22 Oct 2017

What is ‘Cross Culture’

Cross culture can refer to a company’s initiatives to increase understanding of different groups, develop effective communication or marketing efforts to reach out to customers and clients outside its traditional market. Methods of cross culture are intended to strengthen the interaction of people from different backgrounds in the business world and is a vital issue in international business.

BREAKING DOWN ‘Cross Culture’

Cross culture is becoming increasingly important as the success of international trade depends upon the smooth interaction of employees from different cultures and regions. A growing number of companies are devoting substantial resources toward training their employees to interact effectively with those of companies in other cultures in an effort to foment a positive cross-cultural experience. In addition, cross culture can be experienced by an employee who is transferred to a location in another country. The employee must learn the language and culture of those around him and vice-versa. Cross culture initiatives can be more difficult to implement if an employee is acting in a managerial capacity; someone in a leadership position who cannot effectively communicate with or understand his employees’ actions can lose credibility. In an ever-expanding global economy, cross culture and adaptability will continue to be important factors in the business world.

Considerations in Cross Culture

Culture is immeasurably important due to its impact on how social, societal and professional behaviors are interpreted and what is considered taboo and what is not. Some cultures are more hierarchical, while others have flatter social structures. In business, the relationship between an employee and a boss is important as one culture may encourage open dialogue — even criticism of a superior by an underling — while in another, it would be unacceptable. Cross culture also extends to body language and body contact: how should employees approach managers in a professional setting or how would a pat on the back be interpreted in China compared the United States, for example.

Example of Cross Culture

Everyday experiences, even those that may seem trivial, can be vastly different in various cultures. Accepting a business card from a Japanese businessperson, for example, is more ceremonial in Japanese culture than it is in American culture. When accepting a business card, the person receiving it in Japan is expected to take it with both hands and review it to show respect. The person presenting the card will bow and present the card with both hands. This may seem strange in the United States, as cards are usually exchanged freely, but understanding this can help those in Japan to avoid showing disrespect. Likewise, understanding this can help Japanese businesspeople to not feel disrespected if their American counterparts are less ceremonial about taking their business cards.

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