The Commisceo Global Blog

Keeping you up to date with all the news, articles, tools, opinions and press relating to the world of cultural understanding, in and out of business.

How different are North and South Korean Cultures?

How different are North and South Korean Cultures?

I recently heard someone of North Korean origin say that you cannot refer to someone as simply 'Korean'. 

From a Korean’s perspective, there’s no such thing as ‘Korean,’ as people originating from Korea identify as either South or North Korean.

...
Continue reading

The Female Expatriate Experience of Relocating to the Middle East

The Female Expatriate Experience of Relocating to the Middle East

Working with relocating expats is great.  Not only do we get to share some of the pre-move buzz with relocating families, but we also get to hear the post arrival updates and share a little of the settling in excitement.  

Although an exciting time of change and opportunity, the preparation and lead up to relocation can be extremely stressful – particularly if the whole family are moving.  Anxieties vary widely, and depend on factors such as the target country, the presence of accompanying family members, the type of role being performed upon arrival and the degree to which an individual has travelled in in the past.  

...
Continue reading

5 Steps from Cultural Ignorance to Cultural Savvy

5 Steps from Cultural Ignorance to Cultural Savvy

Sporting its own fair share of industry models, my favourite cultural model has to be one which outlines the steps between cultural ignorance and cultural savvy.

This model resonates with me on a personal note.  Why?  Well, working in the Oil and Gas industry overseeing project delivery across international teams, I thought I was great at working across cultures. It’s only since leaving and moving into a cultural based role that I can now appreciate that I was very ‘un-savvy’.   

...
Continue reading

How Diversity and Social Cohesion are Being Privatized by Politicians

How Diversity and Social Cohesion are Being Privatized by Politicians

With the final nails being beaten into the coffin of multiculturalism and politicians seemingly unable to grapple with its complexities, will we see the private sector taking ownership?

I think most people would agree that 2016 was full-on in terms of major events that are shaping our world. Some shook the world and will continue to do so in the coming years.   

Although there is much to be concerned about in the future, whether it’s the environment or the economy, one area that particularly worries me is the rise in xenophobia, the subtle racism that has bled into our media outlets and politics and the backlash against multiculturalism.

The voices grow louder and more confident daily…begging the question, who is doing what to counter this? Some elements of the media seem unfettered in the blatant divisiveness.

...
Continue reading

Where is the Most Expensive Destination for Expatriates?

Where is the Most Expensive Destination for Expatriates?

Since relocation training forms such a significant part of the work undertaken by us here at Commisceo, it’s essential that we keep up to date with global changes and their impacts on all things ‘expatriate’.

Mercer, is just one of our trusted ‘go to’ experts.  As consultants in the fields of talent, investments and health, their annual Cost of Living surveys are a must read for companies engaged in the relocation of their employees. 

...
Continue reading

10 Tips to Get the Best out of a Cross-Cultural Virtual Team

10 Tips to Get the Best out of a Cross-Cultural Virtual Team

Working in an intercultural environment is becoming increasingly common. One of the results of such set-ups is an experience of more communication difficulties.

Different approaches to areas such management, communication, time, meetings, conflict resolution and the sharing of information are all culturally relative.

...
Continue reading

Six Solid and Simple Tips for Avoiding Cultural Faux Pas When Working Abroad

Six Solid and Simple Tips for Avoiding Cultural Faux Pas When Working Abroad

Are you new to working abroad? Travelling to a foreign country for the first time for business?

Getting it right when working overseas is critical; but what do you do if you have little or no international exposure? You run the danger of too much exposure Borat-style!

Working internationally requires a very different skill-set to working domestically.  What works well for you in your home country may count against you when working abroad.  

...
Continue reading

What is Your Favourite Quote Defining Culture?

What is Your Favourite Quote Defining Culture?

How would you describe or define culture?

What imagery would you use? How could you help someone understand the basic mechanics of culture and the impact this has on the world?

Not an easy one!

...
Continue reading

How Culture and Communication Impact Multicultural Global Teams

How Culture and Communication Impact Multicultural Global Teams

The homogenous team is a thing of the past in most international organisations and companies. More and more teams are made up of people with different nationalities and therefore different cultures, languages, ideas, behaviours and ways of doing things.

Some would argue that the ‘international language of business’ negates any real communication issues within such a cross-cultural team; however those with hands-on experience of such teams would disagree.

...
Continue reading

The Apprentice – Horrendous Racism or Cultural Ignorance?

The Apprentice – Horrendous Racism or Cultural Ignorance?

For those that follow The Apprentice, you can’t have missed the recent outburst by contestant Dillon St Paul in Episode 6, entitled ‘Discount Buying’.

Sticking to the traditional programme format, contestants were required to spend the night identifying the whereabouts of 9 items in and around London and then negotiate the best possible price for their purchase.

...
Continue reading

How Lack of Cultural Awareness Can Cost A Business Big

How Lack of Cultural Awareness Can Cost A Business Big

Has globalisation led to a homgenity of culture when it comes to product, marketing, sales and service? Or have our cultural differences actually become more acute?

Cultural Differences in Business

Many people agree with the phrase that 'the world is getting smaller' - it is hard to disagree.

...
Continue reading

Dear President-elect of the United States

Dear President-elect of the United States

What is clear from your election campaign is that if you are truly going to be a President for "All Americans", then you need some help.

Let's talk straight Mr. T - you've alienated people. Mexicans and Muslims are probably hiding under pillows while Chancellor Merkel and President Xi Jinping are already worried about you embarrasing them.

Some of your campaign messages and sentiments displayed immense bias, premised on stereotypes, informed by a myopic interpretation of our world. What you need is some training, some coaching and some loving.

You have "Great" ambitions - but these can never be realised without embracing the positivity of cultural diversity at home and abroad.

So, Mr, President-elect of the USA, we are offering you access to our consultancy, our courses, our training - anything you need.

We could design a course about Islam for you, a training session on doing business with Mexicans, a workshop on self-awareness and unconscious bias or how about some diplomatic etiquette training to prepare you for global summits? Whatever you need - we will help.

So give us a call and let's get to work!

#mytip4trump

Knowing you are a big fan of Twitter, we have also started a hashtag #mytip4trump for people to send you tips on working across cultural lines.

This is going to become an amazing resource for you - people will have tips for you on your foriegn diplomatic visits, how to address certain ethnic minorities at home, how your communiation style may need tempering or simly some tips on how to become more aware of cultural differences.

You're welcome!
Continue reading

5 Essential Skills Every International Business Person Needs

5 Essential Skills Every International Business Person Needs

Working internationally comes with certain challenges - navigating cultural differences is just one.

Being able to work, communicate, sell to or buy from people in different countries, working in different times zones, with different ways of doing things is essential.

...
Continue reading

Cultural Differences in the Way we Listen

Cultural Differences in the Way we Listen

In our previous blogs we examined how cultural differences impact body language and the way we speak - we now turn our attention to a little-known skill we all have yet many forget to utilise! Listening.

Just as cultures differ in how we hold ourselves, use our eyes or communicate, cultures also differ in the way they respond to what is being said.

...
Continue reading

Poor Understanding of Iran Leading to Cautious Business Approach

Poor Understanding of Iran Leading to Cautious Business Approach

It’s nearly a year since the restrictive sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted. These sanctions were not only applied by the UN, EU and US but also included sanctions from third party countries. The lifting of these sanctions has therefore been long-awaited by many and sets the stage for exciting times for those companies who have identified potential opportunities in Iran and who are keen to now pursue them.

Although our administration takes place in the sleepy South West of England, we witness global movements and trends first-hand. There’s not much we don’t know about what’s happening with our global neighbours.

...
Continue reading

Cultural Differences in the Way We Speak

Cultural Differences in the Way We Speak

Carrying on from our blog about cultural differences in body language, we now look at one of the most important areas of cross-cultural understanding - that of communication.

Communication covers many areas such as verbal and non-verbal. One of the most obvious and apparent ways in which cultures differ is in the way we speak.

...
Continue reading

Why India is Becoming a Top Expat Destination

Why India is Becoming a Top Expat Destination

As a cross cultural training consultancy, we have a great insight into the countries which rate highly as expat destinations and it seems that India is certainly viewed highly as a popular ‘go to’ country at the moment....especially with Americans. The numbers now moving to India for work is phenomenal.

Why is India so popular for American Expatriates?

Trade deals are a key reason.  The US is India’s key second biggest trading partner after China whilst India is the US’s eleventh largest trading partner.  The strength of mutual trading makes for a pretty strong relationship between the two countries and clearly generates considerable relocation opportunities for both parties. India is also one of the fastest growing global economies which makes it more likely that investments in this part of the world are likely to do well.

...
Continue reading

Cultural Differences in Body Language

Cultural Differences in Body Language

Cultures differ in the way we use our bodies to communicate. Sometimes it is very obvious, many times very subtle. Gestures are a very obvious example of such a difference.

Whether working at home in a culturally diverse workplace or flying off to emerging markets, understanding what people mean through their body language can be a challenge. The complexity of body language is unquestionable in the cross-cultural context.

...
Continue reading

Cross-Cultural Tips for Doing Business in Iran

Cross-Cultural Tips for Doing Business in Iran

Having received great feedback on my blog about the place of "tarof" in Persian culture, a few people have requested a brief guide to doing business in Iran for companies making the journey over.

So here goes....

...
Continue reading

A Brief Guide to British Umbrella Etiquette

A Brief Guide to British Umbrella Etiquette

At Commisceo we do all things ‘etiquette’ – whether it’s dining etiquette in Brazil or gift giving etiquette in Mozambique.

Did you know however, that we also do British umbrella etiquette?!  We might not get a demand for formal umbrella etiquette training but here’s some etiquette advice for those moving to the UK who may need to become acquainted with surviving the upcoming UK rainy season:

...
Continue reading