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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 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

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

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…

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 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…

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…

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…

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…

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

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…

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