Case study: Same language, different meanings

By Zelda Fedder
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/12/2001

In North America, the tendency is to think that everybody wants to do business the way North Americans do. But this is not so. People in other countries often have very different business practices because of their underlying cultural values and attitudes.

Management in a global environment is increasingly affected by these cultural differences. In every country an unwritten set of rules has evolved which dictate how employees relate to one another, how they view time, how they communicate with one another, and how much risk they can tolerate when making business decisions.

Understanding these cultural differences can be crucial to the success of any manager who goes an international assignment.