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.

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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Cross Cultural Solutions for Exporters

Cross Cultural Solutions for Exporters

Globalisation, internationalization and trans-border trade are all terms that have been coined over the past decade(s) to reflect the reality of international trade.

Although international trade has long been in operation, the scale, frequency and speed at which it is conducted today is incomparable.

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Cross Cultural Marketing Blunders

Cross Cultural Marketing Blunders

Although cruel, cross cultural marketing mistakes are a humorous means of understanding the impact poor cultural awareness or translations can have on a product or company when selling abroad.

Below we have provided a few classic cross cultural marketing blunders for your enjoyment. For more examples, please visit the 3 links at the end of the page.
 
1. Locum is a Swedish company. As most companies do at Christmas they sent out Christmas cards to customers. In 1991 they decided to give their logo a little holiday spirit by replacing the "o" in Locum with a heart. You can see the result..

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Cross Cultural Business Blunders

Cross Cultural Business Blunders

The following cultural blunders are presented to our visitors and we would again like to stress that such examples of "culture gone wrong" are presented in order illustrate to people how crucial cultural awareness is in international business today.

1 - Managers at one American company were startled when they discovered that the brand name of the cooking oil they were marketing in a Latin American country translated into Spanish as "Jackass Oil."

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Tips on Giving Cross Cultural Presentations

Tips on Giving Cross Cultural Presentations

Do you give presentations abroad or to multicultural audiences?

You don't want an audience looking like they do below do you? This article gives great tips on delivering presentations across cultural lines:

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Cross Cultural Negotiations

Cross Cultural Negotiations

Can your international negotiations feel like this sometimes?

Do you feel cultural differences get in the way of a successful negotiation?

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How Culture Impacts Job Interviews

How Culture Impacts Job Interviews

At this moment in time, the increase in cross border human traffic has meant that companies are no longer dealing with a homogenous native community from which they recruit their staff.

Companies are now facing cross cultural challenges in how they recruit, manage and develop a multi-cultural staff base.

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Culture in Advertising

Culture in Advertising

"Culture is a like dropping an Alka-seltzer into a glass - you don't see it, but somehow it does something"
Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Culture affects everything we do.

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Business Meeting Etiquette

Business Meeting Etiquette

Business etiquette is essentially about building relationships with colleagues, clients or customers. In the business world, it is these people that can influence your success or failure. Etiquette, and in particular business etiquette, is simply a means of maximising your business potential by presenting yourself favourably.

Business meetings are one arena in which poor etiquette can have negative effects. By improving your business meeting etiquette you automatically improve your chances of success. Comfort, trust, attentiveness and clear communication are examples of the positive results of demonstrating good etiquette.

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Business Card Etiquette

Business Card Etiquette

When doing business abroad it is important to understand the local culture. Culture includes areas such as a country's norms, values, behaviours, food, architecture, fashion and art. However, one area of culture that is important for the international business person is etiquette.

Understanding business etiquette allows you to feel comfortable in your dealings with foreign friends, colleagues, customers or clients. Knowing what to do and say in the right places will help build trust and open lines of communication.

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The Four Benefits of Intercultural Training

The Four Benefits of Intercultural Training

Intercultural training has become of increasing importance in the past 10 years. Companies and organizations that are working on the international stage are starting to realise that working in or with foreign countries is not like working at home.

Intercultural differences are causing obstacles to smooth, successful business relationships, dealings and ventures. People from managers, to sales personnel, to CEOs to HR staff are all now participating in intercultural training to help them become better at the their jobs.

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The Importance of Business Relationships in the Middle East

The Importance of Business Relationships in the Middle East

Intercultural Awareness

Intercultural awareness training is sometimes perceived as a luxury within the business world. Many who feel this way are also proponents of the misconception that because the "world is getting smaller" our differences are becoming less obvious and less of a problem. This is in fact false. As we get closer, our differences become more acute and more of a problem thus further driving the need for intercultural awareness training.

Companies are now tuning into the fact that in order to get ahead in today's global economy, cultural awareness is critical. It is no longer a luxury but a necessity. The right intercultural awareness training briefing can offer a company real benefits, namely a competitive advantage and a greater long term gain.

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Approaches to Cultural Awareness Training

Approaches to Cultural Awareness Training

There are many approaches to training. Some sum these up as 'heavy' and 'light' approaches. What does this mean and how does it apply to business training?

Well, cultural awareness training (or any other training in fact) is a little like body building – one needs to know what their mind and body is capable of, what it enjoys and then set realistic goals for achieving that perfect body. From there you can either work with a personal trainer or look into how to balance both heavy and light approaches to training yourself. Heavy training in this sense being your body building, and light being more about CV and muscular work.

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The Role of Cultural Differences in Autism

The Role of Cultural Differences in Autism

When learning about culture, really we are learning to look beyond surface deep. Cutural awareness you could argue is about possibilities not limits.

It is this very same thinking picked up by a piece in Scientific American entitled, "How Cultural Differences Affect Autism Diagnoses".

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Foreign Languages: Employment and Career Opportunities

Foreign Languages: Employment and Career Opportunities

Many people love learning languages or would like to learn a language and use their language skills in a job.

In today's global economy the demand for language skills continues to grow as governments, businesses and organisations build relationships with foreign interests.

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A Brief Introduction to Zoroastrianism

A Brief Introduction to Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism is one the oldest religions in the world. It is definitely one of the first monotheist religions. It was founded by Zoroaster and it believes in one God, Ahura Mazda. There are very few Zoroastrians in the world today but it still holds an important place. A large part of their population is divided between Iran and India. The Zoroastrians living in India are called Parsis.

History

It is uncertain when the religion was first founded but sources say that it could be dated as far back as 1200 BCE. A priest named Zarathustra or Zoroaster, as the Greeks called him, founded the religion. He was born in Iran at a time when the Stone Age was gradually moving into the Bronze Age. The Iranians then, believed in a polytheistic religion. Zoroaster convinced and converted them into monotheists. Early Iranians practiced many rituals, which necessitated sacrifices of animals and the use of the hallucinogenic plant, Haoma. Zoroaster condemned such practices and persuaded the Iranians to shift allegiance to the new faith that he propounded.

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A Brief Introduction to Sikhism

A Brief Introduction to Sikhism

Background and Information

Sikhism was founded in the 16th century in the Punjab, India. The Sikh religion was established around 500 years ago by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, who promulgated a message of devotion and emphasised the importance of remembering God at all times. Sikh means ‘disciple’, therefore Sikhs are seen as the disciples of God who follow the teachings within the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh holy book).

Origins

Although the Sikh religion was founded by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, he passed on his teachings to nine gurus, who along with Guru Nanak Dev Ji became known as the ‘Ten Gurus’, these are (in order):

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A Brief Introduction to Shinto

A Brief Introduction to Shinto

Shinto is regarded as the religion indigenous to Japan and is thought to predate all reliable historical records. Literally translated the word 'Shinto' is composed of two words from the original Chinese Shêntao: 'shin' meaning gods or spirits and 'to' meaning the philosophical way or path. Shinto has no fixed dogma, moral precepts or sacred scriptures but many shrines ('jinja') around the country which have often been bases of power with ties to Imperial and Shogunal rule throughout the ages.

Shinto followers worship a huge array of 'kami' (gods or spirits) which personify all aspects of nature, such as the sky, the earth, heavenly bodies, and natural phenomena. Sacred objects, such as rocks or trees, can be recognized by the shimenawa ropes and white paper strips attached to them. Many of the festivals held all over Japan originate from Shinto rites, including prayers of thanksgiving, offerings of food and valuables and purification rituals.

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A Brief Introduction to Rastafarianism

A Brief Introduction to Rastafarianism

Rastafarianism is a religious movement born out of the black slums of Jamaica which harnessed the teachings of the Jamaican born black nationalist, Marcus Garvey and conditionally uses selective Old Testament Christian writings to support its teachings and practices.

Born in 1887, Garvey’s influence on the poor black slave descendants in Jamaica came to its peak in the 1920’s where his message of encouragement and calling on black people to take pride in themselves won some fanatical supporters. Although historically Marcus Garvey was a political leader interested in making the black race economically equal with the white, in oral tradition he has become a divinely anointed prophet.

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A Brief Introduction to Judaism

A Brief Introduction to Judaism

Judaism is the religion commonly linked to Jewish people. It is based on the principles contained in the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh, which are expanded and explained in the Talmud.

In 2007, the world Jewish population was of 13.2 million, 41 percent of which reside in Israel, whilst the remaining is spread around the world (the diaspora).

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