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

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Going Global: How to succeed in international business! 21

A cultural clash can be avoided if you are able to look beneath the
surface of the water early in the relationship, if you can familiarize
yourself with the foreign culture in question and subsequently
compare and contrast it with your own culture. A successful co-
operation between people from different cultures becomes a
dance with icebergs. The project partners from all different cul-
tures must be aware of the rhythm to which they themselves
dance, and recognize which values and attitudes they share.
They must learn the rhythm of their colleagues, and even learn to
dance with them. If a General Manager understands the dance of
the icebergs, then multicultural cooperation can be hugely suc-
cessful and enriching for all partners involved. It is not necessary
that the two sides march in the same line together, but rather that
they demonstrate an interest in one another and demonstrate a
feeling of mutual respect.

The further we go under the surface of the water, the more

subconscious are the cultural and individual qualities we experi-
ence. Social psychologist Geert Hofstede, who worked on mental
programming, wrote,

Every individual carries within himself a pat-

tern of thinking, feeling and potential behavior that he has spent
his entire life learning. A large part of this is acquired during child-
hood, as the human is at his most amenable to learning and as-
similation processes during this period.”
Further, “To unlearn
something later is much harder than it is to learn something for the
first time

”.

18

Underneath the modern day business suits of the 21

st

century, there still inevitably beats a German, a Chinese or a Rus-
sian heart.

18

Geert Hofstede/Gert Jan Hofstede, Lokales Denken, globales Handeln. Inter-

kulturelles Zusammenarbeit und globales Management. München, 4. Ed.
2009, p.2ff.

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