The Blog for Culture Vultures

Satiate your inner Culture Vulture with regular news and posts about cultural awareness, doing business abroad, working in a multicultural environment, HR diversity and global mobility.

Why is Cultural Competence Important in Training?

Why is Cultural Competence Important in Training?

Why do we focus on culture in corporate training? Is it really all that important?

Understanding the role culture plays in our lives is very important.

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Dubai First Gov Games - a Great Lesson in Driving Cultural Diversity

Dubai First Gov Games - a Great Lesson in Driving Cultural Diversity

With over 7 million of its 9 million population classed as non-Emirati, the UAE has become an incredible melting point of cultures and nationalities.

Owing to Dubai’s relatively relaxed attitude and job opportunities, the majority of these expats reside in Dubai itself. Of these expats, South East Asians make up the largest proportion with approximately 8% of Westerners making up the smaller portion.

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Gift Giving Etiquette in the Middle East

Gift Giving Etiquette in the Middle East

The giving and receiving of gifts is an important part of professional and personal life in the Middle East.

Closely tied up with the need to maintain relationships and as a way of gaining and giving face, gift giving bonds people together.

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French Waiter Cites Cultural Differences for Being Rude

French Waiter Cites Cultural Differences for Being Rude

Guillaume Rey, a French waiter, was sacked from his job in a Canadian restaurant for being ‘aggressive, rude and disrespectful’

Upset by the sacking Rey believes his employers simply did not understand French culture. A complaint was filed against his previous employer, (Vancouver restaurant on Canada’s Pacific coast), under British Columbia’s 'Human Rights Tribunal', in which the waiter claimed  “discrimination against my culture”.

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Cross Cultural Training Essential for Foreign-Bound Personnel

Cross Cultural Training Essential for Foreign-Bound Personnel

Ignorance Is No Excuse and Can Land You in Jail

In light of the story of the British woman jailed for smuggling painkillers into Egypt, Punter Southall Health & Protection have warned companies sending personnel abroad that it is their "duty of care to ensure employees understand the legislation and cultural differences of that country."

British retail worker Laura Plummer, was recently arrested in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada after she was found to be carrying 290 Tramadol tablets in her suitcase, a painkiller which is legal in the UK but which is banned in Egypt. She was convicted of smuggling and is now serving a 3 year sentence.

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Does Living in a Multicultural Environment Give You Cross Cultural Skills?

Does Living in a Multicultural Environment Give You Cross Cultural Skills?

As cross-cultural training specialists, we sometimes come across resistance from delegates who have been obligated to attend a cultural awareness session by their boss, HR or the Learning and Development department.

Resistance may stem from many factors, not least of which may be that the benefits and background to the training course have not been fully communicated.

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Two Minute Tips on Global Training Roll Outs

Two Minute Tips on Global Training Roll Outs

How a Homogenous Approach to International Training Stifles Success

In a global market place, companies are increasingly rolling out training courses across international offices with the intention of providing consistent and homogenised messages to all their staff – regardless of location.

There is sometimes little, if any thought, given to whether the materials will be well received by the recipient international office.

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Scale-Up Investors Want People Skills

Scale-Up Investors Want People Skills

The UK's innovation agency has just released a report highlighting what investors are looking for in potential investment targets.

‘Scaling up: the investor perspective’ is the result of research commissioned by Innovate UK which was overseen and publish by the market research company, Ebiquity.

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Middle Finger Gesture Lands Briton in Dubai Courts

Middle Finger Gesture Lands Briton in Dubai Courts

Having worked in Dubai for over 10 years, one of the things that constantly amazes me about visitors to the Emirate is that they think they have landed in some sort of desert version of Las Vegas, where everything goes.

Well, as British IT consultant Jamil Ahmed Mukadam has found out - it is anything but.

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Cultural Differences Troubling Air France-KLM Merger

Cultural Differences Troubling Air France-KLM Merger

A research report commissioned by Air France-KLM to try and work out what is causing tensions within the airline company has discovered that cultural differences between Dutch an French employees is potentially ripping the merger apart.

Air France-KLM, which is the result of a 2004 merger, asked Philippe d’Iribarne from the French Institute of Science and Niels Noorderhaven of Tilburg University, to carry out the research which involved 47 interviews with Air France and KLM staff between January and April 2017.

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Cross-Cultural Training Sector Predicted to Grow 15% by 2021

Cross-Cultural Training Sector Predicted to Grow 15% by 2021

Commisceo Global have been identified as being in the top five 'key vendors' globally in new research which predicts the market for cross cultural training courses is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of just under 15% from 2017-2021.

Global Cross-Cultural Training Market 2017-2021, a newly published market research report from Technavio, sees a healthy future for cross cultural training.

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150+ CEOs Commit to Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

150+ CEOs Commit to Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ will "Improve Corporate Performance, Drive Growth, and Enhance Employee Engagement" says founding companies

In a sign of the growing importance of diversity issues within the workplace, a group of more than 150 CEOs from some of the world’s leading companies have put their names againt CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ -  the largest ever CEO-driven commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

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Culture Affects The Language We Use When We Tell Lies

Culture Affects The Language We Use When We Tell Lies

Researchers believe they have discovered a link between someone's culture and the language they use when they are telling porkie pies (Cockney slang for 'lies').

Psychologists, led by Professor Paul Taylor of Lancaster University in the UK, have just published the findings of their research, entitled "Culture moderates changes in linguistic self-presentation and detail provision when deceiving others", in Royal Society Open Science.

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UK Getting Cheaper for Expatriate Relocation Packages

UK Getting Cheaper for Expatriate Relocation Packages

Traditionally one of the more expensive destinations to send expatriate staff, a survey has found that the UK is now becoming cheaper for foreign companies.


The MyExpatriate Market Pay survey (published annually by ECA International) states that for the past few years the fall in the value of UK Sterling has meant that for companies outside the country, operating mainly in USD, sending resources to Britain has become around 11% cheaper.

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Lack of Language and Cultural Skills Risks 'Global Britain' After Brexit

Lack of Language and Cultural Skills Risks 'Global Britain' After Brexit

Can Theresa May's vision of a 'Global Britain' really come true when even the Institute of Translation & Interpreting question if the UK has the language or cultural skills necessary to compete globally?


Once unshackled by the chains of the EU, the future of Britain is being positioned as one of a global trader. However, to be a global trader you need the skills to do so.

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Cultural Diversity Explains Why Americans Smile So Much

Cultural Diversity Explains Why Americans Smile So Much

Researchers believe they have finally disovered why the wide, white-teethed smile is so important in American culture - immigrants and cultural diversity.

Across different cultures, a smile can mean many things. In more expressive cultures such as the USA, where showing emotions is not necessarily a bad thing, and in which hierarchy and social differences are less acute, the smile is a lot more common.

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Doing Business in Muslim Countries During Ramadan

Doing Business in Muslim Countries During Ramadan

Do you work with or travel to Muslim majority countries? Do you know Ramadan is a matter of weeks away?

For 30 days’ life gets flipped upside down for most Muslims – this impacts business.

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Media Throw Confusion Over Wearing of Hijab in Saudi Arabia

Media Throw Confusion Over Wearing of Hijab in Saudi Arabia

Some recent news coverage focusing on Theresa May not wearing a headscarf on her business trip to Saudi Arabia has caused some major confusion over etiquette and protocol in the Kingdom.

Certain news outlets and media seemed to use terminology that suggested that the British PM May somehow 'refused' the idea of covering her hair.

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Do You See a Nanny or a Mother? Unconscious Bias and Racial Stereotyping

Do You See a Nanny or a Mother? Unconscious Bias and Racial Stereotyping

The recent viral video of Professor Robert Kelly talking to the BBC via Skype has perfectly illustrated how unconscious bias works.

When his kids break into the room and interrupt the interview, an Asian lady comes to get them. Did you see a Nanny or a Mum? 

Having gone viral across the globe many US and other news outlets described the lady as Professor Kelly’s ‘maid’.  Her ethnicity clearly contributed to the rather preconditioned assessment that she was working for Professor Kelly.  The fact that this lady, Jung-a Kim may have been Professor Kelly’s wife failed to register.

This is, unfortunately, as clear a case of Unconscious Bias that I have witnessed in a long time. 

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‘Foreigners’: Tebbit's Language is a Dying Relic of the Past

‘Foreigners’: Tebbit's Language is a Dying Relic of the Past

Seriously, who uses the word ‘foreigners’ as a brush reference to the diverse nationalities living in and beyond the borders of the UK? This word surely is a relic? Something from the past? 

Sitting on my perch last night in my normal nightly semi-comatose state after a hard day's work in front of the TV,  I was aroused from my stupor by the following reaction of Norman Tebbit when discussing the right of EU nationals to remain in the UK post Brexit:

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