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.

What is the Business Negotiation Culture in the USA?

Negotiation-in-USA

Imagine you’ve been asked to play an unfamiliar board game and that you’re instructed to play it without any understanding of the rules.

You soon begin to irritate other players by making mistakes and getting things wrong and, after a while, the game becomes a stressful and confusing experience.

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Chinese Firms Face Tough Cultural Challenges in US Marketplace

US-China-Business-Culture-Clash

We hear a lot in the news about cultural differences with Western companies going East, but rarely about Eastern companies coming to the West.

A great little article in the South China Morning Post by Mark Magnier suggests that when it comes to navigating different business cultures, Chinese companies are finding very similar challenges when working on the global stage, especially in the USA.

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How is Thai Culture Different to American Culture?

buddha-statues-chiangmai

Living abroad gives you some excellent insights into foreign cultures and some of the key cultural differences viz-a-viz other cultures.

In this blog, we hear from someone who spent some time living in Thailand and her reflections on Thai culture; in particular how it differs to US culture.

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Exporting to The USA from The UK - Cultural Differences

uk-usa-trade-culture

With talk of a mega trade deal between The USA and The UK, British business is gearing up for a potential export rush across The Atlantic.

To help prepare British exporters for future opportunities, The Institute of Export and Open to Export recently hosted a webinar to which Commisceo Global were invited to speak.

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Are American and Iranian Cultures Really So Different?

Are American and Iranian Cultures Really So Different?

Once again, tensions between America and Iran are high; inspiring the usual flurry of media accounts keen to elaborate on the cultural and political differences between the two countries.

While, in the West, we depict the USA as ‘free’ and democratic, Iran, is typically reported as oppressive, authoritarian and in the grips of ‘crazed’ mullahs.

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Cultural Differences When Working in The USA

Cultural Differences When Working in The USA

Did you know that the USA is one of our most in-demand countries in terms of cross-cultural training?

We support a diverse spectrum of business professionals from across the globe who work with Americans by helping them understand the culture, and specifically the business culture.

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Quirky Cultural Facts About The US of A

Quirky Cultural Facts About The US of A

We spend most of our time at Commisceo working on serious cultural stuff, such as, how to negotiate successfully with the Americans, or, how to give good service to American customers.

Every so often however, we feel that need to go off at a tangent and indulge in some of the quirkier aspects of culture!

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Three Key Cultural Differences for Indians Working in the USA

Three Key Cultural Differences for Indians Working in the USA

Did you know that Indians form the second largest group of immigrants in America, with Mexicans taking the top spot?

Although Indian expats may enter the US with a typically high level of education under their belts and a strong work ethic, they often find cultural differences between the US and India quite a challenge.

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Place Name Disputes Everyone in Global Business Should Know About

Place Name Disputes Everyone in Global Business Should Know About

President Trump’s recent speech outlining his stance on the Iran nuclear-deal has caused outrage among Iranians, not for his position on the deal and potential new sanctions, but for his knowledge of geography.

When referring to his decision to withdraw presidential certification for the Iranian-deal, Trump stated that Iran’s regime “harasses American ships and threatens freedom of navigation in the Arabian Gulf and in the Red Sea.”

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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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Dear President-elect of the United States

Dear President-elect of the United States

What is clear from your election campaign is that if you are truly going to be a President for "All Americans", then you need some help.

Let's talk straight Mr. T - you've alienated people. Mexicans and Muslims are probably hiding under pillows while Chancellor Merkel and President Xi Jinping are already worried about you embarrasing them.

Some of your campaign messages and sentiments displayed immense bias, premised on stereotypes, informed by a myopic interpretation of our world. What you need is some training, some coaching and some loving.

You have "Great" ambitions - but these can never be realised without embracing the positivity of cultural diversity at home and abroad.

So, Mr, President-elect of the USA, we are offering you access to our consultancy, our courses, our training - anything you need.

We could design a course about Islam for you, a training session on doing business with Mexicans, a workshop on self-awareness and unconscious bias or how about some diplomatic etiquette training to prepare you for global summits? Whatever you need - we will help.

So give us a call and let's get to work!

#mytip4trump

Knowing you are a big fan of Twitter, we have also started a hashtag #mytip4trump for people to send you tips on working across cultural lines.

This is going to become an amazing resource for you - people will have tips for you on your foriegn diplomatic visits, how to address certain ethnic minorities at home, how your communiation style may need tempering or simly some tips on how to become more aware of cultural differences.

You're welcome!
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Cultural Awareness Training helps US Army Cadets Build Bridges

Cultural Awareness Training helps US Army Cadets Build Bridges
Cultural awareness is important in today's day and age. Businesses, government bodies, the third sector and public services all realise the need to understand and embrace cultural diversity at many levels. The military is no exception; as illustrated by the US Army, cultural awareness training is reaping rewards.
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Cultural Diversity: How the US Healthcare Act is Lost in Translation

Cultural Diversity: How the US Healthcare Act is Lost in Translation

The new American Affordable Care Act might sound like a great change, but the cultural diversity of the US population is giving rise to a number of difficulties. Translation is one of them.

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Catholics Take More Risks than Protestants

Catholics Take More Risks than Protestants
Like living life on the edge? Try a Catholic mutual fund! A study from the University of Georgia and the Southern Methodist University has shown that the amount of risk mutual funds take corresponds to the religion of the local populous and the fund manager. Catholics are risk takers apparently.
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Boston companies use Cultural Awareness to lure Chinese Tourists

Boston companies use Cultural Awareness to lure Chinese Tourists

As many Chinese tourists only pay a brief visit to the city, local Boston companies are now getting training to increase their appeal to this important group of visitors (and revenue stream).

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Tesco close American stores due to Cultural Differences

Tesco close American stores due to Cultural Differences

Tesco has recently announced that their chain of American supermarkets, Fresh & Easy, will be closed entirely. The reason for this? Unexpected cultural differences.

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Gamification and Cultural Differences

Gamification and Cultural Differences
Playing games at work? From the work floor to education, gamification is becoming more and more common in a lot of areas. But the practice isn’t as straightforward as it seems: cultural differences prevent game developers from distributing one single game for different countries. Want to know what should be done to these games to cross the globe? 
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Three-steps: Marketing to the Hispanic and Latino community

Three-steps: Marketing to the Hispanic and Latino community
Targeting the Hispanic and Latino community? Learn how language and cultural differences could impact a marketing campaign.

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Review: Yanks in Blighty

Donna Marsh is a business woman and cultural awareness trainer specialising in many fields. Over her 30 year professional career she has visited more than 140 countries. As a strue globe-trotter this has given her a great insight into the field of intercultural communication, awareness and skills.

Now this experience has translated itself into a new publication entitled "Yanks in Blighty". As the title suggests the book is aimed at Americans moving, working or living in the UK who are looking for a better understanding of their new environment and the natives.

Review:

Having readthe book we are pleased to offer a glowing review and thoroughly recommend it to our readers. The one major factor that sticks out in the book is how much ground is covered in terms of topics. Donna leaves no stones unturned in her examination of what the UK is, where it is and how it is. We are given quick, informative facts on subjects such as the present situation the country is in, the Royal Family, government, the cultural diversity of the population, language, transport, housing, health care and of course the weather. In short this book contains probably everything anyone would ever need when moving to the country.

As well as the fantastic details, the book also offers the reader answers to questions they were probably thinking but most authors never thought to answer. Although it may sound trivial, knowing how a washing machine works, how the rubbish (or should I say trash?) is collected and when the sales start are all little things people really do need to know.

The book wins in a lot of ways due to its focus. As it is targetted at Americans specifically wanting to understand the UK it allows the author the luxury on concentrating on what they want to know and specific areas of concern for Americans (rather than some other nationality).

Excerpt:

"As a rule, the British are likely to overlook or at least keep silent about most social behaviour that they do not approve of. Queue jumping a notable exception."

Where to buy?

You can buy the book by clicking the link below to Amazon or at any decent online bookstore. The ISBN is 978-1-906710-37-8.


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Organisations Failing in Cross Cultural Up-Skilling



Leading research and workplace innovation company, Career Innovation (Ci) has today published the results of its latest study, Cross-Cultural Development Conversations.

Carried out across 45 leading companies worldwide, the new study has found that although organisations are aware of the need to skill up their leaders to manage the cross-cultural workforce, few have acted to make this a reality.

At a time when the pace and scale of globalisation has never been higher, competition for the best talent remains intense. The effectiveness of development conversations in organisations is known to play a significant role in engaging and retaining key talent. Factoring in the complexity of a diverse and dispersed workforce makes it even tougher to ensure that these conversations are at their most effective.

According to the 45 organisations interviewed (Sept-Nov 08), the business importance of working effectively across cultures is high and rising. Most are already operating complex organizations across multiple regions and almost all (91%) indicated they expect cultural diversity in their organisations to increase over the next 3-5 years, with nearly 50% expecting a “significant increase”.

The study revealed three top factors that impact cross-cultural development conversations:

The directness of communication style
Language differences – especially when people are not communicating in their first language
The need to establish high levels of trust across cultures, in order for development conversations to be effective

Differences between Asian and Western cultures were consistently reported as a particular challenge by respondents with 50% of organisations reporting this as an issue.

Companies identified many key employee development processes that are impacted by these cultural hurdles. For example, 60% of organisations said that coaching relationships can be much tougher to establish in some cultures than in others. Giving feedback can also present challenges, with one company finding that its Chinese employees quit after receiving challenging feedback.

“This issue has a big impact on global organisations”, says Ci’s founder Jonathan Winter. “Although they are increasingly aware of the need to encourage meaningful dialogue with employees about their careers and development, only a few have really taken on board the additional complexities overlaid by the cross-cultural dimension. Left unresolved the cross-cultural conversation gap hits the bottom line in a way companies can ill afford in today’s tough times.”

Organisations who are placing the strongest focus on building their employees’ cross-cultural competence report significant benefits including improved attraction and retention rates.

Following on from this study and Ci’s previous Conversation Gap research, Ci will be developing its existing career tools and approaches to encourage more leaders to develop cross-cultural thinking as part of their everyday style. Winter offers an example of how this will be incorporated, “Our Engaging Conversations multi-rater tool is already helping mangers around the world improve their staff dialogue skills and habits. We’re going to take that to the next stage and incorporate the cross-cultural dimension”.

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