Business sans frontières? : cultural diversity and the engineer in Europe

V.J.B.A. Merk

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Business relationships between people of differing cultures, even within the confines of Europe, are fraught with opportunities for misunderstanding. The UK engineer doing business with mainland Europe is likely to be confronted with many differences in business customs, conventions and etiquette. Many of these are cultural. Indeed, it is said that about 20% of a business relationship is based on cultural human and interpersonal aspects. This 20% can make a negotiation succeed or fail. Time is one of these aspects. Will the British engineer be able to organise his/her business and schedule appointments in the same way as at home? The Spanish or French business partner may well have a completely different perception of time and working style. In many respects the cultural divergence corresponds to the geographic north/south divide in Europe. The author concentrates on a number of the social, cultural and linguistic factors, and offer some conclusions and solutions for the engineer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-39
Number of pages3
JournalIEE Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1996


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