1.Discuss how the Internet and culture interact. Which most affects the other and how? Give some
2.Discuss the types of operational conflicts that could occur in an international context because of
differences in attitudes towards time and individualism. Give examples relative to specific countries.
- Identify three stereotypes that foreigners typically hold about Australians. Why do you think they might
hold these stereotypes? Identify three cultural stereotypes that you hold (about foreign cultures).
1) Discuss the role of social media in global business communication.
2) What is the relationship of language and culture? How is it that people from the same language may
3) Give some examples of cultural differences in the interpretation of body language. What is the role of
such nonverbal communication in business relationships?
- Discuss the relative use of nonverbal behaviours, such as silent periods, interruptions, facial gazing,
and touching by people from various cultural backgrounds.
- What are some of the differences in risk tolerance around the world? What is the role of risk propensity
in the decision-making process?
- Describe what you would expect in negotiations with Germans and how you would handle that
- Discuss how the Internet and culture interact. Which most affects the other and how?
Give some examples.
In today’s communications environment, the internet has penetrated virtually all aspects of
people’s social lives in the professional as well as informal realm (Porter 2013). This means that
the internet provides a host of platforms which facilitate communication between people. The
culture of a group of people can be manifested in different spheres of life such as their religion,
their social affairs and also their economic activities. All of these avenues for the expression of
culture are then expressed across the internet through social media websites like Facebook,
YouTube and twitter. These social websites allow people to share a host of multimedia items as
well as conversations where they discuss different cultural aspects. While culture is the prime
mover of these online interactions, it appears that the internet is the one with an upper hand since
within it lie the limits to which culture can be expressed across the population. Factors that lead
to this situation include the cost of mobile devices and the existence of internet-supporting
- Discuss the types of operational conflicts that could occur in an international context
because of differences in attitudes towards time and individualism. Give examples relative
to specific countries.
Operational conflicts that can occur in an international context because of differences in attitudes
towards time and individualism may lead to conflicts between locally sourced workers and their
expatriate supervisors. Different configurations of these parties can lead to the manifestation of
these problems differently. For the issue of the attitude towards time, a Japanese supervisor in a
project taking place in the United States may have a tough time in the initial stages of the project
since the Americans tend to look at work from the perspective of employees being paid per hour.
Back at home however, the Japanese supervisor is used to workers going the extra mile and not
particularly being keen on the departure time from work. Another example of a conflict can
relate to the attitude held by different parties towards individualism. A marketing manager from
the United States leading a team of Chinese sales representatives in their country will have the
expectation that their success will be driven by their need to outdo each other even with the use
of underhand tactics where necessary (Rao et al 2010). The Chinese traditionally believe in
putting the needs of the community ahead of those of the individual and this will lead them to
work together no matter how slow this strategy is. This will cause the American manager a lot of
frustration due to unmet targets and deadlines.
- Identify three stereotypes that foreigners typically hold about Australians. Why do you
think they might hold these stereotypes? Identify three cultural stereotypes that you hold
(about foreign cultures).
The first stereotype that foreigners hold about Australians is the fact that they generally tend to
lack a sense of fashion and are used to dressing up in sleeveless shirts and canvas shorts all year
round. This results from the portrayal of Australian media personalities such as Steve Irwin and
others in wildlife documentaries. The second stereotype that foreigners tend to hold about
Australians is that they are typically self-absorbed and seldom give outsiders a chance to interact
with them. This one is likely to result from the fact that this country is also a continent on its own
and is quite far from any other mainstream culture. The third one is that they tend to spend most
of their time on the beach and this, like the first stereotype originates from their portrayal on
television (Balvin and Yoshihisa 2012).
On my part the stereotypes I have are that Americans tend to be rowdy and insensitive. I also
think that all Middle Eastern people are good in martial arts and lastly I view Russians as a
nation of alcoholics who love their vodka.
Discuss the role of social media in global business communication.
Social media plays the role of providing investors as well as consumers with information about
the state of business on a global level from a central perspective (Qualman 2012). For investors
in the different industries that exist, it becomes possible to make projections about the
international businesses they are engaged in or are intent on getting into based on discussions
with experts from other parts of the world. This is because the social media platforms allow for
the discussion of regulations governing industries and also consumer behavior in these different
markets covered. It also enables them to identify the different needs that exist in international
markets. For consumers, social media gives them an opportunity to compare different markets
they are considering as well as the differences that similar products have depending on their
point of origin. They also get to brace themselves for market changes such as shortages or
surplus. A good example is the news that features the state of the international textile industry.
2) What is the relationship of language and culture? How is it that people from the same
language may still miscommunicate?
The relationship between language and culture lies in the fact that language is the main vehicle
through which culture is conveyed. The most basic element of a culture is the interaction that
takes place between individuals. If these individuals would not understand each other, it will be
very difficult for a common culture to be experienced. They will clash as a result of their lack of
understanding of the mutual incompatibility between these two cultures. If they understand each
other however, it is easier for them to communicate and therefore express their culture. The
confluence between culture and language is further propagated by the fact that culture
determines the manner in which different parties will interact. In the German language for
instance, there are specific articles that are used to distinguish an individual’s addressing of an
elder person, a younger person and also a peer. Despite this, people who speak the same
language are still likely to miscommunicate as a result of different exposures that they have been
subjected to. This exposure may be during one’s upbringing, residence and also level of
3) Give some examples of cultural differences in the interpretation of body language. What
is the role of such nonverbal communication in business relationships?
When it comes to the use of hands in gesticulating during a conversation, Italians will find this
okay and even admire it as it is their way of laying emphasis to certain elements of a story one is
narrating. In Japan however, one will be frowned upon for making broad movement with his or
her hands during a conversation. Another example is the use of a raised thumb. In American or
British culture this is considered to be a compliment and is similar to the originator telling
someone that they have done a good job. In Australia however, this gesture is considered
offensive ins some quarters since it is a vulgar insult.
Nonverbal communication in business relationships play the role of cementing friendships and
affirming one’s trustworthiness or trust in the eyes of the other party. This communication also
plays a role in helping the parties judge beyond the words being spoken by their counterparts.
Body language can communicate comfort as well as a feeling of endangerment thus empowering
the other party to take the relevant action.
- Discuss the relative use of nonverbal behaviours, such as silent periods, interruptions,
facial gazing, and touching by people from various cultural backgrounds.
In many indigenous African traditions such as that found in Nigeria, a silent period following the
opposite party stating something is a method of the listener communicating the fact that he or she
takes a given issue seriously. This message is conveyed differently in Western Cultures such as
the United States and Britain through the use of eye contact being established. In middle-eastern
as well as African countries, eye contact is used to communicate suspicion as well as a challenge.
The handshake is used as a form of greeting as well as a tool for sealing gentlemen’s agreements
in the United States of America. A firm handshake communicates the individual being a man of
character. In the Middle East however, a firm handshake is taken by the recipient as a form of
aggression. In many Western cultures, it is acceptable to receive something with either the left or
right hand. In Arab countries the hand that is used matters a lot. It is appropriate to use the right
hand which is considered cleaner than the left hand whose use in such instances is highly
- What are some of the differences in risk tolerance around the world? What is the role of
risk propensity in the decision-making process?
Risk tolerance varies in the different regions globally mainly as a result of the prevailing
economic condition that the citizens are accustomed to. It can be analyzed from the standpoint of
different choices made with regard to the possible results. Countries that are more affluent
generally tend to have a low tolerance for risks and this is because the citizens are bound to go
after options that assure them of regular increments in income or revenue. Middle income
countries such as Brazil and Italy have a risk tolerance higher than that of Germany. Low income
countries such as Ethiopia will tend to score highest in the risk tolerance. An understanding of
the risk tolerance exhibited by a given population will help an investor predict the likely options
people are bound to choose when they are presented with two distinct purchase decisions.
- Describe what you would expect in negotiations with Germans and how you would
handle that situation.
In negotiations with Germans, I will expect them to be extremely punctual, overly formal, strict,
detailed and precise in the presentation of their views. I will also expect them to keep the
conversation within the bounds of the reason for this interaction as much as possible. I will
therefore need to prepare myself accordingly. This will entail first of all ensuring that I am
formally dressed and neat while dressed appropriately for the location. Secondly, I will double
check with them issues that they will want further expounded upon. With regard to the
documentation that I will carry to aid me in the negotiations, I have to ensure that they are neatly
done and prepared in an organized and systematic manner. I will go over the material I intend to
use again to ensure it is easy to understand while at the same time relevant to the negotiations.
Last but not least, I will ensure that I am punctual at the venue possibly 30 minutes before the
agreed meeting time (Schroll-Machl 2013.).
- Discuss the merits of the following entry strategies – exporting, turnkey projects and
The main merits of exporting as an entry strategy is the fact that it enables a firm to take
advantage of favorable marketing opportunities abroad while maintaining the economies of scale
that manifest themselves in the home country. Exporting also enables a firm to overcome the
difficulties and threats that exist in the home market and this may include the flooding of the
market with a product. In such instances, the firm is likely to benefit from such a move (Kneller
et al 2010).
Wholly owned subsidiaries as a method of gaining entry into a new market affords the firms that
take this approach some advantages. These include the easing of tensions that would have
existed had the firm entered on its own capacity into a new market. Another benefit of wholly
owned subsidiaries is the fact that they enable the parent firm to inherit the distribution channels
that were in use by the company’s previous owners.
One of the benefits of turnkey projects is the fact that little time is consumed in the development
of business plans and marketing strategies since these already exist. Another benefit of turnkey
projects is the fact that they require minimal promotions given the household status that the firms
have built for themselves.
- What opportunities and threats will likely emerge when a firm decides to move from
purely domestic operations to global operations?
The opportunities that exist include the likelihood of having access to a bigger market across the
border. It is also possible for the firm to try out its less successful products to see if they have
better luck in the global market. Another opportunity that exists in the action of a firm moving
from a purely domestic operation to a global one is that it has an opportunity to take advantage of
skilled labor and economies of scale that may be better achieved in the international market.
Operating in the global sphere helps to protect the firm from challenges associated with low
seasons since there will be a more stable market (Richter 2013).
The challenges that exist with a firm going global include the cultural as well as language
barriers involved when penetrating a foreign market. Another challenge will be the increased
cost of hiring Human resource personnel who have experience in international laws governing
employment. Another challenge is the fact that the firm will be exposing itself to unstable
revenue flows resulting from frequently changing exchange rates. The firm will also be
threatened by financial crises that affect the markets it is going into.
- As the Korean population is increasingly able to afford high priced items like cars, this
market represents a desirable growth opportunity for Japanese, German, and American
car makers. However, the Korean automobile market is dominated by Korean car
manufacturers (Hyundai, Ssanyong, and Daewoo). Oftentimes, such domination by a
domestic manufacturer is blamed on trade barriers, but Korea’s tariffs are among the
lowest in the world. Why then do most Koreans drive Korean-made cars? What entry
strategy would be most appropriate for accessing this culturally-closed market?
Despite the favorable conditions for external automobile manufacturers, Koreans will continue to
purchase cars from home grown manufacturers since this is something that has been part of their
culture since the Korean War when the country’s capacity to thrive economically was on the
brink of collapse. This threat led to the fostering of a communal responsibility among the Korean
people to play a role in bringing the country back on its feet. This then led to an culture of
supporting local products ahead of imported consumer goods (Porter 2011). As a result, of this
culture, Koreans have accustomed themselves to driving cars made in their own country. The
strategy that would best work in accessing the market found in a culturally closed country is to
tweak the products in such a manner that makes them culturally appropriate. In the case of cars, a
manufacturer can decide to make hire domestic marketing agencies that will be tasked with
promoting the product in a manner that makes it appear similar to the products that are doing
well in the market while at the same time maintaining its identity.
- Why are there an increasing number of mergers with companies in different industries?
Give some examples.
The reason why there is a sustained increase in the number of mergers taking place between
firms traditionally operating in different industries is the fact that the dynamics of the markets
are quickly transforming in favor of the customer (Johnson et al 2011). The ultimate goal in
marketing is customer satisfaction and this has led organizations in different industries to come
together so as to better cater for their markets. The firms that result from these mergers are
known as conglomerates and they are formed with the aim of either extending the market reach
of the respective firms or increasing the product range for these organizations involved. An
example of such a merger is the deal that saw AOL and Time Warner come together. The former
was an internet based firm that provided a host of online solutions to individual as well as
corporate clients. The latter on the other hand was a media company. The aim was to turn the
union of these two companies into the largest media entity in the world. Another example of
such a merger is the one that took place when Sony, previously an electronics giant, decided to
acquire Columbia pictures, a film production company in 1989.
- What are the common sources of incompatibility in cross-border alliances? What can be
done in order to minimize them?
The common sources of incompatibility when firms go across their borders to form alliance
include cultural obstacles, language barriers and also unfavorable regulatory frameworks
(Kudrna 2012). Cultural barriers will arise as a result of a lack of understanding and empathy for
the expectations of the other part. This is likely to cause hostilities at the different levels of
management often due to unintended faux pas being committed. With the issue of language
barriers, it becomes difficult to synchronize operations due to different meanings being afforded
to similar words and phrases across the border. Bottom up communication also gets jumbled up
at higher levels due to misunderstanding or errors on the part of translators. Unfavorable
regulatory frameworks refer to the differential application of laws in different countries and this
can severely hamper efforts to produce and market a homogenous product.
To minimize these incompatibilities, it is necessary for the firms planning to engage in such
alliances to purposefully channel resources towards the exploration of the feasibility of such
issues from an all rounded perspective. States can also make these alliances more practical
through the formation of regional trade organizations and preferential trade areas.
- How might the variable of national culture affect strategic implementation? Use the
Mittal Steel example to highlight some of these factors.
National culture’s effect on strategic implementation comes into play because it determines the
success or failure of a company that is making headway into a new market (Luthans 2012). If the
national culture on the ground is not in tandem with the ideals forwarded by a company, its
failure will be imminent due to a lack of support from its internal as well as external customer.
Internal customers are its employees while external customers are the end consumers. These
groups of people can either give their best and support the firm or turn against it and sabotage it
through lackluster performance on the part of employees as well as abstaining from purchasing
on the part of consumers. Mittal Steel is one of the world’s largest producers of steel and it has
reached this position through acquisitions it has made of several domestic steel manufacturing
giants in different parts of the world. Given its clout, Mittal developed a symbiotic relationship
with all the firms it sought to acquire leading to local support and the sustained growth of the
Explain the need for an MNC to “be global and act local.” How can a firm design its
organization to enable this?
The need to be global and act local refers to the fact that a multinational corporation should
always seek to make the most of its position in the international market while at the same time
ensure it caters to the subjective needs presented by the different markets where it has
established itself. A firm can organize its organization to be global while acting local through the
development of a global brand which is recognizable by the different markets it serves. This
involves aggressive promotion of the brand image. This brand however needs to have various
versions of the product that meet the needs of the respective markets covered by the
organization. The differences can be in the promotional technique used, components of the
product and also pricing depending on the one that is most pressing in a given market (Fayena-
Tawil et al 2011).
- As an international manager, what would make you suggest restructuring of your firm?
What other means of direct and indirect monitoring systems could you suggest?
As an international manager, I would definitely suggest a restructuring of the firm I work for and
this is because it will enable the local branch of the firm to adjust to the prevailing market
conditions in the country that is hosting it. This restructuring will therefore enable the firm to
operate in a more fluid manner in a foreign market. This will also make it possible to better
monitor the operations in the international market. Another means of direct monitoring can be
the use of a balanced scorecard which is checked against the objectives of each department as
well as those of the overall local operation. Indirect monitoring systems that can be used include
observation of the opinions that locals have with regard to the operations of the firm and its
products (Ruigrok 2013).
- What is a transnational organization? Because many large MNCs are moving toward
this format, it is likely that you could at some point be working within this structure—how
do you feel about that?
A transnational organization is a firm or business entity which operates across several countries
in a manner that suggests the absence of national boundaries between these countries. These
organizations therefore ignore any distinctions that obviously exist between these countries
I feel optimistic about the prospect of working for a transnational organization because it will
greatly simplify the Human Resources Aspect of international operations. This means that I will
be able to work in any country covered by the organization with very little adjustment and
procedure being necessary. Furthermore, the management of these organizations will be simpler
since divisions of the organization will be more geographical than politically oriented. This also
reduces the friction that exists between foreign organizations and local authorities since the mode
of operations will have been standardized while taking into account legal issues beforehand.
1.Why is the HRM role so much more complex, and important, in the international
The HRM role is so much more complex and important in an international context due to the
cultural, economic, political and legal considerations which have to be made by HRM personnel
working for the company. Cultural considerations that have to be taken into account include the
issues of compatibility between local cultures and the corporate culture fostered by an
organization. Economic considerations to be made include issues such as the economic status of
the country, the cost of living and also matters of minimum wage for workers. Political
considerations to be made include issues such as the existence of workers’ unions and the
influence that these have on collective bargaining. The legal aspect of HRM in an international
context includes the regulatory framework governing the rights of workers and obligations of
employers (Festing et al 2013).
- Explain the common causes of expatriate failure.
The first cause of expatriate failure is stress associated with the individual’s family. This may be
due to separation from one’s family or the headache of the family trying to cope with adjusting
to a new country and starting their lives afresh socially.
Another cause of expatriate failure is the rigidity of the individual to a new culture and this
makes for a lot of unnecessary conflicts with the co-workers and customers.
Excessive responsibilities can also lead an expatriate to fail in their assignment and this comes
about when there is a lack of empowerment for local employees leading to the expatriate who is
presumably better skilled ( and more trusted) being overloaded with responsibility in a new
A lack of emotional immaturity can also lead to an expatriate failing and this may come from
fame or attention that one had not been accustomed to back at home (Silbiger 2013).
- Do you have what it takes to make a good expatriate? What are your strengths and what
aspects need improvement?
I have what it takes to be a good expatriate worker. The strengths that I have include cultural
flexibility, emotional maturity, an interest for foreign cultures, a supportive family and also prior
exposure to a wide range of cultures. The flexibility that I talk about in this respect is my ability
to adjust to different geographic as well as social environments with relative ease. This means
that I can easily be assimilated into any foreign culture I find myself in. I developed my
emotional maturity during the period I engaged in competitive sports in high school. I got to
learn patience, the importance of team work and also a great deal of self-restraint. My interest for
foreign cultures leads me to research more about them so as to understand the way of life for
different people across the world. It also makes me appreciate them more.
An area that I feel needs improvement in my case is the fact that I find it hard to be reproached
by others and I know this will happen a lot as I adapt to the new socio-cultural environment
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