Several intercultural communication scholars have ascertained Vietnam to be a high-context culture. The differences between cultures could make the foreigner, which is low-context culture, undergo several hardships when they tend to invest in Vietnam.
It reported that high-context culture relies on tacit consent and non-verbal cues. In high-context communication, a message cannot understand without a large amount of background knowledge information. Moreover, the Vietnamese morality system bases on four fundamental tenets: dedication to the family, striving for a formidable reputation, love of learning, especially, the respect for other people.
As a result, those traditional thoughts have a significant impact on the Vietnamese culture, includes a speaker’s facial manners, expression of voice, body language, even age and echelon. For instance, they avoid eye-contact with elders, or person of the opposite sex to express their respect for them.
Furthermore, they use the implicit message to conserve other faces as well as not to harm others reputation in public, which is not well-known to the Western culture.
Hence, newcomers, especially the low-context culture, desire to enter the market without not adapting to the changing cultural situation would suffer the consequences.
If foreign investors tend to operate in a high-context culture, they should learn about Vietnamese culture carefully. There are some solutions. In order to gain respect and admiration as well as the favour of any prospective business partner in the country, it is important to familiarize with practices and manners that are aggregate to successful trades. The first meeting should not discuss business and should be seen only as an opportunity to get to know your counterpart and cultivate a good working relationship with them.
In addition, be patient and with the negotiating process and be prepared to have to sustain much paperwork and toil up the hierarchical chain within any Vietnamese company to come to an agreement.
In sum, Vietnamese culture is well-known as a complicate high-context culture. Outlanders should study about the Vietnamese market carefully before putting in money.
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