Intercultural Business Communication: how to be an entrepreneur abroad

https://fcbb.org/intercultural-business-communication-how-to-be-an-entrepreneur-abroad/


Over the past two decades, the business field has seen an increase in the number of companies wishing to internationalize their operations. In search of markets that are open and accessible due to the economic globalization process (among other factors), these enterprises find in these economies opportunities to expand their sales and services beyond their borders. Within this framework, we can mainly find countries of emerging economies such as Brazil.


When expanding operations to other countries, corporations face different opportunities and challenges. It is a new reality that requires these companies to develop a new management model that best suits the new partner countries’ culture, behaviour, identity, and negotiation practices.


According to researchers Marco Aurélio Spyer Prates and Betânia Tanure de Barros, there is a “Brazilian style of management,” a consequence of the “Brazilian system of cultural action.” This style has positive and negative aspects that must be identified, adapted, and then used by companies during their internationalization. For a smaller entrepreneur, these actions are, overall, more challenging to apply. And this can be the difference between the success and failure of negotiations with the foreign country.


And how to guide entrepreneurs in this process? The first step is to learn how to use the concept of “Intercultural Business Communication.” The correct use of this concept is fundamental to manage companies that deal with different cultures since it can orient negotiations and create a transnational identity for the company. The identification of cultural differences must go beyond a glimpse into corporate habits.


In countries such as Canada, it must be considered its multicultural reality, which is still seeking a pluricultural ideal. In other words, in addition to the country’s official languages (English and French), several cultures are living together respectfully but still using their professional habits. The awareness of the historical peculiarities of the French-speaking Province of Québec own identity is also of great importance for those who intend to do business there. Those who have the most remarkable ability to identify and adapt their communication to these differences will become more competitive and have more advantages in their negotiations. There are no results in the business world without excellent communication!

“In countries such as Canada, it must be considered its multicultural reality, which is still seeking a pluricultural ideal.”

For Professor Iris I. Varner, from the University of Illinois, intercultural communication is the most critical variable in business, even surpassing the quality of the product or service. That’s right! She claims that intercultural clients or partners can choose to do business with those they communicate with or identify best. This is the grand strategy of professionals and companies that obtain the highest success rates in their internationalization. The use of your difference as a strength is the biggest secret. Management schools have a clear orientation for Brazilians: start your activities in Canada by offering differentials such as language, typical products, tropical expertise, and positive aspects of the “Brazilian style of management” such as flexibility and adaptation. All of this with a communication adapted to the Canadian market.


Make “brigadeiro” and sell “Brazilian chocolate truffle”: the product is the same, the communication is adequate, and success is guaranteed.



References:

BARBOSA, L. e VELOSO, L. Gerência intercultural, diferença e mediação nas empresas transacionais. Revista de Ciências Sociais – CIVITAS, PUCRS. Porto Alegre, Jan/Jun., vol. 7 – 001 – 2007, P. 59 – 85.

CHANLAT, J.F. (org.) Gestion en Contexte Interculturel: approches, problématiques et plongées. Québec: Les Presses de l’Université Laval e Télé-Université, 2008.

TANURE, B. Gestão à brasileira. 2. ed. São Paulo, Atlas, 2005.

TANURE, B., CYRINO, A. B. e PENIDO, E. Estratégias de internacionalização: evidências e reflexões sobre as empresas brasileiras. In: Fleury, A. e Fleury, M. T. Internacionalização e os países emergentes. São Paulo, Atlas, 2007.

Varner I.I. The Theoretical Foundation for Intercultural Business Communication: A Conceptual Model. The Journal of Business Communication. 2000;37(1):39-57. doi:10.1177/002194360003700102