Trident University International
Jason C. Christenson
MGT 501, Management and Organizational Behavior
Module #1, Case Assignment
Doing Business Abroad
Doctor Ken Myers
April 11, 2005
PURPOSE: The purpose of this paper is to answer the assigned questions within this module. By answering these questions, I will gain a better understanding of the important aspects surrounding conducting business abroad.
BACKGROUND: This is the first case assignment for MGT501, Management and Organizational Behavior during the spring semester at Touro University International.
COVERAGE: I will use background information, combined with outside research to strengthen ...view middle of the document...
SALES TECHNIQUES/CUSTOMER WANTS:
Failure to identify cultural differences within a particular market will typically result in the organization’s inability to exploit the untapped market. The exact opposite occurred when Wal-Mart expanded into Britain in 1997. Wal-Mart has done exceptionally well in Britain since entering that market. Similarities between the U.S. and British markets coupled with both a striking likeness of individual customers and employees within each society are primary reasons that have led to the success of Wal-Mart in Britain. Like the Americans, the British enjoyed the overly friendly greetings commonly associated with Wal-Mart employees. The British employees were easily trained to work in accordance with Wal-Mart’s culture. Wal-Mart was familiar with the U.S. market, therefore was also familiar with the British market. This familiarity has led to a strong understanding of their culture that ultimately has resulted in consistent profitability within the British marketplace over the years.
Just like the British market, Wal-Mart entered the German marketplace in 1997 as well. Results in Germany have been drastically different than in Britain. Wal-Mart moved relatively smoothly into Britain, which has so many cultural differences with the U.S, but they didn’t appreciate the cultural differences between Germany and the U.S. (Fairlamb, 2003). Wal-Mart’s failure to recognize cultural differences has resulted in the world’s top retailer loosing money in Germany every year since it entered the German market (Fairlam, 2003). German culture is vastly different from the United States. German shoppers dislike being approached by friendly sales staff. “They don’t expect this ‘Hi! How are you?’ culture. That is alien to the workforce and to their customers (Fairlamb, 2003). Wal-Mart rushed into the German market without conducting appropriate research about their future German customers. This caused the German customers to be misunderstood which ultimately lost revenue for Wal-Mart.
Although language barriers can be mitigated through education and experience, the barrier will always exist to some extent. Education does not always identify slang words or other language trends within specific languages. Many potential patrons use this slang language, which can create communication problems.
American-based businesses must be able to communicate with their overseas counterparts. As markets change, the overseas managers must be able to inform the corporate headquarters about these changes. The overseas manager must also be able to capture the thoughts and ideals from the overseas customers in order to keep corporate headquarters informed. This issue not only exists in the form of verbal communication, but also through technological barriers. Some countries are not as technologically advanced as the United States, and they may actually fear technology. This cultural fear of...