How do different cultures approach decision making?

By Sue Bryant
11th May 2019

When working with different cultures, it is important to understand what drives people to make decisions. Is it profit? Time? Relationships? Not only this, but it’s essential to know who makes the decisions, and what role others play. In autocratic cultures like those of Latin America, France or the Arab world, decisions tend to come from the top, while in countries with flatter management styles, like the Netherlands, Australia or Israel, consensus is important. On the other hand, some of the most apparently egalitarian cultures can have a surprisingly top-down style when it comes to making a decision. In other situations, the corporate culture may override any local cultural traits. There will always be variations on cultural stereotypes, but here here are a few general examples of decision-making style around the world.

Hong Kong: 10 tips for business success when working in Hong Kong

By Sue Bryant
7th May 2019

Be sure to recognise the differences between Hong Kong Chinese and mainland Chinese and don’t make assumptions about somebody’s background and culture. Be prompt for appointments and calm and polite during meetings; overenthusiastic displays of emotion are frowned upon. Dress smartly and fashionably, taking into account the Chinese superstitions concerning blue and white, and any other colours or symbols which are regarded as inauspicious….

Ghana: 10 tips for business success when working with Ghanaians

By Sue Bryant
7th May 2019

Take time to develop personal relationships and be guided by your counterpart as to when to move on to business. Expect to be asked personal questions, like ‘What religion are you?’ and answer politely. Ghanaians love to chat and put a person in context and this questioning helps them to achieve that.

Finland: 10 tips for business success when working with Finns

By Sue Bryant
7th May 2019

Be prepared to make positive but not excessive comments about Finland. Finns always like to know what visitors think of their country and are actually quite insecure, so do not be critical. If you want to talk about sport, ice hockey is a national obsession, as is Formula One.

Denmark: 10 tips for business success when working with Danes

By Sue Bryant
7th May 2019

You will make a good impression in Denmark if you conform and fit in. Don’t try to be different, either in your home, your dress style or your interactions with Danes. Dress smartly and conservatively and adopt a calm demeanour; Danes are not given to vigorous displays of public affection. All decisions are made by consensus and it is important to respect this. Do not go over anybody’s head and involve whole teams in decision-making processes.

Bahrain: 10 tips for business success when working with Bahrainis

By Sue Bryant
7th May 2019

Bahrainis live in a multicultural society and are comfortable dealing with visiting business people. Like other Arabs, they are hospitable and place a great deal of emphasis on an outward expression of politeness and quiet demeanour….

Business meeting etiquette: 12 tips for doing business around the world

By Sue Bryant
1st May 2019

While meetings anywhere in the world have a common goal – to exchange ideas, build relationships, conduct negotiations and make decisions – there are many routes to achieving these goals. Meetings could be rigidly structured, with everybody talking in turn, or chaotic, with animated brainstorming and multiple interruptions. Notions of authority, hierarchy and communication vary from one culture to another, and from one corporate culture to another, so in any situation, a little consideration and understanding of etiquette can go a long way. Here are some general pointers….

What does diversity mean to different generations?

By Sue Bryant
23rd April 2019

The makeup of the workplace today is very different to that of the past in terms of gender, ethnicity, attitude and behavior. The older generation can be credited with ushering in diversity. But what diversity actually means has changed – and will most likely continue to evolve as the last baby boomers retire and Generation Z enters the workforce….

The 7 habits of highly effective expats

By Patti McCarthy
23rd April 2019

Currently 1 in 2 expatriate assignments are terminated early because the employee or their family aren’t happy. What makes the difference between success and failure as an expat? In my experience the happiest expats follow these habits. …

8 cultural differences between USA and India

By Sue Bryant
15th April 2019

The USA and India are such vast and populous countries that drawing comparisons between the two can put you in danger of making sweeping generalisations. A young, ambitious, educated tech entrepreneur from New Delhi may have much in common with his or her equivalent in Silicon Valley – certainly a lot more than a coconut farmer from Kerala would with a factory worker from Detroit. There are, however, enough deep-seated traits in each culture that make comparison a useful tool for smoothing the path of business….

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