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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

II/II: Buyer Personas and the role of lifestyle, values, and beliefs in market segmentation

If I have a handful of silver it is because I work and my wife works, and we do not, as some do, sit idling over a gambling table or gossiping on doorsteps never swept, letting the fields grow to weeds and our children go half-fed! - Pearl S. Buck…

Category : Articles   03-09-2020   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- ***   This week, our series on Global Leadership and…

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 -…

Gift Giving Etiquette in the Confucian-Asia cluster: the luxury fruit culture

The manner of giving is worth more than the gift. - Pierre Corneille, Le Menteur - *** In a previous article we’ve discussed about the importance of guanxi in Chinese business: as explained by the author (Calipe Chong), guanxi - that literally translates as “relationships” - is to be intended as the “mechanism that provides…

Category : Articles   22-07-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

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

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…

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

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…

Social and business connections in China: an insider’s perspective on guanxi

Maria’s intro:   The visitors who have been reading this blog over the past few months, by now might have a good understanding of what makes the “Eastern” and the “Western” approaches to business so different from each other. One of those factors - perhaps the most important one - is the concept…

Category : Articles   06-02-2020   by Calipe Chong

Global business networking and the hidden dangers of LinkedIn

1. Ethical concerns as a small (unverified) business owner LinkedIn - “the world’s largest professional network”, boasts over “660+ million users in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide”, has the mission to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful” and the vision to “create economic opportunity…

Category : Articles   03-02-2020   by Maria Antonietta Marino

I/II: 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

Reasons why market research matters in cross cultural advertising

  I don't know the rules of grammar. If you're trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language. -David Ogilvy - David Mackenzie Ogilvy, the British entrepreneur often regarded as “the Father of Advertising”, the man who former chairman and chief executive…

Category : Articles   20-01-2020   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…

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

"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

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…

Category : Articles   09-12-2019   by Maria Antonietta Marino

"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

Everyone is so sensitive nowadays”: 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

Food, values and entrepreneurship in diaspora communities

"How a people eats is one of the most powerful ways they have to express, and preserve, their cultural identity...To make food choices more scientific is to empty them of their ethnic content and history" (Michael Pollan - In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto)   What sort of information can we gather…

Category : Articles   06-11-2019   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

Cheap burgers are no laughing matter: McD's and the impact of cultural differences in outsourced marketing campaigns

According to Statista , in 2018, the global outsourcing market amounted to 85.6 billion U.S. dollars: 84.2% of outsourcing deals originated from the US , while the top outsourced destinations based on “financial attractiveness, people skills, availability, and business environment scores” are either Asian or Latin-American countries : while outsourcing…

Category : Articles   07-10-2019   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 fromdifferent cultural backgrounds do not share the same preferences in relation to spacemanagement, and that what may appear as "normal" behaviour to…

Category : Articles   07-08-2019   by Maria Antonietta Marino

Global Sales and the Customer Journey: the effect of cultural values on individual choices

Note: article originally written for BDD, Biz Development Dynamics   Are individual choices truly “individual” and an indication of our own personal preference In a study conducted for Stannford University in 1999, 29 Asian and 27 European-American citizens recruited at the San Francisco International Airport were asked to fill in a short questionnaire…

Category : Articles   30-07-2019   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

Glocalised Tea or Globalised Coffee?

In a previous articlewe’ve discussed about an advertising campaign that contributed to the expansion of Lipton’s product range in China: what made it successful was the adoption of a “glocalised” approach (according to sociologist Roland Robertson, glocalisation - a concept that combines the words “globalisation” and “localisation” - means that…

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

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 - One typical trait of high-context, polychronic societies is a collectivist orientation, while low-context, monochronic societies tend to be individualistic.   "Power Distance " , one of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, is the extent…

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…

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

How cultural misunderstandings can hurt your business

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 bags to customers that at the time were not prepared to accept such novelty. “Traditionally, Chinese like 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