If you have ever traveled to a new country or even a new city it is quite clear to see that the culture you experience there is different from the culture that you are used to. People may speak differently to one another, they may use different body language, and they may relay information in different ways. The best way to deconstruct and communicate effectively with these new cultures is by analyzing their cultural tendencies.
These tendencies include: indirect and direct, flow and schedule, group and individual, network and process, expressive and neutral, achievement and endowment, rule and situation, and opportunity and thoroughness. Each of these tendencies affects the way an individual conducts business or even how they communicate socially (although they tend to be different).
Using Japan as an example, people of that culture tend to be very indirect, group, network, and endowment oriented. This means that they will not directly tell you their opinions of your ideas, they tend to stick with the people they know and don’t like working with people outside of their familiar group, they enjoy getting to know someone very well before conducting business with them or letting them in their group, and they pay strict attention to the age and job position of people when they are working with or communicating with them. These tendencies are quite different from the American way of conducting business. We are typically direct, individual, process (sometimes network), and achievement based.
Due to these strong differences in tendencies it is quite easy for a conflict to arise. The best way to prevent these conflicts is to understand the cultural tendencies of the people you are working with before the project begins so that you know why they are doing what they are doing and how to best address their actions. If and when a conflict arises you need to identify the cultural tendencies that are conflicting with each other. From there you need to communicate why you are working in that particular manner, and how it is beneficial. Lastly, you need to achieve a compromise if there is not a clear solution. A compromise is typically best as no one culture is superior to another.