YourABA: June 2013
YourABA June 2013 Masthead

Transcending the business challenges
of diversity

Generally, a diverse environment within the workplace is viewed as beneficial for an organization. But diversity also presents challenges, according to International Law News.

It is critical, for example, to learn how to effectively communicate with individuals with distinct cultural perspectives on ways of conducting business. It is also essential, when negotiating deals, that companies be mindful of cross-cultural etiquette and behavior perceptions in foreign countries.

It is also essential to anticipate different approaches to, and processes for, negotiation. In some countries, the top-down decision-making process is commonly used in hierarchical organizations. In such organizations, the leaders make decisions without necessarily consulting all of the stakeholders. In contrast, consensus decision making is a collaborative approach to negotiations and deal making that involves full discussion, participation and agreement from all of the stakeholders.

Another important factor in global negotiations is differing approaches to drafting a contract. In some countries, a broad agreement with the general terms will suffice to make the deal. In other countries, the approach may be to set fort the terms of the agreement in detail with a plethora of contingencies anticipating possible issues that may arise.

Companies can transcend the challenges of conducting business in a global market by hiring a diverse international team of employees possessing deep cultural awareness. A diverse team provides insight into global issues and the breadth and depth of conducting business in foreign countries.

In the past, employers seeking to enter international markets placed emphasis on foreign language skills or employees with tenuous connections to a foreign country. Today, businesses must have a deeper understanding and a multidimensional approach to business in order to conduct business in foreign countries and gain a competitive advantage.

Businesses should have a clear understanding of the intricacies of the business protocol and processes such as negotiating, closing the deal and navigating bureaucratic systems and the informal yet powerful decision-making forces in making a deal.

Another significant factor is awareness of the economic and sociopolitical situations in particular regions of the world or locations within a specified country.

Organizations that create truly diverse environments will be rewarded with an increased ability to solve problems — and growing power in the global marketplace.

International Law News is a publication of the Section of International Law.

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