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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

Shame, honor, and two different flavors of collectivism

"Some things you must always be unable to bear. Some things you must never stop refusing to bear. Injustice and outrage and dishonor and shame. No matter how young you are or how old you have got. Not for kudos and not for cash: your picture in the paper nor…

Category : Articles   17-02-2021   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

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

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

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

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 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 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 -…

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

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

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

#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

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

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…

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

I/II: "Why do we work so hard?” Motivation and reward across different cultures

The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense    Thomas A. Edison   Why do we work hard? What are the driving forces behind someone’s strong work ethic, and what would be an effective reward system for a multi-national workforce?   Motivation, the process that initiates and…

Category : Articles   09-12-2019   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

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

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

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

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

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