The importance of intercultural communication on foreign investment creation.

When communicating, the content of what is being expressed is not as important as how it’s being communicated. As the French saying goes, ‘c’est le ton qui fait la musique’. Here is where intercultural communication skills come into play. These are crucial to be effective in international business and includes both verbal- and non-verbal communication.

The Foreign Economic Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Economic Development welcomes the result of the graduation project of former student Ashanti Elisabeth who looked at the intercultural communication level at this Department during her internship in the spring of 2019. The International Business student of the University of Curaçao, graduated with a study about the impact of intercultural communication on foreign investment creation in Curaçao.

The department was interested in the outcome, as this could contribute to optimization of the intercultural communication skills of the team. This department is the main facilitator to attract foreign investors to the island. As such, having the proper communication skills is a must. The study gave valuable insight into the business culture profile of Curaçao, the department’s stage of intercultural communication skills and its influence on the effectiveness in attracting foreign investors.

Intercultural communication and export development
Intercultural Communication plays a critical role in the development of exports. Marketing communication for instance deals with culture management in the context of international marketing and export management. MEO is actively promoting exports from Curaçao and is now developing a national export strategy. The research covered the importance of intercultural communication for successful export development, to aid MEO with this strategy.

The study shows the impact of intercultural communication across cultures on foreign investment creation. It explains the extent to which intercultural communication of the Department can contribute to its improvement. Based on the research findings it can be concluded that intercultural communication, practiced by MEO, affects foreign investment creation in Curaçao and successful export development to a great extent. International business cannot be successful without intercultural communication as one should know the cultural differences and adapt to the foreign market to effectively communicate and market products and services. In the context of international business, building relationships is essential and has a big impact on how the business proceeds. Related to this, the most important protocols and ethics are among others: respect, eye-contact, trust, honesty, right approach, meeting- and presentation protocols, dress code and open communication.

The research shows where the Department being an international trade facilitating agency, can upgrade intercultural communication. The team is aware of its importance and takes steps to prepare when going abroad. But MEO considers it also its responsibility to prepare local businesses that aspire international trading, in intercultural communication. The study provides an effective strategic communication plan as a guidance for negotiations and doing business with different cultures. The intercultural communication skills of both MEO and local businesses can be improved through training, seminars and workshops.

Curaçao’s Business Profile
This study shows that Curaçao’s Business Culture Profile has similarities with Jamaican and Dominican Republic’s culture. This means that intercultural communication with these cultures/countries will go smoother as the countries have the most likenesses when it comes to their business culture. The results show that Curaçao’s Business Culture Profile can be summarized as food-, dance and music lovers, meaning that, these ambiances are favorable when building business relationships or creating business networks.

MEO was recommended to create a strategic plan which includes intercultural communication skills training for the organization and intercultural communication workshops for local businesses. This strategic intercultural communication plan will improve the effectiveness in attracting foreign investors. Besides a literature review, the study included questionnaires and interviews to compare and connect with the literature information. The questionnaires contained measurement elements of Geert Hofstede’s 6 national dimensions theory to create a business culture profile for Curaçao. This enabled a better understanding of the local business culture, which is an important factor to identify possible adaptation needs to gain a competitive advantage when doing business internationally.

The acquisition of foreign investment is one of the important tasks that the Foreign Economic Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Economic Development of Curaçao (MEO) undertakes in its effort to stimulate the economy of Curaçao. The ability to have effective intercultural communication skills is fundamental in this endeavor. International Business student Ashanti Elisabeth looked at the impact of intercultural communication on the acquisition of foreign investors and made an assessment of the team’s intercultural communication skills during her internship in the spring of 2019.