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One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things - 7th Issue

Dear Reader, As anticipated in the fifth newsletter (Jan issue), I’m writing to share some exciting news: “Outside Business Hours” - the section dedicated to culture, society, and travels - is now live.   *** “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”   ― Marcel Proust - ***   While…

Category : Mudita's digest   09-04-2021   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

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

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…

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

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 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…

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…

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…

#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

I/II. Social connections, harmony, consensus: Confucian beliefs and business culture in China, Japan and Korea

Fundamentally, Japanese culture is based on rice farming. Rice farming requires a lot of water, and water must be shared evenly by everyone. Planting rice also required teams of people walking from row to row, as the same speed. And all of this has meant that uniqueness had to be…

Category : Articles   03-01-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

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

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…

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…

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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