Cultural Differences in Business

1.0 INTRODUCTION Patrick Watson was a graduate from a well-known university. He has a major in Industrial Management with a first class degree. He was capable in communicating bilingual language, which are English and minor French. After he graduated, Patrick went for an internship in the entry level management training position with Tube International Company. He is well-known in the company for getting the work done and have a good relationship with his working colleagues. As a result, he was promoted by the company from a Manager Trainee to a position of Assistant Plane Superintendent. After two years of service, he was assigned to take a foreign project which means a promotion for him. He was assigned to Haiti without any preparation. Haiti has two languages: -Haitian Creole (also known as Kreyòl) -French Kreyòl is spoken by 100 percent of the Haitians, while about 6 to 10 percent of Haitians can speak French. Kreyòl is a mixture of French and the African languages that Haitian slaves spoke. It is incorrectly described as a French dialect or worse, as broken French. Many Haitians identify themselves as French speakers when they are not truly fluent in the language. Even after Haiti became independent, French has been the language of government and of power for most of Haitis history (Valdman, 1984).This may create problems, for example, Haitian students in the U.S. are misdiagnosed as having mental disabilities because they are tested in languages they have not mastered (such as English). Upon arriving in Haiti, Patrick tried his ability in speaking French. However, the result was beyond his expectation. The language that they are speaking, was not a predominant French. Prior to living in Haiti for a week, he encounter a misunderstanding communication with the employee. As a result, he became disillusioned and lost interest in continuing the project. In this report, our group are going to elaborate the problem that Patrick is facing and how he can overcome this conflict. Question 1 What problems that Patrick not anticipated when he took the assignment? Culture Shock First problem that Patrick will face is culture shock as he feel unfamiliar way of living and linguistic differences at the plant in Haiti due to the people from the plant could not speak pure French and the way that the people that greeted him with a risqué expression and different tone that Patrick never heard before. Haitian culture is distinct and less familiar to Americans than other cultural groups. Haiti’s population is 95% made up of African descendants. The estimated population is 8 million. Haitians are very concerned with the treatment of Haitian refugees in America (Policy of returning Haitians but not Cubans). Over Confidence Over confidence is a person who thinks his sense of direction is much better than it actually is. In another words, confidence is relatively high. Patrick was a first class student and he learned French as a minor. He was over confident that he able to communicate well with the employees and will not have any problem about living and working in Haiti. The facts are the French that Patrick learn before is different meaning to the employees of the plant. This problem has made misunderstanding a few times until the employees have limit their communication to him. Lack of Orientation The lack of orientation. Orientation is a program that is carried out by the company to inform detailed information regarding the company and the jobs. The main goal in doing an orientation is to make sure that the employees know the overall background of the company. Making new employees feel welcome and making them comfortable to work in that working place is another important aspect. Social Adaptability The failure of Patrick to adapt was combined with specific unfavorable situations and this may adversely affect him to conduct, looking at Patrick’s problem, this involves a culture shock. The culture of greeting other people differs from one place to another. This is why Patrick faces misunderstanding with the employee in the company. Inadequate Information Lastly, inadequate information about the company. Before starting to work in a company, it is best that the Patrick notice the overall information regarding the company and their particular job area. According to this case, Patrick has a lack of knowledge from the company. How the management of the company works? How friendly are the employees? These questions have to be figured out by Patrick before he started working in the company. Due to the lack of understanding towards the company, Patrick faces misunderstanding in communicating with his colleagues. Question 2 How could the company have assisted Patrick to reduce the difficulties that he confronted? Employee Orientation Employee orientation is a part of long term investment in a new employee, it is an initial process that provides access to basic information and provides new employees with the basic background information they need to perform their jobs satisfactorily, programs and services, gives classifications and follows new employees to take an active role in the organization. So the company can provide Patrick with proper and well prepared orientation. This orientation will help him in adapting in Haiti with the different kind of lifestyle and language. The company can put him and some other colleagues together in Haiti for a month to introduce him to their new environment. As a result, they can prevent Patrick and other colleagues doing a mistake and offensive thing in the country. It also helps in strengthening the management foundation of Patrick in doing his foreign assignment. Adequate Information The next thing the company can do is to provide Patrick with adequate information regarding the country. Once he knows the insight of Haiti, he will know how to react to extreme situation change. For example, When Patrick knows about the different kind of French language the country have, he will be able to understand the difference and avoid misunderstanding. Social Adaptability People who feel comfortable among a group of friends are not suited for an overseas post. The process of social adaption requires concentrated and study action. Patrick must be able to socialize comfortably with new people in a new place, and be able to move quickly from one social situation to another. Pre-Departure Training – Cultural Awareness Training Degree of interaction required in the host culture and the similarity between the individual’s native culture and the new culture such as information sharing program, affective approach to moderate level of interaction and the length of stay in the host country is anticipated to be between two to twelve months, this can help Patrick learn the culture and get close to the Haitians as well. Question 3 Do you believe the situation that Patrick confronted is typical an American going to the foreign assignment? If another American are being sent to do an overseas assignment, there is a big possibility that he or she will face the same problem as Patrick faced. There are two main factors that can arise in this situation, such as language barriers and law and regulations. From these two factors, Americans should be aware before entering a new country for their overseas job. Language Barrier Language barrier can be found when two parties from a different country that is facing difficulties in communicating due to language. In this situation, America and Haiti have different communicating language. Americans that are planning to work in Haiti have to learn the language at the first, before they set to work. This can help reducing the possibility of misunderstanding. For example, communication problems can make the work environment uncomfortable and unproductive for Patrick and his colleagues. Open and clear communication in the workplace of Patrick can build a more productive environment. Laws and Regulations Every country has their own laws and regulations. Take Singapore as an exmaple. Knowing that chewing gum is prohibited, whereas it is normal to chew gum in Indonesia. Looking back at this case, America and Haiti have different laws and regulations. Law is an important area to be focused on because if people breaks it, it could end up bad. This is why Americans have to learn the laws and regulations in Haiti. It is best to keep the job safe and legal. Therefore, from time to time workers may violate the policies the organizations have established for its business. Even if the employee breaks the rules with the best intentions, the flow of the workplace can be impacted negatively. When the entire team is working toward the same goal and following the same regulations, it can be easier to fulfill the goals. This shows that if Patrick truly understands the rules are in place, it can be easier for him to communicate that urgency to his team in the organization. Conclusions Even though Patrick have superb quality of work in his previous career with good background, it doesn’t mean he will be able to work anywhere he wants easily .When the company send Patrick to Haiti, he faced several problems. These problems are caused by 5 factors, they are culture shock, overconfidence, lack of orientation, social adaptability and inadequate information. However the company can help Patrick to reduce these problem by giving Social adaptability, Pre-departure training and lastly adequate information before sending him off. These kind of situation happen often with American, since they are unaware of the language barrier and law and regulation of the country. Thus it is important for people to know the insight of the country before visiting there. References Haiti Culture (Accessed 04 June 2015) The First Day on the Job | Human Resources at UC Berkeley. 2015. The First Day on the Job | Human Resources at UC Berkeley. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 04 June 2015] MyFuture. 2015. Understanding Cultural Differences While Working Overseas – myfuture [ONLINE] Available at: . [Accessed 05 June 2015] Iakovlev,A.M.Prestupnost’isotsial’naiapsikhologiia.Moscow,1971.Chelovekiobshchestvo:Proble mysotsializatsiiindivida.Leningrad,1971.(UchenyezapiskiNilkompleksnykhsotsial’nykhissledovanii, fasc.9.) Haiti Laws and Regulations [Accessed 06 June 2015] Working overseas (Accessed 06 June 2015) Business Lesson from Working in Haiti (Accessed 04 June 2015) US Aid for Haiti worker (Accessed 06 June 2015) Haiti’s Plan (Accessed 06 June 2015 Declaration: The group/individual has unanimously agreed to the appraisal of each individual/ member in our group. (A) ______________________ Tin Tin B) _______________________ Tang Xiaojing (C) ________________________ Li Jiahua (D) _________________________ Ta Thi Tram Anh (E) _________________________ Novi Lestari

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