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    Conducting International Business

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    A major producer of plastics in the United States is about to expand its business. As part of this expansion, it will begin to sell its products in Europe and Asia. In addition, it plans to open a plant in Asia. Jerry, the President and CEO, is concerned; he has heard many stories of companies that have tried to expand globally but operations either failed miserably or did not live up to expectations due to the cultural differences between workers and customers in each country.

    Jerry has asked your group to research problems other companies have had with this issue and develop ways in which the errors those companies made can be avoided by his company.

    Select a multinational corporation or international nonprofit agency that has encountered these problems . Explain how any cultural barriers that organization encountered and what its managers did to try to overcome those barriers.

    Discuss the following points:

    Explain reasons why people may not appreciate the cultural point of view of others.

    Explain how appreciating cultural diversity affects peoples' ability to communicate effectively in the context of a multinational corporation or an international nonprofit agency.

    Feel free to add your own experiences as well as quoting others.

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    Solution Preview

    The Cottonwood Foundation is an all-volunteer non-profit organization that was started in 1992. It has awarded 541 grants totaling more than $508,000, supporting projects in over 50 countries. Cottonwood Foundation's income is from individuals, other foundations and corporations, and from its small endowment. Cottonwood Foundation awards grants in the $500 to $1,000 range to grassroots organizations in the United States and internationally. The Cottonwood Foundation is dedicated to promoting empowerment of people, protection of the environment, and respect for cultural diversity. The foundation focuses funding on committed, grass roots organizations that rely strongly on volunteer efforts and where foundation support will make a significant difference. At least 90% of Cottonwood Foundation's expenditures will be for grants to other organizations. Cottonwood awards grants to partner organizations that combine all of the following: protecting the environment, promoting cultural diversity, empowering people to meet their basic needs, and relying on volunteers. Support of such groups makes it possible to really make a difference in creating a better world. The Land Fund supports grants to indigenous peoples' organizations for repurchasing their land base in order to preserve their culture and environment. Cottonwood Foundation is proud that more than 90 percent of its expenditures go directly for grants. To minimize administrative costs, the foundation relies on donations of space, graphic design, computers, telephone, and hundreds of hours of volunteer labor to operate.

    Some of their grants were awarded to the following organizations.

    USA/Tanzania - to dig a water well and line its walls with brick, purchase an electric underwater pump, and install piping to provide water to ABCP's Moshi mpingo tree nursery in Tanzania. The project will eliminate the hard labor of hauling water by hand from the nearby river, providing safe drinking water for the staff and nourishing the nursery's 10,000 - 20,000 seedlings.

    Association "Green Alternative," Republic of Georgia - to support establishment of a new kindergarten for children with mental disabilities in Tbilisi. In addition to needed painting and repairs for the classroom, the project will fund improvements in energy efficiency (purchase and installation of thermal insulation, compact fluorescent bulbs, motion-activated lighting fixtures) and tree planting in the kindergarten's garden.

    AYAFE: Association of Young Azerbaijani Friends of Europe, Azerbaijan - to organize a working camp in Baku, Azerbaijan, to help clean up pollution and plant trees around a local orphanage and shelter housing 140 ...