In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and people in the global marketplace became more interconnected. Remote teams became more diverse and companies can choose who they hire from an international perspective. While this is a positive change that everyone embraced gladly, it imposed certain challenges. Cultural differences became more prominent and thus require our full attention.
These cultural opposites are what mark the global business in 2022. If you’re not sure what effect they’ve made and will continue to make – just keep reading. Below, we’ll explain why every organization needs to understand the power and importance of cultural differences.
1. Business Conversation
Let’s face it- business is all about successful conversations. Whether it’s a marketing message you want to send to a consumer in the global market or email exchange between you and your foreign partner – you need to understand one another.
But, if you’re unaware of the cultural differences you can make a lot of mistakes.
Because culture dictates so many factors of successful communication:
- level of formality
- tone of voice
- non-verbal communication
Knowing the cultural background of your target customers, employees, team members, superiors, or partners is the key to successful business conversations.
2. Team Performance
Everyone who’s looking to expand business internationally needs to understand how a culturally rich and diverse team can make great results.
Teams that have people from all over the globe, working together, have outstanding team performance. This is because everyone has something different to bring to the table. When these ideas come together, the team strives.
So, cultural diversity in teams enables:
- lively work atmosphere
- innovation and creativity
- learning from one another
- better problem-solving
- performing better as a team
This is why culturally rich and diverse teams have better performance.
3. Personal Differences
While cultural differences can help teams work more creatively and produce more original ideas, they also impose certain challenges on the teams. Namely, when people with different cultural characteristics work closely together, they can have a hard time understanding one another.
This could be due to:
- language barriers
- opposing work ethics
For instance, if two coworkers don’t speak the same language, they’ll tend to avoid talking to one another and their collaboration wouldn’t be weak. Also, they might not understand each other’s intentions, ideas, or suggestions correctly, which would lead to additional problems.
Luckily, there are online tools, translation websites, and resources that can help team members understand one another better. Naturally, they’d need extra motivation to use these tools.
So, cultural differences can impose certain drawbacks. This is why in 2022, organizations working globally need to learn more about bridging these gaps.
4. Organizational Hierarchy
Culture dictates how people perceive their place within an organization. And, if this perception differs from one person to the other, there can be so many communication problems and misunderstandings.
That means that cultural differences affect organizational hierarchy and shape people’s behavior within a team.
- Scandinavian countries give priority to social equality. Thus, there aren’t as many hierarchical levels within an organization. Everyone has more or less the same right to speak, share an idea, or ask a question.
- Japan, on the other hand, strongly believes in tradition, seniority, and clear hierarchical differences.
So, if you have a person from Japan and Norway working shoulder to shoulder, you’ll need to address the company’s approach to hierarchy. You’ll need to help them understand how things are working and what their place is.
This means that cultural differences impose new tasks on the management of an organization. Team leaders and managers need to learn how to address this issue and how to build teams that would function together at their best.
Global business in 2022 is facing a number of changes, and challenges – both positive and negative. People from all over the globe are working close to one another and need to be prepared for the effect of cultural differences on the international business scene.
The effects we’ve covered above will help you understand what you can expect if you’re going global. Embrace the differences, but don’t let them control you. Instead, learn how to make the most of them.
About the Author
Joanne Elliot is a devoted freelance writer and editor. Her whole career she spent studying business and management, but her hobbies always were cultures and cultural identity. All of these come close in her writing and turn into engaging and informative articles.
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