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Cultural Values and Ethics

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Cultural Values and Ethics

Every day, our decisions are subject to influence by our personal, organizational, and cultural values. This is evident in such decisions as when to use an interpreter for a customer who speaks a foreign language, why some may refer to elders as Sir or Madam, while others address an elder by first name, and finally, medical decisions that are made-based on ones cultural background, and the pressure to adhere to these requests by the medical staff.

Interpreters are being used in greater numbers to help find a connection between a foreign customer and a domestic supplier. Companies are just beginning to understand the importance of conducting business in a customer’s native language, and the fact that sales increase when such actions are taken. In the past, most all insurance companies that have operations only in the United States have conducted business using English as the only language. While this may have been effective in closing the sale on such items as car insurance, which was required as part of owning a vehicle, many other products such as homeowners insurance, and umbrella policies suffered due to a lack of understanding of both the importance and relevance to a customers life. This was a somewhat successful business decision, up until recently, because all companies in this industry operated the same, so competition was not effected.

Recently, the insurance industry has begun to experience a shift in how they address customers of various cultural backgrounds. In order to get quality communication in a trusted voice, many insurance companies have selected Language Line Services, which is a leader in telephone interpretation. In fact, according to the company’s website, “…Language Line Services' customer base is made up of organizations that recognize the value in communicating with ALL potential and existing customers, regardless of language.” (Language Line, 2005) By contracting with a company like Language Line services, demonstrates a corporation’s commitment to conducting business in a manner most favorable to the customer, thereby allowing for easier decision-making for the customer as well as growth opportunities for the companies willing to provide such services.

The result is that sales of secondary insurance products, such as home owners and umbrella polices, boat and cycle policies, and jewelry endorsements have increased tremendously now that verbal and written communications are understandable in terms of the subject matter, as well as brochures that include photos representing the customers cultural background.

Organizational decisions play a major role in

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