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.

When Cultural Ignorance becomes a Costly Mess

When Cultural Ignorance becomes a Costly Mess

Case studies from real business life are always the most powerful of ways to highlight the importance of local knowledge and cultural awareness for those operating in foreign countries. Often ignored or undervalued, this lack of sensitivity can sometimes have messy outcomes.

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New national standards on intercultural respect at work

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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Young Expats - what is being done?


Michele Bar-Pereg investigates ways in which global mobility professionals can assist this group in making their assignments successful.

Transferees on their first assignments abroad— especially young, single expatriates—often are unaware of some of the more challenging effects of life without a support network of friends, family, and colleagues.


I have discovered a general feeling among global mobility professionals that, back in the 1980s and even 1990s, ambitious executives clearly did not discuss or influence their career prospects by talking about the separation of work and personal life. It was a far more macho society, where ambition was all that seemed to matter. Today, most singles on the global mobility career path have a far more balanced view of the segregation of work and personal life.


Single transferees often assume that they have a trouble-free paradise in front of them. They not only have their youth, but they are on the first step of the career ladder—often without some of the physical and emotional baggage of their counterparts—and appear to be able to function without the network of home, family, and other social associations.


On the surface, it sometimes appears that it is relatively easy for young people to recognise country cultures and deal with life accordingly. Younger people seem to be able to capitalise on similarities without being too bothered by the differences. This is, of course, to the good; however, our younger transferees often are caught off-guard when cultural differences emerge and suddenly get in the way of doing business.

Read more > Expatica

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Overseas investors should respect local culture

Overseas investors should respect local culture
The Fiji Hotel Workers Union is urging overseas investors and expatriates managing hotels and resorts in Fiji to understand and respect the Cultures of the Fijian workers of this country.




Union General Secretary Daniel Urai says some of the bad remarks that are common in hotels by expatriate management should be stopped.

Urai says this was one of the reasons why some of his members had gone on a protest recently against the management of the RADDISONS RESORT at Denarau in Nadi.

“We have expatriate management who make counter-sending remarks to workers and we have addressed this in some other properties and some expatriates have been reviewed the way or they manage locals in the way they utter statement and words, to them and hopefully this will now change in the future.”

The dispute was finally settled by the union and the Resort management.Read more >> Fiji 
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Intercultural Cities Conference 1-3 May 2008 Liverpool

Intercultural Cities Conference 1-3 May 2008 Liverpool

An official UK event for the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008





In the cities of today and tomorrow, how can people from different cultures really live together - rather than just rub along side one another?
As part of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, the Intercultural Cities Conference, will look at migration, diversity and urban life in a fresh way.  New thinking is needed on how diverse communities can co-operate in productive harmony instead of leading parallel or antagonistic lives.

The conference is organised by EUCLID and Comedia, in association with the Liverpool Culture Company, and with the support of the European Commission and the Council of Europe.

Taking place in this year's European Capital of Culture the conference will not only provide an opportunity to look at how different cultures can live together but how mixing can be turned to economic, social and cultural advantage - key issues particularly for those responsible for planning and regeneration, the local economy, community cohesion, education and the cultural services.

The three day event  will feature various European and international speakers, such as globalisation guru Saskia Sassen, the world authority on diversity and city planning Leonie Sandercock, Lord Bhikhu Parekh, who says it is time to rethink multiculturalism, city leadership expert Carol Coletta, Keith Khan who leads the campaign to make the London 2012 Olympics an unprecedented intercultural festival, and leading European city politicians including Ilda Curti and Pascale Bonniel Chalier.

The conference format will break with convention in pursuit of maximum interaction between delegates and speakers.  There will also be the opportunity to get out into Liverpool to see some examples of intercultural dialogue and delegates can also choose from various extra activities, such as a dinner at Anfield, the home of Liverpool Football Club, featuring comedian Shazia Mirza.

Full details can be found at http://inter.culture.info/icc including the early bird booking fee, only available until 31 March
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Expatriate cultural coaching improves performance

High Expectations

Most people believe that international assignments are easy and "first-time" expatriates always start off with an excited and optimistic attitude. On the receiving end in the host foreign company, the managers and other employees have high expectations for the newcomers who bring new skills and insights. Although most of these employees have never been on an international assignment, they usually expect an expatriate to immediately perform as valuable experts. They anticipate that these new arrivals will adjust, make decisions rapidly and maneuver across cultures with ease. Most simply expect the expat to get to work immediately and to perform better than others.

 

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Cultural diversity and mental health

One out of 35 people in the world is an immigrant, and in virtually every country, different languages, beliefs and cultures coexist. In this context, promoting mental health requires incorporating cultural sensitivity into mental health services and programs, experts said today at a special event held to observe World Mental Health Day 2007.

"Culture and diversity are central to the everyday perceptions, behavior, and interactions of individuals," said Dr. Carissa Etienne, Assistant Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). "It is no wonder therefore that culture and diversity influence the way that mental illness manifests itself, how individuals and communities perceive and cope with this illness, and how health care providers diagnose, treat, and care for persons with mental illness."

Led by the World Federation for Mental Health and supported by PAHO and other institutions, this year's World Mental Health Day focuses on the growing importance of cultural competency and sensitivity in ensuring effective mental health programs and services around the world.

Read more: WFMH 
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Cultural diversity and mental health

One out of 35 people in the world is an immigrant, and in virtually every country, different languages, beliefs and cultures coexist. In this context, promoting mental health requires incorporating cultural sensitivity into mental health services and programs, experts said today at a special event held to observe World Mental Health Day 2007.

"Culture and diversity are central to the everyday perceptions, behavior, and interactions of individuals," said Dr. Carissa Etienne, Assistant Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). "It is no wonder therefore that culture and diversity influence the way that mental illness manifests itself, how individuals and communities perceive and cope with this illness, and how health care providers diagnose, treat, and care for persons with mental illness."

Led by the World Federation for Mental Health and supported by PAHO and other institutions, this year's World Mental Health Day focuses on the growing importance of cultural competency and sensitivity in ensuring effective mental health programs and services around the world.

Read more: WFMH 
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Cross Cultural Interviews

Cross Cultural 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. One area of note where HR and management are finding difficulties is in the interview room.

With companies recruiting from a pool of candidates from different nationalities, cultures and faiths the cross cultural interview is an area that must be analysed properly if recruiters wish to capitalize on the potential available to them. This is necessary to ensure that candidates in cross cultural interviews are not discriminated against through misperceptions and poor judgements.

Read more: Cross Cultural Interviews 
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