Friday, February 10, 2006
barclaycard business travel survey
Nearly half (45%) of business travelers say they are traveling for business more in 2005/06 than they were in 2004/05. In contrast, actual miles traveled per month have decreased from 642 in 2004/05 to 608.5 in 2005/06.
The main reason given for the increase in business travel is business expansion, both overseas (33%) and in the UK (18%). Of those who say they are traveling less, 25% put this down to technology reducing the need.Read more: Barclays
singaporean aversion to risk leading to lack of entrepreneurial activity
Latest statistics from a global study show that 7.2 percent of Singaporean adults contributed to entrepreneurial activity in 2005.
This increase of 1.5 percentage points from the year before is also the biggest jump since 2001, when Singapore joined the global rankings. Singapore now ranks 8th among 20 developed countries for early stage entrepreneurial activity in 2005 - up 3 spots from 2004.
It fared well in areas such as regulation and pro-enterprise government programming, but ranked low in cultural perceptions of entrepreneurs. Wong Poh Kam, Director, NUS Entrepreneurship Centre, National University of Singapore, said, "The dimension really where Singapore is lacking behind other countries is in the social, cultural norms and values." Industry watchers say the general risk-averse attitude is hurting companies' chances of being funded.Read more: Singapore
2006 World Diversity Leadership Summit
The World Diversity Leadership Summit announces its 2006 gathering of corporate officials, leading experts and policymakers focused on global diversity practices. This year’s conference is hosted by the city of Prague, Czech Republic and will be held March 15-17, 2006 at the Hilton Prague. The conference theme, “Leveraging Local Diversity for Global Profit�? will include keynote speakers, panels, and workshops that examine global diversity activities which drive cost savings, productivity gains and new revenue opportunities.Read more: Conference
grapefruit site banned for being too fruity
A website hoping to promote grapefruit in Vietnam has been banned from using the fruit's name because of official fears of a mix-up with a penis.
The Vietnamese for grapefruit, buoi, sounds different from a slang word for penis, but without special accents it looks the same. The site, set up to market a grapefruit wholesaler in Ha Tinh province, was told to find another name.
"We have to refuse the website name of www.buoi.com.vn because the word for grapefruit, buoi, without a proper tone marking can be misunderstood," Thai Huu Ly, of the Vietnam Internet Network Information Centre, told the AFP agency.Read more: Fruity
internet developing in iraq
Three years ago, the Internet was virtually unknown in Iraq. But, the universal hunger to get online has made computer and Web services one of the few bright spots in Iraq's stagnant economy.
On Sinaa Street, the two-lane thoroughfare in central Baghdad lined with computer and software stores, business is brisk. Companies that install wireless networks and satellite dishes are also thriving, despite the irritation caused by frequent power failures. So are many Internet cafes.Read more: Iraq
word of the day: autodidact
autodidact \aw-toh-DY-dakt\, noun:
One who is self-taught.
He is our ultimate autodidact, a man who made himself from nothing into a lawyer, a legislator -- a president. -- Kevin Baker, "Log Cabin Values," New York Times, April 2, 2000
Consider the autodidact in Sartre's Nausea, who is somewhat unbelievably working his way alphabetically through an entire library. -- James Wood, "Human, All Too Inhuman," New Republic, July 24, 2000
Thursday, February 09, 2006
kwintessential lists top 6 british cultural blunders
Sarcasm, kissing a client's wife and making small talk are among the ways the British fail in foreign negotiations, an etiquette firm says.
Correct business practice can be a minefield abroad, according to cultural advisor Kwintessential. It has drawn up a list of the 6 worst offences, from casually handling a business card to speaking too fast. The company says basic training in cultural differences can create the "optimum conditions for negotiation".Read more: BBC
a cross cultural analysis of the cartoon debate
Many have been following the row over the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. What has grown to become "the mother of all cross cultural misunderstandings" still dominates the news. As a result of the row a Cairo based cross cultural consultant, Sahar El-Nadi, sent us in an article offering her point of view on the whole affair. Very much reflecting the majority of Muslims' opinions, Sahar offers us a balanced and rational observation of the events but through a cross cultural lens. In short, she concludes that much of the trouble has boiled down to one single issue, a lack of cultural awareness from both sides.Read more: A Cross Cultural Analysis of the Prophet Muhammad Cartoons
lithuania faces first racial discrimination case
Lithuania's equal opportunities watchdog has its first racial discrimination case, involving a complaint that a flower shop is overcharging the services of a Somali man dressed up as a hussar to deliver bouquets.
The ombudsman's office says it is examining a complaint that the shop employing 31-year-old Somali Thomas Amaikar overcharges customers by almost doubling the fee when he makes the delivery. The complaint says the company is exploiting the man's ethnicity in its pricing structure.Read more: Lithuania
eu resolutions on linguistic and cultural diversity
Respect for linguistic and cultural diversity is one of the cornerstones of the European Union, now enshrined in Article 22 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, which states "The Union respects cultural, religious and linguistic diversity." On the initiative of the European Parliament, which has adopted a series of resolutions on this subject, the European Union has taken action to safeguard and promote the regional and minority languages of Europe.Read more: EU
culture shapes winners in sport
Everyone has theories of what it takes to win an Olympic gold medal and now a Stanford University study suggests the theories vary according to culture.
The researchers found when U.S. athletes and commentators explain exceptional performance, they emphasize the individual's athletic strength and skill, such as powerful feet, robotic stride and mental toughness. But the study showed Japanese focus on athletes' training and preparation, such as studying judo since elementary school or overcoming previous athletic failures.
Japanese athletes and media are also more likely than Americans to believe the contribution of coaches and the athlete's emotional state are important factors in winning, the researchers said. "By analyzing the products people make and consume we find that people understand the 'same' world very differently," lead author Hazel Rose Markus said. "If we don't understand the context-specific theories or models that others are using ... we are likely to seriously misunderstand the behavior of others."Read more: Sports
intercultural awareness oils the cogs of transnational business
Offices around the world are increasingly becoming multi-cultural and effective cross cultural communication with a colleague from China or America depends on an understanding of their cultural background says Eleonore Breukel.
“How people around the world collaborate is strongly connected to their cultural background,�? stated the cross cultural training consultant, coach and principal consultant of Intercultural Communication b v in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Her statement could very well be applied to India. With more companies, even the smallest ones, joining hands with their foreign counterparts, it has become imperative that employees of either company be trained in communicating with each other.Read more: Breukel
intercultural synergy crucial in mergers says India's Coca Cola HR President
Problems in cultural integration could throw entities formed after merger of companies into a disarray even if they have synergies in areas of operation, a key human resources official has said.
Pointing out at studies suggesting that mergers and acquisitions mostly fail due to unsuccessful cultural integration, Coca-Cola India Vice President-HR Adil Malia suggested organisations to form a cultural migration team to facilitate the smooth amalgamations and acquisitions. Intercultural Synergy in Mergers and Acquisitions should be a top priority for HR staff said Malia. He suggested human resources managers use positive interventions like building effective relationships with employees.Read more: India
timberlake's tatoos get lost in translation
We came across a funny piece of news regarding singer Justin Timberlake. For his role in the upcoming film 'Alpha Dog' the director decided a few tatoos would help create the right image. He was promtly donned with a few fake Chinese tatoos and filming continued.
It was only after the film had been shot that Chinese nationals pointed out that one of his tatoos actually said "ice skating"!!Read more: Timberlake
chinese internet heavyweights to target overseas markets
At least six China internet firms will tap overseas markets this year to raise between $500 million and one billion in their initial public offerings, the South China Morning Post reported, citing an industry research report.
Chinese internet players such as the country's largest online marketplace Alibaba.com, mobile music service provider A8 Limited and online community service provider China Interactive Corp will seek listings this year, the Hong Kong-based newspaper quoted the report as saying.Read more: China.com
good news for languages in uk schools
At last some good news on the state of language teaching in schools, with signs that the Government's primary languages strategy is taking off in earnest. A new programme to teach children aged seven to 11 a range of languages - French, Spanish, German and Mandarin - has been devised by Monkseaton Community High School in North Tyneside, one of the Government's specialist languages colleges. It is available to every primary school in the country and has actually been bought by more than 1,200 of them.
This means that, even if a school has no languages specialists on its staff, it will still be able to meet the Government's pledge to offer languages to every child from the age of seven who wants to learn one.Read more: Language
ann summers' cross cultural marketing blunder
Ann Summers has become the latest entity guilty of a complete lack of intercultural awareness, astonishingly right in the middle of another cross cultural misunderstanding over the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
The cross cultural marketing blunder revolves around the launch of a new blow-up doll by Ann Summers. A genius in the marketing department managed to come up with the name "Mustafa Shags" for the doll (for any non-British readers, 'shag' refers to the intimate act between a man and woman). 'Mustafa' apart from being a Muslim name is also one of the names of the Prophet Muhammad. Bestowing it upon, in the words of its catalogue, "an inflatable escort for your hen-night adventures" is considered offensive by Muslims. As a result of complaints the company is now considering re-naming the product.Read more: Ann Summers
israel to build "museum of tolerance" on muslim graveyard
Skeletons are being removed from the site of an ancient Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem to make way for a $150m (£86m) "museum of tolerance" being built for the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre.
Palestinians have launched a legal battle to stop the work at what was the city's main Muslim cemetery. The work is to prepare for the construction of a museum which seeks the promotion of "unity and respect among Jews and between people of all faiths".Read more: Israel
german translators go to court for better deal
They are the starvelings of literature: translators. But now they are fighting back after a recent court case said translators should get a percentage of book sales. The dispute has the publishing industry worried.Read more: Germany
cultural diversity boosts companies' bottom line says research
Equality and cultural diversity in the workplace are qualities which can boost a company's bottom line, according to the results of new research.
A study by the European Social Fund and the Welsh Assembly Government has found nearly seven out of 10 small to medium enterprises in Wales have said that business has improved since signing up to equality and diversity in the workplace. They cite easier recruitment, a wider choice of skilled labour and compliance with contract requirements as among the benefits of implementing an effective policy on equality - which covers age, race, gender, religion and sexual orientation.Read more: Equality
us company targets china through chinese website
Wright Williams & Kelly, Inc., a cost & productivity management software and consulting services company, announced today the launch of its new web site which includes both Traditional and Simplified Chinese language translations. The addition of both languages is in recognition of the key role that Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are playing in high tech manufacturing.
"This latest addition to our web presence, which is now over a decade old, is very exciting," stated David Jimenez, WWK's President. "The center of gravity in high tech manufacturing is leaning towards Southeast Asia and the powerful influence of China and Taiwan. Providing the content of WWK's English language web site in both Traditional and Simplified Chinese is the next step in upgrading our support for that region of the world."Read more: WWK
air china to offer internet access
Air China Ltd., in Beijing, has signed a deal with The Boeing Co.'s Connexion by Boeing to offer Internet access on some international flights, Boeing said in a statement.
Under terms of the deal, Air China will offer the Connexion by Boeing in-flight Internet service on up to 15 aircraft, Boeing said. Installation of the equipment necessary for the service will begin in October. In-flight Internet access will initially be offered on Boeing 747-400 aircraft and may be expanded to other aircraft types, it said.Read more: Air China
arabic translation conference, beirut
The Second International Translation Conference:
Successful Experiences, Projects and Technologies in Translation
(18 – 20 September 2006)
Phoenicia Intercontinental Hotel, Beirut, Lebanon
Organised by: Arab Thought Foundation, key universities and international professional organisationsRead more: Conference
word of the day: deus ex machina
deus ex machina \DAY-uhs-eks-MAH-kuh-nuh; -nah; -MAK-uh-nuh\, noun:
1. In ancient Greek and Roman drama, a god introduced by means of a crane to unravel and resolve the plot.
2. Any active agent who appears unexpectedly to solve an apparently insoluble difficulty.
In times of affluence and peace, with technology that always seems to arrive like a deus ex machina to solve any problem, it becomes easy to believe that life is perfectible. -- Stephanie Gutmann, The Kinder, Gentler Military
But we also need the possibility of cataclysm, so that, when situations seem hopeless, and beyond the power of any natural force to amend, we may still anticipate salvation from a messiah, a conquering hero, a deus ex machina, or some other agent with power to fracture the unsupportable and institute the unobtainable. -- Stephen Jay Gould, Questioning the Millennium