Cultural sensitivity

Throughout my prevailing concept of cultural issues on this research, I have drawn most of my illustration from marketing researches currently done in China. Chinese culture is portrayed by theoretical ideologies encountered during Cultural Revolution.

Culture is defined as a set of essential understandings that members of a society share in common. These set of essential understandings are often not stated. Cross-cultural communication can be defined as a process of communications between citizens from different cultural background.

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Some of the major cross-cultural issues that may Impact Company A’s marketing approach in this situation are; Cultural factors, differences in systems of laws, unethical behavior, rules of conduct, clear guidelines, right to choice, efficiency and effectiveness, religion, and education.

Cultural differences and the expectations affect all business transaction globally. Therefore, it is important for the USA marketers to understand the culture and expectations of the Chinese people. For example, the Chinese have self-control in terms of their communication style such as their value for silence as they reserve it for cautious judgment and reflection.

The Americans on the other hand value talking, view silence as a tough negotiating technique, and tend to be uncomfortable when there is a gap of silence in the conversation. Furthermore, the Chinese also are shy in communication and give hints to others about what they really want; this contrasts with the frankness in American culture.

Another difference is a context versus content orientation. In China, guanxi, which is a set of connections or relationships, form the context of business. When Chinese managers negotiate a contract, they rely on the context in which the contract was negotiated as opposed to Americans who rely on the content of the contract. The specific words, the dates, the amounts, the tasks are spelled out clearly and are very vital for an American manager.

The above may impact an American’s company marketing strategy in that the Americans might be forced for example to value context of the contract as opposed to content, hold spells of silence in their negotiation and also be able to understand a Chinese managers hinting..

The instances such as illegal campaign contributors, bribery, knowingly selling defective goods, and hiding information represent cross-cultural misconduct identified above and can lead to contrasting business performance. USA for example is prohibited to engage in bribery in business despite the fact that the company faces jail terms and heavy fines.

One of the impacts of cross-cultural ethical differences in marketing strategies between the United States and China is that the American managers must make sure that an agreement with a Chinese manager must never lead to shame sometimes-extraordinary efforts to preserve face may be necessary.

This is because in the Chinese culture courtesy is highly valued as well as righteousness, ethics and honor. Therefore, it is very important for the Chinese people to avoid shame both for themselves as well as for others. Cause of shame to someone else is taken seriously and the offended person can even revenge.

Another impact is the use of advertisements, for Americans it is acceptable to advertise and even exaggerate as it promotes a product and is useful to create fantasy in showing the needs the product satisfies. This is in contrast with the Chinese culture where people value the inner beauty more than the look or style, and if advertisements are not done properly, they may not fit the Chinese culture.

It is of great importance for the American marketers to choose appropriate words in promoting their products in China. Therefore, the focus of advertisements should be on delivery of product edification as well as understanding and also trying as much as possible to avoid loss of face as well as avoiding comparative advertisements.

In China, people are both superstitious about their business success and are concerned with numbers. Therefore using a luck number like 1688 for a house number or a business phone number is important for them. This is because such a number when pronounced in Cantonese means ‘all the way to riches’.

The Chinese people also believe that if someone says something bad about their business it will actually come to pass and might even cause a downfall of the business. Americans on the other hand believe in hard work and that through it one can achieve anything they desire to. For Americans to succeed in business in China they must be knowledgeable as well as sensitive to Chinese beliefs.

Another impact is in considerations of the society’s assumptions about the relationship between man and nature. Americans are of the view that man should dominate nature in contrast with the Chinese who are of the idea that man must live in harmony with the nature.

In this case, therefore American must be careful to avoid being perceived as polluters and destroyers of nature and old artifacts. It is vital for Americans to understand and respect Chinese position; otherwise, business dealings with them may be difficult. The American managers must have great patience.

This is because the Chinese people value stability and preservation of the status quo. To them changes should be evolutionary, in contrast Americans who value progress and change even at the expense of traditional values. Therefore, the American managers must respect the values of the Chinese people to be able to do business with them comfortably. Employing an expert in the other side’s culture and business practice can be the best insurance of success in China for American marketers.

Reference

Ball, D. A. (2006). International business: the challenge of global competition; Chicago: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

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