Cultural Awareness and Cultural Differences

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People belong to various backgrounds in terms of religion, beliefs, taste and preferences and civilization. This background affects type of demand offered by various people. Religious laws for instance, guide those who subscribe to them on their dressing code, the type of food to eat, and how they relate with each other. These backgrounds are so entrenched and inherent in people that any business entity which fails to comply with them is threatened to fail. Cultural differences affect operations and relationships in the business. (Robert etal 2007 p 4).

A good business manager should first establish needs of the customers and eventually profitably offer commodities to satisfy the customers’ needs. Cultural differences should be one of the considerations when opening a new business entity. In opening a sandwich shop concept like ‘Subway’ sandwich shop, cultural differences ranging from religious rules on diet, gender participation and perception as well as role of men and women may have a great effect on the business. Therefore, there is a need to accommodate these differences.

Strategies to accommodate cultural differences

Various cultures and religions have different dietary rules e.g. ‘halal’ rule in Islamic religion forbid consumption of pork, blood, animals which are not slaughtered in the name of Allah (God), carcass of dead animal, and intoxicants. Judaism is also against consumption of pork, blood, and meat from those animals which do not chew the cud. Some societies are also emphasizing on consumption of food derived from organic activities as opposed to those from modern technology. Additionally, people are growing more sensitive on health impact of what they eat from various sellers of food products. (Mian & Muhammad 2004 p 2-4)

First strategy is seeking knowledge and information about culture of the targeted customers. This may involve attending an ethnic studies course to understand, religious issues, ethics, beliefs and rituals of the targeted customers. This may also involve visiting different houses of worship so as to have knowledge about beliefs of different religions. Another strategy is visiting ethnic districts in the areas where the shops will be opened. This will provide information on how to treat various people from different cultures, understand their taste and preferences as well as business language. Reading ethnic magazines and newspaper will also provide more information about eating habits of certain group of people. (Michael etal 2008 p77-80)

Respecting all clients without biasness to cultural background should also be emphasized Customers are very sensitive on how they are treated especially when they are being served by a seller from different cultural background. To ensure this, I will train my employees on how to impartially treat customers from different cultures so as every customer may feel that is dealing with the right seller. This will be aimed at fostering positive relationship with my multicultural customers. Etiquette will be encouraged as well as treating the clients in a way they would like to be treated. (Michael etal 2008 73-74)

Another strategy is diversifying products offered in my shops. For instance, for clients who subscribe to ‘halal’ rule, offering chicken meat will be a good option. I will also ensure that my products are free from preservatives which some cultures do not encourage. My shops will employ people from different backgrounds whom I will rely on in ensuring that these shops serve the interests of different customers from different cultures.

The other strategy is to enhance relationships with suppliers who are ready to supply organically grown products. Based on this, I will be able to accommodate customers whom their culture do not encourage consumption of products which are grown using modern technology. This will help in creating good rapport with them and they will like to be associated with my shops.

Differences in gender perception, and role

In developing countries mostly in parts of Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe, society has not satisfactory recognized the importance of a woman as a key player in economic and leadership activities. This poses a cultural difference especially between these societies and those who has been brought up in societies where role of a woman is highly recognized and respected. Some of this society will not expect to be served by a woman in a business entity. To accommodate this I will not rule out employing women in my shops. However I will seek to employ both men and women. Shops situated in areas where women services in a business entity are unacceptable will be run by men only so as to ensure that they succeed.