Doing business globally - Tips & Tricks for Europeans
Are you a European student looking for an internship or job opportunity in Asia, Australia or the United States? Then, you should be aware of the main differences in business cultures across different continents. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you develop productive business relationships and effective career skills outside the European borders!
Extensively exchanging business cards is a common practice when conducting business in Asian countries. It is significant to ensure that a business card provides the name, position and contact information of an individual in both the local language, on the one side of the business card, and English, on the other side of the business card.
The Asian culture is described as a high-context culture. In practice, this means that effectively conducting business in Asian countries is strongly dependent on developing close relationships, mutual respect and trust. For instance, Asian managers prefer to spend a considerable amount of time to get to know their European counterparts and develop a relationship of mutual respect and trust before negotiating an agreement with them.
Taking into account the fact that the Asian business culture emphasizes the importance of mutual respect and trust, learning the local language constitutes a competitive advantage for Europeans conducting business in Asian countries. Learning the local language demonstrates a keen interest in the Asian culture and constitutes a communication skill that enhances the development of productive business relationships.
The Australian business culture scores low on power distance and is characterized by accessible management. Australian managers prefer to use practical and informal communication channels to effectively cooperate with their colleagues, and enhance an extensive share of information. Europeans conducting business in Australia need to adapt to the underlying informal way of communication to ensure effectiveness.
Flexible work hours are extensively used in Australia. Although a manager in the U.K. would prefer to arrive at work at around 8:00 a.m. and work until 5:00 p.m., Australian managers prefer to use more flexible work hours. For instance, an Australian manager would prefer to arrive at work at around 7:00 a.m. and work until 3:00 p.m. to achieve a better work-life balance. However, this does not indicate that punctuality is ignored in Australia! Meeting deadlines and being on time for meetings is highly important.
The Australian business culture is characterized by a high degree of interdependence. Employees are encouraged to take initiative, be creative and self-reliant. It is no coincidence that hiring and promotion decisions in Australia are mainly dependent on the ability of potential and existing employees to take initiative.
United States of America
Results matter in the United States! Managers focus on setting goals and achieving the best possible results. This is also relevant when applying for an internship or job in the United States. When applying for an internship or job, applicants need to “sell” their accomplishments and achievements to show their capabilities and attract recruiters.
The expression “time is money” perfectly describes the importance of time in the United States. Europeans conducting business in the United States should focus on meeting deadlines, arriving on time for meetings and getting to the point of an argument when discussing a topic during a meeting or negotiating an agreement.
The American business culture is characterized by a high degree of uncertainty tolerance. Managers can easily adapt their behavior and expectations to constant changes in the dynamic business environment and Europeans conducting business in the United States are expected to be creative and flexible. In practice, a meeting agenda is only the starting point for discussion during a meeting and topics are added to or excluded from the meeting agenda based on relevant changes.
Try to understand the underlying differences in business cultures when conducting business outside the European borders, apply tips and tricks that will help you exploit the opportunities of international business and get ready to launch a successful career!