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Global Markets and Business Etiquette
A study of networking cultures in China, Russia, Europe and the U.S. has resulted in some helpful information for U.S. entrepreneurs doing business overseas. The study was conducted by Bat Batjargal, who, according to BusinessWeek.com, is a research associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, and an assistant professor at Beijing University, who has been studying cross-cultural networks for about a decade.
First and foremost, when doing business with a foreign country, don’t over do it in trying to fit in with their culture. Russians know that you are not Russian and, therefore, do not expect you to act Russian. They expect you to act like yourself.
Below are some additional information Batjargal learned from his study that you need to know when dealing with the global market:
When doing business with the Chinese, it’s important to know that they focus on how people know each other, i.e., family, friends, neighbors, etc. According to Batjargal, “the Chinese often structure their social networks according to these principles, and therefore it is vital to know relational bases for successful networking.”
The Chinese have a more trusting culture. Batjargal states that this is due to China’s social and political stability, the Confucian cultural legacy of trusting relationships, and the large rural population. Additionally, he adds that higher trust leads to benefits like less monitoring expenses.
Russians are not as concerned with how people know each other, but how long they have known each other or have been doing business together. A long term relationship or partnership is considered a strong one.
Russians are not as trusting as the Chinese. In order to gain their trust, one needs to find out their associates likes and dislikes and play that to your advantage. Also, divulging information about yourself and your personal likes and dislikes will help to gain trust, because your are making yourself vulnerable as well.
Women vs. Men
Additionally, in both Chinese and Russian culture, Batjargal found that male entrepreneurs tend to have more supportive networks than female entrepreneurs. This is due to the fact that, in both countries, women feel as though they need to suppress their emotions and be more masculine in a career that has power, such as a business owner. Their perception is that, in order to be successful, they must not act like women. Batjargal had even observed women lowering the tone of their voice to seem more masculine.
On a closing note, Batjargal emphasizes the importance of diversification in your network as your business grows. Don’t just stick with the same people that have your same ideals and expectations. Instead, expand your network and incorporate those who may differ from you and your business “because diverse networks generate new opportunities, facilitate access to diverse information, knowledge, and resources, and help to locate new suppliers, clients, and distributors.”
• BusinessWeek.com: Networking Around the World
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