Culture in South Africa vs. Usa

Assignment 10 Expatriates spending extended periods of time in foreign countries are often trained in dinner table etiquette, such as what to eat and drink, and what to talk about during a meal. They are also schooled in proper dress code and in proper protocol for interacting with hosts. The International Business Center Web Site (http://www. international-business-center.

com) offers information on business etiquette for a variety of countries. Look for information on protocol for an international assignment in South Africa.Write down a list of things you should keep in mind as you go abroad to South Africa that may be different from what you are used to. Traditional South African business tended towards the accumulation of power and decision-making in the hands of a few senior managers (usually white), with middle managers waiting in line to move up the corporate ladder over time.

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One needs to be aware of all the culture changes that one would experience upon working in South Africa.There are many things in terms of meetings styles, work culture, gender differences and dress code that one should be familiar with before starting an assignment in South Africa. Meeting styles will differ depending upon who you are dealing with whether it be a traditional, white-dominated business or a start-up black African company.

Some tips that might be helpful would be that South Africans expect you to have a good idea of the current situation on the ground in South Africa.Show that you have done your research and that you have adapted your policies or ideas to meet the local conditions. This will really give you insight on the country you’re dealing with and prove to them that you understand where they are coming from.

Also take time in the meeting to try to develop a good relationship with the people you are doing business with. This is important within all sections of South African society as relationships have always formed the basis of good business — regardless of cultural background.If you are woman you can expect to be treated differently. Traditionally women from South Africa have played a very minimal role within the business world. Female participation at senior management level is extremely low and although some progress towards greater gender equality within the workforce has been made, the progress is slow.

Women can expect to be treated with less respect than male colleagues. If you are treated with less respect than you would normally expect, it is mportant to remain unflustered. Although in America we are a more gender South Africa is a conservative society and it is best to err on the side of caution in terms of dress.

Therefore, men are advised to wear a collar and tie and women to wear smart, business-like dresses or suits. If meeting business contacts on a social basis, it is possible to dress more casually but not too casually. So the dress code doesn’t differ from the typical business attire that the US culture requires in a professional job.So an expatriate will need to adjust to the new culture and be able to perform his/her job duties. Extra caution needs to be taken so that they do not insult the people of South Africa. It will be a challenge to keep up with the customs of a new country but it should be welcomed to move along in one’s career. Source: “Doing Business in South Africa.

” Professional Translation Services | Interpreters | Intercultural Communication & Training. N. p. , n. d.

Web. 28 Nov. 2010. <http://www. kwintessential. co. uk/etiquette/doing-business-south-africa.


Author: Christina Webb


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