1 Going global: How to succeed in International Business! (29 pages)

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Going Global: How to succeed in international business! 13

Not even half of the managers considered a working knowledge

of the local language of the respective country necessary. Only
one-third thought that experience gained while working in multicul-
tural teams was essential for expat postings, and less than a quar-
ter considered experience in the respective country and familiarity
with its culture as a requirement.

Throwing employees into the cold cultural water of a foreign

assignment seems to be more the rule rather than the exception,
despite the fact that higher costs per employee are incurred. In
addition to inadequate preparation, the following aspects play an
important role when determining the cause of failed international
projects, from individual international assignments to joint ven-
tures:

• Culture is simply not considered as a variable for the success of

the project (see DaimlerChrysler);

• Processes and procedures from headquarters are imposed upon

the foreign partners (think of the German manager with the Rus-
sian assistant who did not understand her need for clear and
precise instructions);

• Behavior within the intercultural context is not analyzed (think of

French partners who were fluent in German, but would not actu-
ally speak German for the duration of the project);

• Foreign trade offices do not provide international companies with

the support they would need locally (such as practical help with
building site analysis or bank contacts);

• Successes and failures are not analyzed with the intent of creat-

ing lessons learned and developing best practice methods;

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