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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

The Concepts of Happiness and Well-being Across Cultures

"Happiness is dependent on unhappiness, while unhappiness is hidden in happiness." - Chinese proverb - *** What ideas, thoughts, and feelings do you associate with the word "happiness"? Have you ever considered the possibility that the definition of happiness might depend on one's cultural background? Today we're going back to the topic of individualistic…

Category : Articles   04-03-2021   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…

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…

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

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…

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

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

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 business and the reasons why we need to talk about race in the workplace

Maria’s intro:   Dear readers, Those who’ve visited the blog in the past few days might have noticed that a new section - Introductions to Culture Clusters - is now live: while this isn’t strictly a blog about Diversity & Inclusion, we cannot have meaningful and stimulating conversations about global business and national…

Category : Articles   13-02-2020   by Mildred Talabi

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

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…

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…

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

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…

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 misunderstandings can hurt your business

Can any organization nowadays afford to be oblivious to the cultural background of its stakeholders in the global marketplace? In 2003 Mrs Wang Hui, a Unilever (owner of the Lipton brand) employee interviewed by the South China Morning Post, claimed that Lipton was getting ready for a new challenge: selling green tea…

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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