Cultural Aspects of International Sourcing
PurchTips edition #57
By Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3
How Do You Assess Cultural Differences of Suppliers?
A key to establishing a successful relationship with a supplier in another country is to learn and adapt to the culture of the supplier's country.
Cultural research can be a big job. Where do you begin?
Answer these 15 questions and you'll cover a lot of what's necessary for a positive international relationship.
- Should I address my counterpart by his/her first name or in some other manner?
- How should I greet my counterpart (e.g., by shaking hands, by bowing, etc.)?
- What is important about the way business cards are exchanged?
- Should I give a gift to or expect to receive a gift from my counterpart?
- How close should I stand to my counterpart?
- Should I expect physical contact from my counterpart (e.g., a hand on the shoulder)?
- What comes first: establishing a relationship or working on business matters?
- Should we discuss political or personal matters?
- Which common clichés are not globally understood?
- Are there any common hand gestures in my country that my counterpart may consider offensive?
- Is sharing an entertainment experience important to my counterpart?
- What time should meals start and end?
- Is it acceptable to discuss business during meals?
- What laws will govern our transactions?
- How quickly can I expect my counterpart to make a decision?
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