The Commisceo Global Blog

Keeping you up to date with all the news, articles, tools, opinions and press relating to the world of cultural understanding, in and out of business.

How Culture and Communication Impact Multicultural Global Teams

How Culture and Communication Impact Multicultural Global Teams

The homogenous team is a thing of the past in most international organisations and companies. More and more teams are made up of people with different nationalities and therefore different cultures, languages, ideas, behaviours and ways of doing things.

Some would argue that the ‘international language of business’ negates any real communication issues within such a cross-cultural team; however those with hands-on experience of such teams would disagree.

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5 Essential Skills Every International Business Person Needs

5 Essential Skills Every International Business Person Needs

Working internationally comes with certain challenges - navigating cultural differences is just one.

Being able to work, communicate, sell to or buy from people in different countries, working in different times zones, with different ways of doing things is essential.

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Cultural Awareness in the Multicultural workplace

Cultural Awareness in the Multicultural workplace

"Understand the differences; act on the commonalities." - Andrew Masondo, African National Congress

The nature of our workplaces has changed. We have moved away from the monochromic make-up of our offices to one that is now coloured by team members from all over the world. With this new multicultural make-up come differences in cultures which in turn bring differences in areas such as communication styles, approach to time, managerial styles and a plethora of other cross cultural differences.

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A Great New Book on Cross Cultural Communication

A Great New Book on Cross Cultural Communication

Working with people from different cultures is becoming increasingly more common; however it can also give rise to challenges. Thankfully, Erin Meyer has recently published a book that provides a framework on how different cultures across the globe view communication at work.

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How Cultural Differences Impact Interior Design

How Cultural Differences Impact Interior Design

Whether we know it or not, culture impacts almost everything we do. Within business, one should always be aware of cultural differences. Yes, even within interior design!

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Cultural Diversity Makes You Smarter

Cultural Diversity Makes You Smarter

Being surrounded by other cultures can bring a great deal of benefits: new research has shown that living in a culturally diverse community can even make you smarter!

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The Link Between Cultural Conflicts and Workplace Creativity

The Link Between Cultural Conflicts and Workplace Creativity
Conflicts are never beneficial for a working environment – cultural conflicts are one of many challenges that need to be avoided at all costs. A recent study, however, revealed that avoiding cultural clashes in the workplace does not only result in a more peaceful environment, but can aid the creative process within companies as well.
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10 Facts Every Manager of a Multicultural Team Should Remember

10 Facts Every Manager of a Multicultural Team Should Remember
As a team manager leading a multicultural team, you go through the stages of team development perhaps a bit longer than when working with most monocultural teams. When you feel you’ve had enough of battling the cultural differences, and that you just want to call it a day, don’t despair – keep in mind that due to the diversity, the ups and downs feel extreme however in the end, there is simply much more to gain.
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HR Departments are Key to a Multicultural Workplace

HR Departments are Key to a Multicultural Workplace
According to a new study, not enough organisations regard a culturally diverse work force as a top priority. As having employees from different countries and cultures can benefit an organisation greatly, experts are urging Human Resource departments to take action!
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Cross-Cultural and Multicultural Marketing - A New Approach to Marketing

Cross-Cultural and Multicultural Marketing - A New Approach to Marketing
A number of American marketing and advertising companies have come together to start a new organization that aims to encourage cross-cultural marketing: a sign of changing directions and prioritizations within the marketing world perhaps?
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Cultural Differences in Raising Children

Cultural Differences in Raising Children
We focus a lot on this website about cultural differences in business; however for us it's all about culture and understanding that culture influences who we are and what we do. Only when you understand your own "self" and the cultural programming your have received, can you move towards understanding the "other".
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Barbie goes Multicultural



The look is part of an exhibition, backed by Barbie creator Mattel, of the doll in multicultural outfits by Italian designer Eliana Lorena.

Two of the Barbies are wearing the burka, the loose fitting robe with veiled holes for the eyes which is worn by some Muslim women.

The collection of more than 500 Barbies is being sold at a Sotheby's charity auction in Florence, Italy, in aid of Save The Children.

The sale is part of Barbie celebrations for her 50th anniversary this year.

Britain's biggest Barbie collector Angela Ellis, 35, who owns more than 250 dolls, said: "I think this is really important for girls, wherever they are from they should have the opportunity to play with a Barbie that they feel represents them.

"I Know Barbie was something seen as bad before as an image for girls, but in actual fact the message with Barbie for women is you can be whatever you want to be.

"I like the 70s, 80s and 90s ones that have reflected my life and I picked the really outstanding ones, the really different ones that have a message for my collection.

"I have a Barbie in a wheelchair that was only out for six weeks."

Read more > Barbie
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New national standards on intercultural respect at work



The first ever National Occupational Standards for working with people from different countries or diverse cultures will be launched today at a high profile event in central London. The new Standards provide a quality benchmark for building mutual respect, improving communication and workforce relations, and reducing racism.

The new National Occupations Standards for Intercultural Working describe the skills, knowledge and understanding required by anyone wishing to work effectively in a multicultural environment. They can be used to inform policy and procedures, provide a good practice guide for human resources professionals, and identify training needs to promote social and community cohesion.

CILT, the National Centre for Languages led the government-funded project to develop the new Standards, which were approved by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills in September 2008. Today’s launch celebrates the completion of the project, which has involved hundreds of organisations, employers and individuals from across the UK over the past two years.

Read more >> CILT
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Exposure To Racial And Ethnic Diversity Better Prepares Medical Students

An article published in the medical education-themed September 10 issue of JAMA finds that white medical students are more likely to consider themselves highly prepared to provide care for minority populations if they attended schools with racial and ethnically diverse student bodies.

Under the belief that diversity exposes students to a broader field of ideas, experiences, and perspectives, most medical schools in the United States explicitly try to keep their student bodies racially and ethnically varied. The schools also believe that diversity in the classroom better prepares student to provide services to the multicultural American population. However, little research exists to support the claim of educational benefits from diversity in medical schools.

Read more > Medical News
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The Interculturale Theatre Storytelling Laboratory


The Interculturale Theatre Storytelling Laboratory



Presents

the gift of diversity

Intercultural Theatre Storytelling Festival

II Edition - Rome, May 8-24 2008
The idea

Interculture means confront, exchange and communication among diverse cultures, towards an opened view and a larger dialogue between differences, against each discrimination. However, somehow, privileging interest to origins and traditions of the person that we meet - even if he is rich and amazing - and that normally we call a stranger, we may risk to forget his true particularity, maybe the most important thing: his story and not his country's one, his experience and not his people's one, his emotions and feelings, not his race's one. So, we can make the mistake to build a weak and false image, a masquerade, where people are just playing roles: the African, the Chinese, the Arabian and so on. Words are important and, when concepts linked to them have a fundamental value in our life, contradictions are not possible. We are different or equal? We can't be both, this is our provocation. If you think we are all unique, then, maybe, you could agree with the idea behind this project: the most powerful, significant and revolutionary way to have an intercultural point of view, in other words, to underline the importance of differences and richness inside our individuality, is to show the diversity of people that often think themselves as equal (not celebrating the equality of strangers...), to tell how much they are interesting to listen when they are speaking of themselves and how all become wonderful if they are so proud to mix each others.


II Edition

In May 2008 we’ll present the second edition of this festival. The last year, the first one was thought to put the bases and this time we whish to show our idea of interculture. Local or foreign artists, considering their diversity as a gift, will tell their story with their personal language or dialect. Because Italy and all countries in the world are wonderfully multicultural places even without immigrants, which are just other colours to improve the rainbow…

Almost seventy artists and companies, since North to South, sent us their proposals, convincing us that our point of view is not so crazy. After a hard selection will present nine shows from all Italy. The aim is to create a space where, thanks to Theatre Storytelling, interculture will become just culture, while actors and public will agree that diversity is the first value to celebrate.

The participants are, in order of appearance:

May 8, 9.00 p.m.: “Scantu[1]”, by and with Adele Tirante, “Cosa sono le nuvole” and “Viaggio inverso”

May 9, 9.00 p.m.: "Francesco Pileggi, the true story of a man of honour[2]",

by and with  Andrea Chianelli

May 10, 9.00 p.m.: “Calafrica[3]”, by and with Manuela Valenti

May 15, 9.00 p.m.: “Refugees”, by and with “Rataplab”

May 16, 9.00 p.m.: “Zagara”, by and with Maria Cristina Sarò

May 17, 9.00 p.m.: “It’s spring”, by and with Antonio Carletti

May 22, 9.00 p.m.: “Horrible heritage on the lake[4]”,

by and with “The differents, almost equal but different”

May 23, 9.00 p.m.: “The town of Punt”, by and with Elisa Menchicchi

May 24, 9.00 p.m. : “The true story of Jean Baptiste du Val-de-Grâce, orator of the human race”,

by and with Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher and Cecilia Moreschi

The festival will be at the Studio Uno Theatre (www.studiounoteatro.it), in Rome,

Via Carlo della Rocca, 6.

The Laboratory:

The Intercultural theatre storytelling laboratory is directed by Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher (www.alessandroghebreigziabiher.it), with the precious collaboration of Cecilia Moreschi.

Information:

Luisa Moreschi

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Web: www.narrazioneinterculturale.org

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Medical staff require training on intercultural awareness

Medical staff require professional interpreters and specific training on intercultural awareness, a new study published in the open access journal BMC Health Services Research suggests. The authors reveal that doctors are dissatisfied with the treatment they provide to their non-native patients, and that they cite cultural differences and language barriers as the key factors causing the disappointment with the level of care that they provide.

Birgit Babitsch from the Berlin Institute of Gender in Medicine in Germany, and co-workers from Berlin and the UK, gathered the results of questionnaires completed by doctors working in the internal medicine and gynaecology departments of three Berlin hospitals. The responses were then narrowed down to those relating to native Germans and those of Turkish origin and analysed in conjunction with the patients’ medical records. Over 2400 doctor questionnaires and corresponding patient records were finally analyzed.

The researchers found that doctors’ dissatisfaction with the patient-doctor relationship was much greater with regard to their Turkish patients. The two main reasons given were communication difficulties and the doctors’ perceptions that the Turkish patients did not always require urgent treatment. Around 20% of doctors were dissatisfied with the course of treatment for Turkish patients, compared to 10% for German patients. Minor differences were found in doctors’ satisfaction with regard to the patient’s gender.

Dr Babitsch states: “The use of professional interpreters for improved communication and the training of medical staff for improved intercultural competence are essential for the provision of adequate health care in a multicultural setting.”

Read more > EurekAlert
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Finding talent globally

The war for talent never ends. Middle managers in China? Good luck finding them, let alone keeping them. Assembly line workers in Central Europe? They're well-educated and hard-working: Trouble is, every company wants them. The cubicle warriors of Bangalore? They get the job done—if they stick around. I For corporations, managing this widely scattered, talented, restive, multicultural workforce has never been harder. This Special Report, written to coincide with the 2008 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, brings readers to the front lines of the struggle. It delves into IBM's (IBM) effort to rein- vent the way it gets tasks done around the world, follows a Nokia (NOK) manager as he recruits a workforce from scratch in Transylvania, meets a restless generation of IT workers in India, and hears from the corporate road warriors who never, ever stop traveling.

These and other stories make a simple but powerful point: The old way of managing across borders is fading fast. In the first half of the 20th century, the globalization of business was based on the British colonial model. Headquarters, functions, and capital were in one place, with managers dispatched to run regional operations like colonies. In the second half of the 1900s, companies adopted the multinational model, replicating their home country operations in other places where they did business. Country units rarely dealt with other divisions in other markets.

Today, global corporations are transforming themselves into "transnationals," moving work to the places with the talent to handle the job and the time to do it at the right cost.

Read more: transnationals 
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Understanding the transcultural consumer

Press Release, San Francisco, CA, January 06, 2008 :

“The more than 100 million multicultural consumers in the US, are not just multi-colored or multi-lingual but cross-cultural and transcultural as well. They are rapidly evolving and challenging the definition of “ethnic” or “multicultural” marketing,” says Valerie Romley, Chief Research Officer and author of "Beyond Translation; The Marketer's Field Guide to Understanding Today's Transcultural Consumer".

“What was effective yesterday is no longer relevant and what is effective today may not resonate with tomorrow’s moving targets. It’s time for marketers to go beyond relying on translation and color and language based segmentation and understand the roles that culture and context have in influencing beliefs and attitudes and driving consumer behavior.”

Read more> Beyond Translation 
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Enjoy Christmas say UK's religious leaders

Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims joined Britain's equality watchdog Monday in urging Britons to enjoy Christmas without worrying about offending non-Christians.

Christmas in UK


"It's time to stop being daft about Christmas. It's fine to celebrate and it's fine for Christ to be star of the show," said Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

"Let's stop being silly about a Christian Christmas," he said, referring to a tendency to play down the traditional celebrations of the birth of Christ for fear of offending minorities in multicultural Britain.

Suicide bombings by British Islamists in July 2005 which killed 52 people in London have prompted much soul-searching about religion and integration in Britain, a debate that has been echoed across Europe.

Read more> Christmas
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"Cultural pinpointing" and the multicultural consumer

The power of ethnic audiences is apparent in everyday life. But inherent risks exist when messaging previously meant for a minority group becomes part of the mainstream.

In its fourth year, the just-released Yankelovich Monitor Multicultural Marketing Study points to the impact of the "commercialization of culture," or repeated use of certain cultural elements to reach broader audiences. In 2004, 37 percent of non-Hispanic whites thought Hispanics were influencing everyone's lifestyle; today, it's 44 percent.

The result may mean less authentic messaging for Hispanics and African Americans, the study reports, if the same marketing strategies are used to reach ethnic consumers. "We're calling it cultural pinpointing. It's about understanding that today there's a lot of borrowing going on from the ethnic marketplace," said Sonya Suarez-Hammond, vice president of multicultural insights for Yankelovich in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Read more: Cultural pinpointing 
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