Wen Jiabao and the Executive Vice Premier of the State Council is Li Keqiang. China has nearly always been in the hands of dictators; control has always been top down. A Chinese leader is to be respected and his decisions are not to be questioned. A title is not as important as personal connections and seniority, which is why rank is awarded by age and long term commitment. Religious/philosophical influences There are many deeply religious Chinese people, following a wide diversity of religions. The three main religions are Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. There is also a significant number of Muslims (approx. 20-30 million) in the western part of China. The number of Christians is unknown.


China |47

Buddhism reached China in the first century BC. Buddhists around the world have developed a variety of religious rituals, but they all share a great respect for the teachings of the Buddha (also called ‘The Enlightened One’). Meditation and withdrawal into the temple are considered by the Chinese Buddhist to be a ways to seek truth. Taoism is based on the writings of Lao Tzu, teacher of the Tao Te Ching. The philosophy behind this religion is ‘live and let live’. Taoism advises its followers to find harmony and self-fulfilment by letting nature take its course. Remaining humble, passive and non-aggressive are qualities that Taoism urges. This religion has also influenced the West, especially in martial arts like Tai Chin and in alternative medicine. Confucianism may be considered a way of life. Confucians believe it is important to honour one another. Social order, harmony and moral principles are considered traditional values.

Language

Before the collapse of the Qing dynasty, the Chinese language was more linguistically diverse than almost all of the European languages combined. But after the collapse the Chinese decided to unite their country by a common language. This uniting language is now the standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua) based on the Beijing dialect. Nevertheless, there are eight other different linguistic groups in China, including Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minnan (Hokkien- Taiwanese), Xiang and Hakka dialects. The same written Chinese characters are used throughout China, but pronunciation differs between dialects. The essential meaning of the characters, however, remains much the same.

Country specific communication

Working successfully with the Chinese means understanding the complex networking system that governs all business deals and the idea of ‘face’, which is central to the Chinese mindset. There is no point trying to impose Western values and methods in China. To get along there, the visitor must embrace Chinese culture and learn to understand the system in such areas as meeting protocol, etiquette, listening styles and argumentation styles in order to maximise the potential of their business trip.


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Winning the respect of the Chinese is one of the most important factors in making a good impression and building relationships. Building a friendship has to come before business can be done; trust has to exist before a deal can be made. To achieve an understanding of what makes the Chinese mind tick and how to get a job done, you must accept hospitality by joining in with events such as drinking sessions and dinners. Another important point: try not make a Chinese person lose face by discussing topics such as human rights issues or the growing capitalist culture in Chinese cities. This may affect your business deal because Chinese people are very sensitive and may feel insulted. China is known as a culture of etiquette and ceremonies. There are some important things you should know during a business meal or meeting. The Chinese prefer to entertain in public places rather than in their homes, especially when entertaining foreigners. If you are invited to a home, consider it a great honour. Make sure you always arrive on time or early if you are the guest. Business meals with the Chinese are a way to connect with your clients. Bring a small gift to the hostess (e.g. pens or souvenirs). Table manners: • The guest of honour will be given a seat facing the door, • The host starts eating first, • Do not be offended if a Chinese person makes slurping or belching sounds; it merely indicates that they are enjoying their food, • Do not start to eat or drink prior to the host and you should taste all the dishes you are offered as a cultural courtesy, • The Chinese do not discuss business at meals, • It is perfectly acceptable to ask for knives and forks although only a spoon may be available, • Table manners are more relaxed in China than in the west, but follow the example of others at the table for your own comfort. Behaviour tips: • Try not to use large hand movements; the Chinese do not speak with their hands, • Try to avoid physical contact. It is highly inappropriate for a man to touch a woman in public, • Do not use your finger to point; use an open palm.


China |49

Negotiation teams

The Chinese are brought up in a group-oriented culture, making it natural for them to negotiate in groups. When a Chinese negotiation team enters the room expect them to enter in hierarchical order; the most senior person will take the lead and will speak throughout the meeting. He or she is not to be contradicted by other members of the team while speaking. The same is expected of the opposing party. There is one spokesperson, who is also not to be contradicted during the meeting. Shake hands when introduced. Eye contact and a slight bow of the head are appreciated. The first greeting should be directed to the most senior person of the opposite group; line up your group, also by seniority, so that it is clear how everyone fits into the business. One-to-one meetings are somewhat unusual in China; it is very common to meet as a delegation. The Chinese will form a team for a meeting equal in numbers to their counterparts.

Business communications

Punctuality is vital in China. Lateness gives an impression of disinterest. Bowing or nodding is the common greeting, however you may be offered a handshake. Wait for the Chinese to offer their hand first. Introductions are formal, so use formal titles. Chinese people often use nicknames to assist Westerners. Make sure you bring several copies of all written documents to your meetings. Never lose sight of the fact that communication is official, especially when dealing with someone of a higher rank. Treating them too informally, especially in front of their peers, may well ruin a potential deal. During the decision process you must be patient; the decision-making process is slow. You should not expect to conclude your business quickly. Do not rush the deal; many Chinese want to consult before they make a decision. At the end of the meeting you may present or receive a business card which should be carried in a small card case. Finally, allow the Chinese to leave the meeting room first.

Contracts, legal concepts

Making contact and negotiating with Chinese partners requires a good deal of patience, thoroughness and tact. The Chinese are reliable, but hard and tough negotiators but everything is possible in China if you are willing to work for it. The Chinese are charmed by a vague contract that they can adjust later. Contracts should be approved by a number of other important people or organizations before being given the green light. It could take months or even years before a contract is established; the person one negotiates with is rarely the one with final authorisation.


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Communication is often a problem because of the language. To avoid misunderstanding it is recommended to use an interpreter who understands Chinese culture. Write down what is said during a meeting and thank the other party for their attention, time and opinions. Do not expect a quick decision; closing a deal could take many rounds of negotiations. The final decision on a proposal will probably be made at a private meeting behind closed doors and returned to the negotiating table later.

Use of time

Office hours: Working hours are from Monday to Friday; most people do not work at the weekends. Banking hours are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.. They work on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.. Keep in mind that some of banks are closed on Mondays. Office hours vary according to season and location, but normally open from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and then again from 1.30 p.m. to 5 p.m.. Stores are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.. Government institutions are open from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.. Gastronomic planning: A long-term personal relationships is of great value in China. Most Chinese invite their business associates to a dinner party at their first meeting. Although breakfast, morning tea and lunch also take place, evening banquets are still the most common meals. Keep in mind that these banquets are abundant, so brace yourself for this. A banquet menu consist of many courses. The Chinese are known for their exotic dishes, so if you are not that adventurous make sure to give your host a plausible excuse before dinner starts, so that the host does not lose face. Chopsticks are used at meals; if you are unaccustomed to them, do not be too shy to ask for a knife and fork. Lunch is usually taken between 12 a.m. and 2 p.m.. Business dinners are frequently scheduled between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.. Punctuality: The Chinese have a different perspective on time to westerners; there is not the same rush to get things done. However, it is important to be on time for pre-arranged meetings or appointments. Punctuality shows respect and is considered a sign of seriousness. Dress formally, a suit and tie is common business dress for men. Trouser suits and dresses are standard for women. Avoid excessive jewellery and heavy perfumes. Duration: Do not expect quick answers in Chinese meetings and negotiations; the Chinese can take an extremely long time to decide whether a deal is going to be accepted or declined. Long-term relationships are of enormous value in China, therefore a business-trip to China can take longer than it might in a western country. The Chinese to not decide on a deal directly; it has to pass several other important people in an organization before being given the green light. So keep this in mind while booking a flight to China.


China |51

Fast facts China

People’s Republic of China (中國)

Population

1.338.612.968 (2009)

Area

East-Asia

Export

Top-5 trade partners

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

United States ( 220.8 billion $) Hongkong (166.2 billion $) Japan (97.9 billion $) South Korea ( 53.7 Billion $) Germany (49.9 billion $)

Import 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Japan (130.9 billion $) South Korea ( 102.6 billion $) Taiwan (85.7 billion $) Unites States (77.4 billion $) Germany (55.8 billion $)

Official languages

Chinese

Currency

Renminbi (CNY)

Time zone

(+8)

Licence plate code

CHN

Internet, e-mail

.cn

Calling code

86

Value facts Ease of doing business

3

Enforcing contracts

3

Getting credit

4

Trading across borders

2

Corruption perception

3.6

Achievement orientation

50

Hierarchy acceptance

80

Individualism

10


Photography: Orlando Pinto

52


53

Czech Republic Rosina Bassaur & Sylvia van Laar


Photography: Cop Richard

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Czech Republic |55

Czech Republic The Czech Republic was part of Czechoslovakia until 1993. It was a Czech, the chemist Otto Wichterle, who invented the soft contact lens in 1959. The language is the oldest cultural language of all European countries and also remarkable is the fact that Czech people are estimated to be the world’s heaviest consumers of beer.

Demographics

The Czech Republic covers an area of 78,866 square kilometre and is located in central Europe. The Czech Republic is bounded by Slovakia, Austria, Poland and Germany. The population was 10,211,904 in 2009. About 70% of Czechs live in the larger cities of the Czech Republic. 71% of inhabitants are in the 15-64 year age group; 13.6% are aged 0-14 years and 15.4%. are over 65+. 90.4%. of Czech Republic inhabitants are of Czech origin. Ethnic minorities include Moravians, Slovaks, Russians, Bulgarians, Croatians, Greeks and Romanians.

Brief history

The Czech Republic has a long and intense history. It was a growing democracy under the leadership of Jan Masaryk until1938. However, from that year the country declined after German and Russian invasion and occupation between 1945 and 1989. The communist coup of 1948 ended democracy and communists ruled Czechoslovakia for almost 42 years until 1989 when the communist government resigned and a new government was formed. The period between communist downfall and the recovery of democracy is known as the Velvet Revolution. In 1993 Czechoslovakia was separated into two countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. On 1 May 2004 the Czech Republic joined the European Union which gave the country more opportunities to flourish.

Business background

Association with the European Union in 2004 gave the Czech Republic good impetus for business growth. The Czech Republic’s central European position also gives it an advantage. Entering the European Union encouraged the Czech government to renew and improve its laws and regulations to become more in line with European standards. Foreign countries regard the Czech Republic as an attractive country for investment. The most important import and export partners are Germany, Slovakia and Poland. The economy shows an annual growth of 6 percent due to its membership of the European Union. The most important labour forces in the Czech Republic are in Services and Industry. Nevertheless unemployment is still high, at around 9%. One of the most famous inventions by the Czech people is the soft contact lens. This invention was developed by Otto Wichterle. He was a Czech chemist. Czech beer is also one of the best-known


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and most requested beers worldwide. One of those is Budweiser Budvar. Furthermore, the Czech automobile manufacturer Ĺ koda is one of the four manufacturers worldwide with more than 100 years of experience.

Languages

The official language of the Czech Republic is Czech, a Western Slavonic language related to Slovak, Polish and Sorbian. In medieval times, Czech was one of the most important international languages, in the way that English is today. Ninety-five percent of the total Czech population speak Czech, 3% of the population speak Slovak and 2% of the population speak Czech but are also mother tongue speakers of Polish, German, Hungarian or Romani.

Government

The Czech Republic is a parliamentary democracy. Political power is divided into legislative, executive and judicial areas. There are over 80 political parties of which 10 are active within the Parliament. The Parliament consists of two chambers, the House of Parliament and the Senate. From the age of 18 every Czech is entitled to vote for candidates of the House of Parliament and the Senate. The 200 members who form the House of Parliament have been elected by the Czechs. Members are re-elected every four years. A new Czech Government is established on the basis of the results of these elections. The objective of the Czech Government is to encourage everyone within the Republic to feel at home in the country, regardless of their origin.

Religion

The Czech Republic’s democratic system entitles citizens to freedom of belief. Religious attitudes in the Czech Republic are now very relaxed. Roman Catholicism is the one belief that prevails the most. Nevertheless, more than half of the population is unaffiliated to any main religion.

Country specific communication

The communication style of the Czechs is quite direct, but at the same time reserved. They are modest in their communication towards others. Czechs act in a direct way, although they do not want to answer negatively. As a result they will react evasively in situations where they may have to answer negatively. First greetings with Czech business partners are most important. Direct eye contact and a determined handshake give an honest and upright impression. This will establish trust between parties. The use of formal titles during conversations and in writing is highly important. The unauthorised use of first names


Czech Republic |57

may be seen as an insult unless prior approval has been given. It is not usual to exchange gifts in a business setting. It is not recommended to bring gifts to a first meeting, because it can make motives seem questionable. Close physical contact will not be appreciated. Before going into business, first talk about beer, cottages, travelling and sports. Exchanging business cards is recommended at the beginning of the meeting, preferably printed with any academic title.

Listening styles

Czechs are good listeners and they are polite. They will only interrupt a speaker when it is highly necessary. Confrontations are avoided and they give little feedback. They may appear evasive during discussions. If they do not agree with a point they may respond ironically or a bit sarcastically.

Argumentation style

Czechs often have a systematic and strategic way to prepare for negotiation and collecting information. In negotiations they strive to solve problems together with their counterparts. Czechs prefer arguments based on theory that can be backed up with examples. Furthermore, Czechs are not great bargainers and they will even be offended if an offer starts at a price way out of the target range of the negotiation.

Decision styles

Czechs are characteristically conservative and cautious, due in part to repression during the communist regime. Czechs avoid confrontations and have an aversion to saying ‘no’. They are indirect when turning down an agreement. They will not rush into making decisions. Decisions are only made by top management. However, the younger generation has a different approach. They are becoming more decisiveness and assertive nowadays. The decision-making process carries on even after working hours and a counterpart is likely to be tested even while having a drink. Attempts will be made to find hidden agendas and sub-textual intensions. Czechs are entrepreneurs, but they are still cautious about all decisions. Czechs calculate risks and benefits accurately before making a final decision. When a decision carrying many risks is required of them, they will want guarantees and warranties.


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Management or hierarchy characteristics

Czech’s company culture is known for their hierarchical relationships. The largest gap between management and their subordinates are found in government departments and traditional companies. However, in modern organizations Czech managers are beginning to get used to Western management styles. Managers in modern businesses have a more hands-on mentality and are more goaloriented. They even are beginning to delegate more power.

Value systems

One of the most important values in the Czech Republic is the polite and humble way of living. Indirect communication is necessary to maintain a certain level of politeness and to avoid confrontations. There is a difference in use of formal and informal language. Family is one of the most important aspects in the Czech Republic. Family ties are very close and more deeply rooted than many other countries. The Czech Republic is a structured society which follows rules and regulations, because the Czechs want to avoid uncertainty. They try to plan as much as possible. Business culture works best with practical approaches and forward thinking.

Negotiation teams

Generally it is the decision maker or the eldest person who conducts the negotiation. It is unusual to send a whole team to negotiate.

Contracts, legal concepts

Legal contracts are quite long, containing detailed terms and conditions. A signed contract is an agreement between a Czech partner and counterpart but this contract is not final. A contract is more a declaration of the Czech’s intent and it is assumed that the conditions will be changed during the collaboration. Unfamiliarity with Czech laws and regulations make it crucial to have a Czech consultant to read the contract before signing it. However, it is inappropriate to bring along a legal representative to a negotiating meeting. The Czech will think they are being mistrusted.


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Use of time

Office hours: Office hours in the Czech Republic are normally from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.. People in small businesses tend to work longer hours each day. For many Czechs it is common to start work earlier, around 7 a.m. or 8 a.m.. Most offices close on Friday afternoon. Opening hours of shops in the larger cities are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and banks are open from 8 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m.. Gastronomic timing: Breakfast meetings are not currently popular. It is more common to arrange meetings during lunch or dinner. Lunch is generally served between 12 a.m. and 2 p.m.. Dinner starts from 6.30 p.m.. Punctuality: Arrival for meetings should be punctual. It is not advisable to make appointments on Friday afternoons because many Czechs are visit their country cottage or pursue other leisure activities. Czechs do not mind late arrival to a party; 10 to 15 minutes after the agreed time is acceptable. Duration: Expect negotiations to be slow and extensive and, in the beginning, comprehensive. It could be the case that business deals take more of one’s accustomed time and patience and could stretch over several meetings before closure.


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Fast facts Czech Republic

Česká republika

Population

10512397

Area

30.528 m²

Export

Top-5 trade partners

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Germany 30,6% Slovakia 9,2% Poland 6,5% France 5,3% UK 4,8%

Import 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Germany 30,3% Slovakia 6,6% Poland 6,4% Russia 6,2% Netherlands 5,6%

Official languages

Czech, Slovak

Currency

Koruna česká (Kč - CZK)

Time zone

Central European Time

Licence plate code

CZ

Internet, e-mail

.cz

Calling code

+420


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Most widely known foreign languages First foreign language

German

28%

Second foreign language

English

24%

Third foreign language

Russian

20%

Value facts Ease of doing business

74

Enforcing contracts

82

Getting credit

43

Trading across borders

53

Corruption perception

52

Achievement orientation

57

Hierarchy acceptance

57

Individualism

58

Women empowerment

36


Photography: Martin Boulanger

62


63

Denmark Olaf Sassen & Kevin Lagas


Photography: Martin Boulanger

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Denmark |65

Denmark Denmark’s national anthem, “Der er et yndigt land” (“There is a lovely land”) describes exactly how Danish people feel about their country; a feeling confirmed by researchers at the Britain’s University of Leicester who developed a “World Map of Happiness” in 2006. They found that Denmark was the happiest nation in the world. This top ranking position was due to Denmark’s small population and a high level of health, wealth and easy access to good education. Business magazine “Forbes” announced in 2008 that Denmark has the best business climate in the world. In the light of such positive information, it would seem that Denmark must be a pleasant county in which to do business. Or are there other considerations to be taken into account?

Demographics

Denmark is officially one of three countries of the Scandinavia region. It is located in the northern region of Europe and is bordered by land to the south with Germany and to the north with Sweden and Norway. Denmark is a peninsula bordering both the Baltic and the North Seas and consists of 406 islands, the most notable of which are Zealand, Bornholm, Lolland, Funen, Vendesyssel-Thy and Falster. The country covers 43.000 km² and has a population of approximately 5.5 million with an urbanization level of 87% The capital of Denmark, Copenhagen, located in the east, has a population of 500.000. Other major cities include Århus, Odense and Aalborg. The working population in Denmark is 65,8% and is divided into 1,817,800 male and 1,798,964 female workers. Denmark’s working population is slightly lower than the average percentage in the European Union (67.22%). According to the “GDP per capita in purchasing power standards” statistic of Eurostat, Denmark had a PPS rate of 120,1% in 2008 and ranked 6th in comparison with other European countries.

Brief history

During the 8th -11th centuries Denmark was a superpower. Danish Vikings travelled long distances by ship and explored the whole of western and southern Europe. During this period the small islands of Denmark battled against each other for power. This came to an end in 900 A.D. when “Gorm the Old” united all the islands. He was the founder of the Danish kingdom “Dannevirke” (Denmark). In 1397 Denmark merged with Norway and Sweden. The union with Sweden lasted until 1523. Denmark broke away from Norway in 1814. Denmark had had enough of making war and wanted to remain neutral, an aim in which they succeeded until after the 1st World War. However, Denmark was occupied by Nazi Germany during the 2nd World War. After the War several counties, including Denmark, formed NATO and on 1 January 1973 Denmark joined the European Union.


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Business background

Traditionally Denmark is an agricultural country. There is little industry that is not often closely linked to agriculture (dairies, breweries and canneries). Denmark is also a major producer of machinery and furniture. Danish furniture factories are world famous for their emphasis on quality and tasteful design, especially china and glassware from Copenhagen. Denmark is also famous for “Legoland” in Billung, home of the toy building bricks. Lego’s theme park attracts 1.7 million visitors annually. According to “Forbes Global 2000” list, the top-5 biggest companies in Denmark are: Maersk (transportation), Danske Bank Group (banking), TDC Group (telecommunication services), Novo Nordisk (Drugs & Biotechnology), Carlsberg (Brewery).

Governmental points of interest

Denmark is one of the oldest monarchies in the world. Democracy was introduced into the constitution on 5 June 1849. All men and women aged 18 years are eligible for election and to vote for the “Folketing” (the Parliament of Denmark). The parliament only consists of the Senate with 179 members, including two members who represent the Faroe Islands and two who represent Greenland. Despite its membership of the EU, Denmark rejected the adoption of the euro, although the Danish currency (the crown) is linked to the European currency. The last election was held on 13 November 2007. The election outcome formed a Senate (the 66th Folketing) in which Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen returned as prime minister for a third term, leading a coalition government of Liberals and Conservative people’s parties with parliamentary support from the Danish People’s party. The main governmental points of interest are welfare, taxes, immigration, and the health system.

Religious/philosophical influences

83% of Danish people belong to the “Folkekirken”, the established EvangelicalLutheran Church, but there are also small minorities of other religious practitioners, such as Protestants, Roman Catholics and Muslims and many Danes are what could be called “cultural Christians”, in the sense that they identify themselves as Christian but do not really or actively believe in any god.

Language

Three languages are used in Denmark; Greenlandic, Danish and Faroese. The last two belong to the Germanic family of Indo-European languages. Danes, Norwegians and Swedes can read and understand each other’s languages and among themselves they use a “lingua franca” known as Skandinavisk. English is the predominant second language and German is also spoken in the south of Denmark.


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Country specific communication

Danish is the country’s official language, but most business people in Denmark also speak English. However, jargon and slang is to be avoided. Danes usually speak in quiet, gentle tones. They consider it rude to interrupt others. Restaurant conversation is kept at low volumes and Danes do not like discussing business while dining. When meeting Danes it is usual to greet the women first with a hand shake then the men similarly, maintaining eye contact and smiling. Danes usually introduce themselves by their first name. They shake hands again when saying goodbye. Danes are not open to showing emotions and a period of silence is not necessarily seen as negative. However, Danes are very direct and open, especially when it comes to sharing opinions, concerns and feelings. They dislike vague statements. They have no problem with saying no when they dislike a proposal or request. Danish people avoid physical contact. Eye contact is very important as it helps to build trust. Danes always exchange business cards on which they expect to see the physical address of a company rather than a post office box number. Appointments always need to be made and a confirmation of the appointment by letter is recommended.

Listening styles

Danes are good listeners and will always be interested in a good proposal. They will pay close, uninterrupted attention to a presentation if it is well-organized and factual, using figures and charts to back up statements and conclusions.

Argumentation styles

Danes are problem-solving oriented and want the best solution for themselves and their business partners. They will always try to reach a win-win situation. They are usually open to compromising if it helps to move the negotiations forward.

Decision styles

Danes are fast decision makers. Most of the time the principal decision maker is the senior negotiating participant. The company’s top management also has to approve major transactions. Managers usually ask their team members for their opinions and feelings while making decisions and when a decision is made it can be difficult to change.

Management or hierarchy characteristics

In Denmark it is normal to delegate authority to lower levels. Decisions will often be made by consensus of a group of managers.


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Value systems

Danish value systems are exemplified in the Hofstede value survey model which measures four characteristics: individualism, uncertainty avoidance, power distance and masculinity. Danes are highly individual, they can make individual decisions and actions that are widely accepted and encouraged by society. Danes are not afraid to take risks. They have a small power distance, which means there is not a strong hierarchy in most companies. Top management delegate some decisions to lower levels. Women are highly respected in Danish business and generally receive equal pay and have equal access to senior positions.

Contracts, legal concepts

Danish verbal agreements are considered binding and will probably be adhered to. Nevertheless, they should not be considered final. Only a final contract signed by both parties constitutes a binding agreement. Written contracts are very important in Denmark. Not only from the legal perspective but also as a strong confirmation of a business partner’s commitment. Contract changes requested after signing will be met with difficulty and may be considered a sign of bad faith. Danes like contracts to be concise without too many legalistic details.

Use of time

Most Danish employees work a 37-hour week. Offices are usually open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.. Danes do not like meetings after 4:00 p.m. Danes prefer breakfast meetings. Many Danes often leave work earlier on Fridays, generally around 3:00 p.m.. Meetings are not planned on Saturdays, Sundays or holidays. Many Danes are on holiday from the end of June until the beginning of August. Danes generally expect visitors to be punctual and being late more then 10 or 15 minutes without a good excuse can be an offensive. A phone call is expected to explain any lateness likely to exceed 5 minutes.


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Fast facts Kingdom of Denmark

Kongeriget Danmark

Population

5,534,738

Area

43,098.31 km2

Top-5 trade partners

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Official languages

Danish

Currency

Danish krone (DKK)

Time zone

Central European Time

Licence plate code

DK

Internet, e-mail

.dk

Calling code

+45

Germany Sweden, United Kingdom Norway The Netherlands

Most widely known foreign languages First foreign language

English

86%

Second foreign language

German

58%

Third foreign language

French

12%

Value facts Ease of doing business

6

Enforcing contracts

28

Getting credit

15

Trading across borders

6

Corruption perception

9.3

Achievement orientation

16

Hierarchy acceptance

18

Individualism

74

Women empowerment

4


Photography: Niels Kolb

70


71

France Michiel Boerée  


Photography: Enrico Nunziati

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France |73

France France is Europe’s second largest country after Russia. It uses a more Latin management style with by the way a prominent amount of women in leading positions. Business communication distinguishes itself through many cultivated behavioural codes, which comes as no surprise, as the word ‘etiquette’ is of French origin.

Country specific communication

When you are going to communicate with the French, it is expected that you’re able to speak or at least understand the French language. If this is not the case, an apology for not knowing the French language will help to develop a relationship. One of the reasons for this is the French’s love for detailed discussions, which can get heated, but are kept civil. It’s custom to stand very close to each other while discussing, this is not considered threatening; though if you physically back off, it will be. Generally, the French will love talking about food, drinks and culture, especially that of France. The French have a preference for developing long-term relationships. Concentrated behaviour is essential during the earliest stages and when the relationship is properly maintained, the relationship will become more personal. During meetings, it’s customary to spend some time getting to know your colleagues, before discussing business. When addressing the French, shake hands and stay formal, unless invited to do otherwise. When you get an invitation for lunch, it’s recommended to accept, because it is the one of the best ways of making new business relationships and to improve existing ones. The French love the finer things in life, reflected in their general preference for quality.

Argumentation and listening styles

Before communicating in French, give them a measure in your mastery; if you’re having trouble, you’ll be helped out. The French, in general, value logic, tact and diplomacy during communication. Avoid being exaggerative and direct. During a conversation you’ll be closely listened to the contents of any argument, and be probed into, if these appear illogical or unclear. It is not necessary to be agreed upon, it is valued when people have a strong composure and you’ll be expected that you point out any illogical or vague details in their own arguments. If you are having a discussion with several Frenchmen, they might start speaking amongst themselves, this is to make sure everybody, on their side of the table, is on the same level of understanding. Though the above text might imply that the French are relaxed, the opposite is true. Your arguments will be interrupted if any flaws are noticed, and it can be quite difficult to keep up with the speed of the French language. It nevertheless pays off to stay concentrated on the arguments used.


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Decision styles

The French will rarely make decisions during negotiations or meetings. Meetings are considered as an opportunity to exchange information and discussing the reasoning of them. Decision-making is done by the senior executives of the company, based on what’s best for the organisation as a whole. During decisionmaking, every detail that has been addressed will be analysed so it will receive a correct follow up. As a consequence, it will take quite some time before you receive any form of answer or agreement.

Management or hierarchy characteristics

French companies are considered very (centrally) structured and organised, with a strong emphasize on rules and regulation. When assigned to a project, you’ll only receive the necessary information and participation in meetings. The organisations are also quite hierarchical; the highest executive of the company (le PDG) is always able to have the final word in the matter. In addition, managers will rarely be found in the same offices of their staff, the executives often even have their own company restaurant. Managers often consult with co-workers whose expertise is greater in a given area. When managing subordinates, they are very clear in giving orders, to which the staff quickly reacts; the French generally hate being told anything twice. Internal competition is heavy and decisions can often be based on the level of personal relationship.

Value systems

The French are a cultural refined people, which is reflected in their preference for the finer details, intellect and conversation. Conflict is often sought after, to test mettle and exchange new ideas. The French language is ideal for this purpose; if you do not pay enough attention to your conversation partner, you will easily miss out on important arguments, which results in being called ignorant. The level of education is very important, as it gives a direct measure of your intellectual level. If you are in possession of any titles, use them on your business cards. Clothing, taste and etiquette also envelop the French’s cultural refinement. Be sure to dress conservative, but give it flair through accessories. For men: always iron your shirt, steam your pants, polish your shoes, be clean-shaven, etc. the French have an eye for detail.

Negotiations teams

French meetings appear disordered; as there’s a lot of overlapping talking, with participants interrupting each other and people coming and going. It further can be seen that leaders can speak in long verbose monologues. Because of this, meetings are usually used to pass general information, to give out assignments or to invest in relations.


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Contracts, legal concepts

To constitute a binding agreement in French’s business culture, a final contract signed by both parties is key. The importance of a signed contract is not only a legal matter, but a political one as well; it confirms a commitment between partners. The contracts themselves are lengthy and spelled out in terms and conditions for core agreements and any eventualities. Before signing a contract, it’s wise to seek out legal consul, but do not bring a lawyer to the negotiations. Once signed, the French can be expected to honour the contract in full. However, when circumstances change, or now ideas emerge, they’ll be open-minded about revising the contract. Though the logic and argumentation of these revisions must surpass those that formed the base of the former contract.

Use of time

The French are not considered punctual, though this depends whether you’re in the Northern, or Southern part of France. The use of time is considered even more abstract in the Southern regions. A typical workday in France starts at 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., senior executives usually stay longer. This is to compensate the long lunches, which can easily last for two hours. Fast facts France

République française

Population

62.8 million

Area

551.500 km2

Average life expectancy

77,9 (male), 84,4 (female)

Official languages

French

Calling code

+33

Internet, e-mail

.fr

Time zone

UTC/GMT +1

GDP

$ 2,676 Trillion

Main trading partners

Belgium, Germany, Italy, UK


Photography: Eva Heinsbroek

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77

Hong Kong Farhana Faroque & Joey A-Tjak


Photography: Gregor Pogรถschnik

Doing the deal, globally |78


Hong Kong |79

Hong Kong 香港 Hong Kong is an amazing melting pot, where east meets west. During the 99 years when Britain ruled Hong Kong, it has developed itself combining the strengths from the East and West. In that way it is quite different from mainland China, of which it now is a region. This chapter tries to centre on the various aspects of negotiating with Hongkongers.

Background

Hong Kong has a thriving free-market economy. Since 1997 Hong Kong retains traditional Chinese cultural values, but at the same time they continue to drive forward with a western capitalist business mentality. It’s a region with few natural resources so trade has always been its lifeblood. Hong Kong has great trade and investment ties with China, serving as the world’s window on Chinese trade. But since the return to Chinese reign, economic ties have become stronger. There was a fear that Hong Kong would lose out when China became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, but this was not the case. Hong Kong is still seen as a gateway to China. As China loosens up the travel restrictions between the mainland and Hong Kong, tourists from the mainland are becoming the economy’s single largest source of growth.

Country specific communication

The people of Hong Kong behave in a dignified and courteous way. They don’t touch each other as much as westerners do, though they tend to stand quite close when talking. A slight bow of the head is appropriate when you greet your business partner. You beckon someone by raising your hand with the palm down, then move your fingers and hand towards you. You thank someone for pouring a drink by drumming your fingers a few times on the table. You request your bill by making a writing motion with your hand. You should not wink at someone, it is considered very rude. If someone sucks air through his teeth, it means that they are unhappy with what you just said. If possible, try to restate or alter your request. In Hong Kong, businesspeople answer their mobile phones all the time. Even in the middle of important discussions, but this is not a sign of disrespect. If you hear serious news, like a death in your family, someone may laugh. They do not mean this disrespectfully at all, but this is their way of covering up awkwardness. Women often cover their mouths when laughing as a slightly embarrassed gesture.


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Social interaction

Understanding the concept of ‘face’ (resting on reputation and status) is very important if you want to succeed in the business culture of Hong Kong. Making them loose face, even unintentionally, can be disastrous for business negotiations. Your actions do not only reflect on your company, but also on your family and any other groups which you are member of. You lose face if you become angry, irritable or upset. Be modest and positive and do not let conflict occur. Since they are so afraid of losing face and they do not want to disrespect you, they will often not tell you they did not understand what you said. Best is to ask them a strategic question to check if they understood you (without them knowing you are checking them). Frankness is not appreciated. Saying ‘no’ causes loss of face, disharmony and is considered rude. If they say things like ‘I will see what I can do’, it usually means no, but it leaves things open so you can reopen the issue at a later time. If they say something like ‘It is not convenient’, they mean they need time to obtain permission first. To a direct question, they may answer ‘yes’ only to show that they heard what you said, not that they agree with you. To minimize misinterpretations, you should pay close attention to facial expressions, gestures and overall body language. The handshake in Hong Kong is rather light. During the greeting, they tend to lower their eyes as a sign of respect. There is no need to imitate this gesture, but do not make prolonged eye contact. If you are in a high position, you may introduce yourself to other guests, otherwise it is polite to wait for your host to introduce you. When greeting a group of people, make sure you greet the most senior person first. Address your business partner by an honorific title and his or her surname. Some of your business partners adopt a more western name and may ask you to call them by that name. This way it is easier for foreigners to remember and pronounce. Business cards are essential in Hong Kong business life. It is best to have English on one side of your card and Chinese on the other. Make sure the Chinese side is written in ‘classical’ characters (the written form of Chinese used in Hong Kong). Do not use the ‘simplified’ characters which are used in the mainland. It is wise if you also put your logo on the card. The logo of a person or business has always been important in Chinese culture. It is the symbol of the firm and it may be more memorable than a name. When you are presented with a card do not put it in your pocket, but first examine it thoroughly. Place it in a card case and whatever you do, do not write on it! Business cards are offered and received with both hands. The Hong Kong business people have a long-term view on business relationships, so a personal relationship is important to them. It is essential to maintain the relationship. In the first meeting there may be some small talk. They want to get to know you better, so they feel comfortable enough to work with you. Do not be surprised if you are being asked some extremely personal questions. Business deals are often celebrated and new connections are often made over a meal. When the feast begins, be patient and wait for your host to tell you where to sit. There is often a seating plan. You can only start eating when the host tells you to or when he begins eating. Food is served on a revolving tray and you should try everything, but never take the last piece (this is impolite). Chopsticks should be returned to the chopstick rest if you stop eating for a moment. Do not be afraid to burp, it is considered a compliment. Refuse a second serving at least once if you do not want to appear greedy. When you are finished eating, leave a bit food in your bowl and place your chopsticks in the chopstick rest or on the table. Last but not least cover your mouth when using a toothpick.


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Fast facts Hong Kong

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (香港) Cantonese name: Hueng Gong Mandarin name: Xiang Gang

Time

GMT +8

Language

Chinese, English

Currency

Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) (bank notes and coins consist of: $1000, $500, $100, $50, $20, $10, $5, $2, $1, $50c, $20c and $10c)

GDP

HK$ 29.000

Top-5 trade partners

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Population

7,055,071 (density 6076.4/km2)

Ethnics

95% Cantonese, 5% other groups

Average age

34

Electricity

220 volt and 50hz

Religion

Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism

Government

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)

Constitution

Own basic law (based on the British system)

Papers

Chinese: Ming Pao, the Apple Daily and the Oriental Daily English: the South China Morning Post and the Standard

Mainland China 48,7% United States of America 8,3% Japan 6,7% Taiwan 4,5% Singapore 4,2%

Telephone Important cities in the area

Hong Kong (Victoria), Kowloon, Tsuen, Wan and Shatlin

Area

1104 km2, 426 sq miles


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Negotiation teams

It is very important to have a senior in your business team when you are going to Hong Kong. This is because they feel you disrespect them if you do not bring your ‘best man’ to the negotiation. Even if you are a young manager it is better to have a 50+ senior on your team. Age is an important factor in the authoritative structure and is given significance and respect. It is wise to fill your team with people from the same positions as the counter team in Hong Kong, as it will form a bond of trust. After a long trusting relationship where everyone is equal and everything in balance, highly classified information will be more easily shared. This is because they reflect their ways of thinking to Confucius.

Listening styles

Hong Kong people only want facts and for you to go straight to the case. They may interrupt you if the conversation is too slow. In Hong Kong (and many other Asian lands) silence is a form of communication. Try not to talk if your Hong Kong business colleague remains silent for a minute. If you are the one talking, do not be afraid of long silences. It is a sign to the them that you are thinking.

Argumentation styles

The Hong Kong businesspeople take a win-win approach on negotiating, because this is the best way for everyone to save face throughout the whole decision making process. The relationship must always stay intact throughout your negotiation. So it is best to remain calm, friendly, patient and persistent. Never take anything personally, even when they take on a quite aggressive style. Do not confuse this with bad intentions. Emphasizing the benefits from both sides, remaining flexible and showing willingness to compromise might have a positive effect on the negotiation. Show your commitment to the relationship and do not use logical reasoning or become argumentative. This will only make matters worse. Patience and creativity is very appreciated.

Decision styles

In the western culture businessmen like to do business with logics. They tend to decide by facts and numbers. Mostly they are guided by objectives and some other abstract factors. In Hong Kong, people with a high education and more experience abroad will do business this way.


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But there are a lot of Chinese people who do business in Hong Kong that do not feel that way. This is because Chinese like to do business and make decisions by ‘feel’ and ‘hunch’, not with logics and facts. They need to know there partners and their way of doing business. They also need to know the philosophy of the other company. If they approve of it, they are more likely to do business with you. When Hong Kong people are doing business with you, they put empathizes on the whole picture and harmony instead of the first encounter and individual believes. They like to keep harmony while doing business This is why they will never show their disapproval of your idea. It is very important to keep the same teams when visiting your client. This is because their decision style is based on trust so they need to know their partners. Your business partners in Hong Kong like to have different options while making a deal so it is advisable to always have some extra alternative ideas at hand. This way your Chinese counterpart will not lose face when he is rejecting or altering one of your plans. ‘You should also give him some time to make up his mind, so do not push him and expect him to give you an answer directly. Decision making is a really slow process in Hong Kong. Every little detail is brought to attention and when the decision making comes to a close they may ask for a major discount. This is called a ‘compromise’. So keep that in mind when you are doing business. If you don’t understand your Chinese counterpart try to reflect this upon their believes like Feng Shui. Hong Kong is a nation of gamblers and entrepreneurs so they like to take some risk while doing business. One of the most important things for people in Hong Kong is time management. Everything needs to go quick and efficient. They start on time and finish on time. Though you start off with some small talk, after that there is no time for interruptions. Also bring a clear agenda with you. Do not show you are irritated, because that shows your time management is under pressure and that is not a good way to start your meeting.

Management of hierarchy characteristics

Hierarchy is very important in Hong Kong. Everybody sticks to their tasks. They do not interfere with somebody else’s job. There are differences between a superior and his subordinates. They keep distance between them. For example it is unusual to have lunch together. Managers do not treat their subordinates equally. If they do, both will lose face. Everybody knows their role in the company and respect their authority. When you are doing business in Hong Kong, you can clearly see a defined line of authority in their business. If you do not understand the hierarchical lines there is a possibility you will lose face. This structure goes with a lot of etiquette. This even goes into little details like consecution of the seating’s, the way people are introduced or the way people communicate with each other. Although western style equality is gaining ground


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in Hong Kong, gender roles are still quite traditional in Hong Kong. The amount of woman in the work force is growing larger, but it is still very unusual to see women in the higher ups. So it is highly regarded when they see a woman in a senior position.

Major Companies

One of the largest corporations in Hong Kong is ‘China National Offshore Oil Corporation Ltd.’ (CNOOC). This is one of the largest independent oil/gas exploration and production companies in the world. Another giant is ‘China Mobile Communications Corporation’ (CMCC and in short: China Mobile). This company is in terms of its market value, currently the largest of all the overseas listed Chinese companies and also among all the telecom carriers in Asia. CMCC has over 240 million customers. ‘Hutchison Whampoa Limited’ (HWL) is the world’s leading port investor, developer and operator with 50 ports across Europe, the United States of America, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. With operations in 54 countries and about 220,000 employees worldwide, Hutchison has five core businesses: ports, property, retail, energy/infrastructure/investments and telecommunications. The leading retailer of Hong Kong is ‘Dairy Farm’. In 2009 they operated over 5,000 outlets, employed over 76,000 people in the region and had total annual sales of about HK$5 billion. The Group operates in many different markets.

Use of time

Office hours: work hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and offices often close from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch. Many Hong Kong people work six days a week where Saturday is a work day. On Saturdays the workday usually lasts until 1 p.m. or longer. Gastronomic timing: Hong Kong people eat five times a day. It starts with breakfast in the morning and then lunch at noon. Then there is the afternoon tea, which is at 3 p.m. followed by dinner in the evening. From 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. they have ‘Siu yeh’, which is a bit like a supper. Punctuality: people from Hong Kong value punctuality in most social settings. For things like dining occasions it is best to be right on time. At parties it is better to arrive within 10 to 15 minutes of the agreed time. Being late is considered extremely rude. Duration: Hong Kong is not a very fast-paced country. Outsiders often underestimate how much time the decision process in Hong Kong takes. Negotiations can be quite fast, but are often long and tiresome, as every detail is examined


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carefully. Trying to speed things up will only slow things down. Creating time pressure in Hong Kong only leads to an ever slower progress. If the decision making is either fast or slow, it is best to keep in mind that patience and persistence are always very important.

Contracts, legal concepts

Contracts In Hong Kong are not the end of the negotiations, but the beginning of an agreement. Contracts are not often seen as binding. So you need to visit your business partner multiple times to intensify your relationship. When you are ready to sign the contract, it could occur that the date will be checked by an astrologer or a Feng Shui practiser. This is to check if the date brings good luck to the document or if the arrangements in the contract will be prosper. The entire legal concept of Hong Kong is based upon the British one. This means you are innocent until proven guilty. The law is not the same as in the mainland of china, because the judgement in the mainland courts are not binding in Hong Kong court. So this means the law enforcement departments of the mainland cannot form any jurisdictional exercise on Hong Kong.

Cultural notes

• There are over 600 temples outside the capital of Hong Kong, • Most of the Hong Kong Chinese are either Buddhists or Taoists, • The most important festivals are Chinese New Year (Jan./February), Yuen Siu (January/February), Ching Ming (April), Tin Hau/A-Ma (April/May), Tam Kung (April/May), Tai Chiu (April/May), Buddha’s birthday (May), Tuen Ng/Dragon Boat (June), Birthday of Lu Pan (July), Maidens (August), Mid-Autumn/moon cake (Yuek Beng (September), Birthday of Confucius (September) and Cheung Yeung (October), • The Chinese holidays are celebrated around these festivals, • Hong Kong people like to take business partners to Cantonese opera, • The most popular sport in Hong Kong is football, • The people of Hong Kong like to gamble so they like to bet on horse racing, the Mark Six lottery and recently betting on football started, • Card games and Mahjong can also be played for money, • The dragon boat races is a sport events where spectators can join in, • Hong Kong Cinema is popular all around the world; some of the most famous stars are Jacky Chan, Bruce Lee and Chow Yun Fat, • Hong Kong is well known for their materialistic culture and exponential levels of consumerism, • The low tax, the convenience and mild weather make Hong Kong one of the preferred international shopping centres of the world.


Photography: Zsolt Zatrok

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India Angel Sadaf Matindas Banyardalan && Sadaf AngelBanyardala Matindas  


Photography: Tarun Ghosh

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India |89

India भारत गणराज्य India, a south-Asian country situated on the central northern coast of the Indian Ocean, is bounded to the west by Pakistan, to the north by Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal, and to the east by Myanmar and Bangladesh. It has a tropical climate with occasional violent storms. India is culturally rich with a fast growing economy and 1,166,079,217 inhabitants. It is the second largest country in the world after China, but is close to overtaking China as the most populous country by the middle of the 21st century. The capital of India is New Delhi and the largest city is Bombay (Mumbai).

Demographics

India is a multicultural civilization with a variety of religions and ethnicities, namely Indo-Aryan (72%), Dravidian (25%), Mongoloid and others (3%). India is a young country; the average age of the Indian inhabitant is 24 years old. Approximately 40% of the population is between the age of 20 and 44 years. This young generation is more outgoing and ambitious in comparison to the older one and has progressively more materialistic ideals. The average life expectancy of the Indian inhabitant is 66 years for men and 71 years for women. India is a male-dominated society. Indian women do not always get the same respect as men, even when they have achieved a successful business career and made their way up to management positions. India has to deal with enormous differences between rich and poor. Not everyone in India is provided with good medical care, as it is just too expensive for most people. Millions of people have to deal with diseases such as cholera and others because of a shortage of clean drinking water. Unfortunately, children are still forced into labour to support and maintain their families. Though education is free, not all children are able to go to school. Only 61% of the Indian people is educated. Regardless of the fact that India is known for its large population of technically qualified people such as doctors, engineers and scientists, certain areas of skilled employment suffer a shortage.

Brief history

India is a federal republic with 28 states and has different ethnicities, minorities, languages and religions. The oldest established inhabitants in India are the Aryan tribes. British colonization took over the Indian states to create new opportunities for British economic interests to increase trade. A non-violent protest led by Mohandas Gandhi against British colonialism finally led to independence on 15August 1947. India had great difficulties in developing its economy In the years after independence but after a long struggle they recently became one of the fastest growing economy in the world.


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Business background

India was ruled by the British until 1947 and had a congested economy until the early eighties. India was traditionally dependant on agriculture and began to grow into a winning economy. The reason for this fast growth was the change in government and the open economy. The government of India has been helpful and supportive to the development of technology industries by making the regulations less strict and allowing foreign investments into the industry which led to the presence of a large number of multinationals in India. The Indian software industry is a growing sector in India. Some Indian companies have even achieved international recognition. Telecommunications is the most important business in India. More people have access to telecommunications due to economical growth. Other important industries are steel, engineering, electronics, textiles, jewellery and the ‘Bollywood’ film industry.

Governmental points of interest

The republic of India is not ruled by a king or queen, but has a president as head of state. India is democratic country and a multi-party federal republic with two governmental houses, the Lok Sabha (House of the People) which consist of 250 members and the Rajya Sabha (Council State) of 238 members representing the States and Union Territories, and 12 members elected by the President with the maximum power of the Lok Sabha as 552 members. The head of the government is the prime minister who is selected by the people from the people. Mahatma Gandhi’s compatriot Jawaharlal Nehru was the first prime minister of India. India is a member of the World Trade Organization which provides security to intellectual property rights and helps to avert disagreements with multinationals and western governments.

Religious points of interest

India has a diversity of different beliefs and faiths. Religion is highly important to most Indian people. Religion may influence relationships and business negotiations as the cultural values and norms usually differ. Most of them believe in Hinduism (81,3%) and Islam (12%) and other major religions include Christianity (2,3%), Sikhism 1,9%, and the Buddhist, Jain and Parsi faiths (2.5%.) Although there is no official religion in India, the Hindu people make up the majority and also believe in the ‘caste system’, also called The Varna and Jati Systems. This is a combined social system of class, occupation, culture, endogamy and political power. Formerly the caste system was based on racial classification and had to do with skin colour. The lighter the skin, the higher the position in the hierarchical caste system. The largest castes are the Brahmins (Priests), Kshatriyas (the rulers and aristocrats of the society, warriors and landowners),


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Vaishyas (Skilled traders, merchants and minor officials) and the Shudras (unskilled workers such as artisans and agriculturalists ). Anyone not belonging to one of these castes is an outcast, known as the Harijans or the ‘untouchables’. Nevertheless, many urban people are no longer as strict about the caste system as rural people. People from different castes mix with each other in cities as opposed to the countryside where discrimination is still based on caste.

Language

Most countries have one official language but in India every different state has a different language. 21 major languages are spoken, including Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Urdu, Kashmiri and English. The official languages in India are Hindi and English. English is considered to be the second official language. English is practically the official language for educated and working Indians because of India’s history as a former British colony.

Country specific communication

Indian people tend to speak rapidly in long sentences. In general the communication style is indirect. When they disagree they will not show it directly as it may considered unsympathetic or rude. A straight “NO” is considered too direct. Indian people use a lot of expressions and gestures. Although physical contact is not accepted except for shaking hands, elderly people may sometimes touch the head of a younger person as a gesture of respect and as a blessing, but this is something visitors should avoid doing, even with children. Indian people are known for their habit of shaking their heads sideways. This might be interpreted as an expression of ‘no’, but in fact most of the time they mean ‘yes’ by this head shaking, or it is a sign that they are listening to and understanding what you are saying. Using your left hand is also not acceptable to Hindus and Muslims as they believe this is the unclean hand. Some gestures are not done in the Indian culture. For example pointing with a finger, wagging with a finger or pointing one’s foot at anyone, especially at elder people is considered disrespectful and impolite. In general Indians speak with each other while standing three feet apart. Social interaction is a complex etiquette in India, including in business cultures. Indians are emotional, interested, hospitable, expressive and polite people. In order to adapt to Indian culture socially and while doing business it is expected that visitors should blend in and accept the way of living and negotiating and to learn to read body language. Indian people appreciate small-talk as an essential part of Indian business culture as it helps to build trust. Friendliness is really important in this culture. In general, Indians’ social behaviour is ruled by Hinduism.


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Social class, religion and education influence methods of greeting in India. Greeting the eldest or most senior person first is a common sign of respect and politeness because Indian culture is quite hierarchical. Giving gifts is a way of showing friendship, respect and appreciation and is considered acceptable. Such gifts might be a representation of a particular company and should not be too ostentatious. Refined souvenirs from one’s home country are appropriate. Alcohol as a gift will not always be successful as not all Indian people drink alcohol. Care should also be taken with leather goods as these may be insulting to Hindi people. Indians also believe that giving gifts will help them achieve an easy transition into the next life. Business dinners are less usual than business lunches and are commonly used as business entertainment in a more informal way, in order to build and strengthen relationships. Hindu people do not eat beef and Muslim people among the Indian do not eat pork, which is something which should be kept in mind when out for a business meal. During a business meal one is expected to speak at a quiet level instead of being loud as loudness may be considered ill-mannered. One also has to be careful with drinking alcohol as this might offend some Indians. Dress etiquette is important in Indian business culture. Appropriate clothing is important to those wanting to do business in India. Women can wear suits or conservative dresses which should be long enough and most certainly not too tight. Most women wear traditional attire known as Salwar kemeez. Dark business suits are appropriate for men. Modest, conservative dress is required for business dinners. After the first handshake and greeting it is normal to exchange business cards, at which time it is recommended to use the right hand and absolutely avoid using the left. The business card must be presented in such a way that the recipient can read the card as it is being handed over. Titles are important to mention on business cards, especially if one has a university degree or any other honour. It is desirable to provide business cards which include a Hindi translation.

Listening styles

Indians can have an entire conversation without asking a question and by only nodding their head. Listening is very important and it shows respect in Indian business culture. As mentioned earlier, Indian people do not like to say no, they find it rude to do so. They take time to think and make decisions do not like to be rushed. Indians prefer to establish personal relationships prior to doing business. They look at things from their own point of view and tend to take time to think before making decisions.


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Argumentation styles

When it comes to doing business, Indian people have smart argumentation styles. They are tough, shrewd, alert and clever. Indians have a competitive negotiation style, but long-term relationships and looking for win-win solutions are important to them. Indians like to bargain constantly. They are really hardheaded and one should not underestimate their argumentation as they can occasionally manage to move prices more than 40 percent between the initial offer and final agreement.

Decision styles

Indian people are not fast in making decisions; it is a slow process. The way of living life and doing business is much slower compared to Western people and this is an aspect one just has to adapt to when in India, although decisionmaking is relatively quicker at higher levels of the organization. It is commonly the person with the most authority who will make decisions at negotiations in Indian business culture. Some decisions concerning new commitments will often be made over dinner among a small group of people.

Management or hierarchy characteristics

Hierarchical relationships are based on the influences of Hinduism and belief in the caste system. Indians are always aware of social order and status. In general, elderly and senior people have the most authority. They also have the strongest influence in decision making. Contradiction of a manager is seen as impolite and should be avoided. They do not accept a younger Indian boss, but a younger one from the west they might accept more easily. Indians also revere titles such as Professor, Doctor and Engineer. It is preferable to call them by their title in combination with their surname. If they do not have any title it is most respectful to use ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’. Wait to use someone’s first name until the person in question gives permission.

Value systems

Indians value the roles of the family, religion and long-standing personal relationships prior to doing business. Indian people are very family and group oriented and indentify themselves more with groups than by their status as individuals. Respect for the eldest is very important in Indian culture. It is usual to take the advice of the eldest in the family. They are also hospitable and treat their guests with respect.


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Negotiation teams

Team work is very normal In Indian business culture. Indian people are used to working as part of multiple teams, working on multiple projects. Although Indian people appear to be very competitive, teamwork and harmony are important to them. Of course, there is competition between different business teams but there is little likelihood of competition within teams. Members of a team are required to share information openly but expected keep it confidential from other teams.

Contracts, legal concepts

Indian people do not like excessively legalistic vocabulary or behaviour during a negotiation. They believe in a more friendly partnership system built on trust and respect.

Use of time

Office hours: Indian office hours are between 9.30 and 5.30 . Saturdays are generally a holiday for most organizations; some organizations work for a half day and others a full day. Offices, banks and most shopping areas remain closed on Sunday and of course on religious holidays. Many Indian holidays are based on the Lunar calendar. In some other states and regions of India there are additional holidays. Gastronomic timing: Indian cuisine is famous around the world for its use of many different herbs and spices and diversity is very important in the Indian kitchen. Food is an important aspect of India. Indians appreciate a good meal while negotiating and business partners may be invited to a proper negotiation dinner in the afternoon. Indians usually have late dinner between 8 to 10 pm. Punctuality: Indian people pay attention to punctuality, although they often delay the schedule themselves. In reality Indian culture is more relaxed in comparison to Western cultures when it comes to schedules. Arriving on time at meetings is required, though this is not always easy in Indian traffic. Being late by approximately 10 minutes is acceptable. Duration: Indian people are likely to be focused on durability and are also more oriented toward building relationships than business results. It is therefore important to explain to Indian people what needs to happen in order to make something work, especially if working to a deadline. Indian people tend to be chaotic in a quiet, calm way. They do not follow agendas during meetings and may interrupt constantly during a meeting, which will affect the duration of the meeting.


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Fast facts India

भारत गणराज्य

Population

1.66.079.217

Area

South-Asia

Top-5 trade partners

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Official languages

Hindi, English

Currency

Rupee

Time zone

UTC +5:30 hours

Licence plate code

IND

Internet, e-mail

.in

Calling code

+91

China USA United Arab Emirates Saudi Arabia Germany


Photography: Pietro Ricciardi

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Italy Louis Fiene & Berry Beerenfenger


Photography: Francisco G贸mez Flores

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Italy |99

Italy Italy, a beautiful Mediterranean country which for some people is similar to ‘pizza and Pisa’, ‘ravioli and Rome’ or ‘vongole and Venice’. But apart from that aspect, Italy is one of the worlds larger business nations.

Demographics

The boot-shaped peninsula Italy, is home for over 58 million people. The capital is the city of Rome, located in the Mid-West part of the country, and the climate is predominantly Mediterranean (Alpine in the far north). There are two recognised independent states with are located within the Italian borders, San Marino and the Vatican City. As well as two claims of micro states. Italy has been one of the few countries in the world with a negative growing population. The last couple of years this negative digit has been transformed into a positive one, but the natural growing rate of Italy is very low. The cities of Rome, Milan and Naples have reached a population of over one million people where the regions of Emilia-Romagna, Umbria, Lombardy and Veneto have got the highest percentage of foreign residents. The majority of these foreign residents are Romanian, Moroccan, Albanian and Ukrainian

Business background

In Italy the status of somebody in business counts, resulting in the fact that making an elegant and successful impression is a rewarding activity in Italy. This ability to present oneself in a proper and formal way often is referred to as ‘Bella Figura’. Apart from this it is very important to build a relationship based on trust and personal interest. An Italian business partner is as interested in you as a person, as he is in your business. Don’t be surprised when a business partner arrives half an hour later than scheduled. This is not a personal thing, just the lifestyle. Because of this, it is wise to plan only a few appointments on one day. They can best be scheduled between 10:00 and 11:00 am and after 3:00 pm.

Governmental point of interest

Italy is a republic based on a multiparty parliamentary system but it did not become a constitutional republic after the general elections in1946. The early 1990`s were the scene of multiple corruption scandals which resulted in an election of reform candidates in 1994. These elections were led by prime minister Silvio Berlusconi who is still head of the parliament.At the present there are two legislative organs; a 325-seat Senate and a 630-seat Chamber of Deputies. The chief of state is the president while the prime minister fulfils the task of the head of the government. All this is places in the capital of Italy; Rome.


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Religious and philosophical interest

The primary religion is Roman Catholic and it plays a big part in the Italian way of live. Italy has got more Catholic churches per capita than any other country in the world, although it must be said that these churches are not visited that often. You will find religious expressions everywhere, even in office buildings, and children are named after a particular Saint. Each Saint has got its own Saint`s day which is being celebrated as well. The Italians respect and defer to people who have reached an older age and therefore are more experienced in live. People who are, ore have been, successful in business are also treated with a special level of respect. As a foreign business person it is important to understand such hierarchy and not to neglect the ‘social pyramid’.

Language

The Italians are well known for their body language which is widely use in all the aspects of life. One can tell more by the way someone is behaving than by the things that person says. The spoken language is, mainly Italian. It is important to know that there are many different dialects which differ a lot from the standard Italian language. The variations between the dialects are that big, that some Italians aren’t able to understand each other. Be sure to know which dialect is spoken in your region and arrange for an interpreter who is familiar with a certain dialect.

Country specific communication

Although Italian businessmen, especially those from the younger generation, are used to deal with the cross cultural aspects of the modern ‘business world’, one shouldn’t be surprised when people are expecting things to be going their way. It must be said that a lot of things have changed during the last decade but during a business trip one will encounter a lot of people who, from a business point of view can be more conservative minded in many aspects. The overall culture of Italy can be described as rather homogeneous, which is something that can’t be said for the business culture. As in many countries, Italy has got a big cultural differences between the North and the South. In the north one will find their business partners more focused, serious and reticent compared to their southern colleagues. However the ‘calm’ northern Italian still will be more flamboyant than people Northern Europe are used to. Once the city of Rome has been passed business will become more personal and relaxed compared to the northern style. In general, but mainly for the south, it is above all important to be considered as a ‘Bella Figura’. The term Bella Figura means that you are able to behave on a proper and formal way during your interactions with (business) people. One should be considered honourable, assertive (not arrogant) but above all elegant.


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Listening styles

Communicating in English can be difficult, especially in the south. For that reason it is important to screen your partners before going into business. Make sure whether or not an interpreter is needed. To avoid problems try to speak slowly, keep the sentences short and summarize every now and then. The lack of knowledge of the English language can also lead to problems when your business partners aren’t understanding everything you are saying, and don’t want to admit that. Always ask them questions, in a discreet way, to check if everything is understood properly. When an Italian is saying ‘yes’, sometimes ‘no’ is meant. You have to listen very carefully to the way a sentence is being pronounced to interpreted it the correct way. As mentioned before, business in Italy has got more temperament than most of the Northern Europeans are used to. Always be sure to keep your calm and don’t show to much emotions. When arguing it is easy to lose the Bella Figura which can be catastrophic for a potential business deal.

Argumentation styles

During negotiations it may get louder, which is something northern Europeans aren’t used to. It is important to realise that anger is easier shown, but doesn’t necessairaly relate to the same amount of anger in other cultures. An Italian business person is aiming for a long term commitment which in the end will lead to a win-win situation. In general they will play the game fair and they won’t put profit above all. The same attitude is found in the South but the argumentation styles are different. In the southern parts some business men will give a hard bargain. Always leave room for yourself to come with concessions or other offers. Do not give away the best price in the beginning of the meeting.

Decision styles and hierarchy characteristics

In Italy there is a rather strong and traditional hierarchical structure. When doing business with a family company the decision maker often is the head of the family. Getting his or her approval is the warranty for success. In the bigger commercial businesses it are the senior managers who are in charge. It can take a lot of time and effort before a senior manager is reached and convinced. Be sure that the person who is sitting next to you is indeed a senior manager which makes him authorized to sign the contract. When a sales proposal contains a certain risk it is necessary to be have patience. In general an Italian wants to avoid risks unless he is well informed about the whole project and has become comfortable with it. Explaining all consequences of a plan and an outline of the future will be necessary.


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Value systems

If the Italian value systems, which are studied by many different scientists, should be transformed into an Italian business woman (or man) of flesh and blood she or he would most probably look like this: a well dressed Bella Figura who takes a lot of value in the relationship between one another and therefore spends a lot of time and energy to maintain a high standard. He would be group minded and willing to take risks (seen from a business point of view). Apart from this, he is also a holistic thinker who wants to absorb the deeper background of theories, so that it is shown how these theories work in practice. Above all, he has got the tension to let his feelings guide him instead of common sense.

Negotiation teams

The way your negotiation team is filled depends of the type of business you are dealing with. A (small) family business requires a whole different approach than the big commercial institutes. It is preferable, from a relationship point of view, to have more than one meetings. Regardless the business type, it is important to have a team which is led by a leader who has gained the respect of the group and who is able to complete the individual characters of the team. The team should be consensus based and an agreement should be made before completing a task. The negotiating team should be, when possible, a good reflection of your own company. There should be a person included who is competent to sign the deal. Because of the possible language barrier it is advisable to have an interpreter within reach.

Contracts and legal concepts

Because the Italians are willing to believe that a verbal commitment should be honoured it is wise to male notes during meeting, or even better, get the official meeting summaries. Although they believe in the power of verbal commitment one shouldn’t be surprised if such a commitment isn`t lived up to. When building up to a final agreement there is always a big possibility that the final agreement differs from the one made during the meeting, so always check it before signing. It is preferable to have a consultant check the contract. To avoid damaging the trust based relationship don’t bring the consultant with you to the final meeting, but consult him later. The Italian contract are very detailed and specified. They are filled terms and conditions accompanied by a lot of eventualities. Once the contract has been signed both parties are expected to show a bit of generosity to each other. Flexibility is required when there is a change of conditions or the contract terms need to be adjusted. The most important thing is to realize that a contract is ‘only’ a piece of paper. During the business relationship the Italians believe that the most valuable aspect is the partners commitment instead of the written documentation.


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Use of time

In Italy the business hours are different throughout the country. It makes a difference whether you are in the North or in the South. It also depends what kind of company you are doing business with. The office hours from the governmental offices are rather standard throughout the country. It is fair to say that in general the offices in the South stay open until later in the evening, mainly due to the climate, compared to the North. Gastronomic Timing: as in many Mediterranean countries food is important in Italy. Please notice that lunch and dinner are served later than most northern Europeans are used to. Almost all the restaurants in Italy open their doors for two moments. From midday till about 3pm the lunch is served. The Italians eat their dinner between 7pm and 11pm. In the South it can even become later. During official dinners it is perfectly accepted to come in late for about half an hour. Punctuality: time is a strange companion in Italy. Never be too late for a meeting, but don’t be surprised if your Italian partners shows up an hour too late. Therefore it is important to keep your agenda rather ‘empty’, don’t make too many appointments on one day. Duration: the duration of the meetings can vary. Don’t be surprised if a meeting takes twice as much time as scheduled. It is perfectly normal to start a whole new discussion just before the end of a meeting. Don’t show your business partners that you are running out of time.


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Fast facts Italy

Italia

Population

58,126,212

Area

301,225 km2

Top-5 trade partners

1. Europe 67,7% 2. Africa and Middle East 9,8% 3. North America 7,0% 4. Asian-Pacific 6,6% 5. Other Countries 4,7%

Official languages

Italian

Currency

Euro

Time zone

Central European Time

Licence plate code

I

Internet, e-mail

.it

Calling code

+39

Most widely known foreign languages First foreign language

English

29%

Second foreign language

French

14%


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Value facts Ease of doing business

78

Enforcing contracts

156

Getting credit

87

Trading across borders

50

Corruption perception

4.3

Achievement orientation

70

Hierarchy acceptance

50

Individualism

76

Women empowerment

21


Photography: Paul Mata

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Japan Rafael Goceryan, Daniel Andrade & Berit Mulder


Photography:Paul Mata

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Japan |109

Japan 日本(国) Japan, known as ‘the land of the rising sun’, is famous for its innovative technologies, sumo wrestlers and fish dishes. But what about business etiquettes such as Meishi (handling business cards) which is very important when doing business in Japan. Business cards are exchanged and received holding the card with both hands. When receiving a card, it needs to be examined closely as a sign of mutual respect. This is just one example of many elaborate Japanese business etiquettes. Doing business in Japan requires adaptation and study in advance.

Demographics

Japan is an island nation between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula. The country is extremely mountainous and forested. Only 11% of the land is arable and there are very limited natural resources. Japan is the world’s tenth most populated country with a population of 127,076,183 citizens. The population density in 2000 was 336 people per square kilometre. The urban population of 80 million is concentrated on the Pacific shore on Honshu. Tokyo-Yokohama has 35 million inhabitants and is the world’s most populous city. Japan faces the same problem that confronts urban industrialized cities throughout the world: over-crowded cities and congested highways.

Brief history

According to legend, the sun goddess from whom the emperors were descended created Japan. The first Emperor was Jimmi, who ascended the throne in 660BC. The ruling authority of emperors ended in 1945. Recorded Japanese history begins in approximately 400 AD. The Yamato Clan managed to gain control and introduced Buddhism to Japan. Through the 700s Japan was much influenced by China and the Yamato set up an imperial court similar to that of China. In 1192 warrior clans known as the samurai came into prominence and set up a military government under their leader Yoritomo. For the following 700 years, shoguns from several successors ruled in Japan, while the imperial court lived on in obscurity. The first Europeans to reach Japan were the Portuguese in 1542. Soon after that, many Spanish, English and Dutch traders followed. However, all these countries except for the Dutch traders were excluded from trade with Japan. This was because the Japanese feared the influence of Christianity. Western attempts to renew trading relations failed until 1853.


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Business background

Japan’s industrialized, free-market economy is the second largest in the world. Japan is very competitive against other trading countries, but productivity is far lower in the area of agriculture because 73% of the country is mountainous. Japan has few natural resources, however, Japan developed through their well-educated and industrious workforce, high investment rates, intensive promotion of industrial development and foreign trade into a mature and industrial economy. Raw materials are purchased by foreign exchange. Between the 1960s and the 1980s Japan achieved one of the highest economic growth rates in the world. This changed dramatically in the early 1990s when the economy collapsed followed by economic stagnation and a GDP growth of 1% annually compared to a growth of 4% in the 1980s. As with many other countries, Japan fell into recession in 2008. However, Japan is still one of the world’s richest societies. The Japanese have the fifth highest per capita income of the world. Japanese companies are major players in the car industry. Innovative multinationals such as Toyota and Honda are also key players when it comes to introducing green technologies.

Governmental points of interest

Japan is a top down society. Members of the cabinet are, on average, over sixty years old, which says a lot about the Japanese system in which age is almost synonymous with seniority. The Japanese government sits in Tokyo and is a parliamentary democracy. The emperor, Akihito, still holds the position as chief of state. The Japanese parliament is called the Diet and consists of two houses; the House of Representatives (also known as the Lower House) and a House of Councillors (sometimes called the Upper House). Executive power is vested in a cabinet composed of a prime minister and ministers of state. Japan’s judicial system, drawn from customary law, civil law, and Anglo-American common law, consists of several levels of courts, with the Supreme Court as the final judicial authority. Japan is a member of the ASEAN.

Religious/philosophical influences

Shinto, Buddhism and Chinese Confucianism are Japan’s three major religions. The average person follows religious rituals at ceremonies marking births, weddings and funerals. They may visit a shrine or temple at New Year and participate in local festivals, most of which have a religious background. All religions influence the Japanese cultural system. The philosophical views of the Buddha Dogen and Shinran have had many Japanese followers for many centuries and this reflects not only in philosophical arguments but also in the social and cultural practices of Japan. Historical roots are also reflected in business practice and Western unfamiliarity with Buddhism and Shinto may lead to unfamiliar situations when doing business with Japan.


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Language

Japanese is a complex language, with at least four levels of politeness. Japan imported many Chinese characters, but their meaning and pronunciation is different from the Chinese. As well as levels of politeness, different regional dialects also exist. The Japanese language consists of Kanji with more than 50,000 characters, and Hiragana and Kataga, each consisting of 46 basic characters.

Country specific communication

‘Wa, Kao and Omoiyari’ literally translated as ‘Harmony, Face and to imagine another’s feelings’ not only contribute to the Japanese culture but also play a part in the negotiation process. Before negotiations will even start it is very important to build a relationship; not simply a business relationship between companies but also a personal relationship between representatives. Keep in mind that this also means the relationship between an interpreter and your Japanese business partners. Business will not start before a trustworthy relationship has been built with all the business representatives. ‘Wa’ and ‘Omoiyari’ stand for this relationship in which trust, teamwork, mutual feelings and the preservation of good relationships will withstand even when opinions differ. A business presentation in English will need more preparation because English is not a commonly spoken language. Bringing written text to support your presentation, using key words and repeating short clear sentences will help to get the message through. Do not be mistaken when it seems that the message has been understood. Saving face (‘Kao’) is so important in Japanese culture that people will not openly admit if they do not understand what you are saying. The following aspects should be kept in mind when visiting Japan. During conversations negative emotions are often covered with a smile. Furthermore, it is advisable to keep your tone down during business and lunch meetings. Also, restrict body language and non-verbal communication. Both can send the signal that you are not in control of yourself. Keep eye contact to a minimum until personal relationships have been established. Lowering one’s eyes is a sign of respect.

Listening styles

‘Hear one. Understand two’; a common phrase in Japan, a reminder to always look for the hidden meanings. Words are not always the best way to express feelings. But feelings are a good way to sense whether you can rely on people. The Japanese are listeners rather than talkers. This does not mean that nothing happens during silence; it can mean different things. The Japanese may sit in silence for some time, thinking about what has been said. They just do not signal this during this silence. These types of pauses are called ma.


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Argumentation styles

The Japanese tend to be indirect when it comes to argumentation in meetings. They do not want to be offensive in the spoken word, but with the help of nonverbal communication it will become clearer what the exact message is.

Decision styles

Though it would seem that it is the most senior manager who makes decisions, the decision making process actually involves many stakeholders. Contracts are thoroughly researched and discussed between all stakeholders. The Japanese are somewhat reluctant to take risks and these should therefore always be explicable and kept to a minimum.

Management of hierarchy characteristics

Japanese companies have often started as family businesses; many companies are still controlled or greatly influenced by the founding family. It could be said that joining a company is almost like joining a family. As one starts a career the choice of company is more important than the position because for most people it is the choice of their lifelong employer. Top positions are almost always filled internally. Before ideas/concepts can reach the top they need to have been pushed through middle management, getting approvals from all levels; this is a long-term process. Because of the family/collective nature and the decision making process of Japanese companies, the focus is mostly on the long term interest of the company and the aim is to continually expand wealth and growth potential. There is a high regard for experience and skills, therefore hierarchy is based mainly on seniority.

Decision styles

As Japanese values differ greatly from those of the West it is crucial to be aware of your own behaviour. In a high context culture such as Japan a Westerner must be especially aware of his or her non-verbal communication which will mostly be interpreted differently than intended. Direct and assertive behaviour, not to mention confrontation, are not appreciated; modesty and shyness are revered. The need to save face leads to constant pressures. Seniority plays an important part and the key decision makers are all senior and in important positions and the vast majority are men.


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Negotiation teams

Japanese managers want to talk to business partners on the same hierarchical level and it may be considered an insult to send someone from a lower level. To get your idea/offer to reach the decision makers in senior management it is crucial to get in at the highest possible middle management level. As age equals rank in Japan it would be advisable to bring an older colleague. Business meetings will almost always be attended by several people so it would be preferable to have at least three people present, if only to indicate that you take the meeting as seriously as they do.

Contracts, legal concepts

Japanese contract law is mainly based on the Civil Code, which defines in general the obligations and rights of the parties involved. According to this theory the contractor is required to complete the work of a construction at an agreed price and the contractor bears the risk of all expenses up to the completion of the work.

Use of time

Office hours: The Japanese work long hours. Official office hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., however Japanese employers are expected to work hard and demonstrate loyalty to their company so most Japanese work over 60 hours per week. Another important factor influencing work hours is after-work socializing. Japanese are more task oriented during office hours and concentrate on relationship building when socializing with colleagues after work. Another example of Japanese loyalty to the company is the use of holidays; the average Japanese worker is entitled to fifteen days paid vacation a year but usually takes only seven days. Gastronomic timing: Of the 95% of Japanese that eat three meals a day, most people consider dinner to be the most important. Breakfast is typically early; say between 6 and 7 o’clock in the morning, because most Japanese have long commutes to work, or start school early. Lunch is typically between 12 a.m. and 1 p.m.. Many office workers bring lunch or buy take-out lunch and eat at the office (long office lunches are rare). Dinner is somewhere in the 6-8 p.m. range, depending on schedules. Punctuality: What Americans consider being ‘fashionably late’, Japanese consider rebellious and egocentric. Punctuality governs social interactions and preserves group harmony. Without exception, Japanese individuals expect others to be on time.


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Fast facts Japan

日本(国)

Population

1.274.790

Area

Asia

Export

Top-5 trade partners

1. United States - US$135.9 billion (22,9%) 2. European Union - $87.6 billion (14,7%) 3. China - $80.1 billion (13,5%) 4. South Korea - $46.6 billion (7,8%) 5. Chinese Taipei - $43.6 billion (7,3%)

Import

1. China - US$108.5 billion (21,1%) 2. United States - $65.3 billion (12,7%) 3. European Union - $58.6 billion (11,4%) 4. Saudi Arabia - $28.7 billion (5,6%) 5. United Arab Emirates - $25.3 billion (4,9%) Official languages

Japanese

Currency

Yen (JPY)

Time zone

UTC +9

Licence plate code

JPN

Internet, e-mail

.jp

Calling code

+81


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Value facts Ease of doing business

15

Enforcing contracts

20

Getting credit

15

Trading across borders

17

Corruption perception

17

Achievement orientation

52

Hierarchy acceptance

54

Individualism

46

Women empowerment

10


Photography: Craig Sanders

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117

Morocco Faouzi Jamal & Brahim El Malki  


Photography: Mira Pavlakovic

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Morocco |119

Morocco Morocco, a beautiful and strategic country situated in the north-western corner of Africa, has a 1835 km-long coastline on the Atlantic Ocean, the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea. Morocco has enjoyed developments in cultural and economic prosperity in recent years.

Demographics

Morocco has a population of 34,859,364 (July 2009 est.) Although the national spoken language is Arabic, the Berbers are the biggest population in Morocco at 64%. Arabs make up 35.1% of the population. There are also 0.2% of Jewish and 0.7% of ‘other’ inhabitants in Morocco.

Brief history

Arab invasion played an important role in the history of Morocco and Arab influences date from the 7th century AD, the same century during which Morocco accepted Islam as its primary religion. Morocco became a French protectorate under the Treaty of Fez in 1912 but Spain continued to operate coastal suppression. The French protectorate ended in March 1956 after strong nationalist sentiment but Spain kept its two coastal enclaves. Sultan Mohammed V became king in 1957. His rule over Morocco was short-lived as he passed away in 1961 and his son Hassan II became king of Morocco. King Hassan II was succeeded by his son Mohammed VI in 1999.

Business background

Unemployment was at 20% in urban areas in the early 90s but Morocco followed a policy of privatization in certain economic sectors from 1993. Morocco entered into an Association Agreement with the EU in 2000 and a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US in 2006. Morocco is now one of the biggest players in African economic affairs. Morocco has experienced rapid progression in the last decade. Several multinationals want to establish themselves in Morocco. There are many opportunities for foreign companies specializing in machinery, agriculture and science.

Governmental points of interest

Morocco is a constitutional monarchy; the Head of State is King Mohamed VI. The head of the government is the Prime Minister and the cabinet consists of a council of Ministers appointed by the monarch. The government sits in Rabat, the capital of Morocco. The monarch is hereditary; the Prime Minister is appointed by the monarch following legislative elections. The government’s main goals are to reduce poverty and provide jobs. US$2 billion were invested in a social development plan in order to achieve these goals and to improve living conditions in the country’s urban slums.


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Morocco entered a Free Trade Agreement with the USA in 2006 to encourage international investors. Morocco also signed several other agreements such as: the Euro Mediterranean Free Trade Agreement, the Agadir agreements with Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia and the Free Trade Agreement with Turkey.

Religious points of interest

The most widely followed religion in Morocco is Islam at 987% of the population. Islam was first brought to Morocco by an Arab invasion headed by Uqba Ibn Nafi. Most Berbers converted to Islam after more Arabs came to Morocco. Islam has been the official religion ever since. The importance of Islam is evident from the great number of mosques in Morocco. During the holy month of Ramadan all bars and discos are closed to local people, although non-Muslims tourists are permitted to drink whatever they want. 1.1% of Moroccan citizens are Christian and 0.02% Jewish.

Language

The official language of Morocco is Classical Arabic. Most Moroccan television programs are in this language. The spoken language is Moroccan Arabic, a dialect based mainly on a combination of Arabic and the Berber language. The Moroccan dialect is also known as Derija. French is the third language and serves as the primary language of commerce and economics. There are also other dialects among Moroccan Berbers. The most widely spoken Berber dialects are Tachelhit, Tamazight and Tarifisht. At least half of Moroccan citizens also speak French.

Country specific communication

Moroccan culture is an amalgam of old habits and Islam and the habits of Moroccans are influenced by this religion which was brought by Arabs to Morocco in the 7th century. The first thing to be heard from the 42,000 mosques in Morocco at early sunrise is the ‘Azaan’ (call for the prayer). This will be repeated four times a day. Muslims pray five times a day: at sunrise, midday, afternoon, at sunset and in the evening. Life continues as normal during prayer time and many people will still be on the streets except from mid-day prayers on Friday when everything is closed for the holy day. A tip for non-Muslims: beaches are usually busy but are quiet and peaceful during the hours of prayer. Muslims fast from dusk to dawn during the holy month of Ramadan when they are not allowed to eat, drink, smoke or have sex. Many companies work to a reduced schedule during this month. Foreigners are not forced to fast, but it is appreciated if they do not eat in public.


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Family in Morocco is one of the most important things in life. Older family members are respected. If a Moroccan greets an older member of the family it is usual to kiss their hand. It is usual to greet others in Morocco with a handshake. People well-known to each other such as family or close friends greet each other with a handshake and a kiss on both cheeks, starting with the left cheek. Members of opposite genders do not normally kiss in public. Spending time on building personal relationships is important prior to doing business in Morocco. Moroccans prefer to do business with people they know and an advantage is achievable if one understands the culture and habits of a Moroccan business partner. Having accepted an invitation to a Moroccan’s private house it is usual, when dinner is served, to begin by saying ‘Bismillah’ which means ‘In the name of God.’ Traditional Moroccan meals are served on a shared plate. Never go empty handed to a Moroccan home. Sweet pastries or flowers are suitable gifts but alcohol is not as Muslims are not allowed to drink alcohol. Those who do drink alcohol do so away from the family and the public eye. Gifts will not be opened when received, unless the recipient is asked to open it. Moroccans always take their shoes off inside the house. The floors are often covered with a ‘zarbija’ (carpet). Food and drink is taken only with the right hand and hands are wiped only on paper napkins. Moroccans are very hospitable and meals are important social events for many. Lunch can take two hours. The host will do everything to make sure his guests are satisfied and will do everything to ensure they have eaten enough by urging them to take more food from the shared plate. After dinner, guests say ‘Allah ie glef’ (‘May God dispense you’) and thank the host for their hospitality. Respectable dress, including covered knees and elbows, will help avoid unwanted attention. Loose clothing such as linen is suitable for the warm climate.

Listening styles

Moroccans are not very time-oriented. It may even be possible that hosts are late for appointments. The host’s associates may also interrupt meetings to discuss other matters. Be punctual and patient. Moroccans are also not very content-oriented. They are more interested in the person with whom they are doing business. Moroccans prefer long-term relationships to quick contracts. Decisions are made very slowly and deliberately in Morocco. Most Moroccans are not action-oriented. Guests and visitors who try to push and rush things could be seen as rude. Moroccans like to talk first about health, family and friends at the beginning of a conversation. They appreciate patient, people-oriented listeners. More emo-


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tive subjects such as Islam, women’s rights and sex should be avoided unless among people very well known to each other. Presentations are formal in Morocco. Respect is shown by listening and being interested. Questions should be saved until after the presentation. Confrontational questions should be avoided in public as they might cause offence.

Value systems

Moroccans share several values with the rest of the Arab world. Most of these values derive from Islam. ‘Hshuma’ (shame) for example, is a typically Moroccan value but derives from Islam. Honour and dignity are precious characteristics. Honour is reflected not only on the person himself but also in his family. Therefore, family is very important in Morocco. A person can also be judged by their family background.

Negotiation teams

Most companies are very hierarchical and so business is most successfully conducted with the highest ranking person in the organisation. The deal will only be secure when that person signs the contract. It is important to know who has the authority to make decisions. Decisions are not made quickly and any attempt to rush the process could be interpreted as an insult. If the government is involved, discussions will take even longer since the ministers of several departments must often give approval.

Contracts, legal concepts

Starting a business requires a license. Fortunately, Morocco has set up a group of Regional Investment Centers (RICs). The RICs expedite the process of acquiring a license and have made the entire process rather enjoyable. There are 16 RICs in all, situated in various parts of Morocco.

Use of time

Office hours: Businesses are open Monday to Friday and occasionally on Saturday morning. Most businesses close for lunch from noon to 2:00 p.m., except during the month of Ramadan when they remain open at mid-day but close earlier in the afternoon. In general, office hours are Monday to Thursday 08.3012.30 and 15.00-18.30, Friday 08.30-12.00 and 15.00-18.30. The following government office hours should be kept in mind: Monday to Thursday 08.30-12.00 and 14.30-18.30, Friday 08.30-11.00 and 15.00-18.30.


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Gastronomic timing: Moroccans take their breakfast at home early in the morning before they go to work, from 07.00-08.00. Many people take a second meal between 10.00 to 11.00 a.m. outdoors. They usually take their lunch after midday prayers between 13.00 and 14.00. After that they take a bite to eat in the afternoon between 16.00 to 17.00 because dinner is usually served after 20.00. Punctuality: Being late is more of a habit than an exception in Morocco. Meetings may run over time as it is likely to be interrupted several times. Scheduling appointments around five o’clock prayers, for example, is impractical because they will be interrupted. Prayer times should be checked before meetings are arranged. Duration: Business decisions can sometimes take much longer than they might in western countries. Patience in closing a deal is important. Some Moroccans do not make serious business decisions in the summer or during Ramadan. This should be kept in mind when making appointments in advance. Negotiations might be lengthy and may include several different players and extensive bargaining. Fast facts Morocco

Maghreb

Population

31.769.000

Area

Africa

Top-5 trade partners

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Official languages

Classic Arabic

Currency

Moroccan Dirham

Spain 21.2% France 19% Italy 4.9% UK 4.6% India 4.2%

Time zone

GTM+0

Licence plate code

MA

Internet, e-mail

.ma

Calling code

+212


Photography: Gรถkhan Okur

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125

Turkey Serap Dag & Danielle van de Lem   


Photography: Stephen Eastop

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Turkey |127

Turkey Turkey is seen as a special location being the bridge between Europe and Asia, and located in the heart of Eurasia. A country bordering no less than twelve nations, four seas and having circa eight thousand kilometres of coast areas that have seen over two thousand years of history. Over hundred and twenty emperors ruled over Turkey, each one of them trying to make the cities even more beautiful then before. The Turkish climate can be referred to the same diversity as its landscapes.

Demographics

Turkey has a population of seventy two million people. The proportion of the population residing in urban areas is three-quarter of the toal population.

Brief history

Turkey is a young republic however build on an old history. The Hittite realm, the empire of Alexander the great, the East Roman empire (Byzantium) and the Ottoman Empire left many tracks in this country. During the first world war Turkey allied with Germany and Austria. After the lost war parts of Turkey were divided by England and France: the Kurdish and Armenians claimed own states and the Greek in small Asia founded affiliation with Greece.

Business background

Turkey’s network of developed infrastructure and a globally competitive work force, has become a geo-strategic base for international business. A rapidly growing emerging market of seventy two million people makes the country today one of the key trading partners of the European Union.

Governmental points of interest

Turkey is a constitutional republic, that is seeking integration with the West, already since Mustafa Kemal Atatürk probably. It is member state to organisations such as the Council of Europe, NATO, OSCE and the OECD. The country started full membership negotiations with the European Union in 2005. The political shape of Turkey nowadays, is a consequence of Atatürk’s political revolution, in Turkey’s parliament or ‘TBMM’ (Turkiye Buyuk Birlesik Millet Meclisi) on 29 October 1923. At present there is discussion on the original separation between religion and state, as nowadays Prime Minister of Turkey, Erdoğan is leading the country with some religious influences as well.

Religious influences

Turkey’s primary religion is the Islam. The country also comprises different religions like the Jewish believe, Christianity, Catholicism, Alevism. Despite political attacks (e.g.: a synagogue in Istanbul) in previous years, people seem to be living in an enduring atmosphere with each other.


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Language

Spoken language in Turkey is Turkish. Ataturk changed the Arabic alphabet into a modern western alphabet in the beginning of the republic. The spoken Turkish today is called “Yeni Turke” New Turkish literally translated. In the east of Turkey an estimated eighteen percent of the population speaks Kurdish, however it is not acknowledged as an official language, despite Kurdish claims.

Country specific communication

Turks have an indirect way of communication and do not say what they exactly think to protect the relationship from damaging. They want to keep the gates open for future opportunities and are not offended if you didn’t close the deal with them after negotiating. Turkey is a country where many cultures live together. The country is divided in 81 provinces and they all have their own cultures and local habits which they are very proud of. If you are planning to visit one of them, try to learn some cultural values and mention them. That will always be an icebreaker. Turkey is divided in an Eastern (Anatolian) and a Western part. In the Eastern part of Turkey the religion Islam has more influence than elsewhere in Turkey. The locals are mostly Turks but also Armenians and Kurds and are very much living in traditional standards. The communication therefore is mostly semi-informal and mentioning “Cok sukur” which stands for being grateful to God is always included in every conversation. The Anatolian part includes cities like Ankara, Konya and Eskisehir. These are being considered as the cities of the officials, especially Ankara. A city once chosen by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as the capital of Turkey. The Western part includes maybe the most important and inspiring part of Istanbul. It’s a true metropolis and the unofficial capital among Western Turks. This part of the country is more cosmopolitan and tends to behave similar to Western cultures. The communication style here is more formal and distant, whereas in the eastern part it’s the opposite. Here a more informal and hospital thinking often is based on Islamic belief. Particular local habits: Turkey is for 99% Muslim even though there are many other religions like the Jewish, and Orthodox Armenian community. And what very common is for the Turks is the “Cuma namazi” which is a prayer that is being done only by men every Friday in the afternoon. Many businessmen are taking this break during the Friday every week and this is acknowledged by their relationships outside of Turkey. In Turkey it’s so common that if they inform that a certain person went to “Cuma namazi” they don’t need any other explanation.


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Social Interaction: a very common aspect businesswise is to first host your business partner and spend some quality time together. Turks are strong believers of building relationships. Entertaining is an excellent way of strengthening new friendships and relations. They see it as an investment for the future personal and businesswise. Reciprocating is an important value meaning that in the future the other party will need to host. Family ties are extremely strong, friends and extended family are extremely important. Family loyalty has a major impact in Turkish business practices. People will not do business with someone until trust is won, and someone is acknowledged as a friend. Mostly all the business done is based on this concept. If there is a case of betrayal this can be very damaging for the current and future business practices. Turkish business is quite hierarchically structured and when doing business in Turkey. people would like to know where you stand and what your position is. Turks can be generous in exchanging business cards and expect this from visitors too, so be prepared and take a respectful amount of cards. The Turks don’t appreciate just communicating through phone and email. They like to interact personally and have a meeting face to face. A sign of being sincere is looking someone in the eye while talking and touch an arm or a hand. Turks need a smaller personal space. The concept of respect is very important on many levels in relationships. This counts for personal and for business relationships. This can be seen for instance when an older person comes into a room people will simply stand up until that person gives a nod or a wave with his hand that one can sit down again. Do not be surprised in Turkish meetings when you see slight changes in the planned schedule when with constant interruptions with people coming into the meeting or taking phone calls. This is totally common to them, because they like to deal with problems and situations immediately.

Listening styles

Turks tend to be good listeners, but the listening style includes easier interruptions. However interrupting is a way of showing interest in what is being said from that perspective, as in turkey this is a way of showing genuine interest in someone.

Argumentation styles

The Turks love to debate and can be very passionate in a conversation. However they are indirect communicators so they will never be too direct. You have to learn to read between the lines. They are open to new ideas, but will stay always rather sceptical but not unreasonable.


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Decision styles

Turks are slow in decision taking and will first consult with their team. Teams are often considered as a kind of family almost. Honour and loyalty are very important factors for them, so be careful with making comments about third parties.

Management & hierarchy characteristics

Hierarchy is very important in Turkey. The leading power at the top has very little contact with the employee on the bottom. The employees call each other among them selves by Mr/Mrs and their last name. Again loyalty and honor is a very important things, for example if there are problems in a team, they have the tendency to not acknowledge. This because they don’t want to lose face so they stay neutral rather than coming out with what the exact problem was. Most of the time they don’t inform their leading power or authority, which can make it rather difficult for foreign expats who are working in teams like this.

Value systems

Within the Turkish culture the key concepts and values are family, polychromic time and the Islam. The most important value is family; a Turk’s personal life depends around family. In regard to business aspects polychromic time plays a big role. Turk’s are known for doing many things at the same time, not entirely uncommon to answer phone calls during meetings or enter a meeting without an invitation. Be aware of this so that you cannot get surprised by this way of doing business and show patience when doing business in Turkey. The Islam still remains an important feature in the Turkish culture and keeps influencing the cultural life, language, teaching and beliefs.

Negotiation teams

Turks come from a culture where negotiation is in their culture for centuries. Please be aware that negotiations cannot take place before the relationship and trust is established between the parties. Patience is essential and your Turkish counterpart will start on an extreme level of negotiation to test your level of response with an extremely high price. Concessions will be made from each side; this is just a part of the game. Each time you do this reminds your counterpart that you are willing to do this even though it sounds unreasonable because you value your relationship with them.

Contracts and legal concepts

In Turkey there is a lot of bureaucracy. So before a contract or an agreement is signed it can take a long time. The Turks don’t prefer this but the system is set up like that. The Turkish law is build with influence of French, Swiss and Italian Law.


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Use of Time

Office hours: office hours in Turkey are mostly ten hours a day. A working day usually starts between 8 and 9 am and will end around 6 or 7 pm. People work from Monday till Friday. Gastronomic timing: Food is a very important aspect in the life of the Turks. Lunch is very important and can be compared to dinner. Mostly warm meals are eaten and extended with desert and closed with drinking Turkish black Tea. The lunch is paid and provided by the employer. Punctuality: There is very little punctuality with meeting deadlines. This is an undeniable Mediterranean influence, but when it comes to arriving on an agreed time people in Turkey are very punctual. Duration:The duration depends on what has to be done, it’s not uncertain to work overtime if needed. It’s not being seen as a favor what the employee does. It comes with loyalty and dedication to the company. Fast facts Republic of Turkey

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti

Population

72,561,312

Area

783562 km2

Top-5 trade partners

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Official languages

Turkish

Currency

Turkish lira (TL)

Time zone

Eastern European time (UTC+2)

Licence plate code

TR

Internet, e-mail

.com.tr

Calling code

+90

Germany (11,2%), United Kingdom (8,1%), Italy (7%), France (5,6%), Russia (4,4%),

Most widely known foreign languages First foreign language

English

17%

Second foreign language

German

4%


Photography: Asif Akbar

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133

United Arab Emirates Aynur  Devre & Othman Chahid   


Photography: Barun Patro

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Unit. Arab Emirates|135

United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates is made up of seven states, the two best known of which are Abu Dhabi and Dubai. For the past few years both cities have changed into booming areas with huge projects financed by international investors. The capital of UAE is Abu Dhabi which is also the centre for the oil and gas industry. Dubai is more commercialised with its huge malls and also currently holds the record for the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

Demographics

The population of the UAE has risen very rapidly from 250,000 to 4,798,491 in a couple of years. A large part of the population is made up of immigrants from India, the Philippines and Korea. Most inhabitants are young and make up part of the working population of the UAE. The UAE also attract people from developed countries such as Canada and Australia, because of the climate. The climate in the UAE is mostly very hot and sunny. The coldest period of the year is between December and January.

Brief history

Seven independent states came together in 1971 and formed one of the most rapidly developing states; The United Arab Emirates. Those seven states were; Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm-Al-Qaiwan. This entire area covers 83,650 square kilometres. Most citizens live on the Arabic Peninsula and the coast. The capital ‘Abu Dhabi’ has a strategic meaning for the UAE. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan was the first President of the UAE. The UAE is becoming more multicultural so the need for intercultural understanding while working and living there is getting more important. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre For Cultural Understanding (Dubai) has been opened to address this need. They organise programmes for expatriates to learn more about the culture, religion and traditions of the UAE.

Business background

Personal contact is very important when doing business in the UAE. The two major cities, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, are in the world-wide business of exporting oil and gas. The UAE is changing its revenue structure because it wants to become more independent because of its oil revenue. The UAE economy is mostly based on the export of oil and gas and will become slightly more dependent on doing business with the rest of the world in the future. Governmental points of interest After the seven emirates united in 1971, the rulers chose to build a federal state. They needed to work together and stay stronger for their own economical progress. The Federal Supreme Council was started in that year. Every emirate


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has his own government, independence and economical freedom. The ruler of Abu Dhabi (the capital of the UAE) is also the chief of the whole state. The UAE has a President and a Prime Minister and the cabinet consists of a council of ministers. The department of Economic Development is responsible for trade support in the UAE. The UAE is currently a member of the UN, OPEC, the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Religious influences

Islam became the official religion after the constitution of the UAE. Of the total population 96% is Muslim. Islam and its influences is noticeable in every sphere of life in all Emirates nations. Emirates Muslims have a complex schedule of praying five times a day. The day is built up around prayer times. Take this into account while making an appointment, it is better to schedule a whole day. Keep in mind that the weekend runs from Friday to Sunday. Friday is a holy day in Islam, therefore Emirates Muslims need to prepare themselves for the communal ceremony that starts around noon in Mosques. Also during Ramadan and Islamic holidays most Emirates Muslims will spend their time with relatives and are not able to do business or show up to appointments. Furthermore, Islamic studies are mandatory for children.

Language

Arabic writing, as everyone may know, runs from right to left. Also, the letters are completely different from Latin ones. Some say it is the most difficult language in the world. The Arabic language has a huge diversity in words, translating Arabic to other languages, like english, is regarded as very difficult. Many words are probably not translatable into other common languages. The way of addressing people in Arabic is slightly different than in other languages. Besides ‘you’ and ‘they’ there is also a ‘twosome’ conjugation of an Arabic verb. Nowadays Modern Standard Arabic originally comes from Classical Arabic, where it was used as a literary language before and during the inception of Islam in 7th century.

Country specific communication

Particular local habits: doing business in the UAE is always personal. For centuries the Emiratis have been successful traders and trading is a way of life for many. Tribalism, which is still very important in the UAE with its strong emphasis on warm relationship, paternalistic leadership and family solidarity, intensifies the link between business and personal life. The better this kind of approach to business is understood, the better one will be equipped to avoid frustrations, understand tactics and handle meetings, turning them into business opportunities.


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This ‘Business is Personal’ perspective is different from modern western societies. The first remarkable difference is that the Emirati culture is more a ‘contact’ than a ‘contract’ culture. This means that doing business in UAE comes after establishing a confident and trustworthy relationship that has been built up after a quite long time, investing time on the personal level before any business talk or negotiation can begin. Contact with the Emiratis is very important to keeping the relationship alive. Being absent for a long period is not a good idea. Schedule regular visits, but when this is not possible it is advisable to hold frequent telephone conversations. Do not talk about business during these conversations, but discuss personal things and exchange news. Knowing your Emirati counterpart in detail makes it easy to network in the UAE. The classic Arabic proverb “you should have a strong shoulder” means that you should know people who could help you in bad situations, or when you are trying to achieve a good result while doing business. Business transactions take longer time than many are used to. Social interaction: business cards should be translated and printed in Arabic with the full title and qualifications of the holder. Choose a good translator and have the translation checked by a reliable Arab friend. The receiver of your business card should get a good picture of who you are, therefore give as much information as possible. Avoid titles such as ‘representative’ and ‘coordinator’ because they could be meaningless in the Arabic language. As an alternative, add ‘manager’ to your title. While printing your business card in Arabic, English should be printed on the other side. Also do this with brochures or other promotional literature. Body language: Arabs are tactile and body language is an important factor in communication. They sit much closer to each other and might touch others to emphasise a point or confirm that they have one’s attention. Always maintain eye contact during a conversation so that you will appear trustworthy. You should also be aware of the directions in which you look; looking away while talking may be interpreted as being evasive, looking down as being subservient and looking up as condescending. The right hand is used traditionally for shaking hands, drinking, eating and for all public functions. Minimize the use of your left, it is considered unclean. It is impolite if you sit cross-legged and the sole of your foot points to someone’s face. Try to avoid gesticulating while talking; this is also considered impolite. Communication style: Emiratis and all Arabs are high-context communicators. You should always take the general mood into consideration. ‘Insha’Allah’ has several meanings, it could mean ‘If God wills’, ‘I will do my best’, ‘I need more


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time to think about it’, or ‘you are my friend and I do not want to cause you to lose face by saying no’. Moreover, you should always look at the body language accompanying the words, together with the tone in which it is said. And do not forget to your own body language, you will be judged in the same way. Emiratis do not use the same written communications as Westerners. Emiratis are highly verbal. Answering an e-mail can take days or weeks, so making a phone call will make more sense with Emiratis. Moreover, a personal visit will have the biggest impact. Only when being in a face-to-face situation you can absorb the full meaning of what is being said.

Listening styles

In the Arab culture there is a ‘particular’ way of listening during a negotiation. Constant interruptions and interjections are normal at business meetings, so it is not unusual for outside people to join a meeting (sitting down) or for a host to meet with others at the same time. There is an eye for personal interaction and formality is not a high priority. Simultaneous activities including talking on the phone can take place during a meeting. This is a moment to make new contacts and show your counterparts that you know the business rules in the UAE.

Argumentation style

The language spoken in the UAE is mostly Arabic, however, Dubai has a large expat community from India and Pakistan. Their languages, Urdu and Hindi are also very common on the streets. Moreover, English is widely spoken in the UAE. Arabs in general come across as being expansive and flowery in their use of the language. However, during business meetings Arabs are using a lots of euphemisms and proverbs and will often tell stories which can be interpreted as indirectness or deliberate ambiguity. Emiratis are indirect to show their politeness and people are expected to read between the lines. They also use body language to express themselves, this could help a foreigner to read between the lines.

Decision style

The decision-making style in the UAE is slow decisions and non-confrontational. Meetings between locals and their western counterparts can be affected by several factors. Scheduling and planning should be approached very flexibly. It is very difficult to set an agenda or even set a time for a meeting with an Emirati businessman. Allowing a great deal of flexibility to a UAE-based host of a meeting is a must. However, for a foreigner to reschedule or cancel a meeting is not good for his image. Patience is a virtue, since schedules are rarely adhered to. Decision-making in the UAE is hardly ever a transparent process. There may be people outside the corporate structure with immense influence over decisions


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(e.g. patriarchal influence in family-owned firms). Nepotism, family loyalty and favouritism are also important to further decision-making structures. But while making an important decision we see that the owner of a company is the decision maker.

Management or hierarchy characteristics

The UAE culture is based on ‘waasta’ and ‘favours’ (something asking to clout or the ability to translate relationships into leverage). Favours are deeply entrenched in local culture and business. To create a network, ‘waasta’ and ‘favours’ can help a lot. A solid relationship generally equals good business. Furthermore, having built up a ‘goodwill budget’ one can utilize this in times of need. Business in the UAE compared to Western business perception can be described as hierarchical, competitive, family oriented and bureaucratic. The manager of a company is a ‘father figure’, who uses a ‘top down’ strategy towards his employees. Actually, when making a decision consensus is preferred. When a relationship is built between business partners, the trust will always stay and negotiations tend to be easier. Economic progress in the UAE has changed the hierarchy between women and men. Women are mostly employed in the wealth or education aspects of working life. Women and men have equal rights in Arab society, but there are areas where women are not employed widely. Religion and politics are two of these ‘grey’ areas.

Value Systems

UAE culture is relationship driven, which means that personal contact is a must. In business terms we could call the UAE culture rather a ‘contact’ than a ‘contract’ culture. “It is not what you know but who you know”. The Emirati’s refer to powerful people, because it’s a must while doing business. In the UAE it is almost impossible to do business without knowing someone who could introduce you to potential business partners. Doors will open once a reliable relationship has been established. What at first seemed impossible can be achieved. Research has shown that Arab culture is categorized as being group-oriented and collective and this is remarkable in all aspects of business and life. Therefore, family, honour, face, tribe harmony, consensus and networking are very important in UAE culture.

Negotiation teams

Remembering that many nationalities live and work in the UAE (Emirati’s are a minority in their own country) it is necessary to use different negotiation styles. If you sit down to negotiate a business deal with an Indian company (based in the UAE), your strategy will be different than when you negotiate with a Leba-


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nese company or an Emirati company. This is also a challenge for many business leaders in the UAE. There are companies in the UAE with 12 different nationalities (12 different cultures) and they all want to ensure that their negotiation teams are moving in the same direction. The basis of good team work is loyalty and trust. The manager of a company should make decisions that will bring benefits for the whole organization. The negotiation style of Arab culture tends to be ‘collective’, because a lot of people are involved in this process but it is quite important to know your ‘key decision partner’, because that person will be the most powerful during your business deal.

Contracts, legal concepts

The UAE has a variety of contracts and legal concepts. Even at places where the law is concerned, there is rarely a clear cut style. What could you expect while finalising your business negotiation? During a business meeting, you can expect traditional Arab coffee and dishes. This hospitality shows the importance that Emirati’s give to their business relation.. You should use the right hand, when shaking hands, eating, drinking or signing a business contract. During a meeting to sign a business contract, the things that are said by partners will weigh more than written aspects. A business compromise reaches her final stadium, when both counterparts are totally agree with the result. Before that, the negotiation will go further, signing a contract doesn’t weight much in the eyes of an Emirati. The most important things before signing a contract with a company manager in the UAE are personal relationships and the price. When you realised a good relationship with your counterpart, your word can be your bond.

Use of time

Office hours: office hours in UAE are slightly different from Europe and North America. Government offices open at 7.30 and close at 15.00 in the afternoon. Simultaneously, private offices are open longer, coming back to work in the evening after an extended mid-day break. Some business offices are open from 8 to 17. The weekend starts at mid-day on Thursday and lasts until Saturday morning, so all government offices are closed and some offices outside the public sector are open on Thursday and close on Friday and Saturday. Gastronomic timing: hospitality is an essential part of Emirati culture and applies to both professional and social contexts. Guest will always be welcomed with great generosity. In the private sphere the food served is mostly traditional Emirati food. However, during meetings Arab coffees and pastries are served. Hospitality is closely connected to the importance of relationships. Foreigners should not reject coffee or invitations. Lunch and dinner mostly takes place after the midday and evening prayers.


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Punctuality: Emiratis are very unpunctual when it comes to time management. Visitors should take this into account when scheduling visits or business meetings. Duration: when visiting the UAE or when you have scheduled several meetings do not expect to finish within one or two-days. Always add a day or two. Meetings could be postponed. However, meetings might also be interrupted by a friend or family members. Do use this as a network moment. Fast facts United Arab Emirates

Dawlat al-Imārāt al-‘Arabīya al-Muttahida

Population

4,798,491

Area

77,700 km²

Export

Top-5 trade partners

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Import 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Japan 23,6 % South Korea 9,2 % Thailand 5,2 % India 4,8 % Iran 3,8 % China 12,8 % India 10 % United States 8,7 % Japan 6,1 % Germany 5,1 %

Official languages

Arabic

Currency

Emirati Dirham (AED)

Time zone

UTC +4 hours

Licence plate code

UAE

Internet, e-mail

.ae

Calling code

+971

Most widely known foreign languages First foreign language

English

-

Second foreign language

Hindi

-

Third foreign language

Urdu

-


Photography: Maria Rius Planas

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United Kingdom Claudia la Lau & Victoria van Zwet   


Photography: Ana Schaeffer

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United Kingdom A country famous for the scandalous history of its Royal Family, which has been a great inspiration not only to hundreds of writers and film makers, but also to the likes of greats such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Chaucer, Darwin, Newton, Bell, the Beatles and so forth. Less famous however is the way that Brits do business. If you want to be successful at doing business in the UK, read on and learn the best way of approaching them.

Demographics

The UK is the 22nd most populous country in the world. Its population is around 61.1 million people and consists in the largest part of adults: 67% of the British population is between 15 and 64 years old. London, the capital, with 7.5 million people, is the largest city in the United Kingdom. 90% of the total population lives in or near a city. The UK population is mostly white (92.1%). Other larger ethnic groups are black (2% of the population) and Pakistani (1.3%) and they live mainly in the larger cities.

Brief history

The Kingdom of Great Britain was created by a political Union between England and Scotland in 1707. The parliamentary structure from that point has been adapted by many countries around the world. Since then the United Kingdom has played an important role in advancing science and literature. In the early 18th century the Industrial Revolution started in the UK and ensured the growth of the British Empire. In 1807 the UK passed the Slave Trade Act. Although the UK was involved in the slave trade, they were the first country to try and stop slavery. The British Empire had expanded to its maximum size by 1921 and covered onefourth of the world. After World War II the UK was the first country to create public health services. Immigrants from all over the Commonwealth came and created the multi-ethnic Britain we know today. During the 1980’s the UK experienced economic growth due to North Sea Oil. Since then parliament marked a change of direction in politics that is still continued today.

Business background

The UK is a leading trading power in Western Europe and the 6th largest economy in the world. It has contained the growth of social welfare programs. UK agriculture is sufficient for 60% of food needs. As a result of the importance of the financial sector however, the UK economy suffered from the 2008 global financial crisis, resulting in lower housing prices, large consumer debts and an unemployment rate of 8%. Some of the world’s best known and successful corporations have their main offices in the UK; companies such as BP, HSBC Holdings, Royal Bank of Scotland, Tesco, Barclays, Vodafone, Lloyds Banking Group and British American Tobacco.


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Governmental points of interest

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and the Prime Minister as head of government. The parliamentary government meets in Westminster Palace in London. The UK parliament consists of the elected House of Commons and the appointed House of Lords. Male residents of the UK have had the right to vote since 1867 and women have had the same right since 1928. Elections for the House of Commons are held every four years. Internationally the United Kingdom is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, G8, G7, G20, NATO, OECD, WTO, Council of Europe, OSCE and a member state of the European Union. These international alliances are important to the UK for economic as well as political reasons.

Religious/philosophical influences

Religion is very important in the UK. About 72% of the population is Christian. The Church of England (Anglican) is the Established Church, with Queen Elizabeth II as Supreme Governor. According to the law, the Queen is the highest power under God in the Kingdom and has authority over all persons in all causes. Mostly however this authority is practiced through parliament. The second largest religion, with around 5 million followers, is the Roman Catholic Church. Other religions practiced in the UK include Islamism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and Buddhism,

Language

The official language in the UK is English, a West Germanic language with many words from Latin-based languages. The alphabet is Latin-based, consisting of 26 letters. The correct way of pronouncing and writing English is referred to as ‘Queen’s English’. Other native languages to the Isles include Welsh, Irish, Ulster Scots, Cornish, Gaelic and British Sign Language. Immigrants have brought many foreign languages from across the globe but these are not regarded as official languages within the UK.

Country specific communication

When greeting your business partner it is customary to shake hands firmly and men are expected to wait for a woman to extend her hand. Eye contact is important during the handshake and helps to make a connection with your business partner. If you address your business partner, you should use their surname. They will tell you in time when to address them by their first name. A standard greeting is “How do you do?” where you could add that you are pleased to meet them. Most meetings will start with a little ‘chit-chat’ about the weather, traffic or other basic topics before starting with the actual meeting. When you have


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a meeting with British people, it would be advisable to dress formally when you first meet. However, you can dress more ‘smart-casual’ after that, as appropriate to the business environment. You will be taken more seriously when dressing smartly, especially in cities. Tradition and customs are still very important in the UK. This comes from their long history of the monarchy and the protocols of the aristocracy. Etiquette is used in everyday life and is intertwined with the British personality and upbringing. It varies from such practices as standing when a lady leaves the table to the highly regulated gentlemen-only clubs such as the Lions and the Rotary, where men go to talk business, drink whisky and smoke cigars. Irony, sarcasm and humour are used constantly in conversation. It is simply a way of breaking the ice while doing business. The communication style is indirect and they beat around the bush a lot. Instead of saying “I would like you to do this”, they will make a suggestion about the way they would like you to handle it. Managers avoid verbal conflict and have a more subjective way of speaking. Written communication is formal and mostly via e-mail. Physical contact, except for the handshake, is not appreciated by the Brits. Try not to stand too close or touch them during conversation as they will feel uncomfortable. Business cards can be exchanged at the beginning or end of a meeting. The card will show your name and job title, but try not to show your credentials on the card as it may be interpreted as bragging. In the corporate industry it is normal to pamper your customers with gifts, dinners and drinks. People working for the government however are not allowed to accept gifts. On the rare occasion that you are invited to anyone’s home, take flowers and/or a bottle of wine for the hosts as a symbol of your appreciation.

Listening styles

Brits listen carefully to one and other in conversation and will hardly ever interrupt with questions. When giving a presentation keep it entertaining and start off by saying what you are going to talk about and for how long and summarize your presentation at the end. People listen to the chairman in meetings but when it comes time to interact it can get very chaotic as everyone speaks at the same time.

Argumentation styles

Most Brits are not fluent in a second language, therefore meetings and communication will be in English. Brits feel strongly about win-win situations in negotiating and arguing. Both parties should be able to gain from closing the deal. Keeping those parties informed about the progress of the business will ensure a trustworthy and long-term relationship. Negotiating styles differ from industry to industry. All industries have their own rules on how to play the game. Listen and learn and adjust to their norm. If big decisions have to be made, lawyers may be present.


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Decision styles

Decision-making in the UK is a slow and systematic process. Managers will ask advice from their colleagues to ensure they have all the information they need on which to base their decision. They will discuss a topic and approve it in meetings before implementing a decision. Negotiations and decisions are open for debate and discussion. As yearly targets are an important aspect of the British businesses, it would be better to show your business partner the short term advantages of your deal. After a meeting it is advisable to contact your business partner by e-mail and put the conclusions in your mail as an extra backup to the discussion. The e-mail should include an action list. Keep in contact with your business partner after you have closed the deal so as to ensure more business in the future.

Management of hierarchy characteristics

The British used to be very conscious of tradition and hierarchy. One’s parentage was very important, as were the people you knew. This class-based society established one’s career according to one’s place in society. But times have changed in the last few decades and nowadays the most important thing is to have a good working relationship. Managers are respected for their accomplishments. Their leadership style is to coach and support individual development and growth. Teamwork is very important in order to meet company business objectives and everyone is accountable for their own individual responsibility. The relationship between managers and their team members is reasonably equal and informal. Traditional class distinction is also fading from the recruitment of personnel and people are now judged on their professional qualifications and expertise. More and more women are taking on management roles as well as people from ethnic backgrounds. Legislation in Britain is focused on equal opportunities, a sign of the respect for the individual.

Use of time

Office hours: British office hours are from Monday to Friday, normally from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Retail business opening hours are becoming more and more prolonged, sometimes up to 24 hours a day. Gastronomic timing: The Brits start the day with breakfast. This meal is the most important one of the day and consists of bacon and eggs, sausages and coffee. Around noon they lunch with sandwiches and around four they take tea. They have supper when they come home from work in the evening at around six or seven o’clock. This is a warm meal generally eaten with the family.


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Punctuality: The pace of business in the UK is fast and deadlines are fairly strict. It is important to be on time to business meetings with senior management. Meetings without management maybe less strict on time-keeping, depending on the company culture. Meetings could start 10 or 20 minutes late and this time can be used for refreshments and social talk until everyone is present. Business meetings with external parties are commonly arrived at punctually or a even a little early and generally begin with ten minutes of chit-chat about non personal matters. Duration: Negotiations go quickly because the agenda is made in advance and the subject can be approached directly. The British rely on facts rather than emotions to make decisions. Therefore the relationship is secondary to the business opportunity. In general, depending on the impact of the deal, you will have a meeting which is sometimes followed by a formal drink or dinner in the pub. The final deal is always made in the office. Once a contract is signed the negotiations are over and the deal is made.

Value systems

There are two different value systems in Britain. On the one hand, there is the personal and communal value system which consists of moral codes that sets the rules for social interaction and the knowledge of right and wrong. In Britain the individual takes a prominent place over collectivism. It is important to develop oneself to the maximum of one’s abilities. The collective or family is inferior to this individual growth. Family ties are weak and commonly families only come together for special occasions such as birthdays and holidays. Young people spend a lot of time in education and it is common to leave the family home at 18 to go to college or university. After that, people pursue professional careers and start families. The elderly are not taken in by the family but spend their remaining days in special old people’s homes. On the other hand, there is the corporate value system which is also based on individualism. The most important aspect of a professional career is to develop oneself and gain as many skills and as much expertise as possible to take steps up the corporate ladder. People are judged on their expertise so relationships are less important. UK professionals are performance driven, competitive, very task oriented and deal with deadlines and targets. Stress and pressure are common feelings. Most workers like to work for an expanding firm, but in the end are not very loyal if a better opportunity arises.


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Contracts, legal concepts

Once a UK contract is signed, it is binding. No negotiation are possible after this. The agreed conditions have to be met. When a contract expires and both parties have fulfilled their obligations according to the agreement, there will be performance measurement to assist in a potential contract renewal.

Fast facts United Kingdom

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Population

61.789.000

Area

244,755 km2

Top-5 trade partners

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Official languages

English

Currency

Pound sterling (GBP - ÂŁ1 = 100 pence)

Time zone

Greenwich mean time (GMT UTC+0)

Licence plate code

GB

Internet, e-mail

.co.uk

Calling code

+44

United States Germany France Netherlands Irish Republic

Most widely known foreign languages First foreign language

French

23%

Second foreign language

German

9%

Third foreign language

Spanish

8%


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Value facts Ease of doing business

5

Enforcing contracts

23

Getting credit

2

Trading across borders

16

Corruption perception

77

Achievement orientation

66

Hierarchy acceptance

35

Individualism

89

Women empowerment

21


Photography: Karen-Louise Clemmesen

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United States Thomas Steetskamp, Jasper van der Heiden   


Photography: David Hart

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United States|155

United States of America A country, known for its possibilities, is also one of significant contradictions. Its love and hate relationship with a large part of the world’s population contributes to the enormous impact it has on people, good and bad. The United States of America is one of the most powerful countries in the world and has one of the largest, most robust economies. The US plays a leading role in the world because of the size of the economy, making it an interesting place to do business. In this chapter we provide an introduction to American culture and highlight some of the commonalities in negotiation.

Demographics

The USA is the world third biggest country. It consists of 50 independent states, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the North Pacific Ocean to the west, Canada to the north and Mexico is its southern neighbour. America has a population of ± 307,000,000; 67% of which is aged between 15-64.

Brief history

The former British American colonies broke from Britain on 4 July 1776 which to this day is known as the 4th of July or Independence Day. In 1783 they were recognized by the treaty of Paris as the United States of America. They started with 13 colonial states and during the 19th and 20th century they added 37 new states. The short history of the USA is marked by some important cultural occasions. First, there was the civil war (1861-1865) in which the northern ‘Union’ of states fought against the ‘Confederacy’ of 11 southern states in order to provide freedom for slaves, also known as ‘The Emancipation Proclamation’. Second, is the epic economic downturn of the 1930s, known today as the ‘Great Depression’.

Business background

As mentioned previously, the USA is one of the largest economies in the world. It has a market-driven economy with a significant base in technology. They produce a GDP of USD 46,900 per capita. Their main economic partners are Western Europe, Japan and China. Many of the world’s largest companies are originally from the USA. Companies such as Ford where they created and automated mass production by assembly line, which ultimately changed aspects of doing business for the whole world. Entrepreneurial spirit is embraced in the USA.


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Governmental points of interest

The USA may be referred to as a constitution-based federal republic. Its government sits in the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. The President is both Chief of State and head of the national government which is elected for a period of four years. The USA is a democracy consisting of many political parties, but the two major parties are the Democratic Party (liberal) and the Republican Party (conservative) . There are a few other growing parties known as ‘minor parties’; The Green Party, The Constitution Party and the Libertarian Party. The remaining smaller parties are known as ‘micro parties’. Being one of the most powerful countries, the USA is represented in the major international organizations.

Religious and philosophical influences

The majority religion in the USA is Catholic (constituting approximately 80% of the population) which is reflected in both government and in the population. Many of the issues under debate at any given time are influenced by religious beliefs. However, many states and regions of the USA are fairly liberal. Cities such as New York and San Francisco, for example, are ethnic and religious melting pots where differences are accepted and celebrated. Other states such as Texas, part of the so called ‘Bible belt’, are less tolerant of other ethnic backgrounds or religions. It is estimated that in the near future more than 50% of the American population will be part of an ethnic minority. The largest groups of ethnic minorities are Hispanic or have African roots.

Language

The national language of the USA is American English, except for Hawaii where Hawaiian is also an official language. The English language spoken in the USA differs from the English spoken in other parts of the world. These differences can be found in meanings of some words, spelling and pronunciation. In some parts/states of the USA (mostly California) Spanish is also accepted. This has to do with the significant number of Mexican immigrants (both legal as illegal) living in California. General American is spoken in Des Moines, Iowa. This can be seen as the most correct American-English.

Country specific communication

Americans are very punctual and therefore scheduled meetings and appointments must be attended on time. Lateness will be seen as disrespectful. A counter side to the American Dream is the concept that ‘Time is Money’. It therefore may be your experience that your counterparts appear hasty in their decisionmaking. They want the best possible result in the shortest possible time. Generally in the USA the working week consists of Monday to Friday,


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9 to 5. However, in line with the strong American work ethic, the majority of Americans work long hours and overtime. It is also customary to take as few as ten days holiday per year. Individualism: a key word for an average American as it plays a significant role in the lives of many Americans. American culture emphasises individual initiative and personal achievement. Independence and selfreliance are highly valued and this also extends to the workplace where business is frequently carried out autonomously. Consequently, one’s position in US society is determined by one’s own achievements as oppose to status or age.

Negotiation style

American culture could be described as a ‘low context’ culture meaning that communication is direct and to the point. Efficiency in information flow is explicit through words. The main reason for communication is to exchange information, facts or opinions. American are also extremely direct socially. A conflict is dealt with in a direct and open manner. They have no problem with saying “no”. This method of communication is quite difficult to understand for people from a ‘high context’ culture. In a first meeting, American behaviour may be thought of as overwhelming, but it shouldn’t be taken personally; it is just the way of negotiating. The intention is not to attack anyone on a personal level. Another very important point is that Americans believe in equality. Despite the perceived differences in American society, there is a common understanding of equality. They want every person to have equal rights, social obligations and opportunities. The other side of this coin is that there is a general lack of people with a higher social status. This is exemplified in the fact that that an American seldom uses business titles and call each other by first names. This belief in equal opportunities and the pursuit of the ‘American Dream’ is the root of competition in the hierarchy displaying a clear distinction between management and subordinates.

Management or hierarchy characteristics

Organisations and structures of companies may differ according to such factors as region or history of industry. However, hierarchy is very important in American companies and normally a great deal of respect for different levels of hierarchy will be evident. When doing business with an American company it is best to know the titles and operating levels of all contacts. People in the USA tend to focus on the title and less on the person holding the title. A person’s ability to perform is valued more highly than their seniority.


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Use of time

The use of time by Americans is different from that of many other countries. Although the working hours are 40 hours a week they put in as much time as needed to get the job done. Frequently this is expected to be done within salary scales with no additional compensation. This can interfere with other daily duties. Office hours: On average, working hours are from 9 am to 5 pm. Executives put in a lot of overtime and therefore may expect the same of their employees, resulting in a great deal of overtime every week. Americans are also big fans of flexi time, with people starting earlier or later to avoid traffic jams. Despite the number of hours that Americans work, they only have 2-4 weeks of annual leave and eleven federal holidays. Gastronomic timing: American lunch is taken between 12:00 and 14:00 and dinner between 17:30 and 20:00. They are very keen on what they eat and won’t be offended if you refuse to eat something. Table manners are more relaxed then in many other countries as more food is eaten by hand. Punctuality: Time is money! Americans are very keen on their time. Most people work to strict schedules and use time as if it were money in the bank; they save and spend time. Being on time makes you a reliable business partner so it is really important to manage your diary well. Generally, agendas are used for meetings and they will be adhered to. Americans like hard data.

Value systems

Many Americans tend to act informally, even quite soon after initial introductions. They use first names easily and discuss personal details which they use to evaluate your status and standing. Personal status is often defined by material possessions. In the USA, for example, driving a Ferrari can be seen as a sign of success, whereas in certain cultures this might be seen as showing off. The use of humour in a negotiation is acceptable and can be used to diffuse a challenging conversation.

Negotiation teams

When doing business it’s best to deal with the chief authority because that’s the person who makes the final decision. The existence of one chief authority means that team negotiations are used mainly for preliminary discussions. Americans tend to work toward a joint problem-solving process for a mutually beneficial result. In this situation the buyer is often in a superior position. American negotiators will spend time gathering information before they start the negotiations. Asking for potentially sensitive details during negotiations is not seen as unusual and both parties may do so, but are not expected to answer


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all the questions. However, not answering will be interpreted as an answer in itself. Americans work in a monochromic way; they often have a list they will work from, bargaining on every point. They want to do the negotiations as efficiently as possible, but they are not afraid to use stalling techniques in order to obtain concession. Bargaining is an acceptable negotiation technique in the USA. They will take firm positions at the beginning of the process, but are willing to give in if the other party does not give in on its own position.

Contracts, legal concepts

After the negotiations, it is normal to exchange meeting summaries. It is also possible that negotiators decide on a Letter of Intent (LOI) or a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), stating that both parties will do business if certain points of competencies are met. These are much weaker as contracts, but still have some legal precedents. Contracts on the contrary are legally binding. All details are evaluated and the terms and conditions of every detail are outlined in very specific terms. All commitments, events, terms and conditions can only be changed when all parties mutually agree in writing. If one end of a contract is not upheld, legal actions and excusive claims will be taken. It is therefore highly advisable to consult a (local) legal adviser before signing a contract. This legal counsel also may take part in the negotiations. If you elect to do this, it is advisable to also inform the other party that your legal counsel will be present during the negotiations, in which case the other party will quite possibly do the same.

Structure and hierarchy in American companies

In a country famous for its individualism and diversity, the organisation and structure of companies within the USA may differ according to the industry, region or company history. However, you will generally find that office hierarchy within an American company is extremely important. Therefore, it is advised to learn the ranks and titles of all members of the organisation. Negotiations and final decisions in the US are frequently made by one person who has chief authority. Team negotiations are rarely carried out in American companies. In accordance with American business culture, the hierarchical chain of command often supersedes personal relationships.

Working relationships

Personal competence, professionalism and accountability for individual performance are highly valued in the American business culture. As a result, managers are only approached for help in essential situations. These concepts also contribute to the highly competitive work ethic which is often experienced in the US. Devel-


Doing the deal, globally |160

oping personal relationships are not as significant in US business culture as they are in some Asian countries. In the United States, the overall goal of business is to secure the best deal. Therefore forming company relationships are of greater value. It is common for Americans to make clear distinctions between work colleagues and friends in their social life. In the US, meetings tend to be rather formal and little time is spent on cultivating social relationships.

Fast facts United States of America Population

307,212,123

Area

9,826,675 km2

Export

Top-5 trade partners

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Canada 19.2% Mexico 12.4% China 7.4% Japan 5.1% United Kingdom 4.2%

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

China 18.0% Canada 15.7% Mexico 12.0% Japan 6.3% Germany 4.0%

Import

Official languages

English

Currency

United States Dollar (USD/$)

Time zone

From east to west: Atlantic Standard Time (AST) Eastern Standard Time (EST) Central Standard Time (CST) Mountain Standard Time (MST) Pacific Standard Time (PST) Alaskan Standard Time (AKST) Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HST) Samoa standard time (UTC-11) Chamorro Standard Time (UTC+10)

Licence plate code

USA

Internet, e-mail

.us (usually: .com, .gov etc)

Calling code

+1


United States|161

Most widely known foreign languages First foreign language

Spanish

10.7%

Second foreign language

French

0.61%

Third foreign language

Mandarin

0.57%

Value facts Ease of doing business

4

Enforcing contracts

8

Getting credit

4

Trading across borders

18

Corruption perception

7.5

Achievement orientation

62

Hierarchy acceptance

40

Individualism

91

Women empowerment

18


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Keyword Index Alberto Santos-Dumont Anders Fogh Rasmussen Azaan Bella Figura Burj Khalifa CMCC Corruption Perception Cuma Namazi Derija Diet Economist Intelligence Unit Elucidate Farhana Faroque Flanders Geert Hofstede Hshuma Hu Jintao Joey A-Tjak Kao Lok Sabha Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Meishi Mustafa Kemal Atat端rk Omoiyari Otto Wichterle PDG Rajya Sabha Sandra Grutter TBMM Transparency.org University of Leicester Waasta Wallonia Weiss framework World Bank Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan

35 66 120 99, 100 135 84 21 128 120 110 21 13 3, 7, 9, 77, 167, 170 27 21, 39 122 46 3, 7, 9, 77, 167, 169 111 90 36 109 127 111 55 74 90 3, 9, 167, 171 127 21 65 139 27 19 21 135


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Picture credits All chapter introductions have been conceptualised and/or elaborated by Sandra Grutter . Unless otherwise stated all images and illustrations are courtesy SH69T studio and/or Sander Schroevers. Original artwork by Joey A-Tjak and Farhana Faroque: cover details; Original artwork by Jasper van der Heiden : cover graphic. Any inadvertent omissions can be rectified in future editions.

The editors very much wish to thank the following, for their kind permission to reproduce photographs: Photograph © Anselmo Garrido: Praia do Forte, Bahia, Brasi • Photograph © David Hart: USA grandcanyon• Photograph © Enrico Nunziati (Pinzino): Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, Paris • Photograph © Dimitri Castrique: independence Cinquantenaire monument • Courtesy © Martin Boulanger: Mermaid sculpture, Copenhagen • Photograph © Richard Cop: roofs in Prague • Photograph © Barun Patro: Burj al arab, Dubai • Photograph © Tiago Antunes: Taj Mahal, India • Courtesy © Niclas Ericsson: Kyoto, Japan; Photograph © Paul Mata: Kanagawa, Japan • Photograph © Daniel Cubillas: Chinese temple lion • Photograph © Gregor Pogöschnik: Hong Kong skyline • Photograph © Michel Meynsbrughen (Brussels) • Photograph © Karen-Louise Clemmesen (Rio de Janeiro, New York City) • Photograph © Alexander Rist (China) • Photograph © Mateusz Dutkiewicz (Prague) • Photograph © Martin Boulanger (Denmark) • Photograph © Taylor Dixson (France) • Courtesy © Eva Heinsbroek (Hong-Kong) • Photograph © Zsolt Zatrok (India) • Courtesy © Pietro Ricciardi (Italy) • Photograph © Paul Mata (Japan) • Courtesy © Craig Sanders (Morocco) • Courtesy © Gökhan Okur (Turkey) • Courtesy © Asif Akbar (Dubai) • Photograph © Maria Rius Planas (London) • Courtesy © Stephen Eastop (Turkey) • Photograph © Niels Kolb (France) • © Billy Alexander (globe illlustration on intro page)


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About the authors Mark Alosery Mark is presently studying Commercial Economics at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences. After his graduation he wants to specialise in Marketing and communications. Khadija Amhaouach Was born in The Netherlands, lives in Amsterdam and is presently studying International Business and Languages at the full-time department of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied science. Daniel Andrade Works for a multinational that supplies hospitals with pharmaceuticals and pharmaceuticals delivery systems. Next to this he studies International Business and Languages at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, this is a part time course. He likes to spend his free time doing sports such as squash and windsurfing. Joey A-Tjak Studies Interactive Media, at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences. Being active in the field of Marketing, PR, design, programming and writing he has chosen Hong Kong to write about, because of an interest in its liaison function between East and West. Sadaf Banyardalan Was born in 1982, in Tehran (Iran) and came to the Netherlands when she was 2 years old. Sadaf is studying Communication Management at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. At the moment she works at an investment bank and her goal is to start her own business after graduating. Rosina Basaur Has always had a great interest for other cultures and businesses abroad. At present she is finishing the course International Business at the part-time department of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. She hopes a bachelor degree in international business will guide her in her path to international success. Berry Beerenfenger Studies Commercial Economics at the part-time department of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences, with international business as a minor. As former Occasion Manager at a Renault dealership he now is managing all car dealerships for ‘De Telegraaf’, the biggest daily newspaper in the Netherlands. Berry has been selected for the Young Talent Class at TMG (Telegraaf Media Group). Wendy Besoo Was born in 1983 in the Netherlands. She works for an international tour operator, while simultaneously studying International Business & Languages at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. For her study she did a minor in cross cultural business skills, for which she studied the business culture of Brazil.


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Michiel BoerĂŠe Has studied Commercial Economics at the part-time department of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences, with Cross Cultural Business Skills as a major. Michiel BoerĂŠe is working in the Property Management industry and lives in Uitgeest. Liza de Bruijn Was born on July 31, 1984 in Haarlem, the Netherlands. Studies Communications at the part-time department of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences. Works as Individual Coach and Coordinator Operations in Amsterdam for a company specialised in research on organisational performance. Othman Chahid Has experienced the Moroccan, Caribbean, Spanish and French culture and therefore is familiar with differences in cultures. He is studying International Business and Languages at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences in Amsterdam and did a minor on Marketing in France. He had chosen to do the minor Cross Cultural Business Skills to enlarge his knowledge of business cultures, and wishes to specialise in business administration. Serap Dag Is currently studying at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences, with Cross Cultural Business Skills as minor. Serap supports the management of a company in the international entertainment industry. Aynur Devre Is currently studying Human Resource Management at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences, with Cross Cultural Business Skills as minor. After growing up in the Middle of the Netherlands today her interest is in the Middle East: Lebanon, Syria and Dubai. Lucille B. Dijkman Was born on March 21, 1978 in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands. Besides her job at an international airline company, she studied International Business & Languages at The Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of Applied Sciences. Melanie van Engel Was born in Amsterdam and is presently studying International Business and Languages at the full-time department of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied science. She loves to travel around the world to see how different cultures match. Farhana Faroque Was born in 1990 in the Netherlands and now is a student Interactive Media at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. For her study she did a minor in cross cultural business skills. This minor was her first encounter with thorough knowledge about different business cultures of many countries. She enjoyed it extensively and learned that this is what she really liked. In the future she wants to do more with cultures, communication, people and coaching, preferably internationally.


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Louis Fiene Studies Commercial Economics at the part-time department of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences, with international business as a minor. After a three year managing career in tourism, he now has taken up an international business position at Vodafone. Rafael Goceryan A technical consultant for Capgemini Outsourcing in Utrecht. He started studying International Business and Languages because of his International ambition. Aiming for an International career, in which both his qualities as his interests will be of use. The spare time in his day to day life is enjoyed with friends and family and spends on sports, music, travelling and reading. Sandra Grutter Was born in 1983 in Assen, now living in Amersfoort and is a Graphic designer working for a leading entertainment company with the Headquarters located in Weesp. She loves to travel and therefor liked it a lot to be included on the design of this project. Jasper van der Heiden Studies Commercial Economics, with Cross Cultural Business Skills as minor, at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences. Jasper is an entrepreneur who works and lives in Amsterdam. Faouzi Jamal Studies Commercial Economics at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences. Faouzi currently works in the Banking Industry and lives in the multicultural city Amsterdam. He perceives learning about other cultures as an enrichment. Sylvia van Laar Is finishing the study International Business and Languages. She works for a large international aviation company. Her ambition is to become a successful career woman, internationally. Kevin Lagas Is living in Nieuwegein and a part-time student Commercial Economics at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences. Besides his study he works as an assistant manager at the office and media department of the Makro in Vianen. Claudia la Lau Studied Commercial Economics at the part-time department of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences, with Cross Cultural Business Skills as a major. Claudia la Lau is working in the Banking Industry and has lived in Amsterdam for over ten years.


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Daniëlle van der Lem Was Born on February 18, 1983 in Heemstede, the Netherlands. She works at the marketing department of an American real estate company. Besides her study International Business and languages at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, she likes to travel and spend time with family and friends. Brahim El Malki Studied Commercial Economics at the part-time department of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences, with Cross Cultural Business Skills as a major. Brahim has the ambition to work at a multinational company with an international focus. Berit Mulder Studied International Business and Languages at the part-time department of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences, with Cross Cultural Business Skills as major. In her professional life she is working for a large international brewery company and prefers to spend her free time on outdoor sports, travelling to far foreign countries and social gatherings with her friends and family. Angel Matindas Was born in 1984 in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and has an Indonesian background. Angel is studying Communication Management at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. She is currently working in the hotel industry and would love to be a successful business woman in the future. Marrit Ormeling Was born in 1974 in Warns. She worked in Germany and the United States and is now working as an account executive for UPS and studying International Business and Languages at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. Olaf Sassen Olaf is studying part-time Commercial Economics at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences. He works as a product manager at a chemical distribution company situated in Rotterdam. When not working or studying, he loves to travel to foreign countries in order to explore and experience different cultures. Sander Schroevers Lectures at the part-time department of Commercial Economics and is PhD researcher, both at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences. Besides his educational activities, he is the current President of the Paris based l’institut européen de communication internationale d’entreprise. Sander is a frequent speaker at international seminars, and a writer of about fifty books in the field of international communications.


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Thomas Steetskamp Is studying Commercial Economics at the part-time department of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences, with Cross Cultural Business Skills as a major. Thomas is currently working at TNT post parcel services as a commercial officer and lives in the city of Hoofddorp. Kevin Verwaard Kevin Verwaard is studying Commercial Economics at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences. For his daily work he often needs to communicate with Belgian people. Kevin wishes to specialise to become a purchasing agent. Jeffrey Vogel Jeffrey was born in Amsterdam and now living in Bennekom, is presently studying Fulltime International Business and Laguages at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied science. He likes to see the world and comprehend the way people do business in different cultures. SheĂŽla de Wilde SheĂŽla was born in the Netherlands in 1989. At present she is studying Nursing at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences. She voluntarily followed the minor Cross Cultural Business Skills which she enjoyed very much. In the future she wants to work internationally with people from different cultures by helping and coaching them in any way she can. Victoria van Zwet Studied Commercial Economics at the part-time department of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of applied sciences, with Cross Cultural Business Skills as a major. Victoria is working in Media. She has lived in Amsterdam for over ten years.



Doing the Deal, globally