Culture Resource Centre

COLUMN: When Humour Does Not Travel Well

Humour does not travel

An airplane takes off from the airport. The captain is Jewish and the first officer is Singaporean-Chinese. It’s the first time they’ve flown together and it’s obvious from their silence that they don’t get along. After thirty minutes, the Jewish captain mutters, “I don’t like Chinese”. The First Officer replies, “Ooooh, no like Chinese? Why dat-lah?”. “You bombed […]

COLUMN: Trust Is Key To Success

Trust is Key To Success

Research (1) indicates that high levels of trust in business correlates with innovation, competitive advantage, support for change and increased productivity. It is therefore wise for international and multicultural organisations to invest in building and maintaining high levels of trust. However, while research may prove that trust is key to success, why do we so often […]

COLUMN: Improving the Effectiveness of Intercultural Conference Calls

A cultural training workshop was recently held for a multicultural team within an international organisation. The team consisted of a manager, supervisors and sales staff from Australia, China, Japan and South Korea. The setting was their annual sales and marketing meeting. The Difficulty With Intercultural Conference Calls After discussing verbal and nonverbal communication behaviour across […]

COLUMN: The Accidental Manager

The accidental Business Manager

A while ago I was talking to an Australian sales manager about dealing with cultural differences in international business. Before our conversation he said, he had never realised that this topic has been an academic discipline for close to 60 years and a management discipline for more than 40 years. He was quite surprised to […]

COLUMN: Rules are Rules, Right?

Rules are rules right

About the questions whether the same Rules Apply across Cultures Just in case you thought that rules, morals and laws were universal… think again. Different cultures can have very different ideas as to how rules, morals, and laws should be applied causing much cross-cultural surprise, confusion and frustration! Societies that value uniformity, also feel that […]

COLUMN: Do’s and Don’ts at Work

Do's and Dont's at Work

An Australian manager prepared himself for each of the countries he was going to visit during a two-week business trip by memorising his substantial list of “Do’s and Don’ts” about China, India and Japan: he was going to meet with a project team in Shanghai, negotiations for a new subsidiary in Bombay, and meet with […]