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The world has numerous countries with numerous cultures. This culture are unique to every countries situation sometimes a country may contain several tribes and subcultures. Actually every country has one single culture and several subcultures. Business manager working in different countries find it necessary to adopt the culture of their hosts in order to fit in their society and function properly. Most managers and teams working in foreign countries experience a culture shock as the come across confusing cultural practices that they had never experienced before. In order to conduct business in a new country however, the manager should learn to cope with the culture shock as well as help their teams if the teams are not natives of the country they are working in to adapt to the new culture. Certainly coping with the new culture will facilitate the mangers and their teams to interact proper with clients and other partner that are essential in conducting the business in question. It is wise for a manger preparing to take up work in a new country to conduct research on the culture on the destination country in order to know what to expect and what is expected of him or her. This research can also equip the manager with relevant material fro preparing his or her team to take up on the new experience. As I take on the new job in South Africa, I will need to acquaint my self and my team members with knowledge concerning the differences between the South African culture and the American culture in order to be able to represent our organization properly in this populous African nation and sell the agenda of the organization.
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The South African culture and American culture. America and South Africa both are multicultural nations. In South Africa there are many ethnic groups which make up a large part of the nations population. Colonization and immigration has also lead to collection of Europeans, Chinese, Indians indo-Malays and others. This makes it very hard to come up with a general South African culture. The difference in races and culure has made South Africa to be referred to as the rainbow country (Hudson, 2005). However, there is a considerable European influence on the country which has also influenced the cultures to a large extent. On other hand America also has a diversity of cultures due to the immigration of many people into the country. The American people however have a distinct culture that can be referred to as the American culture. The existence of numerous cultures in South Africa a business manager from American my find it difficult in dealing with the people in the country since he may be required by be versant with several culture in order to deal with every individual appropriately. However a little understanding of the general European culture could be very helpful. This is because the country has a large influence of the European culture especially the English culture brought about by the European culture.
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It is also worth noting that South Africa has well developed business protocol and etiquette. When it comes to communication and relationships; south African are transactional in nature and do not need a long interaction with the people in order to do business, giving proper explanations to south Africans can assist those who are not known to access organizations leaders and not to be shunned by gate keeper, for long term business it is necessary to build relationships and networks and most businessmen look for long term relationships. Those who achieve through hard work and perseverance are very much respected and people communication styles are based on cultural heritage. In most cases the citizens maintain harmonious relationship since they like harmonious transactions and use sports terminologies and metaphors to demonstrate appoint or an issue. South Africans irrespective of their heritage prefer face to face meeting as compared to communication through other mediums.
According to Kwintessential (2010)South Africa has a well developed Business Meeting Etiquette. Appointments are made in advance although it is a little bit easier to have short notice apppointment with junior officers. In South Africa it is always difficult to have any meetings from mid December to mid January and around Easter since these are day surrounding major vacations. Meetings are used to established personal contact and trustworthiness which are valued and when meetings are done a letter is supposed to be sent detailing what was done, decide and the next procedure.
Also notable in South Africa is the nature of negotiating business wise. Mutual trust must be developed before negotiations. Since women have not attained senior position if a woman is to attend a meeting she will be tested in way a man won’t be subjected to. Also South Africans don’t like being interrupted when speaking. They strive to reach consensus in win-win manner, view deadline as fluid instead of firm commitments, and negotiate with the actual figure since they don’t like haggling over prices. The senior management makes decisions after consulting the lower management. This process is normally long and protracted. Men dress in conservative black suits while women wear elegant business suits (Kwintessential, 2010)
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The American culture despite being consistent, it varies from state to state. Food is significant in social setting and meetings while family is not considered as important. Americans like change and likewise like changing Jobs. They the get employment it varied settings and their education is more job oriented. The American further takes pride in their achievements in their career. They like being punctual for appointments as well (Rosenfelder, 2010)
It is necessary to understand the cultural differences when managing people in a global economy. Many business fail due to culture. in this regard understanding the culture of the person you are transacting with can be very helpful in gaining their trust and thus conducting productive business activities. As a manager expect to be very successful in South Africa by together with my team. We shall relate with the South African the way y find appropriate.
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