The study shows that the priority of the staff, as the leading factor of production and the reserve of growth and competitiveness, becomes one of the main features of modern society.
Today’s business went far beyond the national framework, involving in its orbit more and more people with different cultural traditions, experiences, and outlook. As a result, cultural differences are beginning to play an increasing role in organizations and influence the efficiency of business activity. Hence, there are cross-cultural issues in international business, e.g., the contradictions in the new social and cultural conditions due to the different stereotypes of thinking between the different groups of people.
As a rule, cross-cultural communication is considered in a business context. The discipline itself was formed under the pressure of transnational corporations, where cross-cultural communications were the foundation of the business.
Concerning the definition of corporate culture, it can be said that the corporate culture is a set of behavior models that are acquired by organization in the process of adaptation to the external environment and internal integration, showing the efficiency and shared by the majority of members. Components of corporate culture are: adopted leadership system; styles of conflict solving; the current system of communication; the position of the individual in the organization; adopted symbols: slogans, organizational taboos and rituals.
In the model of Geert Hofstede parameters parameters of business culture are: the ratio of individualism and collectivism; power distance; the ratio of masculinity and femininity; avoiding uncertainty.
Moreover, different degree of uncertainty perception exists in life and business. In dissertation cultures with high and low degree of uncertainty are considered.
Culture with a high degree of uncertainty avoidance provide the desire to “determine the conditions on the shore”, as eliminate ambiguity in the relationship (Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Southern and Western Europe)
Cultures with low uncertainty avoidance based on the fact that you can not predict everything, preference is given to a framework agreement instead of detailed contracts, high mobility (USA, UK, Scandinavia).
Modern managers consider the culture of their organization as a powerful strategic tool to direct all departments and individuals for common goals, mobilize the initiative of employees and facilitate productive communication between them. They strive to create their own culture of each organization so that all employees understand and adhere to it. Modern organizations tend to be a multicultural entities.
It should be noted that today the concepts of “corporate culture” and “organizational culture” are often used by the authors of many studies and textbooks as synonyms. In many cases, that do not provide a particularly “thin” deep consideration of these concepts, such an approach, we believe, is well justified. While obviously there are differences between these various concepts at connotative level.
The concept of P. Harris and P. Moran
In the concept of P. Harris and P. Moran (1991) a holistic approach is the modern embodiment of the content and includes ten characteristics of organizational culture: awareness of themselves and their place in the organization; communication system and communication language; appearance, clothing, and representation at work; what and how people eat, customs and traditions in this area; awareness of time, attitude to it and use of it; relationships between people (nature of the relationship by age and sex, status and power, wisdom and intellect, experience and knowledge to the rank and protocol; the degree of formalization of relations, support received, the way to resolve conflicts; values (as a set of guidelines what is good and what is bad) and standards (as a set of assumptions and expectations about a certain type of behavior); faith in something and attitude to something (belief in leadership, in success, in own strength, in mutual help, in ethical behavior, justice, etc., relation to colleagues, to clients and competitors, etc, the impact of religion and morality); employee development and learning; work ethic and motivation.
The study shows that different cultures provide different attitudes to time: in this aspect, there is division to monochronal and polychronic cultures. For monochronal cultures (USA, Germany, England, Scandinavia, etc.) important psychological setting in business is consistency and concentration on one thing at any given moment; precision and punctuality are regarded as a virtue and a mandatory attribute of serious business.
Members of polychronic cultures – Asian, Latin American, Arab, South Europe, Spain, Portugal, Russia on the contrary, consider as normal to be engaged simultaneously in several cases.
More options developed by the Dutch scientist F. Trompenaars and H.Terner: model of culture “Incubator” (egalitarian); model of culture “guided missile” (egalitarian); model of culture “Eiffel Tower” (hierarchical); model of culture “Family”.
Today, various large multinational corporations, for example, Procter & Gamble, Siemens, IBM, McDonald’s, Mars, and others open their offices and actively work in the markets of many countries. Local experts, when beginning working in these organizations, unexpectedly for themselves, face a number of unexplained and seemingly unsolvable problems. Even a good enough working knowledge of the language of the organization, usually English, in the process of communicating with employees and managers may pose additional cross-cultural problems and difficulties. And sometimes, only a focused training under the guidance of experts in the field of intercultural communication and corporate culture allows HR managers to understand the reasons for the difficulties encountered and not only to find a way out of the problem situations, but also to prevent them in the future. This cross-cultural learning, which is an important component of the motivational policy, includes awareness of the presence of cultural differences, understanding of these differences, and planned activities for the study and development of cross-cultural approaches to personnel management.
When working in an international team, one should avoid bold moves and should use the potential of national culture in order to maximize employee satisfaction and make changes of paradigms gradually. Understanding of and respect for national culture has great potential for increasing staff motivation. In this process, HR is a conductor of knowledge about the culture, because the correct selection of leaders is critical to the success of the international business.
It should be noted in this context that in non-verbal communication (posture, gestures and mannerisms, etc.) both a very serious threat to mutual understanding of people’s of different cultures, and very interesting opportunities to improve the efficiency of communications are often hidden.
Example, completely innocent pose – to throw legs during a conversation while sitting in front of an interlocutor in Thailand may lead to extremely unpleasant excesses (Thais believe that feet are the dirtiest part of the human body and to point by thrown back foot towards the interlocutor is a very serious offense).
Also important is the attitude of the people of different nations to that what can be called the plan and the order of communication, a predetermined canvas etc.
For example, a business meeting or two Europeans or European and American may well “jump” from one subject to another, i.e. not only the negotiated in advance business topics can be discussed, while for a man of Eastern culture such behavior-European business partner will not only be unexpected, but also will be suspicious: he may feel that he is intentionally engaged in conversation to which he was not prepared.
Rituals of communications
Rituals in communications also play an important role. In essence, they can create (or destroy) the atmosphere of trust and respect for national characteristics and patterns of behavior, which is so important to the competent management.
For example, the exchange of business cards between people of European and American culture is rather formal act of courtesy, while for Japanese manager it is quite a significant ritual in which the extent of seriousness, sincerity and good relationship of one partner to another re shown.
Working in focus groups clearly shows that people from different cultural backgrounds determine for themselves what is important to them and what can be neglected, what corresponds to their conception of the world and what does not, etc. So when two people get the same information, they always perceive and understand it differently, extracting from it a different meaning. The person who communicates and acts in a multicultural environment must always remember that it is only the message that was received is important, not the one that was sent out. Even for two members from one culture with unique life experiences, the messages received from one source will not be identical. It is easy to imagine how they will be different for people of different cultures.
Organizational communication has a major impact on the performance of the tasks facing the organization and the motivation of its employees. The study found the most vulnerable elements of communication, to which particular attention should be paid. Those are: hearing; encouraging employees to work; development of the motivation; issuing of orders and instructions; delegation of responsibility; group problem solving; solving of interpersonal conflicts, grudges and grievances; personal talks; use of informal communication; formal presentations; conducting of meetings, negotiations, and so on.
A special attention in international working teams should be given to the horizontal communication, i.e., the exchange of business information between the employees occupying an equal position in the organization, both within their department and among other departments. This type of communication is necessary to create good relationships among the employees of the organization, to ensure their full communication and, consequently, yield positive results of their joint activities.
In following the statements: “Students are lazy …”, “Accountants are boring …”, “Men like blondes more…”, “In trade unions are the Communists only…”, we endue each representative of this category with a set of specific qualities on the basis of belonging to a certain group. These stereotypes are not applicable in each case because of overgeneralization, but rather are tips that will help one navigate the world around.
The perception of other cultures always goes through the prism of one’s own national values and character. Sometimes, the knowledge of stereotypes promotes intercultural relations. However, it should not be guided only by cultural stereotypes, which are the generalized conceptions of the typical features that characterize a particular people; for example, Americans are rich, Italians are emotional, Germans are pedantic, the French are romantic, etc. A negative stereotype can lead to a biased attitude to the entire nation and each of its representatives separately. It is difficult to overestimate the damage inflicted by negative stereotyping on cross-cultural communication.
Solving of common problems by players – different cultures bearers – through the implementation of international academic programs becomes the main content of the concept of “cross-cultural communication” in the field of socio-professional formation of students. The concept of cross-cultural communication, as described in this paper, is based on the interpretation of man as creating, perceiving, and producing information, and cross-cultural communication is considered as an institution of the adoption of and adaptation to the social space. In the center of the process of cross-cultural communication lies the subject of informational interactions, the carrier of certain socio-cultural characteristics, which has relevant knowledge and technologies of material, spiritual, and social transformation. The very same social information serves as a base substrate of the process undertaken for the purpose of leveling the informational inequality and expanding the degree of freedom the player has in terms of perception, update, and use of certain information in the transforming activity.