Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Intercultural teams are a reality in today's interdependent world economy. As human capital freely crosses national borders, more and more international companies are bringing togther people from different nationalities and cultures.
Although this may sound appealing the evidence suggests that intercultural teams can be quite volatile. Differences in cultures, working pratices, behaviours, opinions and world views are but a few of the challenges such teams face.
Unfortunately, managers and HR departments still believe that cultural differences will naturally iron themselves out. This is not the case.
If today's international businesses are to succeed, effective communication between personnel is critical. Culture must be emvbraced and used as a positive force to help build strong intercultural teams, rather then ignored and left to cause poor cohesion and team spirit.Read more: Intercultural Team Building
Singapore is best country in Asia to do business: survey
Singapore has been ranked the best country to do business in Asia. In a global survey by market research firm Taylor Nelson Sofres, Singapore came in fourth, just behind the US, Australia and Ireland.Read more: Singapore is best country in Asia to do business
Learn a Language
Learning languages has long been the Achilles Heal of the British, yet some recent signs are pointing towards a more positive understanding of how language can bring benefits.
Many people are learning foreign languages now due to owning holiday homes abroad or frequently visiting a country and feeling the need to converse with the locals. Others are realising the potential having a second language has in terms of career progression. International businesses are slowly realising that being mono-lingual does not translate into global presence.Read more: Learn a Language
Are you lonely tonight?
The slightly oddly named website, Spearmint Angels, is a new online matchmaking site for single expats in Singapore.
'We started the dating website because expatriates were writing in the forum that they were single and lonely and wanted to meet people,' explained website director Thomas Teo.Read more: Lonely expats find dates on the Net
New York Firefighters to receive diversity training
New York City's firefighters will soon all be receiving diversity training. Firefighters, as well as civilian employees, will use a number of intercultural learning techniques including role playing to help them experience prejudice and stereotyping.
Shame and Salespeople
A team of professors has studied the relationship between shame and sales and found dramatically different dynamics in 'Western' and 'Eastern' cultures.
"We focused on shame having found in earlier studies that the experience of this emotion is universal and can be quite intense among salespeople," explains Richard Bagozzi of Rice University's Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management. "What differs is how they cope with it or react to it, and, therefore, how it affects their performance."
The study focused on financial services salespeople in Holland and the Philippines. The professors found that "the experience of shame for Dutch salespeople was a threat to their uniqueness and self-worth." Dr. Bagozzi comments: "A Westerner copes typically by wanting to run away or hide to protect his or her core self ... That response might be to avoid the customer, for instance, who, they believe views them as a failure or an incompetent. The result is that their reactions harm their relationship with the customer and negatively affect their performance." Among Filipinos, the reaction to shame was quite different. "Filipinos and those who live in interdependent-based cultures see shame as a signal that social harmony has been disrupted," says Bagozzi.
"Instead of avoiding others in whose presence they feel shame," Bagozzi continues, "they feel the need to restore harmony and repair the damage to their relationship with the customer." So, where shame tends to hurt performance among Westerners, it helps among Easterners. It is important to note, however, that the majority of Western subjects in the study were men, over 31, only "a quarter of whom held university degrees ... Within the Filipino sample, a majority were highly educated women, 31 to 50 years old."
The study will be published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.
Translate Plymouth will operate as a not-for profit one-stop shop for local organisations in need of translators or interpreters.Read more: Translate Plymouth
Kwintessential Launch Intercultural Etiquette Training for UK Hospitality Industry
Kwintessential have added a new intercultural training course to their portfolio. The Intercultural Etiquette course for the Hospitality industry is aimed at UK based hotels, leisure complexes, caterers, restaurants, event and corporate entertainment organisers.
Having seen the need for such training through experience with previous clients in the industry, Kwintessential have decided to formulate a course to suit the particular requirements of the industry.
The course aims to equip managers and front of house staff with the proper cultural sensitivity when dealing with foreign guests to esnure the best customer service if offered.Read more: The Press Release
Cross Cultural Hospitality Training
Word of the Day: quagmire
quagmire \KWAG-myr; KWOG-\, noun:
1. Soft, wet, miry land that shakes or yields under the feet.
2. A difficult or precarious position or situation; a predicament.
. . . drenching rains that reduced all the roads to quagmires. --"The Career of a Soldier," New York Times, July 24, 1885
Slowly, inevitably, over the course of several months, Don Jaime's pupil draws him into a quagmire of plot and counterplot. --Walter Satterthwait, "Crossing Swords," New York Times, June 6, 1999Provided by Dictionary.com
Monday, January 10, 2005
Barclays - Wells Fargo merger talks
A new cross cultural merger may be hitting the business sections of our newspapers soon. Banking firm Barclays have reportedly held merger talks with North American rival Wells Fargo.
It is believed high level discussions took place between the banks in October and November, aimed at creating a global banking firm worth nearly £100bn.Read more: Barclays - Wells Fargo merger talks
Polish workers offered helping hand
Many Polish workers heading to west Wales will be offered job advice and English language lessons amid concerns that they could be exploited. Some Llanelli councillors voiced worries about integration after Poland and other countries joined the European Union.Read more: Polish workers offered helping hand
Interpreter shortage in cornwall
People in Cornwall who speak a second language are being urged to join a register of interpreters. Cornwall Social Services' current list has the names of 38 individuals, who speak a total of 24 different languages between them.
But there are significant gaps in the languages currently provided for, with few Arabic, Middle Eastern, Indian or Asian language-speakers.Read more: Need for Interpreters
Tibetan Website Launched
A Tibetan language website on Tibetan culture and progress in areas inhabited by Tibetan people opened recently in Qinghai Province, a multi-ethnic area in northwest China.
The website was launched by the Qinghai News Network, a key media organ in Qinghai, where 842,000 Tibetan people, or 19.6 percent of Qinghai's total population, live for generations.Visit the site
Investors in People urges focus on staff productivity
Investors in People (IIP) is urging managers to make improving employee productivity their top priority in 2005.
Its call follows recently released research by the Future Foundation, which shows that while UK bosses recognise the importance of staff development in delivering overall productivity, they are reluctant to invest in their staff to achieve this.Read more: Investors in People urges focus on staff productivity
Lingo-Link is a new site offering a telephone service to those expats in Spain with limited Spanish abilities. Looks like a useful service for those new to the country and struggling with the language.Visit Lingo-Link for more information.
San Diego Multicultural Festival
San Diegan’s will celebrate their unique cultural diversity at the Seventh Annual San Diego Multicul-tural Festival on Saturday, January 15, 2005.
“We are very proud to be involved in this annual event celebrating San Diego’s cultural diversity,�? said Peter Hall, Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC) president. “We hope this year’s festival builds on the success of years past and brings together an array of people to our booming downtown area.�?Read more: San Diego Multicultural Festival
New research from Lloyds TSB Business shows that, despite the presence of state of the art business communications such as videoconferencing, the majority of people still see the handshake as fundamental in building business relationships.Read more: The Handshake (pdf file)
Culture in Film Dubbing
Ever wondered how films retain their humour when dubbed into foreign languages? Many fail, but now due to a more cross culturally aware team dealing with the translations of major blockbuster films, films are finding it easier to travel abroad and appeal to foreign audiences.Read more: Movie-dubbing executive spans cultural gaps
Word of the Day: cosmopolite
cosmopolite \koz-MOP-uh-lyt\, noun:
1. One who is at home in every place; a citizen of the world; a cosmopolitan person.
2. (Ecology) An organism found in most parts of the world.
At first, Audubon made comparatively little impression in America, but he was an immediate success in Britain, where he presented himself alternately as a rustic backwoodsman and a sophisticated cosmopolite. --Alan Fern, "A Great Original's Great Originals," New York Times, December 12, 1993
He was a big-city sophisticate and moved easily in international film circles but, like his exact contemporary, the Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima (also a globetrotting cosmopolite), Pasolini rejected the glossy consumer culture that had made him famous in favor of the standards of an earlier, more rigid and more traditional society. --Edmund White, "Movies and Poems," New York Times, June 27, 1982Provided by Dictionary.com