Today, global trade has reached a massive scope, and now its value amounts to trillions of dollars. It is no longer unusual to wear a shirt which was made thousands of miles away by people of other nationalities. Each day millions of goods are moved around the world, and there is a necessity to coordinate such activity. Thus, business communication becomes absolutely essential for managing trade in a global context since more companies are establishing partnerships with foreign firms. Emerging economies provide numerous opportunities to businesses from the developed countries and enable them to espouse a new approach to maintaining their business communication. As a result, business communication in a global economy becomes different due to several factors, namely the necessity to embrace cultural awareness, expand language competence, and rely on online communication.
Despite the fact that business activity generally rests on the same principles in all countries around the world, there are still certain cultural aspects inherent to each nation which ultimately impact business communication. For instance, collectivist cultures, mainly in the East, observe numerous traditional and rules of etiquette, which also have to be followed by foreigners. According to researchers, in Japan, it is mandatory for a person who is given a business card to admire it before putting it in a pocket; otherwise, an end of a relationship is possible (Merkin 3). Therefore, when traveling to Japan, China, or any other Asian country, westerners must be familiar with the basic norms adopted in these societies. There is also an issue of taboos which vary from one country to another, and it necessary to be mindful of them when talking to potential clients, investors, or suppliers from a foreign nation. Thus, business communication in a global economy requires enterprises to increase their cultural awareness in order to both avoid prohibited topics and actions as well as make a positive impression on partners.
Another key difference between business communication in a global economy and at home is the necessity to possess a multilingual capacity to eradicate any possible language barriers. Currently, the English language is accepted as a lingua franca which significantly facilitates business communication in a global context. Moreover, there are even instances when representatives of two countries which historically did not speak English use the language during bilateral meetings. Nevertheless, language standardization in global business communication may lead to problems; as studies show, non-native speakers can apply a different meaning to the same English words (Wang et al. 3). Thus, numerous companies utilize the help of professional translators and let the representatives of companies speak their native languages to ensure better understanding. Moreover, the economic growth of formerly poor countries such as China enables them to expect their international partners to know their native language at least at a basic level. In other words, having employees who are proficient in foreign languages essentially demonstrates to international partners respect for their culture. Therefore, business communication in a global economy entails being able to adjust to a different linguistic environment.
Finally, business communication in a global context would be difficult without the latest technological advancements, which allowed people to stay in touch despite being thousands of miles apart from one another. Here the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) should not be ignored since tools such as email and telecommuting software make it possible for partners from different countries to conduct negotiations. According to studies, the use of ICTs positively affects the organizational performance of companies which is particularly important in a global highly-competitive context (Yunis et al. 353). When a company works with suppliers from a foreign country, it becomes hard for it to maintain in-person communication. The use of telecommuting with the help of software such as Zoom and email can help such partnerships exists without the necessity of being physically present in the same room. The need for online business communication surged during the COVID-19 pandemic when many countries closed their borders and firms did not have an opportunity to travel to meet for negotiations. Thus, business communication in a global economy implies considerable reliance on the latest technological solutions to maintain partnerships.
To conclude, business communication in a global economy is different because it implies becoming aware of other cultures’ traditions and norms, enhancing language competence, and extensively utilizing online communication. Business communication experiences a considerable influence of the national culture of people who participate in it. Therefore, parties engaging in business communication in a global economy have to be mindful of the taboos and rules of etiquette of the partners and observe them with respect. Additionally, companies which decide to work with suppliers or clients from a foreign country have to possess a capacity to use the native language of these people for business communication. Despite the fact that English is the modern lingua franca, allowing parties to conduct negotiations in their mother tongues can help avoid various issues. Finally, today, business communication in a global economy is nearly impossible without the help of the Internet and technologies such as email and telecommuting.
Merkin, Rebecca S. Saving Face in Business: Managing Cross-Cultural Interactions. H Springer, 2017.
Wang, Qiu et al. “The Role of Emotions in Intercultural Business Communication: Language Standardization in the Context of International Knowledge Transfer.” Journal of World Business, vol. 55, no. 6, 2020, pp. 1–21.
Yunis, Manal et al. “The Role of ICT and Innovation in Enhancing Organizational Performance: The Catalysing Effect of Corporate Entrepreneurship.” Journal of Business Research, vol. 88, 2018, pp. 344–356.