The Importance of Cultural Learning in Business
The academic school year for the Global Management Program has been filled with travels, as well as learning opportunities. Traveling throughout Europe allows students to explore new territories, cultures, and develop an understanding of Business that would not otherwise be possible in Berkeley. Our travels unintentionally demonstrate the importance of cultural learning; specifically regarding how it impacts our mindset as well as skill set. Thus far, I have traveled to Denmark and Germany, where I have begun to familiarize myself with how the culture in each nation impacts the way I perceive Business.
Although each nation is of close proximity to one another, it has been astonishing to observe how their national values differ. By gaining an understanding of each culture’s distinct values, my comprehension of national priorities has evolved. For example, in Denmark, I had the opportunity to explore grocery outlets, and I discovered the degree to which Danish individuals value their health. Specifically, while glancing through aisles of produce, I noticed how there was a lack of processed goods. The bread aisle consisted of naturally sourced, seeded breads that appeared to be made from whole ingredients. My observation amplified my curiosity in the ingredients, and as I studied the package, I realized that Danish individuals value longevity, and nourishing their bodies. Thus, I became aware of how Danish civilians identify themselves, which is vital in establishing relationships between individuals in a business setting. By studying an individual’s national identity, a business interaction becomes less transactional, and in turn, far more personal. A personal interaction contributes to healthier relationships that strengthen partnerships, as well as develops a heightened sense of trust and reliability. Hence, understanding national values and identities dismantles cultural barriers, and highlights the importance of focusing on interpersonal skills in the realm of Business.
Correspondingly, as I explored Germany, I realized that Germans prioritize health in a contrasting manner as compared to Danish civilians. With regards to health, the Covid-19 mask mandate still prevails in Germany while utilizing public transportation methods, as per the advice of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Cabinet. As a part of my travels throughout Germany, I utilized public transportation; however, I did not anticipate any health protocols. By examining German civilians in the underground transportation facilities, I realized the degree to which masks are valued. Through assimilating myself in local German settings, I discovered that citizens perceive wearing a mask as a form of respect and social responsibility. Therefore, German’s prioritize their health in regards to communal safety. The importance of making connections between varying cultural values and priorities allows one to interact with a divergent group of individuals in a comfortable manner. A lack of understanding contributes to unawareness, which can negatively deflect one’s reputation as well as character whilst establishing professional relationships. Although my experiences in the United Kingdom and Denmark were disparate from Germany, I acknowledge that I became far more enlightened on the importance of cultural learning in regards to Business. Germany allowed me to develop an advanced cultural mindset revolving around how I define health, in relation to formal interactions. Specifically, my perspective has been altered in terms of my social awareness while greeting individuals, as well as how I implement varying health values into my daily professional encounters.
In the realm of Business, cultural learning can be perceived as a daunting task. The “ideal” business persona is expected to demonstrate the qualities of a culturally aware individual. Yet, personally experiencing diverse cultural settings is presumed to be the only method that ensures success. The contrasting interactions between individuals from various national backgrounds leads to developing modernized interpersonal skills, which can be applied in business settings. Moreover, self-growth and confidence is attained in the business atmosphere. As I have embraced various national identities, I believe that I have gained knowledge that can be utilized under various circumstances in professional settings. Specifically, I believe that I have developed a heightened sense of confidence that I can gracefully demonstrate whilst interacting with individuals from multiple backgrounds. Thus, as I transition back to Berkeley in the Spring, I will utilize cultural learning to establish and strengthen my relationships with my peers, as well as the esteemed Haas community.