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When Culture Collide

Oct 26, 2014

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by Richard Pooley

When cultures collideDeveloping an awareness of cross-cultural factors in international business and handling them properly is es:c;:entialf you want your global i business activities to be effective.

T

he client rang me out of the blue. Could I fly to Munich and help solve a crisis11 agreed, but after hearing a brief account of what had happened, I wasn't optimistic ) COL,ld provide a 'olution. Eighteen months earlier two fJmous intcrn"t,onJI companies. one Japanese, the other German. had signt:d a joint venture agreement to develop, produce and launch a prod~J(t that had the potential to capture a new market. The joint venture would combine the

marketing skills of one co:npany with the technology and d~ign skUls of the other (my client). To the management of both it must hal/e seemed the perfect busin"ss marria!}", Within '''''i'k, of the deal being signed. a group of Japanese design engineers was sent to Bal/ana to work alongside a German team of similar size and expertise. The energy and enthusiasm surrounding the deal was infectious. But, within a few days of their

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Management

Services Spnng 2005

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arrival; the Japanese engineers were In a state of shock. They fOlJnd their German collabvrators to be rude, inconsiderate and lazy. The Germans Interrupted during meetin

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