Book Review on the Fifth Edition of Cross -Cultural Business Behavior by Midwest Book Review’s “The Business Shelf”
Now in an updated fifth edition, Cross-Cultural Business Behavior: A Guide for Global Management is an absolute “must-have” educational reference and resource for business professionals. An excellent choice for college courses or self-instruction, Cross-Cultural Business Behavior explains in plain terms how cultural distinctions can make all the difference in successful business negotiations – loud or soft vocal intensity, certain gesticulations, even the number of times one offers refreshments can be polite in one culture and rude in another. For example, in many Arabic countries one should offer food or drink at least three times before expecting the guest to accept, while in many Asian countries, declining an offer to drink tea even once is an insult. Perhaps most valuable is understanding how some cultures are “relationship-focused”, rather than “deal-focused” like America; “relationship-focused” means that much more extensive networking and time spent building trust with local contacts is absolutely essential for getting any business done. Other cultural dichotomies, such as monochronic versus polychronic (how important is punctuality, or avoiding interruptions?), expressive versus reserved (how vocal is one expected to be?) and formal versus informal (how critically important is it to respect hierarchical status?) are also examined at length. Cross-Cultural Business Behavior also has brief segments that specify the business cultural practices of dozens of individual countries. There is especially valuable advice for young managers, or female managers (youth or femininity can confer drastically lower status in some nations), such as the importance of having someone older and higher status make initial introductions (status is to some extent transferable). And the insights into American business practices from a foreign perspective are fascinating! “From time to time international clients who want to set up a business in the United States ask Global Management, ‘What should we do first?’ Our answer is always the same: ‘Find a good law firm.’ Sure signs of a deal-focused business culture are dependence on written agreements, reliance on the legal system and readiness to go to court to defend rights. Americans expect their business partners to adhere to the terms of the contract and are immediately suspicious if that partner expresses a wish to renegotiate an agreement.” Although Cross-Cultural Business Behavior is written especially for businesspeople, international travelers of all backgrounds will find its wisdom absolutely invaluable, and worthy of the highest recommendation.