Understanding culture

President Obama’s bow to the Japanese Emperor (and, come to think of it, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s inability to bow at the Cenotaph) is still causing worldwide media ripples about its appropriateness…or lack of.

But the issue is much more than Obama bowing. It’s about how little we, as politicians, business people, politicians, even journalists know about the culture, etiquette of the foreign countries we negotiate among, do business with and travel to. Says business analyst Ron Cruse:

“Thanks to technology and shifting world economies, countries of the world are becoming one big business community. Most of our business opportunities will be overseas, and it’s vital we understand other cultures and protocol. Not understanding a country’s culture could not only cost you the deal, but have even more severe consequences.”

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