Bridging Cultural Gaps
Culture refers to shared values, beliefs, attitudes, expectations and norms found within countries, regions, social groups, industries, corporations and even departments and work groups within a business firm.
Cultural differences impact on many aspects of multinational strategic alliance activities. In many Asian countries, for example, initial negotiations may be lengthy since getting to know each other, building personal relationships, and developing trust is extremely important before getting on to the details of the deal. This was not done in the Studds-Nolan study, but was a major success factor in the GM, Borg-Warner and Tambrands situations. Contracts are also less likely to be detailed and cover all contingencies in Asia, India and the Arab states – a barrier which at times has to be surmounted when dealing with multinational strategic alliances.
In bridging cultural gaps (in negotiations, in selecting partners, or in managing strategic alliances), it is useful to examine six aspects of potential cultural differences. These six perspectives are described briefly below. Their impact on alliance effectiveness is discussed in detail in Chapters 5 and 6 as it relates to managing and leading alliances.
The social context and human aspects of a situation are emphasized differently in various cultures. They are, for example, very important