Task description: In this assessment, you will both write a report based on the following case study or tutorial. You will be assigned into a group of three by the lecturer/tutor. Each member of your group will focus upon and write on one of the issues. Do not simply cut and paste each persons’ contribution. The group needs to make sure that all of the parts fit cohesively together and read as one document. You will present the information that you developed and wrote in the report. The flex students will present using Zoom
Case study: BeautyPro i1s an Australian multinational company that makes and distributes organic cosmetics both within Australia and overseas. The head office is based in Brisbane, Australia. You have recently been appointed as the country manager for China. Upon your arrival in China, you have noticed that the organisation is facing several intercultural communication challenges.
Problems: The three intercultural challenges are based upon:
In conjunction with two other China-based Australian managers, you conduct academic research in order to understand these problems and come up with logical and practical recommendations. You and your team are tasked with writing a report to the CEO and executive group which discusses these problems and provides recommendations to solve these problems.
This intercultural communication assignment explores the Intercultural communication as a exchange of words and information among various social group and culture that has different educational and social background and belongs from a different religion. It seeks to understand the differences in which the people from a different culture interact with the world around them. Thus, intercultural communication or cross-cultural communication is the ability through which an individual develops relationship through communication with another culture that is different from his culture. It is the understanding of the different cultural norms, values, beliefs, social structure and the decision-making power and the ways the groups communicate that includes verbal, non-verbal and face-to-face communication.
The significance of the effective intercultural communication in business is that it helps in the growth and the expansion of the business, creates a positive ambience within the workplace and eliminates any differences of opinion (Samovar et al., 2014). In the business context, through effective communication, the company can explain to the customers the differences and the superiority of the products compared to the competitors. Thus, businesses that have the ability to communicate cross-culturally will gain a better competitive age in the market. Conflicts are the part of every business. There is a possibility of arguments due to various opinions, views and thoughts. These conflicts can be addressed by proper interaction to ensure a smooth functioning within the workplace. Lastly, effective intercultural communication also creates a positive work environment where the employees feel motivated and encouraged to work in the best way possible. This also improves their performances and they put more effort for the growth and the success of the organization.
The purpose of the report is to discuss about the inter-cultural challenges between China and Australia. BaeutyPro, the Australian company that makes and distributes organic cosmetics has expanded its business in China and the manager has identified that there is a huge cultural differences between the two countries. The report will discuss about the three intercultural challenges like different values and etiquettes, indirect style of communication and various cultural norms of decision-making that exists between Australia and China due to which the company, BeautyPro is threatened by severe problems. The intercultural communication assignment will discuss about the current situation of the company, BeautyPro and will further shed light on the three intercultural challenges. Further, an overall summary to what has been analyzed will be provided. The intercultural communication assignment will provide recommendations to address the intercultural challenges that operate between China and Australia.
The existing inter-cultural differences that have been identified are different cultural values and etiquettes, direct versus indirect styles of communication and different cultural norms of decision-making.
Different cultural values and ethics: The biggest differences in relation to cultural values and ethics between Australia and China are different business cards, greetings and titles, dress code and the art of conversation. The country manager identified these issues after direct consultation with two other China based Australian managers of the companies like Bulla, a retailer of the dairy products and Billabong, a retailer of clothes.
According to Piller (2017), if a business wants to attain success, it is important to comprehend the various cultural differences. This will help the business to earn maximum profits and generate high revenues. It is essential to understand the different values and etiquettes like language, time management, dress code, style of communication, business meetings, negotiating and decision-making and business cards. Businesses need to develop relations at a domestic and a global level constantly. It is essential for the businesses to embrace the cultural differences so that there are no misunderstandings, conflicts of opinion and disagreements. Every country has different culture, norms, etiquettes and values. Thus, when a company plans to expand globally, it needs to accept these differences so that they are able to reach out to the targeted and potential customers without any confusion or conflicts.
The major issue encountered by BeautyPro while expanding its business in China is the problem with the business cards. The business cards of Australia completely differ from that of China. Mindess (2014) stated that ‘Mi?ng pia?’ is important when a business is conducted in China and must be used with care and respect. Any business that is expanding in China must translate the business card into Mandarin on the reverse side of the card. Added to this, it must also have Chinese phone number. There must be plenty of business cards emphasizing on the title. The business cards of China also have WeChat of the name listed. WeChat is Chinese phone application that incorporates texts, calls and social networks.
However, Oetzel (2017) stated that there is no such thing as WeChat in case of Australian business cards. The Australian business cards only contain one language like English that is accepted throughout the world. Chinese business cards complies by strict rules that needs to incorporate the Chinese phone number and the titles, business cards in Australia are simple that can be exchanged during the first meeting without abiding any formal ritual. While in China, one needs to carry many business cards, it is not mandatory in Australia. Australians do not consider it a symbol of insult if one does not carry the business card.
Halualani (2017) opined that symbolism plays a strong role for the Chinese. This is where BeautyPro faced a major cultural challenge. The business card of China uses proper colors and the Chinese phone number that is placed on the card has a minimum of 4s and numerous 8s. Thus, the Australian business cards must put appropriate colours especially red and gold, as it is a symbol of luck, prosperity and wealth. Presentation of the business card also varies between Australia and China. In China, the business card is given by holding it in both the hands where the card is placed in between the thumb and the index finger. It must be noted that the Chinese do not prefer to place the business card inside the pockets of the shirt or pant. The card must be in the chest pocket or placed on the table. In Australia, the business cards are exchanged casually and are placed in the pockets.
As opined by Sorokin (2017), the business mentality is also different in two countries. The businesses in China are very formal. They are not very casual and relaxed. They do not believe in developing a friendly relation at the very first meeting. On the other hand, Australians are extremely straightforward and are not conservative with their approach. They are very casual and are flexible to new ideas.
Weber (2017) emphasized that the businesses in China also use “Guanxi” which is often referred to as the networks in Chinese culture. These networks have a direct influence on the businesses that are conducted in China. Thus, an Australian based company need to struggle a lot to integrate the practice of guanxi into the business practice. BeautyPro faces these major issues as it expanded in China. The company needs to make changes in the business card, etiquettes and business mentality to address the issues.
Direct versus indirect styles of communication: The second challenge encountered by BeautyPro after its expansion in China is the issue with the communication process. The style of communication is different between Australia and China. Fraser (2018) studied that Australians prefer direct communication rather than indirect communication, which means the intention of the communicator, are exchanged through the verbal language. The direct communicators say what they actually think. The motive of such kind of communication is to give and get information. Direct communication exists in low-context culture like Australia that embrace individualism, self-reliance and freedom (Remland, 2016). The Australians convey clear messages that are logical, sensible and honest. As the Australians are not conservative, they change their Aussie language into a more refined language to make it comprehensible to the other people around the globe. English is also a common language that is spoken in Australia frequently. Jiang, Gollan & Brooks (2017) elaborated that the Australians use slangs frequently irrespective of the age. Slangs are extremely common in Australia that is used by most of the people who also have a tendency to shorten the words that make it more complex and critical to other people. Even they find it complicated as they use diminutives. Australians do not like prolonged silence in between conversations. They have a casual approach and thus use humor in their speech. They like to make jobs while interaction and do not become serious while exchanging words. Another form of communication that exists among Australians is that they swear a lot. Whatever they say they keep on swearing. Thus, the Australians are not must conservative and are very casual during interaction with others.
Chan (2015) reflected, in case of non-verbal communication, Australians believe that eye contact is essential, as it is a symbol of trust, sincerity and approachability. While communicating with one another, the Australians maintain an arm distance. They do not make mush physical contacts at the initial stage of meeting or if they do not share a close bond. However, at times the Australians use their index finger that is a symbol of indecency and rudeness. Thus, the Australian-based company BeautyPro abides by this kind of communication when they interact with the employees. When the company expanded in China, it faced several difficulties as the communication style in China is completely different where they follow different norms.
As the Australians prefer direct communication, Chinese prefer indirect communication. Deacon (2014) said that indirect communication exists in high-context culture where words are exchanged through non-verbal behaviours like the tone of the voice, pauses at regular intervals and silence. The ultimate aim of the indirect communicators is to exchange words through harmony. Indirect communicators do not want conflict, tension or uncomfortable ambience. People often have beliefs of unconscious understandings about what is expected from the culture.
In case of verbal communication, Ting-Toomey & Dorjee (2018) said that the Chinese communicate gently and politely and never use the word ‘No’ even when they disagree with what the other person is speaking. As the Chinese people believe in being humble, they smile even after hearing a bad news to avoid an uncomfortable atmosphere. While communicating, they also cross check of what are being communicated to the other person and whether it is comprehensible to them.
Gans (2018) stated that in case of non-verbal communication, the Chinese do not like any eye contact. They find it to be disrespectful and uncomfortable. They believe that they must put their heads down while interacting with a senior person of a society or someone of highest authority. While Australians do not like silence, Chinese believe that silence is a symbol of respect and it must be maintained while interaction. This is a sign of good demeanor and etiquette. They do not prefer to slang while communicating. For them, slanging is a sign of indecency and immodesty.
Hall, Covarrubias & Kirschbaum (2017) stated that tones are very important to them. They do not like sarcasm or change of tones while communicating. They pause at regular intervals while they exchange words with the other person. They believe that pausing helps the other person understand about what they speak and is a sign of civility, decorum and dignity. They pause in the belief that they are giving time to the other person to express their point of views and opinions. In addition, they do not use their index finger; rather, use their hand to make explanations in an appropriate manner.
As the ways of communication is completely different between Australia (direct) and China (indirect), BeautyPro faces many intercultural challenges. Thus, the management and the administrative managers of BeautyPro who belong from Australia are finding it difficult to communicate with the Chinese employees due their different communication style. They are finding it problematic to impress the Chinese customers. Thus, the management and the higher authorities need to change their communication style from direct to indirect to satisfy the needs of the customers (Oetzel, 2017).
Different cultural norms of decision-making: With the development and escalation of globalization, understanding and cultural sensitivity in coping with the global complexities in context to carrying out business activities in host nations has been expanding to a great extent. In the words of Weber and Morris (2010), it is renowned fact that tradition and culture differ extensively across countries. The term culture can be defined as every facet of life including technical knowledge and understanding, customs of dress and food, values, mentality, symbols, language, economic and socio-political behaviour, native techniques of making decisions as well exercising power, and so forth. As opined by Van Dyne, Ang and Livermore (2010), cultural sensitivity is demands for the capability of the managers in order to identify and comprehend the perspective and point of view of the individuals living in a completely culture as well as the keenness to position themselves as per the perspectives of the other individuals. In addition, the managers can gain tremendous benefits by comprehending the dimension, nature and variables if an explicit culture and influence upon the work and processes of organization. This cultural responsiveness will further enable the manager to develop suitable plans and policies and establish how to carry out planning, organizing and controlling a particular international organization.
Individuals belonging from different cultures are inclined towards having different perspectives that influences the cognition of the individual, their objectives in terms of social communication, and successively affects their goals and behaviour in terms of decision-making (Winterich & Zhang, 2014). For instance, individuals belonging to individualistic culture possess independent self-construal; therefore, tend to contentment as a socially extricating emotion like pride. On the other hand, individuals who belong to the collectivist culture are inclined towards having independent self-construal; thus, experiencing contentment as a communally engaging emotion such as, harmony and peace (Lowry et al., 2010). Hence, it is necessary for the international manager to understand the cultural values of the employees and further comprehend whether the workforce belong to the collectivist or individualistic culture, as it significantly influences the decision making process of the company. This will further facilitate the manager in making better decision concerning a number of significant aspects of the business such as, employee relationship, employee satisfaction, stakeholder engagement, and so forth.
In context to the Chinese industry, over the past few years, the political, economic and the social systems of the country have undergone a number of significant changes. Cultural values of every country are resulted out of certain inimitable and unique shared values among the individuals of the country. In the business scenario, it is one of the most significant responsibilities of the manger of the organization is to make effective and successful decisions in favour of the organization (Elango et al., 2010). The decision-making procedure necessitates the managers to select a series of actions among different alternatives. Culture has an effect on decision making depending upon the nation’s culture and tradition that generated combined outlines of decision-making (Tanaka & Kleiner, 2015). Furthermore, value systems based upon cultures affects the interpretation or perception of every individual manager in context to a particular situation. Hence, as discussed by Ijbhtnet.com (2018), it is necessary for the mangers to identify and comprehend the impact of culture upon the decision-making processes and style.
As per the findings of Ijbhtnet.com (2018), the relationship flanked by cultural values and management style has been examined a number of times where clear differences were witnessed in terms of individualism, masculinity, power distance and avoidance. As per the findings of the report, it was further witnessed that the cultural values of China favoured masculinity largely. On the other hand, in context to individualism, the cultural values of the country were witnessed to be quite low. Furthermore, it was studied that the country followed an autocratic decision making process; thus, mostly possesses an oppressive hierarchical structure. Therefore, it is highly significant for the manager to understand and adopt their cultural norms and beliefs and accordingly make decisions for the organization in order to ensure smooth and effective operational functions within the organization. It will further benefit the manager to mitigate the amount of conflicts and miscommunication without affecting the sentiments of the individuals in the host country.
The above report has initially discussed the concept of cross-cultural communication or intercultural communication and further highlighted the different ways in which the managers can develop effective business relationship with the help of communication and interaction with individuals from different cultures across countries. The report has further significance of cross-cultural communication for a business organization that is expanding its business across borders. It has been further studied that business expansion and growth helps in creating a positive work environment; thus, eliminating opinion differences and conflict in the organization. Furthermore, the project has shed light upon the purpose of developing the report. The report significantly focuses upon the cross-cultural challenges flanked by Australia and China in context to the chosen cosmetic company, BeautyPro. The report has further discussed the different intellectual challenges such as, indirect style of communication, different values and impact of different cultural disparity in context to decision-making process that is prevailing amongst China and Australia.
The report has further discussed the above-mentioned intellectual challenges in details; thus, providing with an in-depth insight upon the subject. In context to the cultural ethics and values, it was witnessed that there is a huge gap between the cultural norms of Australia and China. The cultural setting of Australia being democratic and liberal in nature is completely opposite to that of China, which follows a more conservative and conformist culture. Furthermore, the report outlined the style of communication between the countries and the issues faced by the company owing to it. The language barrier was witnessed to be one of the major barriers for the business operations of the company; thus, affecting its functions and decision-making process. Finally, the project has talked about the Different cultural norms that influences the decision making process of the company. It was observed that the culture and tradition of different country play a significant role in influencing the decision making process of the managers. Therefore, it is extremely necessary for the manager to identify and comprehend the cultural differences of both the countries prior to making decisions in favour of the organization.
Recommendation 1: One of the biggest problems faced by BeautyPro is issuing the business card in China. In order to address the different cultural values and etiquettes, the business card must be changed according to the criteria and requirements of the China; otherwise, it will not be accepted. The Chinese follow certain rules and norms about the business card that must be strictly followed in order to thrive the business in China. The first and foremost thing the organization must do to suit with the culture of China is to translate the business card into Mandarin to make it acceptable in China. intercultural communication assignments are being prepared by our Human resource management experts from top universities which let us to provide you a reliable Human resource management assignment help service.The business card must use colours like red and golden, as they are the symbol of wealth and prosperity in China. According to the Chinese people, feng shui sign must also be incorporated on the business card, as it is the symbol of luck and wealth. The organization must also change the ways in which the business card is presented. The business card must be placed in between the thumb and the index finger. It must also be noted that business card must not be kept inside the pockets of shirts or pants as according to the Chinese culture, it means that one is sitting on his own identity. If Beauty Pro implements these changes genuinely, it will be able to impress the Chinese culture and thus, the employees working in the organization, thus ensuring employee satisfaction as well as proper management of the human resources.
Recommendation 2: One of the vital differences between China and Australia is the communication style. Chinese prefer indirect communication while Australians opt for direct communication. Thus, BeautyPro needs to adapt to indirect form of communication to sustain in China. They must make sure to pause in between while interaction and must not use any eye contact as it is a sign of disrespect and indecency. The Australians must make sure not to use slangs while communicating as Chinese regard it as symbols of immoral and outrageous. They must also not fool around, joke while interacting with others, and pause in between to provide an opportunity for the other people to place their opinions and views. Tones also play an important role for the Chinese. The management of BeautyPro must not use sarcasm while speaking. Thus, it is essential to modify their communication style to suit with the culture of China.
Recommendation 3: Tradition and culture is completely different between Australia and China. The decision-making power varies significantly between the two countries. Thus, it is important for the Australians to change their decision-making process. Australians must maintain the hierarchy where the management of Beauty Pro must take the ultimate decision without consulting with the other members and employees. The management must not take the opinions of the employees into consideration and must solely make the decision alone. Thus, there must be an autocratic decision-making power to suit the business mentality of China. Added to this, Australians are indulgent while Chinese are restraint. Thus, the management and employees of BeautyPro must not choose indulgence and be more serious while making decisions. The intercultural communication assignment explores the willingness to realize their dreams and desires and be more serious about life.
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