Today, most companies operate in the international market. Small and medium sized firms that export to the big multinationals, all have to deal with foreign partners. For these relations to be constructive, it is essential to understand the cultural context of the targeted country. Indeed, this context strongly conditions the behavior. That's why we will try to understand the various dimensions of national cultures with the Hofstede theory. Then, we will study in depth the differences that companies and employees can face with the French and German cases. Finally, we will give recommendations to succeed in certain foreign professional contexts.
An organization will work correctly only if its members share the same values. In multinational organizations, the people who do not belong to the dominant culture must be bicultural to succeed. However, the subsidiary company's staffs do not need to be bicultural; only the leaders of the subsidiary company need to, because they are the interface between the national staff and the international superstructure.
International organizations, like the United Nations and the European Union, cannot, by definition, have recourse to the use of a dominant national culture. The only viable way to manage such organizations lies in the creation of strong under-organizational culture based on trade, rather than on a national identity.
[...] Hence, the need of an intercultural manager. Beyond the diversity coordination, the need for information, communication and negotiation should catch the manager's attention. The information is very weak for several reasons. Indeed, it is easily distorted either because it has been verbally transmitted or because it has been translated to another language and the sense is skewed. It is also a source of power. That is why it is often maintained by hierarchy. Finally, some false news may be spread (intentionally or not) and will be the source of confusion or mistakes. [...]
[...] On the contrary, the French system is polychronical, which means that it is used in a different way according to the given tasks. The French easily make several things at the same time and are not hampered by overlapping. The time, in the French model is less bounded by the programs which are easily modifiable. That is why the delays in the French company are accepted in a wider degree. Unlike the French, Germans do not burden themselves with entertainment. [...]
[...] It is over there that GMP : International Business: Understanding the Intercultural Management. indispensable precaution and a means to depersonalize are done for the relations to dedicate themselves completely to the business. With the Americans, a simple assertion, even without witness, means a contract. How to lead a meeting? To lead an international meeting, it is necessary to foresee in time because there are differences of behavior and problems of language which always decrease understanding. To be understood, the manager has to illustrate his comments, and all the technical terms, and abbreviations have to be written. [...]
[...] To negotiate outside the cultural territory, it needs a preparation that the companies include more and more often in their training plans. Indeed, negotiation seems to be the most fundamental and the most fruitful competence to succeed in an international environment. When the manager is faced by a foreign culture, he must try to understand the logics, the behaviors, the customs, the motivations and the other senses of identity. We can establish certain categories or homogeneous cultural zones. Thereby we speak about European or Asian, American or German cultures. [...]
[...] The fundamental cultural characteristics of the German company are divided into four points: German company as an autonomous institution: it aims at the general interest and at the research for the safety and for the formalization of employees; it sets up spread partitions between it and the administration as well as freedom of management at the level of the prices and the staff income. German companies have a social and collective role: companies are participating intensely in the management of their company by their presence in the supervisory board. [...]
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