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Elizabeth Visits GPC’s French Subsidiary Essay

The case ‘Elizabeth Visits GPC’s French Subsidiary’ is about Elizabeth Moreno who is a key specialist within GPC. She is travelling from the subsidiary in the Philippines to visit another located in France. The text is about the cultural differences between different countries and people and shows how companies deal with it. GPC has subsidiaries around the world. Despite all technological advances, face-to-face meetings and on site consolations are used widely. France in particular have regular visits from GPC execs and scientists. The case study highlights the challenges that Elizabeth Moreno got communicating with the French subsidiary manager. To prepare dealing with cross-cultural issues, the company’s human research management department gives courses to prepare for foreign assignments. For Elizabeth this contrast is even bigger as she just leaved the Philippines. The text shows that the different language is not the only thing to worry about. There are different challenges in every country. Also miscommunication is much more likely to occur among people from different countries or backgrounds than among those from similar backgrounds. Even in the communication style differences can be found.

Question 1:
Drawing from your understanding of verbal and nonverbal communication patterns from this chapter, explain what Elizabeth Moreno can do to establish her position in front of French managers. How can she get them to help her accomplish her assignment in five days?

French managers work quite different than others. They regard authority as residing in the person, so employees respect the position and not the person. French managers have a different relation to their superiors and they do not value the same working ability in a company. In fact they do not even try to learn something about their employees personal lives and their real personality, they even want to be less personal in their working environment. In difference to America French do not try to create a relationship to each other at their workplace. They differentiate between
work and private live and do not want to mix it together. In order to establish her position in front of the French managers and with her knowledge about their culture Elizabeth has to adopt her managing strategy to be really efficient. She has to think in the French way. In contrast to America it is not very useful to try to become friends with the French managers and employees. They have to respect her position and not her as a person. In order to get authority she has to act like the superior.

Question 2:
What should Elizabeth know about high-context versus low-context cultures in Europe? How can this knowledge help her be successful there?

Elizabeth needs to know the differences between high-context and low-context cultures when dealing with European countries. It shows the communication between different working and thinking styles. Low-context culture means that everything that is need to understand has to be said. When talking to a low-context cultural you have to speak and write as clearly as possible. The communication needs to be much more explicit and straight to the point whereas a high-context culture is a culture where words and word choices are very important because they can communicate a very specific and complex message. The knowledge about these two very different communication styles can be very useful in doing business or communicating with people from different cultures. For Elizabeth it might be easy to communicate with the French managers as they are both from a low-context country. (International Management, Pearson, Seventh Edition, p. 136) However, Elizabeth should be very careful when addressing to French employees. Too much information leads people to feel they are being talked down; too much little information can mystify them or make them feel left out. She has to use right words by thinking about what they could interpret what she is saying. Because after all, these two are different countries with a different cultural background, even though they are both low-context countries.

Question 3:
What should Elizabeth include in her report, and what should be the manner in which it is communicated, so that future executives and scientists avoid
communications pitfalls?

Elizabeth should include in her report how to deal with French employees explaining how they view authority and they have only a business relation. French managers are also very proud of their thinking ability, they think they got a higher knowledge and deal in a different way with problems. In their eyes they solve them by using their brainpower and not their education. She also has to mention that France is a low-context culture, which is similar to America. When explained the main differences between the two business cultures she should focus on explaining the do’s and don’ts in communicating and acting with the French employees.

Question 4:
How can technical language differ from everyday language in corporate communications? Explain.

Technical language is very different from the every day language and might in some cases be more effective, because it is more precise and easier to understand as there are no two ways in interpreting. For companies communication problems might be very expensive and that’s why they try to be as effective in their language as possible. An universal language is easier to understand around the world so most companies concentrate on a very technical language especially when dealing with people from another country or another culture.

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