What is 'Cross Culture'

Cross culture often refers to a company's initiatives to increase understanding of different groups. Understanding leads to stronger, more productive communication and marketing aims to reach clients outside of the company's traditional base. Healthy cross-culture interactions of people from varying backgrounds are vital in international business.

BREAKING DOWN 'Cross Culture'

Cross culture is becoming increasingly important with the globalization of businesses. Many companies devote substantial resources to training employees how to communicate and interact effectively with those from different cultures. Cross culture can develop through personal experiences. For example, if an employee of an international company transfers to another country, they may experience the cross culture. To assimilate, they must learn the language, understand the culture, and adapt or conform to social norms. 

Cross culture initiatives are imperative to implement for employees acting in managerial capacities. Failure to effectively communicate with or understand their subordinates' actions may lead to cascading problems within the business. 

Considerations in Cross Culture

Culture is immeasurably valuable because it shapes how social, societal, and professional behaviors are interpreted. Cultures can be hierarchical, matriarchal, or have flat social structures. The levels and types of interactions between managers and employees will vary among the different cultural forms.  For example, some cultures view the association between a manager and a subordinate as a symbiotic relationship. In other cultures, the manager rules bureaucratically.  

Cross culture also extends to body language, physical contact, and personal space. In cultures where the adherence to strict religious practices and values is standard, interactions between members of the opposite sex, even in the business sphere, may be complicated. Body language, such as using the hands while talking, may be frowned upon or gestures may have different meanings. In cultures where community, harmony, and nature are valued, touching during interactions may be encouraged.

Example of Cross Culture

Simple practices and behaviors may be viewed quite differently in various cultures. Accepting a business card from a Japanese businessperson, for example, is more ceremonial in the Japanese culture than you would find in the American culture. The person presenting the card will bow and present the card with both hands. The receiver should take it with both hands to show respect.  Contrastingly, in many Western societies such as the United States, business cards are exchanged freely with little consideration. Understanding these small yet significant differences help enhance relationships between members of different cultures.

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