The Japanese are perhaps the world leaders in the amount of attention they pay to cross-cultural differences. They seem to feel not just that "When in Rome" they should "do as the Romans do", but that they should also try to understand the "Roman" way of thinking.
Westerners, in particular North Americans and northern Europeans, tend to regard business as a rational process, in which emotion should play little or no part.
Personal interaction leads to achieving company objectives; feelings are "unbusinesslike" and tend to confuse the issue.
In others culture, however, business is considered a more human affair, and can involve a whole range of emotions. Laughter, dramatic gestures and raised voices are all regarded as ligitimate strategies in business discussions.
Companies that can tune in to the cultural frequency of their foreign clients have a definite advantage.
A few years ago a California company in competition with a Swedish rival was trying to win a contract with a South American customer. The American product was better and cheaper. The U.S. team flew in and made a well-structured, professional presentation and they were convinced that the deal was in the bag (no papo).
On the other hand, by stretching their talks over several days, the Swedes allowed more time to get to know the customer. for six days they talked about everything except the product, introducing it only on the last day. In spite of having a less attractive and higher priced product, the Swedes won the contract.
They had realized that in the modern business world it is essential to adapt to the culture you are doing business with and that establishing a good working relationship with their prospective customer would be far more valuable than the slickest(mais esperta)presentation in the world.
Fonte: Moving Ahead Book