In the case that Professor Zhao gave us we can see clearly that Mr.
Moto met with a lot of serious problems in an intercultural negotiation. And all these problems had a bad influence on the international connect. The case also has left us two questions. The first is that whether the different between high context culture and low context culture is that important and whether the difference will destroy the negotiation if one can’t handle it properly. The second question is that whether the only solution for the conflict is to give up one’s own culture and accept everything in another culture.The first question So let’s first deal with the first question that whether the difference between two cultures is so important.
In my opinion this difference really makes a very big problem. And let’s see some examples. Once a Chinese enterprise wants to have a business negotiation with an America company. When meeting with the negotiator of the America Company the Chinese company sends him an expensive watch. So in the high context culture, a gift is really a way to show the respect or the willing to build a relationship with the receiver.But in the eye of the American guy the gift is really a bride. So he refuses to accept the present. Chinese company insist in him accepting the gift, and finally he accepted it but after that he told the matter to his company and his company charged the Chinese company bride their officer and at last the business is failed because of this affair.
So we can see that neglecting the difference of two cultures is really fatal. Let’s analyze why this culture difference can make such a big influence in intercultural negotiation.I think this is because of the focus of the two cultures when connecting with others is different. In the high context culture, people mainly focus on build the relationship with others and even some times they will think that the result of the negotiation is not that important than the relationship they had already build up.
But to the in the people in low context culture, they mainly think of the true purpose of the negotiation and in their mind other action is meaningless. In their mind the negotiation is the game of the profit.Once they reach the balance point the negotiation can be over. So here we can see that the core difference between the two cultures is trust. In the high context culture people don’t trust others, so they want to build relationships to reduce the danger of being betrayed. All the other non-verbal behaviors is a way to show one’s respect and want to get the trust from others. While in the low context culture the trust problem is not that important, people will usually believe on what others had said and not suspect on others.
So when the two different cultures meet, the person in high context culture will usually find it’s very difficult to believe in the person in low context culture. Also when showing the respect by the non-verbal way such as gift or name card the person in low context will very likely doesn’t take it seriously and this will made the person in high context culture feel being offended and he is losing face. So from the analysis we can see the reason why the difference of the two cultures is so important. It’s very difficult to say whose fault it is, but both of the cultures will think the other unacceptable.In my own experience I have also met with such kind of question.
Once I had a lunch together with a guy called Josh from America. At first I introduced myself very politely and asked some questions about him, but him ignored my words and directly asked me some sensitive questions about Tibet and Taiwan. I am really very angry feeling that I’m offended by his attitude, but I still answered his questions. Then he rebuts my words and said something that offends our nation’s territorial integrity directly.So all this make me really not that happy, and I had a debate with him that day. Besides that later he told me that he is an ABC (America-born-Chinese) this makes me even more angry since that being a Chinese, how can he say the territorial problem about China.
And I no longer take him as a friend. But the second day he invited me to watch a basketball game together. All this makes me very obscured since we had a quarrel one day before and I don’t think I ‘m his friends. So I refused him and had never connected with him anymore.So now I know that it’s really not his problem of performing like that, it’s just the difference between cultures, even his is a Chinese but all of his surrounding culture is in s low context way. The second question The second question is that whether the only solution for the conflict is to give up one’s own culture and accept everything in another culture. My answer to the question it is that, whether give up or give up how much depend on the situation.
And unless in some extreme traditions it’s unnecessary for one to give up all culture traditional behavior.I think that in the situation that you want to your company enter a country or you want to show your respect of that country, you shall give up some of your own culture problems that may conflict with the culture you want to connect with or accept some basic traditional culture behaviors. For example when Obama, president of the United States visit Shanghai and gave a public speech his first word is “DaJiaHao” in Shanghai tongue.
This action makes us feel very friendly and can fully show his respect and willing to be a friend with China.Also when you company want to make a contract with a company in another country has different culture with your country, and the contract is really very important to your company, this time you should give up most of your culture habits to make sure there will be no accident. But when in the situation that your position is equal or stronger to other company or country you can maintain mainly of your own culture customs, you need only pay attention to the culture point that may cause unnecessary problems. And I think sometimes some unique point in your own culture will make you more real and give you more benefits.We can see that in the APEC held in 2003 China, when taking photos, the head of every country was taking Tang suit. All this shows the strong of China and gave the world a deep impression. I think the culture differences are not just the cause of most international conflicts.
The culture difference can also cause the respect by others. In my opinion if a culture behavior is so unique and can doesn’t offend other cultures, it will very like to be the point that attract other’s attentions. And this called the attraction of unique culture customs.So we can get a conclusion that the difference between high context culture and low context culture is very large.
So it is very necessary to get a fully idea of the culture differences and have a preparation for it when someone wants to have an international business communication. And after collecting all the information about the culture difference, one should then analyze the situation. All the solution can be found in the situation above, and then all of them can know whether they should give up their own culture traditional behaviors.
I believe that by dong all this there will less and less culture conflicts will happen.