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Is Etiquette Relevant for Stocks? (Part 2)

27 September 2007 - Features - Editor

Is Etiquette Relevant for Stocks? (Part 1)

First impressions on meeting others, wardrobes, correspondence, and table manners are key components of business etiquette (Casperson, 1999). No financial statement makes any mention of these qualitative factors, but they may have much to do with how stocks perform, at least in some sectors. Investors may interact with top executives, with sales people, and other functional personnel in the companies they own, but it is difficult to make dependable assessments. Perhaps that is why companies, which are eager to raise fresh capital through stocks, go the extra mile to expose their personnel to potential investors.

Cultural Influences on Global Stocks

The role of business etiquette refuses to stand still. The emergence of Japan as a major business territory spawned a whole new set of capabilities related to the exotic culture (De Mente, 1994). Experienced executives and the most successful corporations had to go back to schools and drawing boards when they found it imperative to do business with people from the Land of the Rising Sun. China, India, and Brazil, have since emerged as major areas for business expansion, and each of them demands an entirely new set of business etiquette rules. Stocks of global corporations can no longer thrive if employees are not aware of business etiquette and norms in all the countries where they wish to build profitable market shares.

Information Technology is an area in which the norms of business etiquette have changed even within North America. This is because work forces tend to be much younger than in traditional manufacturing and service areas, and they are put off by the formality, which is conventional in the brick and mortar world. Similarly, public-private partnerships, which are emerging as key segments in formerly socialist nations, call for new behavior patterns for close collaboration with habitual bureaucrats. Overall, globalization has made business literacy a key factor for success.

Technology impacts business etiquette in other areas as well. Electronic mail and video conferencing, which replace traditional modes of inter-personal communications, have norms and conventions of their own (Langford, 2005). New and young entrants to the work force take to these forms of business etiquette naturally, but older employees and even owners, accustomed to old ways of doing things, have to make special efforts to keep pace with change.

Human Resources and Valuation of Stocks

Business etiquette is not just outside the purview of external reviews by holders of stocks, but is also missing from formal internal evaluation and appraisal systems of companies. A corporation, which takes pride in its human resource development initiatives, can develop an insidious but major weakness in terms of inappropriate business etiquette (Business Etiquette for the New Workplace, 2005). This can happen because customer expectations change, or because groups of new employees respond unusually to their colleagues. Investors can only be reassured about this important aspect if executives make it a point to elaborate on their awareness levels of the dynamics of this matter, and their specific plans to stay current in terms of new trends in business etiquette.

Works Cited

Casperson, D, 1999, Power Etiquette: What You Don’t Know Can Kill Your Career, AMACOM Div of American Management Association
De Mente, B, 1994, Japanese Etiquette & Ethics in Business, McGraw-Hill Professional
Langford, B, 2005, The Etiquette Edge: The Unspoken Rules of Business Success, AMACOM Div. of American Management Association
Business Etiquette for the New Workplace, 2005, Harvard Business School Press

 


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