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A Short Course in International Business Culture

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A Short Course in International Business Culture

Building Your International Business Through Cultural Awareness

World Trade Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Even mighty Disney found out that it’s not such a small world after all.

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Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Charles Mitchell’s book offers an excellent introduction to the differences in attitudes, values, protocol, rituals, traditions, communication styles and other characteristics that commonly separate cultures. He distinguishes people’s basic cultural traits from different national groups, while noting regional and individual variations, too. Mitchell cites examples from many major nations, including the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Nigeria, Israel, Australia, China, Japan, Russia, Vietnam and India, and from Hispanic and Arabic cultures. The book is clearly written and well organized, with tips on giving gifts, negotiating, handling verbal and non-verbal communications, holding meetings and conducting business in general. getAbstract says tuck this into your carry-on bag - the farther you’re going, the more you’ll need it.


Culture: Nuances and Blunders

As business becomes more globalized, you will increasingly find yourself working in a multi-cultural environment. To conduct business effectively, you need to be increasingly aware of cultural differences and to adjust the way you behave and communicate. These differences are reflected in the ways people from different cultures process information, value different qualities, think about time and space, and otherwise relate to business and each other. These differing cultural characteristics affect corporate cultures worldwide.

Being unaware of cultural nuances can result in major business mistakes, such the blunders EuroDisney made when it started its operations in France. Among other things, the company created ill will by using lawyers to negotiate construction and other contracts - The French think that using lawyers is a sign of mistrust and only bring them in as a last resort. Disney didn’t recognize different eating patterns, so the hotel dining rooms were too small, and the company forbade alcohol in a country where wine is a standard part of mealtimes.

Essentially, culture refers to the core values, beliefs, norms, standards...

About the Author

Charles Mitchell has worked as a foreign correspondent for U.S. and European news services, newspapers and magazines for more than 20 years, reporting from some 45 countries on four continents. He is the Director of Publishing for The Conference Board, a non-profit business and economic research organization that tries to enhance business’s contribution to society.

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