The Commisceo Global Blog - Perfect for Culture Vultures

Whether a press release, a case study of cultural difference, some tips on working abroad or some lessons in cross-communication, we try our best to satiate your inner culture vulture.

When I'm not hanging out in the beautiful sunshine of Africa, you will find me here sharing content about culture - you'll soon see why I'm called the Culture Vulture.

'Budgie Nine' - Culturally Belligerent or Innocently Ignorant?

'Budgie Nine' - Culturally Belligerent or Innocently Ignorant?

Have you heard about the 'Budgie Nine'? If not then here comes another perfect example of foreigners acting cuturally-inappropriately when abroad.

To celebrate their countrymen's victory at the Malaysia Grand Prix these 9 men from Australia stripped down to Malaysian-flag-printed swimwear — or "budgie smugglers" as they are known in Australia.

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Love Skittles

Love Skittles

Trump Jnr's Skittles meme is a stupid, irrational argument based on nothing but fear, ignorance and racist politics.

So Trump Jnr, son of the man who plans to make America great again, has come out and likened Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles.

This blog could launch into a tirade of abuse and arguments against Trump Jnr and his father, however we want to make a simple point to those who may see sense in his line of argument.

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Online Training – A Democratic Solution?

Online Training – A Democratic Solution?

Access for All

As cultural trainers, we oversee the delivery of high level cultural training to large multinationals. The benefits of the training extend beyond the company and help individuals to build skills and awareness which help in the long term.

Since we are proud of what we do, we are presented with an ethical dilemma when NGOs, small businesses and private individuals approach us with their training needs as they typically lack the budget to pay our fees.  

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Who on Earth Needs Cultural Training?

Who on Earth Needs Cultural Training?

Why UK Universities Invest in Cultural Awareness

I was recently at a dinner party in London for notable vultures and found myself speaking to a lovely vulture based in Wales who had flown down for the evening. Conversation led to work and what I do here at Commisceo, and what we do as a company, i.e cultural training.

“That’s different”, he said, "...but who on earth needs that?".

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Top Expat Relocation Concerns

Top Expat Relocation Concerns

Post-Brexit, Relocation of Resources is Top Priority

Price Waterhouse Cooper predicts that as many as 70,000 British employees will relocate to alternative European locations between now and 2020 following the vite to Brexit vote. This is not counting the thousands of non-British that could also leave.

We are already seeing signs and it is slowly becoming a reality for a number of employees. As a number of companies seek to retain access to European skills, initiatives and pan EU licensing & tax arrangements, relocation of key staff has become central to their contingency planning.

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Awesome Online Database of Cultural Differences

Awesome Online Database of Cultural Differences

Culture-Geeks Will Love This!

I’ve recently come across a totally awesome database – it’s a treasure trove of statistical information about cultures, societies, language, places and environments; something I thought I had to share with my fellow culture vultures.

What am I talking about?

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Mindfulness and Cultural Awareness

Mindfulness and Cultural Awareness

‘Mindfulness’ is an increasingly common term. We hear it bandied around by ‘celebs’ who have discovered mindfulness meditation as the means to a stress free life and we have heard the term used by people who try to practice ‘living in the moment’ whilst shrugging off stresses of the past or unrealised anxieties of the future.


Mindfulness also has its own unique meaning in the cultural training world.

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Cross Cultural Communication & PR

Cross Cultural Communication & PR

The Public Relations (PR) industry is responsible for creating and maintaining relationships between clients and customers. Through areas such as brand management, advertising, media relations and crisis management, PR practitioners seek to foster interest, trust and belief in a product or company.

PR practitioners are aware of how best to carry this out when dealing within their own nations and cultures, however, when dealing with a foreign audience it is critical that cross cultural differences are recognised.

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International Retail and Cross Cultural Issues

International Retail and Cross Cultural Issues

Looking for case studies of cross-cultural issues in the retail business?

In this article, we look at some examples from the retail industry where cultural differences or cultural issues have resulted in business success and failure.

This article will attempt to show the significance of the cross-cultural factors in international retail success. Through understanding the cultural reasons behind success or failure, it is then easy to apply the same principles to any business sector.

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Cultural Differences in International Merger and Acquisitions

Cultural Differences in International Merger and Acquisitions

Want to discover how organisational culture, cross-cultural issues and cultural differences shape the success or failure of mergers and acquisitions?

In today’s global economy more people are paying attention to the impact of culture on the international business environment.

Companies are crossing national borders more often now than ever before as part of growth strategies. As a result they venture into foreign countries...and cultures.

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Guanxi: The Chinese Cultural Concept

Guanxi: The Chinese Cultural Concept

"Guanxi" (pronounced (gwan-shee) is one of the most powerful forces in Chinese culture. Though the direct translation of "guanxi" is "relationships", the concept as it is used and applied in Chinese culture is much richer and encompassing.

"Guanxi" does express the relationship of one person to another, or one party to another. However, more importantly the term also expresses an obligation of one party to another, built over time by the reciprocation of social exchanges and favours. If one has "guanxi" with another, one will be quick to do a favour, act on another’s behalf and depending on the depth of the relationship, do anything necessary for the other party. By establishing this type of relationship with someone, the other party is implicitly agreeing also to be available to reciprocate when the need arises. In such a way "guanxi" can be considered as a type of currency that can be saved and spent between the two parties. Like money, it is a resource that can also be also be exhausted, so one must be sensitive not to overextend the "guanxi" that has been established.

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Status - Cross Cultural Differences

Status - Cross Cultural Differences

Status exists in all societies but varies in fundamental ways. Cross cultural differences in they way in which we perceive status, gain status and react to status differ from culture to culture.

In this article we examine the cross cultural differences with relation to status and analyse how they manifest in certain areas in the workplace. For the sake of simplicity we identify two types of status; 'ascribed-status' and 'achieved-status'.

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Results of Poor Cross Cultural Awareness

Results of Poor Cross Cultural Awareness

Culture Matters

Having a poor understanding of the influence of cross cultural differences in areas such as management, PR, advertising and negotiations can eventually lead to blunders that can have damaging consequences.

It is crucial for today's business personnel to understand the impact of cross cultural differences on business, trade and internal company organisation. The success or failure of a company, venture, merger or acquisition is essentially in the hands of people. If these people are not cross culturally aware then misunderstandings, offence and a break down in communication can occur.

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Leadership across Cultures

Leadership across Cultures

"Education is the mother of leadership."
Wendell Willkie

With the march of globalisation and internationalisation growing louder and stronger, few successful businesses can now escape the need to work across cultures. Even if businesses or organisations are not working abroad or with foreign entities, it would be a challenge to identify any that have a mono-cultural workforce. Even here in the rural South West of England, businesses ranging from manufacturers to farms to care homes are employing foreign personnel in order to operate at maximum efficiency.

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Management Skills for Today

Management Skills for Today

The role of a manager is evolving in response to the needs of companies operating on the international stage.

The complexities of globalisation and international systems require today's manager to adapt in order to offer modern solutions to modern problems.

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Intercultural Management

Intercultural Management

'The art of communication is the language of leadership'
James Humes

Today's businesses are complex entities. However, one fundamental principle of success remains constant - the need for communication.

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Intercultural Training and the Iceberg Model

Intercultural Training and the Iceberg Model

Many people question what culture is. How can it be defined? What analogies can be used to describe it?

In intercultural training one of the questions that is often asked of participants is to think what culture means to them. What picture can they draw to describe it? Whether they draw a tree, cauldron, plate of food or a tapestry they are all valid as culture means different things to different people. In essence what they are trying to describe is something that is made up of lots of things and is multifaceted.

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The Six Steps to Intercultural Communication

The Six Steps to Intercultural Communication

We live in an increasingly complex world. One element of this complexity is the mixing of different cultures, languages and faiths. Within the business world intercultural communication is vital for success. Effective communication between colleagues from different cultural backgrounds ensures a team is working harmoniously.

The six steps to intercultural communication are basic pointers that all working in intercultural teams should be aware of to ensure culture becomes a vehicle for positive advancement rather than a barrier.

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Intercultural Communication Tips

Intercultural Communication Tips

Working across cultures is a new experience for many people. Intercultural communication can be a dynamic and creative affair but occasionally due to the inability to interpret people correctly it can be a challenge. Building an understanding of other people's cultures, their communication styles and behaviors can go a long way in improving relationships and being more successful in an intercultural environment.

Even without trawling through lots of books, articles or even taking part in an intercultural communication workshop it is possible to implement some basic principles to help improve one's intercultural communication skills. The following intercultural communication tips are provided to help people working in international and multicultural environments get some basic insight into dealing more effectively with people and not letting culture become an issue.

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The Stages of Culture Shock

The Stages of Culture Shock

'Culture shock' is used to describe the emotional rollercoaster that someone experiences when living in a new country. Anyone that has worked and lived in a foreign country will experience culture shock of some sort.

Culture shock affects anyone from business personnel and their families, to EFL teachers to sports stars. Recognising culture shock is an important way of being able to deal with it. Dealing with it helps minimise the risk of becoming disillusioned with a new country and the possibility of deciding that a quick return 'home' is the only solution.

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