As the world becomes globalized, competition keeps on growing, and as such, it has become imperative for companies as well as individuals to specialize in those tasks and engagements that they perform best. With the varying levels of expertise across the world, it has become important for those engaging in projects to pull together the best resources from all over the world. This task, however, may be obstructed by such factors as difference in language, culture, religion, economy, as well as political systems. It is, therefore, important for companies seeking diversified expertise to ensure that their strategies facilitate proper relationship among all the parties (Held, 2004).
The cultural phenomenon of pulling the parties into small groups is influenced by various factors ranging from the country of origin to their area of expertise. The fact that every sub group is composed of people from one nation undermines their commitment to engaging with the rest of the team. For instance, engineers who may be, say, German speakers may not consider effective communication with financiers from places such as Dubai or suppliers from China. Additionally, it has been the tendency of individuals to establish relationships with their colleagues in similar profession. The culture of professionals sticking together is prompted by the ease of relating to one another as the concerned individuals find it easy to discuss job related issues (Frank & Boli, 2005).
In most cases, intercultural communication is hindered by difficulties individuals find in abandoning their cultural believes and practices as they seek to accommodate each other’s views. For example, there have been cases where English project managers found it challenging to communicate with the rest of the stakeholders who have had German, Arabic, Chinese, and Spanish roots. In such a situation, their different languages and cultural practices act as barriers to effective communication and intertwining of their diverse expertise. Such barriers results from the fact that most societies find consider their languages and practices as being superior to others, and as such, it becomes difficult for them abandon what they perceive as their sovereignty (Theodore et al, 1997). Therefore, it becomes difficult to sensitize individuals on why they should commit themselves in learning second languages. Each group of stakeholders prefers that its language is chosen as the medium of exchange while exchanging views pertaining to the project being developed. As such, it has always been necessary to seek the services of interpreters while engaging in projects with stakeholders drawn from diverse cultures, a situation which results into extra costs.
Cultures of different team members
Every nation has a national culture that they see as what indentifies them as a people. These cultures have great impact on how citizens of one country behave when in company of individuals from different nationals. It’s therefore important to note that management should use a process that is all inclusive and not just trash an opinion as unimportant. These cultural differences may vary from economic cultures to social cultures. For instance USA has been a capitalist economy which would give their citizens an affinity to invest in their private capacity. Due to this, US citizens have developed an economic culture where reward is given to those who emerge to be successful. In their social culture US citizens seems not to care much about the behavior of other people (Nydell, 2002).
With regard to China, things are a little bit different. For example, their economic culture is predominantly communist. They thus look at the overall benefits their country accrues from trading the raw materials for this construction. In such a situation sealing a deal would be difficult as it requires negotiations with the state. In regard to Chinese social culture, people are more concerned with community or other people’s way of life.
On her part, Germany is a capitalist economy though not as aggressive as the Americans are. Most Germans wish play their affairs in a cool manner that seems not to provoke other parties. On the other hand, German social culture is predominantly moderate based on a Christian setting. Again, they are proud of one another and strive to see themselves recognized in their success as a people.
Brazil is a predominantly a capitalistic economy. Nevertheless, there is a remarkable difference between Brazil and other capitalistic market structures like the United States. Brazilians have always been mindful not to take sides on disagreement amongst members of other societies. This social culture is heavily borrowed from Roman Catholic beliefs and practices. Integrating these beliefs with their indigenous cultures enhances the social interactions amongst Brazilians as well as with their friends from other cultures (Nydell, 2002).
Lastly, is the United Arab Emirates, and they are engaged in a slightly different economic culture as compared to others. They have a socialist Economy, that neither capitalism nor communism oriented. This has led them to develop a culture of helping one another and especially those who profess Islam as their religion. Their social culture on the other hand is largely influenced by the religion. Again, most decisions made by them must concur with those of other Muslims or Arabs. Community is highly influential in individual lives.
Contrasting Cultural Values
As depicted above, these cultural differences will play a critical role in defining the manner in which projects are undertaken. For instance, while the management may favor a construction building that include such things as bars and clubs, financiers may regard such ideas to be wrong on the basis of their religion, and therefore differ with the management during decision making. Moreover, Brazilians, Chinese or Arabs may not be in favor of independence of employees which in their case Americans and Germans view it as a way of motivating individuals. Americans and Germans feel that independent mind would lead to success. Such misunderstandings may prompt the financiers to exert control on how their money should be used a situation which would ultimately be rejected by the managers and engineers (Nydell, 2002).
Influential cultural and social believes may hinder proper negotiations between the players. They all need to be encouraged to go to negotiations with an open mind. For example, financiers would be interested in a building that promotes an Islamic culture and these may not go well with other players who may be of a different opinion. On their part, Americans and Germans would favor a modern model of building, while materials provided by China would best fit a Chinese resemblance building. Moreover, Brazilians would love to see their building art craft well depicted by the building which lies on their soil (Theodore et al, 1997).
In most cases, Arabs are zealous to achieve their intended goals within the stipulated time. In this regard, they tend to avail the required resources at the appropriate time so as to exonerate themselves from being blamed. Americans, on the other hand, are keen on the completion of the project. Time is of essence to them and keeping their promise something to be proud of. Germans concentrate more on the quality of work done as compared to meeting the deadline while Chinese are not concerned with time at all. Such difference in cultural behavior highly affects the progress of the project and may lead to disagreements (Theodore et al, 1997).
In case a dispute of any nature is to arise, there should be different mechanisms of resolving such disputes. While Americans are known for standing their ground, Germans may play a low profile after expressing their dissatisfaction. Chinese will remain quiet and are not likely to make public their stand but act against anything that they don’t approve. On their part, Arabs would be vocal and express their dissatisfaction through anger or withdrawal from the negotiations, while Brazilians will in most cases careless of what they think they can little influence or change.
Negative Effects Caused by Lack of Interpreters
The absence of an interpreter may lead players who are not conversant with English, to feel left out and not considered in decision making process. Important information directed towards certain players is likely to be left out and thus leading to poor coordination of activities. Again, this would lead to low participation by these players and thus overlooking certain important decisions that are to be made. Use of high tones that could easily be misinterpreted and thus wrongly understood should be avoided. They should also avoid such sign language which is not common to all the players to avoid misinformation or even distortion of that information. To ensure a proper relationship amongst all players; there will be need hire interpreters, encouraging players to be overdramatic and not embarrassed, and Use of universal understood words (Parker, 2004).
Negotiations with Chinese
During negotiations with Chinese, RADPAC of Negotiation Model is recommended since it does not give room for confrontations. This is due to the fact that Chinese will not engage in an open argument. Again, a body language that may seem to undermine the other party should be shunned. By doing this, the Chinese would have a comfort zone that would give them a chance to air their views as well as consider your opinion. Language or words that seem to attack their culture whether economic, religious or social should not feature in the conversation. To avoid such mistakes, managers are required to stick to the agenda being discussed, make free or rather engage in the negotiations through an open mind (UNESCO – Orgname, 1971). In case there are conflicts, caution should be taken not to overreact but engage them in other social discussions that would hold the ground for new negotiations.
Negotiations with Germans
In the case of Germans, a win-win approach is preferred. As one may understand Germans would love to prove their superiority in their point over others. It’s for such reasons that they should be made to see as if their points are greatly regarded. Although this is the case caution should be taken to control them not to dominate everything in their interests. Again, every point should be clearly thought and a conclusion made. Shelving a problem should also be highly avoided. In case conflicts comes up, the discussion need to be halted and they are given time to relax. By such an action, they will be allowed time to digest the achievements of negotiations freely and make up their mind. Germans would not tolerate much pressure being exerted on them. Later on this should be made to continue from where it had stopped (Theodore et al, 1997).
Negotiations with Arabs
On their part, Arabs are interested in continuing with negotiations where they believe they can win. It’s therefore clear that a win lose approach should take cause while negotiating with them. As a manager when negotiating with them you creates situations that make them look as if they are better than you are. This leads to a smooth level of negotiations since they go by you terms as long as they are seen to have won. During negotiations, one should avoid heated debates or spending a lot of time on minor issues. Listen to their demands and giving them response on due cause is highly advisable. Every point they raise, especially that which is cultural or religion should be given a fair consideration and response given regardless of whether you agree with them or not. It should also be remembered that they are the financiers of the project and thus their input is of utmost importance (Frank & Boli, 2005).
Negotiations with Brazilians
Lastly, in relation to Brazil, a more appealing model such as lose-lose approach would be applicable. Taking into account the factor that most of Brazilians will be laborers, it will be a big deal convincing them of their wages. Again, going by their culture, they will just not let go whatever they want. They would rather that you both miss the benefits that would accrue from the negotiations. As long as you do not appear to take advantage over them they will let you off. But unfortunately it’s never easy for them to do this. In negotiations console them when you reject their idea with a notion that you also have lost but you will equally benefit from the concluded negotiations (UNESCO – Orgname, 1971).
Reasons for negotiating with Decision Makers
In conclusion, it is important to ensure that there is a thriving consultation with all the decision makers throughout the entire process. This will ensure that everything is agreed upon and the decision makers can be held liable for any mistakes that arise in the cause of the exercise. Such consultations would enhance the channel of information so as to avoid such issues as duplication of efforts. Subdividing the members of staff into groups where all professions and cultures are represented enhances productivity. The membership of such groups should be temporary and rotational so as to provide an opportunity for the staff members to understand one another (Frank & Boli, 2005).