Question 1: Main issues affecting business relationships in China and Africa
Collectivism: Chinese people pay more attention to relationships. Guanxi or relationship is at the center of business in China (Gu, 2008). However, Africans tend to go it alone. This is because it is also viewed that dependency and collectivism can be an indication of weakness.
Workgroup characteristics: Chinese people pay a lot of attention to the social networks and interactions before and during business. As Hofstede (2007) found out, businesses are built on cultural determinants like relationship and family. They strongly focus on personal connections rather than professional connections. Africans do not prefer doing business with family and friends. As the Swahili people of East Africa say, no friendship during business.
Conflict resolution: Chinese managers generally use indirect means while African managers use direct means to resolve conflicts. Chinese are always very unwilling to destroy the already existing relationships. The Africans on the other hand apply direct means probably because there was no relationship in the first place.
Question 2: Challenges and difficulties with people from different cultures and countries
People from different cultures and countries ascribe to different codes of conduct and language among other things. Most of the time, these cultures always display a level of difference. It is therefore easy for a person from one culture to either get disgusted or attracted to the culture of the other person. This naturally implies that achieving harmony among people of different cultures might be a hard task.
Having diverse cultures in an organization on the other hand can be the best prerequisite to success. However, this is only possible if the diversity is harnessed in a positive way. For example, both Chinese and Africans apply collectivism while going about their duties. This is a very powerful tool in building and preserving an organization. even though Africans to some extent apply individualism, it is not always viewed as a good way because it has lots of shortcomings (Shonhiwa 2008). The other example is the culture of building a business from a relationship. as it is in the world today, many businesses thrive on the concept of relationship between the business and the customer.
When it comes to conflict resolution, there is no one culture that rates as the most superior over others. However, it is worth noting that reaching a compromise in these two cultures can be an invaluable tool in building an organization. It is worth noting that diversity in culture in an organization helps in building integrity and respect for one another's culture and belief. Respect is achieved when one is capable of recognizing that every culture is important in bringing about success.
Question 3: Why companies launching international partnerships must think outside the box
Cultural diversity and social factors remain the main reasons behind thinking outside the box. Research reveals that failing to be acquainted with the culture of the targeted market is directly proportional to the collapse of the business even before it is launched. For example, Arabs are said to resent being hurried when making decisions (Michel, 2009). They prefer consultative approach to confrontation. They are also reportedly hardliners during the negotiation of prices. They also pay a lot of attention to the non-verbal communication cues.
Question 4: Meaning of "the winner is those who study the people they deal with"
My understanding of this cue is that it is important to understand the cultural diversity in the global world (Shonhiwa, 2008). Business success thus depends on the ability to repackage goods and services in line with the cultural features, lifestyles, beliefs and expectations of the people in the target market (Martin and Chaney, 2006). This is the only way to attract and maintain customers across the cultural mix.
Gu, F. (2008), "When does Guanxi matter? Issues of capitalization and its dark sides", Journal of Marketing, 72(4), pp.12-28.
Hofstede, G.H. (2001), Culture's Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions and Organizations across Nations, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Martin, J.S. and Chaney, L.H. (2006). Global business etiquette. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.
Michel, S. (2009), "La Chinafrique, Pékin à la conquête du continent noir”, Nouvelle Edition augmentée.
Shonhiwa S. (2008), The effective cross-cultural manager: a guide for business leaders in Africa, published by Zebra Press, Cape Town.