As the USA moves into the twenty-first century, it finds itself at a cross-road – assailed by problems both internally and externally. Its unassailable position as the global super-power is under increasing threat from the re-emerging economies of the Far East and its domestic electorate is polarised as never before leading to a state of political stasis. How will the USA respond to these challenges and will it be able to re-invent itself as successfully as it always has in the past when confronted with major dilemmas?
These questions are critical to, not only the future of the USA, but the world. The eyes of the world are on the USA as almost never before and many people are hoping that the US can mend its ailing economy and give the impetus for a more general global economic recovery.
Yet despite the current economic difficulties, the USA remains the largest global economy and many of its citizens enjoy a standard of living unimaginable to large sections of the world’s population. It is still an economic power-house and cannot be ignored as a market or as a centre for business innovation and excellence. The rest of the world has to understand the USA and how it operates in the business arena – and US business culture is not as straightforward as many Americans would like to have you believe.
If you want to operate successfully in the US market or with American colleagues or other stakeholders, it is essential to get a really good understanding of how business works in the US and how Americans interact in the work-place. Why are people in the US so time-pressured and why do they expect you to be available 24/7? Are they really as positive and ‘can-do’ as they seem or might that just an act?
Don’t assume either that if you are a native English speaker (British or Australian for example) that the language similarity equates to business culture similarities. Many British business people say that nothing makes them feel more European than when they are doing business in the USA – it really is a very different place with its own distinct business etiquette and norms.
This USA country profile is designed as a starting point to help you begin to wrestle with the way things are done in the USA – but it is only a starting point. When you have read this country profile, why not invest in one of the books suggested in the reading list or, better still, talk to Global Business Culture at firstname.lastname@example.org. Global Business Culture are world leaders in the field of the impact of cultural differences on international business performance and have assisted a large number of companies who are working with, or wish to work with, the USA.