The Cultural Barriers


An interesting study recently released ‘Australia’s International Business Survey 2015’ had some key findings supporting the case for increased cultural intelligence (CQ). The findings provide insight into the nature, needs, concerns and future plans of the overall Australian international business community from an organisational perspective. Over 1200 Australian companies were included in the survey, from 19 industry sectors operating in 114 international markets.
Some of the CQ highlights were:

  • Local language, culture and business practices were sited as the main barriers from an Australian perspective when doing business in overseas markets.
  • 64% identified cultural differences in building long-term business relationships as challenging.
  • 63% identified cultural differences as challenging when negotiating across borders.
  • 58% identified cultural differences as challenging when making buying decisions.
  • 47% identified language barriers as challenging.
  • 93% identified face-to-face meetings with overseas customers as important. It was considered. one of the single most important market development activities.

While these findings are not surprising, they do indicate a strong case for earmarking CQ as an area of significant importance. With these insights at hand the challenge for organisations is to truly appreciate the importance of navigating culture and local business practices, improving soft skills for building relationships, cross-cultural communication and negotiating in the most effective manner.