The problems of cultural diversity in International Business

Last Updated: 10 Aug 2020
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The issue of cultural multiplicity in the international business scenario is continuously on the up rise owing to the factor of rapid globalization. As the developed countries spread their wings across the globe, the third world talent finds more employment opportunities in their lap. Nevertheless, the businesses of underdeveloped nations have also made giant strides since they are provided with better and more channels for spreading out. The role of Internet has indeed played a major role in bring about this global revolution in the international business.

Businesses worldwide are endowed with unfathomable opportunities and access to limitless societies and cultures, making business prospects and employment available to all. Even the biggest giants of the world are now just a click away. However, for the companies seeking to squeeze this planet, this cultural amalgamation has set a number of problems along with the rosy side of it. The last decade has proffered a number of challenges for the companies who intend to go global with regard to the effective management of cultural diversity.

The Key Issues Managing the differences of languages, cultures, religions and traditions under one umbrella are some of the main obstacles faced by the international businesses, and are more complex than they seems to be on the out front. People coming from multiple backgrounds not only have differences of social setup, in fact, the cultural impact influences the psychological side of the personality as well. The business culture of a country is not very dissimilar to its social norms.

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As for instance, the social and cultural values and norms in U. S, Europe and Asia are completely in contrast with one another and so are the perspectives of people. When these separate and distinctive cultures come closer, there are high chances of a tug of war since groups fail to empathies with each other and this is what mars the productivity and effectiveness of work environment, disturbing the business consequently. Moreover, the problem of general acceptability of other cultures and religions has been an issue ever since.

It indeed a fact that human beings feel more at ease with those of their own like and are not too enthusiastic to work in diverse teams. Team members coming with mottled cultures exhibit varying attitudes in work place and thus the situation for the management becomes all the more exigent. Every individual exhibits his social and cultural norms in business world. In this case, a lot depends on the role of management as to how they view taking their businesses to diverse countries and their insight into its pros and cons. Read about The Strong Culture Perspective

Their international business strategies must encompass all the socio-economical aspects of the native countries and have practical policies for business expansion in each culture. All these plans of actions need to be much customized; what might be suitable in a certain culture may not work for another. Besides these major hindrances, language is also a barrier in the way of communication amongst team members coming from diverse backgrounds.

While language itself is only a technical obstacle, it may obscure more fundamental differences between national outlooks and routines, which influence communication and coordination in a number of ways. More generally, there are numerous differences in the everyday assumptions (norms) which individuals make about the actions of others in a given situation, about what constitutes acceptable behavior and about the interpretation of tacit signals such as body language, which play a major part in the successful coordination of the actions of groups.

These differences in routines may in themselves imply differences in performance of some kinds of tasks, but where related tasks are to be carried out by individuals who hold different social and cultural assumptions, the dangers of misunderstanding and misinformation may detract significantly from the joint effectiveness of the collaboration, unless considerable time is spent in developing mutual understanding.. The constraint of English language as the sole mode of communication in the western business world is also an imperative issue.

Although learning English has been given a lot of significance in Asia now, yet people are not too comfortable with foreign language as a matter of fact. This calls for interpreters sometimes, increasing the overheads for the firm. Conclusion The debate above aids us to conclude that there are both pros and cons of cultural variety in the international business arena. Being defensive and confining our horizons pertaining to these obstacles would be child-like.

Instead we need to be solution-oriented and device methods and strategies to tackle ethnic multiplicity in the workplace. More focus needs to be given to the positive sides of globalization, as the prospects of business success are much higher and beneficial around the globe. The international business strategies should be realistic and free of all bias on the basis of religion, culture, race or ethnicity. With this constructive and realistic approach, firms can hop into the international market and extend their sphere.

Various approaches can be adopted to minimize this issue and make people feel ‘one’. Breeding regard and respect for religions, ethnicities and races in training workshops, fair company policies, standard setting by the senior management, social gatherings and events where employees from varied ethnicities may get an opportunity to intermingle informally are some of the solutions that help minimize this problem of multicultural diversity in the business world.


Hofstede, Geert H. Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. London: McGraw-Hill, 1991.

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The problems of cultural diversity in International Business. (2018, Oct 02). Retrieved from

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