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Cultural Challenges of Doing Business Oversees

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Cultural Challenges of Doing Business Oversees

Abstract

Cultural challenges are a big part of life. When one decides to create an idea that is not centered in their normal environment, they will have some challenges that they will have to face. This could hinder some people from moving forward with their ideas or dreams. Cultural challenges happens in any environment that is not your own. This only mean that one must make sure that they are familiar with their surroundings and be strong enough to face any adversities that may arise upon them.

This paper will give some insight on cultural challenges that may hinder Mr. Steve Kafka’s dream of opening a pizza restaurant in the city of Prague, The Czech Republic. This paper will give a brief background of Mr. Kafka and The Czech Republic so that one could understand some the cultural differences between the United States and The Czech Republic. The paper will summarize the culture of the people of The Czech Republic so that the Americans could know how they operate within their own country.

The Cultural Challenges 3

Introduction

Mr. Steve Kafka is an American citizen of Czech origin that owns a Chicago Style Pizza Company and he wants to expand his business to Prague, The Czech Republic in Europe. He has conquered one challenge which is speaking their language. He faces many more adversities and must overcome them for his business to succeed in The Czech Republic. There are many cultural differences that are present between The United States and The Czech Republic. Steve Kafka must acknowledge what they are and try to avoid any problems while trying to open his business in this country.

The Czech Republic is a nice size country that has become independent as of January 1, 1993. They have a population of 1,168,963 as of 2007(country watch, 2008). The capital is Prague and is under the European Region which the people speak two different languages, Czech and Slovak. The United States, on the other hand, has a population of 301,139,947 as of July, 2007 and is under a constitution based government.

The cultural differences between Czech Republic and The United States come from original historical evolution throughout the centuries. The Czech Republic was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which their civil law system was based under Austro-Hungarian codes. Now, Czech Republic has a free market economy instead of a communist regime. They are influenced by German and Russian customs. (Culture Grams, 2007)

Czechs are persistent in stating opinions or wishes whereas Americans tend to be honest and straight forward. Czechs are very obedient and cooperative. They also value traditions. “U.S. culture uses a firm handshake but German culture uses the brisk and firm handshake and repeats

The Cultural Challenges 4

on arrival and departure” (culture grams, 2007). Americans value invention, entrepreneurship, and creation. They are risk takers. Czechs feel that not maintaining eye contact while conversating is very disrespectful. They may also look at or even stare at other people in public, but usually with no ill intentions. Yet, eye contact is not necessary for the duration of a conversation for Americans. To Czech’s perception, speaking loudly on public transportation or quiet places is impolite; conversely, it is normal to Americans because they generally stand about 2 feet away from each other during conversation (culture grams, 2007). A quote shows a requirement for the cultural adaptation, “adaptation requires an understanding of cultural diversity, perceptions, stereotypes, and values” (Hodgetts, Luthans, & Doh, 2005). Steve Kafka must make sure that he understands these differences and apply himself accordingly to accomplish his goal.

The most significant incompatibility between the U.S. and Czech culture is the high rate of corruption that occurs. This is the biggest problem of the country which impedes the country’s progress. Corruption is something evil; depraved, containing alterations, errors and to make or become corrupt (Webster’s, 2003). The Czech has a hard time correcting this problem and the country is ranked 51 out of 145 countries with this same problem (culture grams, 2007).

These risks can be very challenging for Steve Kafka. They could make Mr. Kafka rethink his business strategy when he set up in The Czech Republic. He would need to propose a very good plan that would be prosperous and would have a potential successful outcome while operating a pizza business in Prague. As stated earlier, Mr. Kafka knows the Czech language. He must make sure that all his employees know the language to avoid any cross-cultural challenges and this would alleviate any potential language barriers.

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