As we have learned, as a global leader it is important to learn the cultural norms of the country that you are doing business in so that you do not offend. This concept is a wonderful concept for most business people to grasp when doing business in foreign countries, but what happens when those foreign countries that you are doing business discriminate against you? As a black person, and especially a black woman, it is a harsh reality in the international business world. Often when booking vacations, we have to google “how is the racism in this country”, and when doing international business we must do the same thing.
Moran, Abramson, & Moran (2014) describe the French as friendly and charming people who value personal honor and integrity. When doing business in France it is important to note that French businessmen are not competitive and, like most of Europe, have a relaxed and fluid concept of time management. As a black person doing business in France, it is also important to note that they are also….racist.
Jacobs (2019) explains that France and Sweden are among the high discriminatory countries in Europe. The job discrimination in France and Sweden rivaled that the United States. Jacobs (2019) states “On average, whites receive 65 to 100 percent more callbacks in France and Sweden than non-white minorities,” they report. “In Germany, the United States, and Norway, they receive 20 to 40 percent more.” As a black woman future leader, those numbers do not give me hope that the business landscape in France will look anymore diverse than it does in America. The boardrooms will be filled with white men who will pretend to listen to your thoughts but will not fully consider them.
Alford (2020) says that France does not even keep any statistics concerning, religion, ethnic origin or race. This fact makes it very tough as a global leader to fully grasp the best practices when doing business in France. Alford (2020) also goes on to say “there may be 3 to 5 million blacks in France. But there are no black ministers (cabinet officials); no black ambassadors; no black senators out of 305; one black member of parliament out of 555; no black CEO’s among the top 100 companies; no black senior military officers among the top 100 executives”. Business leaders must take the temperature of the racial climate in any country that they are doing business in especially if they have a diverse set of leaders and negotiators. While in business, one must become accustomed to the culture in which you wish to do business, it is also important to not send your leaders into a country that will diminish and demean them based on their race. While the blacks in France are making strides to throw away the cloak of invisibility that the French seem to have cloaked them with, they still have an uphill battle.
Alford, H. (2020). Blacks in France are Invisible. National Black Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved from https://www.nationalbcc.org/news/beyond-the-rhetoric/457-blacks-in-france-are-invisible
Jacobs, T. (2019). Hiring discrimination is greater in France and Sweden than in the U.S. Pacific Standard. Retrieved from https://psmag.com/news/hiring-discrimination-is-greater-in-france-and-sweden-than-in-the-u-s
Moran, R. T., Abramson, N. R., & Moran, S. V. (2014). Managing Cultural Differences (9th ed.). New York: Routledge