The Commisceo Global Blog - Perfect for Culture Vultures

Whether a press release, a case study of cultural difference, some tips on working abroad or some lessons in cross-communication, we try our best to satiate your inner culture vulture.

How Cultural Perspective impacts Global Mergers and Acquisitions

How Cultural Perspective impacts Global Mergers and Acquisitions

Different perspectives = different priorities. This is true of anything in life and especially in global business.

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Work across Cultures? You need Global Dexterity

Work across Cultures? You need Global Dexterity
You can read as many books about cultural awareness as you like; you will only become successful when working with other cultures when you put your knowledge into action.
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Culture and its relation to Per Capita Income

Culture and its relation to Per Capita Income
Do you question how important culture is to our daily lives? Well many do. In reality however culture is at play moulding the world around us every minute of every day; sometimes in ways we don't understand. New research by Romain Wacziarg suggests country’s income per capita is actually closely related to the its culture.
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Culture, Creativity and the Competitive Advantage

Culture, Creativity and the Competitive Advantage
From companies to government institutions, managers are now realising that innovation and creativity is the way to make money and positively evolve. Soren Peterson has investigated what creative professionals believe are the ingredients for a booming creative economy.
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British Culture Linked to Low Cancer Survival Rates in the UK

British Culture Linked to Low Cancer Survival Rates in the UK
It is well a known fact that a very British cultural trait is to keep yourself to yourself and not to bother others or cause them inconvenience. The "stiff upper lip" as it is sometimes known. Research suggests that this might be the reason why the UK cancer survival rate is one of Europe’s lowest.
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Merging Companies means Merging Cultures

Merging Companies means Merging Cultures
As a company, it is never easy to unify an existing business with a newly acquired one through a merger or aquisition. The key to this may lie in ensuring the separate company cultures become one.
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Is Anglo-Indian culture fading into oblivion?

Is Anglo-Indian culture fading into oblivion?
Even though modern-day society seems to become more intercultural every year, the opposite is true for the Anglo-Indian community where Western traditions and appearances meet those of the Indian subcontinent. The BBC recently looked at the fate of the Ango-Indian culture which offers a fascinating insight into this little known group.
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Christmas Decorations and Cultural Differences

Christmas Decorations and Cultural Differences

We are all familiar with traditional Christmas decorations. The Christmas trees, mistletoe and other red, gold and green ornaments.

However, different cultures use different decorations; in this article we explore Christmas decorations that are typical for certain other cultures or countries.

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Culture Training will not solve Racism in Football

Culture Training will not solve Racism in Football

Can culture training for foreign footballers help solve the issue of racism in football? The Football Association seems to think educating players on British culture can help get rid of the ugly side of the game. Neil Payne gives his reaction to today's news.

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Civil Engineer helps Construction Industry Go Global

Civil Engineer helps Construction Industry Go Global
Ever thought of going global with your design or construction company? You might run into problems you didn’t expect to occur. Here are a few tips on how to realise your global ambitions as smooth as possible!
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Christmas Celebrations: Cultural Differences

Christmas Celebrations: Cultural Differences

In many Western cultures, the Christmas celebrations are more or less the same or thereabouts. The family gathers on Christmas Eve, a Christmas mass is possibly attended and presents are unwrapped. There are numerous cultures, however, that like their Christmas traditions a little less conventional…

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Afghan jokes on Cultural Differences

Afghan jokes on Cultural Differences
You wouldn't think war would bring out a people's sense of humour but in Afghanistan the cross-cultural interaction between locals and troops has resulted in some very funny stories.
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Cyber Monday: Cultural Celebrations in December

Cyber Monday: Cultural Celebrations in December
It's Cyber Monday! Time to get your website translated and capture the Christmas shopping sprees! However, just because it is December it doesn't mean the only holiday that is held this time of the year is Xmas. Some countries traditionally have other fantastic celebrations which are not widely known, but still deserve online retailers' attention.
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Cultural Risk Assessments helping HR save Mergers

Cultural Risk Assessments helping HR save Mergers
Did you think culture clash only happens between foreigners? Think again! Company cultures are now recognised as being a major reason behind mergers failing and businesses underperforming.

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Lineker, the prostrating Footballers and Cultural Sensitivity

Lineker, the prostrating Footballers and Cultural Sensitivity

Gary Lineker is facing criticism for his live comments on Al Jazeera that were seen to be offensive to Muslims.

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HR Directors, Basil Fawlty and Global Communication


Some recent findings by The London School of English show language and culture are still not getting the attention they deserve within companies today.In fact, the spirit of Basil Fawlty seems to live on within some British businesses!

Despite the Government pinning hopes on UK PLC exporting, it brings into question whether UK companies are thinking globally or relying on the rest of the world to think and act in such a manner?

The findings suggest that, "UK-based businesses could be risking international growth by failing to invest in cross-cultural, language and communications training."

The results spwan from research carried out that questioned 100 HR directors on their attitudes towards language and communication skills and their approach to training.

These centenary research results show a shocking lacking of regard for our international, non-native English speaking business partners,” says Timothy Blake, Chief Executive of the London School of English. “The Brits may be reluctant to learn other languages, but this research suggests that we are not even prepared to invest in the training required to adapt our own language, accents and behaviour to help non-native English speakers understand us.”

Headline findings in the report include:

•    78% HR Directors questioned did not consider it necessary to train native English speakers to moderate their vocabulary when negotiating with non-native English speakers
•    98% believed their non-native English speakers could communicate effectively in English.
•    Although 67% of those questioned believed that it was “very important” for business people to have a good cultural understanding of their trading partners; only 23% would offer training.
•    Only 4% believed the “Basil Fawlty” approach of speaking “more loudly” would be effective in communicating with non-native English speakers.

Worrying stuff isnt it?

by +Neil Payne
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New Zealand teachers to improve knowledge of Maori culture



New Zealand Education Minster, Pita Sharples, has launched a new initiative ‘Tataiako’ that aims to help teachers to improve their understanding of Maori culture. The resource, which acts as a set of guidelines, enables teachers to reflect on their past cultural sensitivity, to assess their existing knowledge,  and also to take responsibility for improving their cultural awareness for the future.

The important aspect of this particular programme is that it looks to establish a long-term reflexive attitude within the teaching commuity. The stress is not to enforce rules or test teachers, but instead to encourage them to contemplate upon their own experiences and behaviour throughout their careers.

New Zealand is popular with tourists from all over the world and is famous for accommodating and welcoming their needs. However, as with every country, it is vital that it considers the cultural integration of its own citizens before true pluralism can be achieved. It is not about a short-term activity-based integration or homogenizing of migrant communities, it is about the existing people of New Zealand having respect for the cultures of their own islands.

“Engaging in respectful working relationships with Maori students and their families” (quoted from: New Zealand news platform ‘Stuff’) is a key point taken from the new guidelines. It extends from the classroom discussion and integrity of cultural awareness to broader social integration of different communities within New Zealand (school) life. A further three guidelines outline “sincerity and respect towards Maori beliefs, language and culture”, taking responsibility for the learning of Maori students and the deliberate recognition of Maori student’s heritage as the core competancies for teachers to work for.

The main need is to understand the importance of identity to Maori students and their communities. Without understanding the unique perspectives of these children and young adults, you cannot fully engage in understanding how school and learning can and will come across to them.

Statistical evidence over the past decade has shown that students from a Maori background are falling behind those children from other ethnic groups. Improving cultural awareness will not only improve the continuity of Maori childrens’ lives, but will also make it easier for communication to exist between schools and Maori communities on the issue of education.

Finally, from the development of more culturally aware and skillful teachers should come the formulation a of more respectful, united and happy student population.
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Diversity Training Imposed on Legal Clerks



It seems that legal clerks are going to be required to undergo diversity training if they want to continue working successfully within the legal field.
Legal chambers are now seeking to protect themselves against the lack of cultural knowledge that their staff may have by making sure that diversity training is undertaken. The move comes after the 4 Square case where discrimination charges were laid at 4 Square’s door.
The regulator, the Bar Standards Board (BSB), is currently drawing up set of guidelines that will help to steer the legal profession through the minefield that is culture and diversity training. It is hoped that these guidelines will be approved and will be included in the code of conduct by the end of next year.
Legal companies are starting to realise the importance of cultural training and courses are filling up within hours of being made available to firms.
Legal companies have responded to the move saying that they welcome the new regulations that will require staff to be fully made up to date on cultural and diversity issues that are facing the UK at the moment.
More and more clients also expect their lawyers to know all about the dangers of discrimination so in order to give the clients what they need the firms need to make sure that all of the staff are brought up to speed.
4 Square barrister Aisha Bijlani has highlighted this issue after winning a claim against 4Square in which she accused the firm of racial and disability prejudice.
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Diversity Training Imposed on Legal Clerks



It seems that legal clerks are going to be required to undergo cultural diversity training if they want to continue working successfully within the legal field.
Legal chambers are now seeking to protect themselves against the lack of cultural knowledge that their staff may have by making sure that diversity training is undertaken. The move comes after the 4 Square case where discrimination charges were laid at 4 Square’s door.
The regulator, the Bar Standards Board (BSB), is currently drawing up set of guidelines that will help to steer the legal profession through the minefield that is culture and diversity training. It is hoped that these guidelines will be approved and will be included in the code of conduct by the end of next year.
Legal companies are starting to realise the importance of cultural training and courses are filling up within hours of being made available to firms.
Legal companies have responded to the move saying that they welcome the new regulations that will require staff to be fully made up to date on cultural and diversity issues that are facing the UK at the moment.
More and more clients also expect their lawyers to know all about the dangers of discrimination so in order to give the clients what they need the firms need to make sure that all of the staff are brought up to speed.
4 Square barrister Aisha Bijlani has highlighted this issue after winning a claim against 4Square in which she accused the firm of racial and disability prejudice.
Continue reading
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Culture and the Michigan Fish Test

The Michigan Fish Test provides a great view into a person’s psyche and is also a great way to see their perception of the world and culture around them. You see, not everyone looks at their position within the world and within their own culture in the same way. It all depends on how your culture nurtures you, as this will have a very clear impact on your perception of the world around you.

The Michigan Fish Test is an image that was developed to test a person’s view of the world. It is an image that is made up from an underwater scene, with larger fish and smaller fish in a watery environment complete with bubbles and seaweed.



The test was put forward to two groups of people; one group from America and the other group from Japan. The study was interesting as the comments that came back from each group were strikingly different. The participants were asked to look at the Michigan Fish Test image for around 5 seconds and were then asked to comment on what it was they remembered from the picture. The answers provided an insight into the difference in culture between the two countries. The American group tended to only notice the larger fish and dismissed the peripheral images whilst the Japanese group tended to look at the image as more of a whole and commented on the environment as well as the characters.

Furthermore, when the image was changed slightly the Japanese group were able to point out the changes, whereas most of the American group were unable to do so.

The study showed that an individual’s perception of the world around them and of the people and things that they shared the world with was as a direct result of the way in which the world was positioned around them.
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