Our construction company has been tasked with the responsibility of constructing the tallest skyscraper in the globe to be based in Rio de Janeiro. Dubai will finance the project, China will provide the raw materials, and management of the project shall be from the United States. On the other hand, Germany will provide engineering and technology expertise while labor shall be sourced locally.
All the players have been invited for a big meeting at the company’s headquarters in the United States in order to not only explain the project in detail, but also to get them to be acquainted with one another. However, we have noticed that the people are not mingling, and instead prefer staying with their own groups. The essay shall attempt to define this cultural phenomenon. In addition, the essay shall also endeavor to clarify the lack of interactions and intercultural communication.
Dealing with lack of intercultural communication and interaction
When meeting with individual from diverse cultural backgrounds, a six step process is normally adopted in order to examine possible reasoning techniques that one might experience. The first step involves ethnocentrism or the belief in the superiority of one group over another. The second step is defensiveness whereby an individual views other cultures negatively. In the third step, there is a minimization of cultural diversity, followed by step four where an individual accepts that diversity can either be negative or positive. Step five entails adaptation in which a person learns to adapt to other cultures. Finally, step six involves the integration of the other cultures (Bennett, 1993). In an attempt to enhance social interaction, the management team has been tasked with the responsibility of encouraging employees to interact with their fellow coworkers from diverse cultural backgrounds. To do so, compulsory training, social events and meetings have been organized across the various departments.
When one has to live and work in a place that he/she is not accustomed to, they are bound to be faced with various issues, including cultural differences and language barriers. This brings about intercultural uncertainty and avoidance. According to Hofstede (2001), “uncertainty avoidance” refers to the uncomfortable display of emotions by a person. This could emanate from their individual beliefs or state of mind. Our company is fully aware of the lack of intercultural communication and interaction among tem members from diverse culture backgrounds. To address this issue, we are now asking the various departments to encourage their team members to learn the history, language, and cultures of their various cultures.
The political, economic, educational and social systems of the four different countries
Germany is a federal republic consisting of 16 administrative divisions (Central Intelligence Agency 2013). German economy is the largest in Europe and the fifth largest globally. The country’s leading exports include chemicals, vehicles, machinery, as well as household equipment. In addition Germany has a highly skilled workforce that it exports as well. Germany has to grapple with tremendous demographic challenges in its quest to sustain long-term economic growth. The country’s welfare system that has been the envy of the rest of Europe is now under pressure owing to declining net migration and low fertility rates. The country’s unemployment levels reached their lowest rates in over 70 years during the 2008-09 global recessions. Germany provides compulsory free education for children between the age of 6 and 14 years. Furthermore, education in public institutions is also free. The states are charged with the responsibility of overseeing education.
China is a communist state whose legal system is heavily influenced by continental European and Soviet Union civil law systems (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013). China is a key pillar of the global economy. By 2010, China was already the leading global exporter (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013). This has come about as a result of the successful implementation of various reforms in key sectors of the economy. Chinas educational system is made up of basic, higher, and adult education. There are nine years of compulsory education, and the country has a literacy rate of 91%.
United Arab Emirates
The UAE is characterized by an open economy. Besides having a sizeable per capital income, the UAE also enjoys a high annual trade surplus (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013). The UAE has a comprehensive education program that offer free primary and secondary education to all.
The United States is a democracy consisting of autonomous states and a central government. The president is democratically elected and serves for a term of four years. The economy of the United States is the largest in the world in terms of GDP. The U.S is a capitalist economy and is thus market-oriented. Most of the economic decisions are made by business firms and private individuals (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013).. Although business organizations in the United States more flexibility in comparison with firms in say, Europe, they also have to deal with stiffer entry barriers into their own home market in comparison with foreign companies. The key exports from the United States include human resources, machinery, and automobiles. The US’ education system is made up of a maximum of 2 years of study. Local and state and are charged with the responsibility of handling education matters.
Brazil is a federal republic and consists of 26 states. The country boasts of well-developed and large mining, agricultural, service, and manufacturing sectors (Central Intelligence Agency, 2013). The national currency has steadily appreciated in recent years owing to large capital inflows. Tourism is another major source of foreign exchange earner. The country has also steadily reduced its debt prolife. The Brazilian education system consists of fundamental intermediate, as well as higher education. The average formal education in Brazil is 7.2 years, while the average literacy rate is 90.2% for individual above the age of 15 years.
Contrasting cultural values of these countries
The UAE is predominantly Islam and religion influences and shapes culture and society. Also, mode of dressing, laws, food, daily routines and education are all shaped by influenced by Islam (Communicaid Group Ltd, 2009). Individual behavior and values are shaped by strong tribal and family ties, while hospitality constitutes an important part of the Emirati culture.
Majority of Germans follows prescribed procedures, laws and rules while working. These components are quite evident is the country’s political, social, and economic spheres (Communicaid Group Ltd, 2009). For instance, the German business culture is characterized by a strict adherence to the established procedures and rules. This translates into a low degree of spontaneity and flexibility.
The five cultures represented in the project are defined by different cultural contexts. Some of the countries prefer frank and direct language as they are deal-oriented. These are the low context cultures. The United States and Germany falls under this category. On the other hand, China and Brazil fall under relationship-focused cultures, as does the UAE. Among these cultures, the most important thing is to first establish a relationship.
Strategies for developing successful orientation and interaction
In order to ensure that all the individuals involved in the meeting successfully orient and interact with each other, the facilitator of the meeting will organize meetings and workshops to get the employees acquainted with the various cultures represented in the project. Individual members will also be encouraged to take an active and participative role in such meetings and workshops to foster the appreciation of cultural diversity.
Bennet, M. J. (1993). A developmental model of intercultural sensitivity. Web.
Central Intelligence Agency. (2013). East & South-East Asia: China Middle East: Israel. Web.
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Central Intelligence Agency. (2013). North America: United States. Web.
Central Intelligence Agency. (2013). South America: Brazil. Web.
Communicaid Group Ltd. (2009). Doing Business in Germany. German Social and Business Culture: A German Culture Overview. Web.
Communicaid Group Ltd. ( 2009). Doing Business in China. Chinese Social and Business Culture: A Chinese Overview. Web.
Communicaid Group Ltd 2009. Doing Business in the UAE: UAE Social and Business. Web.
Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s Consequences, second edition. London: Sage Publications.