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RESULTS OF THE NEEDS ANALYSIS INTERACT team would like to thank everyone who took part in needs analysis and thus contributed with their input to shaping the content of the interactive ICC training module. Read on to find out more about the results of the needs analysis! An intensive needs analysis on ICC awareness among entrepreneurs and professionals, as well as research into the local market was carried out in several different ways over a period of four months (March- April, 2008) with active participation and contribution of all partners. The main source of feedback was the online questionnaire aimed at identifying the existing level of ICC awareness among European SMEs and finding out what their most urgent needs are in improving their ICC skills. The total of 211 responses was received mainly from partner countries. The results of the needs analysis identified senior and middle management as the key target groups of the training. The key requirement areas turned out to be clients’ expectations (reflecting values and attitudes), etiquette and protocol, different client and partner behaviour, hospitality and gift giving, as well as business organisation and process. Learning one’s own style, building up interpersonal skills, changing attitudes, as well acquiring the language and knowledge about the target country were pointed out as the most important objectives of ICC training. Further on you can read a summary of the analysis of the responses to the Interact online questionnaire, based on the answers of senior managers. There are some clear differences in the answers that have come from Finland, Latvia and Romania. Generally, the responses from Romanian business people differ more from the other two groups. Romanian managers seem to have a higher motivation for acquiring new skills in ICC; they might feel like learning more to become successful in international co-operation. The average answer figure of the Romanian managers is over 4 practically in any question of the type “I need to learn more…” o r “I would like to learn more…” where Finns seem to have difficulties to get over 3, 50. This might indicate that either they are content with the knowledge and skills they have at the moment or they might not be aware of what they do not quite know. The Latvian responses, in most questions, come somewhere in between. 1. Differences in background information/attitudes There is a clear marked difference in responses to the question “How would you deal with unclear situations?” Finns tend to accept and tolerate them (2, 56) whereas the Romanians try avoiding them (4, 81). The Latvian responses again come in between (3, 39). Romanians also seem to be more inclined towards always following rules and regulations (5, 79), where Finns and Latvians do not always do so (4, 44 and 4, 83). Romanians also say they can quite often do business without developing a good personal relationship with their counterpart (4, 37). Finns and Latvians score 3, 61 and 3, 78 respectively. They also seem to make decisions by relying on facts and figures than on intuition - Romanians score on average 4, 58, Finns - 4, 00, Latvians - 3, 89. The greatest individualists seem to be Latvians; they get an average figure of 3, 56 both in the questions of individual or group decision making and independent or team role. Finns score 3, 78 in both of these questions, whereas Romanians seem to be the greatest supporters of group and team work (4, 23 and 4, 19). 2. Differences (if any?) in need for competences and skills Generally, the needs in different countries do not differ that much and seem to be quite close to the average figure of all responses of the web-questionnaire. The five most urgent skills senior managers would like to learn or develop seem to be the following: 1. Negotiations and decision making – the average score 3, 98. (Number one for Latvian and Romanian professionals with a score of 3, 89 and 4, 49 respectively and number two for Finns at 3, 55. 2. What makes an organisation successful in its interaction with international partners – scoring at an average of 3, 92. 3. Meetings and discussions reaching 3, 79. 4. Different client/partner behaviour at 3, 73 5. Different client/partner expectations - 3, 72. It might be interesting to point out is that the last two client/partner issues got quite a low score from Finns (3, 11 and 3, 22). It could be due to the well-known fact that Finns do not generally have a very good reputation in marke ting and client service issues or perhaps they think they already know everything worth knowing about their clients/partners. There is a high motivation and need to learn about one’s own interpersonal skills (3, 73) and increase knowledge of other countries (3, 73). Many respondents would also like to develop their language skills, but that aspect is more of a by-product in this project. Most respondents prefer finding out about the countries, their business cultures and people via Internet (3, 61) and by talking to colleagues (3, 51). Overall, the responses of senior managers from the three chamber countries LV, FI, RO do not differ that much from the average answers. A number of oral interviews were also held with some of the internationally successful business people of the chamber countries to find out what businessmen need to to become internationally successful. They generally give an insight into the local business culture and practices – its general characteristics, strengths and weaknesses, as well as share their experience in dealing with other cultures – both success stories and failures. They also willingly give some advice as to what professionals and business people should be aware of before going international, like developing persuasive presentation skills, getting to know the target market well (it includes knowing their traditions, values, business practices and business culture), being a good communicator and mixer, understanding and being tolerant of differences etc. Interact team is thankful for the useful input all the different respondents provided.