Lesson 13 - Cultural differences in Business, Business Ethics

1.1.2022, , Izvor: Verlag Dashöfer

Lesson 13 – Cultural differences in Business, Business Ethics


People all over the world live in different conditions, different cultures, have different customs, opinions or religion. This will not change even if we speak same language – English. This can be illustrated by a joke...

  • - The teacher said, “I'll give $2 to the child who can tell me who was the most famous man who ever lived.“
  • - An Irish boy put his hand up and said, “It was St. Patrick.“ The teacher said, “Sorry Sean, that's not correct.“
  • - Then a French boy put his hand up and said, “It was Napoleon.“ The teacher replied, “I'm sorry, Pierre, that's not right either.“
  • - Finally, a Jewish boy raised his hand and said, “It was Jesus Christ.“ The teacher said, “That's absolutely right, Maurice, come up here and I'll give you the $2.“
  • - As the teacher was giving Maurice his money, she said, “You know Maurice, you being Jewish, I was very surprised you said Jesus Christ.“
  • - Maurice replied, “Yeah. In my heart I knew it was Moses, but business is business.“

Do you like this joke?

Anyway, in this lecture we‘ll have a closer look on many other interesting issues, starting from little contemplation about the role and importance of English language. Hopefully, we will all agree on that learning English is very useful and necessary to achieve success. Then we will proceed to more practical topics – cross-cultural communication and business etiquette, where you will not only enlarge your vocabulary, but also learn many useful tips and get new ideas.

Equally interesting should also be the last major section on wrongdoing and corruption. And last but not least we will have a look on grammar and practical exercises. Let‘s start.

1.1 Objectives of the Lesson

  • - to have the closer look on the topics of English as a global language, cultural business etiquette, cross-cultural communication, distance and familiarity in various companies and lots more
  • - to practice usage of appropriate language and to learn new vocabulary connected with ethics, ethical standards and investments, wrongdoing and corruption, dresses, business cards, etc.
  • - to foster and deepen the knowledge of using stative and dynamic verbs
  • - to foster new and already known vocabulary and phrases


English as an International Language

Today's search for information and need for global communication have already promoted English from being the language of the American, the British, the Irish, the Australian, the New Zealand, the Canadian, the Caribbean, and the South African peoples to being the international language. English is spoken as a native language by nearly 400 000 000 people and has become a lingua franca - the Latin of the modern world.

More radical estimates, which include speakers with a lower level of language fluency and awareness, have suggested that the overall total is these days well in excess of 1,000 million.

In addition, it is estimated that 75 % of all international communication in writing, 80 % of all information in the world's computers, and 90 % of Internet content are in English.

The inexpensiveness of air transportation has increased interpersonal contacts worldwide. Computer, optical fiber, and satellite technologies likewise have made possible a boom in telecommunications, bringing up the concept of information superhighway. These two developments demonstrate how the world has evolved into a global village and how imperatively a standard language is required.

In its role as a global language, English has become one of the most important academic and professional tools. The English language is recognized as undoubtedly the most important language for the increasingly mobile international community to learn. This is a fact that seems to be irreversible. English has become the official language of the business and scientific worlds. As English becomes the chief means of communication between nations, it is crucial to ensure that it is taught accurately and efficiently.

It is predictable today that wealth will give way to knowledge and information in determining the shape of the future human society, and speaking the common world language will be fundamental to achieve success.

Exercise 1:

Over to you – think about following questions:

  • - Do you agree that English is a global language today?
  • - Why should English be taught accurately and efficiently?
  • - How do you understand and do you agree with last sentence - It is predictable today that wealth will give way to knowledge and information in determining the shape of the future human society, and speaking the common world language will be fundamental to achieve success.


3.1 Cultural Business Etiquette

Although globalization is reducing trade barriers on many levels, lack of familiarity with a country‘s cultural business etiquette remains an important issue in establishing a successful market abroad. Cultural nuances can have a significant impact on the success or failure of international sales. Companies that fail to take these factors into consideration risk misunderstandings and loss of business.

Look at the following article about various nuances in some chosen countries. Some of them may seem strange, some may seem funny, but to know about them before the visit is definitely an advantage.

What are some of the important cultural factors to consider when entering a new market?

Building successful business relations across cultures is not only a matter of knowing what to say or when to arrive for a meeting. It involves a continued effort to recognize and appreciate your partners‘ expectations and business practices. Companies with ambitions to become international, need to research their target country‘s holidays, suitable business or formal attire, gift-giving practices, business hours, acceptable subjects of conversation, greeting practices, meeting formalities and acceptable venues, time sensitivities, body language, and other aspects of etiquette. These differ widely across cultures.

What Are Some Examples Of Business Cultural Etiquette? The following tips are much generalized, but if you plan business meeting with foreign partner, try to get beforehand as many information as possible.


In Scandinavia it is both difficult and inconsiderate to try to conduct major business deals during July and August as many companies close for extended periods during these months so that employees can take vacations.

Professional titles are not prevalent in Irish business culture, and are usually seen as arrogant.

Shaking hands through a doorway is considered bad luck in Russia and should be avoided.


Be sure not to use red ink on your business

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