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Cultural intelligence and intercultural sensitivity: the key elements of expatriate success

In a workplace scenario, cross-cultural competence can be defined as the ability to function effectively in a multicultural setting: a “culturally competent” employee is expected to be able to interact and communicate with people coming from different cultural backgrounds, and to understand (and contextualize) the impact of culture on their…

Category : Articles   11-05-2021   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Forgiveness In Individualistic and Collectivist Cultures

Do not be concerned with the faults of other persons. Do not see others' faults with a hateful mind. There is an old saying that if you stop seeing others' faults, then naturally seniors and venerated and juniors are revered. Do not imitate others' faults; just cultivate virtue. Buddha prohibited…

Category : Articles   09-02-2021   by Maria Antonietta Marino

The curious case of the Iceberg of Ignorance, an "allegedly" relevant study (or so they say) - 6th Issue

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts   - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle -   *** Dear Reader, You might have noticed that lately, I’ve been writing about culture and leadership: while there’s quite a lot of interesting material…

Category : Mudita's digest   09-02-2021   by Maria Antonietta Marino

The cultural context in business communication, a cross country comparison

One of the most effective ways to learn about oneself is by taking seriously the cultures of others. It forces you to pay attention to those details of life which differentiate them from you - Edward T. Hall, The Silent Language - ***   To continue with the topic of cross-cultural differences in outsourcing…

Category : Articles   03-02-2021   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Leadership styles across cultures, an overview

Go to the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. But with the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say 'We have done this ourselves'. - Lao Tzu - ***   In last week’s article…

Category : Articles   26-01-2021   by Maria Antonietta Marino

West meets East: the impact of organizational culture on outsourcing projects

As soon as we start putting our thoughts into words and sentences everything gets distorted, language is just no damn good—I use it because I have to, but I don’t put any trust in it. We never understand each other - Marcel Duchamp -   ***   An article published by Software Mind indicates India…

Category : Articles   19-01-2021   by admin

The impact of cultural differences on visual perception

A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts. - James Allen, As a Man Thinketh - *** If you were asked which three items of these five best belong together, which ones would you choose, and why? If you chose three items that share similar…

Category : Articles   18-01-2021   by admin

Challenges and misconceptions in intercultural negotiations

Where two principles really do meet which cannot be reconciled with one another, then each man declares the other a fool and a heretic. - Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty - *** Negotiation, “an interaction and process between entities who compromise to agree on matters of mutual interest, while optimizing their individual utilities”, has…

Category : Articles   11-01-2021   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Cultural variations in responses to workplace incivility

Bıçak yarası geçer, dil yarası geçmez (Words cut deeper than swords) - Turkish Proverb - *** With regard to the ethnic/cultural group you belong to (for example: Anglo-American, Asian-American, upper-class Croatian, rural Thais, etc.), how would you choose to answer the following questions?   1. The concept of 'family' includes: - parents, spouse, and children; - all extended…

Category : Articles   04-01-2021   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Linguistic relativity and color naming across cultures

Every language is a vast pattern-system, different from others, in which are culturally ordained the forms and categories by which the personality not only communicates, but also analyzes nature, notices or neglects types of relationship and phenomena, channels his reasoning, and builds the house of his consciousness. - Benjamin Lee Whorf,…

Category : Articles   21-12-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Challenges in cross cultural marketing and advertising

Understanding languages and other cultures builds bridges. It is the fastest way to bring the world closer together and to Truth. Through understanding, people will be able to see their similarities before differences. - Suzy Kassem - *** "The world’s worst advertising gaffe": a cross-cultural perspective on the "D&G Loves China" campaign.   In two…

Category : Articles   15-11-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Language, Thought, and Reality - 4th Issue

Language is the most massive and inclusive art we know, a mountainous and anonymous work of unconscious generations. - Edward Sapir -   *** Dear Reader, Please allow me to start this fourth issue of "Oddities & Curiosities" with a huge THANK YOU. Since October, when the 3rd issue landed in your inboxes, several exciting milestones have been…

Category : Mudita's digest   03-12-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Narcissism and competitive communication in individualistic cultures

"When the healthy pursuit of self-interest and self-realization turns into self-absorption, other people can lose their intrinsic value in our eyes and become mere means to the fulfilment of our needs and desires." - P.M. Forni, The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude- *** Conversational Narcissism, described by sociologist Charles Derber…

Category : Articles   04-11-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

The Sub-Saharan Africa Cluster

If everyone helps to hold up the sky, then one person does not become tired. - Askhari Johnson Hodari, Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs - The Sub-Saharan Africa cluster - that, according to the Globe Project, includes Namibia, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa (Black population. White population considered as part…

Expressions of power and status in non-verbal communication

You can't possibly have a reasonable expectation of privacy at your income level.  - Gregory Scott Katsoulis, All Rights Reserved - *** As highlighted in the latest issue of Mudita’s newsletter, both chronemics - the study of the use of time in non-verbal communication - and proxemics - the study of human use of space and the effects…

Category : Articles   26-10-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

The Middle East Cluster

This Proto-Indo-European term ghosti referred to a kind of unspoken etiquette, a notion that on seeing strangers on the horizon, rather than choose to fell them with spears or sling-shots, instead we should take the risk of welcoming them across our threshold – on the chance that they might bring…

The Role Of Chronemics And Proxemics In Communication - 3rd Issue

"For negotiations or meetings, it is always wise to lure others into your territory, or the territory of your choice. You have your bearings, while they see nothing familiar and are subtly placed on the defensive." - Robert Greene, The 48 Laws of Power - *** Dear Reader, Welcome to the third issue of "Oddities &…

Category : Mudita's digest   08-10-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Global Leadership and Time Management Skills

Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first. - Angela Ahrendts -  *** The findings of studies conducted over the years suggest that cultural diversity and the misunderstandings that often arise as a result of different temporal perspectives have an impact on staff retention: workers will either…

Category : Articles   29-09-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

ACAMS DUBLIN - Cross-cultural communication, the costly risk of misunderstandings

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. - George Bernard Shaw - *** One of the main characteristics of intercultural communication is that it usually takes place between "strangers": people born and raised in different environments, accustomed to often divergent sets of values and beliefs, which…

Category : Articles   25-09-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Time Management Across Different Cultures - 2nd Issue

"Aside from velcro, time is the most mysterious substance in the universe. You can't see it or touch it, yet a plumber can charge you upwards of seventy-five dollars per hour for it, without necessarily fixing anything." - Dave Barry - *** Dear Reader,   Welcome to the second issue of "Oddities & Curiosities", Mudita's "no-frills", irregular…

Category : Mudita's digest   21-09-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Oddities and Curiosities - 1st Issue

"Great ideas have the power to shift perception to create value where it didn’t exist before." - Alan Philips - *** Dear Reader, Thank you wholeheartedly for subscribing to Mudita's School, and welcome to the first issue of "Oddities & Curiosities", our "no-frills", irregular newsletter.   As some of you may already know, Mudita Consultancy is…

Category : Mudita's digest   20-09-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Buyer Personas and the role of lifestyle, values, and beliefs in market segmentation

If I have a handful of silver it is because I work and my wife works, and we do not, as some do, sit idling over a gambling table or gossiping on doorsteps never swept, letting the fields grow to weeds and our children go half-fed! - Pearl S. Buck…

Category : Articles   03-09-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

The Latin Europe Cluster

I had forgotten how gently time passes in Paris. As lively as the city is, there's a stillness to it, a peace that lures you in. In Paris, with a glass of wine in your hand, you can just be. - Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale - *** The Latin Europe cluster includes France, Israel (considered…

The importance of context in the communication process

Dear Reader, As you may have noticed, Mudita has recently launched its first course (available here): going forward, I will share here on the blog snippets of the courses that are currently on offer or due to launch soon. Here’s a short preview of the course on Intercultural Communication: hope you’ll…

Category : Articles   25-08-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

The Germanic Europe Cluster

I remember learning German - so beautiful, so strange - at school in Australia on the other side of the earth. I liked the sticklebrick nature of it, building long supple words by putting short ones together. Things could be brought into being that had no name in English -…

The Eastern Europe Cluster

But they could neither of them persuade me, for there is nothing dearer to a man than his own country and his parents, and however splendid a home he may have in a foreign country, if it be far from father or mother, he does not care about it. - Homer, The…

The Nordic Cluster

The Swedish system is best understood not in terms of socialism, but in terms of Rousseau, he continued: Rousseau was an extreme egalitarian and he really hated any kind of dependence --depending on other people destroyed your integrity, your authenticity-- therefore the ideal situation was one where every citizen was…

Introducing Mudita Consultancy new features

Those of you who have come to know Mudita well will know that community and communication live at the core of everything we do. This year, we’re looking to put all of you lovely people well and truly ‘on the map’.   It’s a pleasure for us to announce that in the…

Category : Articles   08-06-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

II/II Virtual Teams: the implications of socio-emotional distance

Every once in a while, people need to be in the presence of things that are really far away.   - Ian Frazier - *** Dear readers, While in the previous article we’vetalked about proxemics, territoriality, and contact to introduce the topic ofspace management across different cultures, this week we’re going toexplore some of thefactors…

Category : Articles   23-04-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

I/II - Virtual Teams: space management across different cultures

Distance has the same effect on the mind as on the eye - Samuel Johnson, The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia *** The recent Coronavirus outbreak compelled the majority of organizations around the world to roll out mandatory remote working for their staff: while some employees are not new to remote working, for…

Category : Articles   30-03-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Global leadership and the differences between Indian and American culture

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. - George Bernard Shaw - ***   Dear readers, in a previous article about the importance of cultural compatibility in outsourcing it’s been highlighted that the top locations for outsourcing deals are either Asian (Confucian Asia/Southern Asia) or Latin American countries,…

Category : Articles   18-03-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

The Latin America Cluster

Yes, Latinos dream more. When you live in poverty, when your president is imposed upon you, when they kill someone and no one gets indicted, and when only a few get rich, of course you dream more. It's no coincidence that magic realism happens in Latin America, because for us…

Filipino business ethics and the importance of cultural compatibility in outsourcing

Naim-imbág ti matáy ta malipátanen ngem ti agbiág a maibabaín; (“It's better to be dead and forgotten than to live in shame”)   - Tagalog proverb - *** To quote Andrew Quartly, British outsourcing consultant with specialism in Sales and Marketing based in the Philippines, “Outsourcing is an attractive option to all businesses small and…

Category : Articles   09-03-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

The Southern Asia cluster

India lives in several centuries at the same time. - Arundhati Roy, Power Politics -   After the Anglo- and the Confucian-Asia cluster, this series about effective global leadership continues with the Southern-Asia cluster. - How important is hierarchy in Indian business culture? - What does the Filipino concept of “Pakisisama” (a term that comes from…

Ethnocentrism, the biggest threat to global organizations

If anyone, no matter who, were given the opportunity of choosing from amongst all the nations in the world the set of beliefs which he thought best, he would inevitably—after careful considerations of their relative merits—choose that of his own country. Everyone without exception believes his own native customs, and…

Category : Articles   27-02-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

The Confucian-Asia cluster

The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions. - Confucius - The shame-based Confucian-Asia cluster - that includes China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan - is home to high-context, polychronic cultures, that prefer an indirect communication style (context is more important than words) and that see time as…

The Anglo Cluster

This is the story of America. Everybody's doing what they think they're supposed to do. - Jack Kerouac, On The Road -   As anticipated in the previous article , the Globe Project - a study on cross-cultural leadership - groups the societal cultures object of the research into ten major culture clusters,…

Global Leadership, an introduction to culture clusters

Dear readers, Those of you who’ve been following this blog for the past few months might be already familiar with Hofstede’s framework and with the concept of cultural dimensions (infographics available here): let me now introduce you to Project GLOBE (Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness Research), a study about Leadership…

Global business networking and the hidden dangers of LinkedIn

1. Ethical concerns as a small (unverified) business owner LinkedIn - “the world’s largest professional network”, boasts over “660+ million users in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide”, has the mission to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful” and the vision to “create economic opportunity…

Category : Articles   03-02-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

#AskMudita Current topic: Main cultural differences between Latin- and North America

Dear readers, This is an example of the messages I occasionally receive through the online form:   “Dear Sir/Madam, I am writing to ask if you could please point me in the right direction. I am South American and have a hard time understanding certain personality traits Americans have, especially in the workplace.…

Category : Articles   23-01-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Reasons why market research matters in cross cultural advertising

  I don't know the rules of grammar. If you're trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language. -David Ogilvy - David Mackenzie Ogilvy, the British entrepreneur often regarded as “the Father of Advertising”, the man who former chairman and chief executive…

Category : Articles   20-01-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

II/II. National culture, international business strategy and common misunderstandings between the East and the West

It's dreadful what little things lead people to misunderstand each other. - L.M. Montgomery - In the previous article we’ve briefly explored the theory behind social connections, harmony, consensus in the Confucian-Asian cluster: relationships founded on the principles of Confucianism tend to be characterised by continuity and reciprocation, hierarchy and preservation of…

Category : Articles   15-01-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

"Giving and losing "face": honour, social reputation and networking in Asian countries"

People will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou - While Maya Angelou’s quote is universal and likely to resonate with most people regardless of their cultural background, interactions between Westerners and members of Asian cultures may be negatively affected by the poor understanding of “face”, a concept relevant…

Category : Articles   27-12-2019   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Uncertainty Avoidance

You never know these days. Uninvited guests may force you to take an unplanned trip to an unknown destination; doesn’t hurt to be in your Sunday clothes. - Anurag Shourie - *** Uncertainty Avoidance, one of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, is the degree to which members of a specific culture are comfortable with uncertainty and…

II/II: "Why do we work so hard?”: Introduction to guilt- and shame cultures

A man must not be without shame, for the shame of being without shame is shamelessness indeed. - Mencius - There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one else has a right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us…

Category : Articles   16-12-2019   by Maria Antonietta Marino

On biases, ethnocentrism and other relationship-damaging beliefs

"An American girl cleaned the room while her Thai roommate was having breakfast in the dormitory dining hall. When the roommate returned, she became upset, cried, and left the room. Later it became clear that the American girl had placed the Thai girl’s skirt on the pillow portion of the…

Category : Articles   25-11-2019   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Power dynamics in the workplace and the hidden costs of fearful communication

In her book “Controlling Other People: The impact of power in stereotyping”, researcher Susan Fiske claimed that “Secretaries know more about their bosses than vice-versa; graduate students know more about their advisors than vice-versa” : what happens when communication in the workplace is ruled by power dynamics and the voice of one…

Category : Articles   15-10-2019   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Space planning: a cultural matter

According to anthropologist E.T. Hall, proxemics is "the spatial dimension of non verbal behavior", the study of man's perception and use of space : social research suggests that people from different cultural backgrounds do not share the same preferences in relation to space management, and that what may appear as…

Category : Articles   07-08-2019   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Time Management challenges in the global workplace

You're on a business trip to meet with some client. The meeting is delayed. Finally it begins, but then their phone rings and they walk out of the room. They come back, the meeting resumes, but later on someone walks in unexpectedly for some important matter that needs you client's…

Category : Articles   24-07-2019   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Marketing Relativism: Glocalized Tea vs Globalized Coffee

The hallmarks of a potentially successful copywriter include: obsessive curiosity about products, people and advertising. A sense of humor. A habit of hard work. The ability to write interesting prose for printed media, and natural dialogue for television. The ability to think visually. Commercials depend more on pictures than words. - David…

Category : Articles   16-07-2019   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Total Quality Management and its challenges in the global workplace

It is a mistake to assume that if everybody does his job, it will be all right. The whole system may be in trouble. Quality is everyone’s responsibility. W. Edwards Deming William Edwards Deming , the engineer, statistician and management consultant regarded by many as “the master of continual improvement of quality”,…

Category : Articles   02-07-2019   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Communication: High- and Low-Context Cultures

Always be careful, as they say, 'Text without context is usually pretext   - Ted Mallory -   In 1976, anthropologist E.T. Hall developed the iceberg analogy of culture: he theorized that if culture was an iceberg, some of its aspects (above the water line) would be visible and obvious to everyone, while most…

Power Distance

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. - Abraham Lincoln - "Power Distance ", one of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, indicates the extent to which societies and organizations accept power inequality among their members. In societies characterized by a high index of…

Monochronic and Polychronic Time

Three o'clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do - Jean-Paul Sartre -   Chronemics is the term that indicates the study of the role and use of time in communication: it includes both individual perceptions about time, and the ways time affects interactions (e.g., punctuality, speed…

The iceberg model

Culture hides more than it reveals, and strangely enough what it hides, it hides most effectively from its own participants.  - E.T. Hall - *** What do people value the most, a legal document or an informal agreement? Words they can hear/read or the meaning in what is not said? How likely is…

Individualism-Collectivism

Why should people in one part of the globe have developed collectivist cultures, while others went individualist? The key is how culture is shaped by the way people traditionally made a living, which in turn is shaped by ecology. In East Asia it' s all about rice. Rice requires massive…

Context: High-and Low-Context Cultures

The frame, the definition, is a type of context. And context, as we said before, determines the meaning of things. There is no such thing as the view from nowhere, or from everywhere for that matter. Our point of view biases our observation, consciously and unconsciously. You cannot understand the view without…

Category : Articles   01-07-2019   by Maria Antonietta Marino

How cultural awareness – or lack thereof – can make or break your global project

How many of us can genuinely claim to be aware of the main cultural differences that may sink a globally managed project? According to the results of a survey carried out by the NOA (National Outsourcing Association) and the Kingston Business School in 2009/2010 on the impact of both national and organisational culture…

Category : Articles   20-06-2019   by Maria Antonietta Marino

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