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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

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

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

Outside Business Hours: when business meets culture - Oddities and Curiosities, 5th Issue

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.;   - Henry Miller - *** Dear Reader, Before I tell you about Mudita’s plans for 2021, I would like to wish you a Happy New Year! May 2021 bring you joy, good health, success, and plenty of opportunities to learn and grow. Despite the…

Category : Mudita's digest   20-01-2021   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

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

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

Time Tracking - Best Practices and Mistakes to Avoid

He who every morning plans the transactions of that day and follows that plan carries a thread that will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life. - Victor Hugo - *** Maria ’s intro:  The readers who have been visiting this blog over the past few months might have noticed that…

Category : Articles   01-12-2020   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

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…

Crisis Management and the influence of cultural diversity on national responses to emergencies: an East v West comparison

  Individuality and freedom are undoubtedly the greatest achievements of modern culture. . . . But we have fallen into the trap of individualism . . . and have lost sight of the relationships between the individual and the social system, between freedom and responsibility. . . . Our young adults—even…

Category : Articles   14-05-2020   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…

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…

Buyer personas: an introduction to psychographic segmentation

What really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not its form. - David Ogilvy - Last week’s article gave us an insight into a McDonald’s marketing campaign implemented in 2012 that targeted minority groups and its unfortunate outcome: not only the language was not…

Category : Articles   27-01-2020   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

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

"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…

"Where do babies come from?”: a tale of misunderstandings and corporate negligence

In a previous article we’ve discussed about ethnocentrism - “ technical name for this view of things in which one's own group is the center of everything, and all others are scaled and rated with reference to it.”- with regard to people management, this week we’ll look at the same…

Category : Articles   02-12-2019   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Masculinity-Femininity (Tough-Tender)

I have an extremely strong, masculine mind and a feminine sensibility level, which is kind of an unusual combination. Both men and women tell me things and I can relate on two levels simultaneously - Truman Capote -   According to Hofstede’s definitions, masculinity is “a preference in society for achievement, heroism, assertiveness…

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

Consumer segmentation: the influence of cultural factors on purchasing behaviour

Authors Thomas Petit and Alan Zakon once observed that "Advertising must be compatible with the values of the consumer if it is to influence behaviour. Advertising is an educating and not a forcing process. It interprets the want-satisfying qualities of the product for the consumer. To do this, it must…

Category : Articles   30-08-2019   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

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…

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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