The advent of globalization in international businesses has prompted business establishments to expand its network across cultures in order to keep up being culturally aware and more importantly, for businesses to increase cross-cultural competence. The value of cross-cultural competence skill is becoming increasingly important for many international companies.
Often, Business establishments take on a perspective that cross-cultural competence is the silver lining between surviving and perishing in the modern global economy. Companies grow their business outside the country of origin when the business is expanding and is ready to take on a larger scope.
In the field of international business, the concept of cross-cultural competence is still viewed as the skill or ability of providing effective cross-cultural interactions and the ability of the business to function effectively in another culture. Cross-cultural competence in business terms is sometimes referred to as global or transnational competence.
In order to compete effectively in the global marketplace, manager and professionals need to possess global or cross-cultural competencies apart from the abilities that are demonstrated in the domestic aspect or within the organization. Professionals in the international business aspect require new set of knowledge and skills as they venture into a broader, more dynamic, and global marketplace.
Penetrating the International Business Environment
How can a business and its people enhance cross-cultural competencies needed to conduct business transactions in the global market? Here are six competencies developed by Dr. Slimbach which international companies can follow.
First is to develop cross-cultural competence through perspective consciousness. It is the ability to evaluate one’s cultural prejudices, assumptions, and ethical judgments.
Next is to enhance cross-cultural proficiency through ethnographic skill sets. The skills referred here are careful observation of social behavior, stress management, and relationship-building across cultures while exploring important global issues.
Another competency is global awareness. It is only apt to have basic understanding of international business conditions, ideologies, institutions, and systems. To become globally aware, one be conscious about the things that are happening around the world especially in the aspect of business and economy.
Along with global awareness comes global learning. But this time, it goes beyond just being aware. It requires immersion in the global society. Traveling outside your country is a good world learning experience.
In order to make more competent business people in the global arena, language learning is also another skill to learn to increase cross-cultural competence. Any business that consists of foreign language proficient professionals can compete in the global marketplace since communication is not so much of a barrier.
Lastly, affective development helps improve cross-cultural competence where professionals demonstrate deep and appropriate emotions within particular intercultural contexts.
Global Management Leaders
Along with the need for cross-cultural competence in businesses due to globalization is the need for more competent workforce as well as competent management. Global management leaders must be skilled and proficient in their business dealings across cultures.
Management leaders need to be aware and understand the cross-cultural impacts on business operations. They also need to have comprehensive approach to culture, its characteristics, and know the essence of cultural sensitivity. Global managers must learn the impact of cultural differences on global business operations and client negotiations.
Furthermore, as leaders, they are expected to cope with changes at an international level, especially those changes brought about by technology. In dealing with business clients across the globe, it is important to be able to manage and control cultural diversity.
It is responsibility of the managers to hone their members in acquiring the required cross-cultural skills and competencies to prepare them and make them more competitive in their endeavors.
Let us identify the required global competencies of professionals that are crucial in facing the challenges of the international business environment. These competencies are referred to as the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics and they are interrelated with each other.
Cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity are in the list as well as managing cross-cultural conflict, adaptability to new situations, and cross-cultural adjustment. Other abilities include managing change, managing uncertainty, dealing with paradox, being inquisitive, working in international teams, and language skills.
To add up to the list are emotional intelligence, global business and organizational savvy, relationship skills, international negotiation skills, and self-reliance. In order to become fully competent in the field of international business, professionals need to have people orientation, flexibility in thought and disposition, and non-judgmental personality.