Organisations working in a multicultural environment have a number of concrete challenges, from time zones to currency fluctuations to managing holiday coverage. But business relationships across cultures can also introduce misunderstandings.
Fast growing, fiercely competitive and home to one of the worlds' largest economies, business in China offers sizeable benefits – yet for many western professionals, tackling the complex cultural issues and business etiquette differences of international markets is a daunting prospect.
Language is a consideration that arises whenever organisations cross cultural, and especially linguistic, borders. English may be the official corporate language for many organisations, but linguistic realities are generally much more complex in global organisations.
Organisations working across cultures have many issues to consider that may not be necessary within a single market, where language, buying motivations and marketing campaigns are all well understood.
Organisations working across cultures often adopt a corporate language in the belief that it makes business easier if their global employees speak the same language. In most multinational organisations, English is usually the chosen corporate language. But many organisations can be lulled into a false sense of security that, due to use of a common language, business communication should be easy.
As businesses grow, they tend to encounter opportunities that may be different from when they first started. With more diverse business opportunities, conflict may arise more often and more quickly.