Cross-Cultural Management China And South Africa

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Cross-Cultural Management China and South Africa

Cross-Cultural Management China and South Africa


Extensive research has been done in business relationship building, in particular in the area of marketing relationship. The marketing relationship is often used as a universal concept in the study of business relationshipbuilding, such as with guanxi (connections). In today's world of globalization and internationalization of businesses, the marketing relationship is becoming increasingly important as a means to meet the marketing needs of sales firms. (Booysen, 2001, 36-64)

However, when it comes to establishing specific business relationships in a particular culture, business people can resort to their own cultural values and communication strategies, which may go beyond the area of marketing to include broader social dimensions. Social capital theory can be of relevance for exploring these social dimensions and relevant communication strategies. (Booysen, 2001, 36-64) Existing literature, however, has given little attention to exploring specific communication strategies for establishing business relationships, and even less has been done from a culture-specific perspective.

Intercultural dimensions such as proposed by Hofstede and Hall may shed light on the understanding of different communication strategies used to establish business relationships. For example, Grosse made an attempt to explore relationship building in relation to communication strategies.

Communication Strategies and Culture

This section reviews literature in the area of interpersonal communication strategies since networks and business relationships are built through appropriate use of these strategies. According to Adler et al. , interpersonal communication is characterized by a high level of personal commitment, while impersonal communication represents a clear detachment from personal feelings and involvement. (Booysen, 2001, 36-64) The important dimensions to differentiate interpersonal from impersonal communication include uniqueness, replace ability, interdependence, self-disclosure and intrinsic rewards. In interpersonal communication, one tends to use strategies that are unique and irreplaceable to the interactant. A high level of self-disclosure, such as personal feelings, is also frequently involved in interpersonal communication.

An additional feature of interpersonal communication is that it tends to target intrinsic rewards and long-term relationships. The opposite is true of impersonal communication in all the dimensions just mentioned. These communication strategies can also be seen as related to the intercultural dimensions, and people in different cultures resort to different types of communication strategies for building business relationships and developing social and relational capital. (Booysen, 2001, 36-64)

Specifically these intercultural taxonomies are seen as relevant: Hofstede's power distance and individualism/collectivism, and Hall's high context and low context. These dimensions are chosen because they can reflect the networking patterns as shown in their definitions. According to Hofstede, power distance reflects a culture's attitude towards human inequality. Cultures differ in the extent to which they view social status inequality and prefer particular value orientations regarding the importance of status difference and social hierarchies. (Booysen, 2001, 36-64) Hofstede also divides cultures into a continuum of individualism and collectivism, and this dimension reflects the extent to which a culture relies on and has allegiance to the self or the group. Typical examples of individualistic cultures are the USA, Australia, New Zealand, South ...
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