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.

Working abroad improves your skills



In his  14-year career as an industrial and electrical engineer, Carlos Founaud has worked or done business in Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Portugal, Germany, Britain, Australia, and Italy before returning to his native Spain.

“I called myself a multicultural interface,” he laughs. “If something broke down, the Spanish way was to focus on the problem—let’s have a look, make a decision, and do it. The Austrian way was to find out who’s guilty. The British way was to open the manuals and find the different procedures for fixing it—and afterward go to the pub.”

Founaud has found that this multicultural approach to problem solving, while maddening at times, has also made him better at his job. Now general managing director of iA Soft Aragón, a Saragossa firm that develops public administration software, he seeks out foreign programmers specifically to challenge the procedural mind-set on his home turf.

Foreign postings often offer more autonomy and responsibility, a faster pace, higher pay, and tax breaks, as well as the adventure of foreign lands and languages. The posts can also improve your skills.

Read more > Skills
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Global Skills for an International Career



As an international careers adviser, I receive questions daily from people of varied backgrounds who hope to try their luck in the global marketplace. Many job seekers mistakenly believe that they can’t begin an international career until their feet are on foreign soil. They overlook their own backyard for resources and training opportunities.

The Most Sought-After Skills

What do international employers really look for in employees and what skills will be needed by professionals to perform successfully in the global marketplace?

A study commissioned by the College Placement Council Foundation surveyed 32 international employers and colleges to determine what international employers seek in prospective employees. They identified the following areas of required knowledge and skills:

Domain knowledge

Colleges in the U.S. are presently preparing their graduates well in domain knowledge, or knowledge in one’s academic discipline, although employers expressed concern that increasingly greater demands and higher standards may soon result in inadequately prepared graduates.

The three most important skills were cognitive skills, social skills, and “personal traits.” Problem-solving ability, decision making, and knowing how to learn are highly prized generic skills. Social skills were described as the ability to work effectively in group settings, particularly with diverse populations. Personal traits mentioned frequently included flexibility, adaptability, and the capacity to be innovative. Employers often mentioned that colleges do not adequately address this type of skill development.

Cross-cultural competence

Students must make a concerted effort to acquire the knowledge, skills, and traits gained through cross-cultural interaction because we are more geographically and linguistically insulated than most other countries.

On-the-job training and prior work experience. Employers seek applicants who have been successful in applying their domain knowledge or academic studies and generic skills in the workplace. They say that colleges do not place sufficient emphasis on work experience.

Read more >> By Debra Peters-Behrens
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New national standards on intercultural respect at work



The first ever National Occupational Standards for working with people from different countries or diverse cultures will be launched today at a high profile event in central London. The new Standards provide a quality benchmark for building mutual respect, improving communication and workforce relations, and reducing racism.

The new National Occupations Standards for Intercultural Working describe the skills, knowledge and understanding required by anyone wishing to work effectively in a multicultural environment. They can be used to inform policy and procedures, provide a good practice guide for human resources professionals, and identify training needs to promote social and community cohesion.

CILT, the National Centre for Languages led the government-funded project to develop the new Standards, which were approved by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills in September 2008. Today’s launch celebrates the completion of the project, which has involved hundreds of organisations, employers and individuals from across the UK over the past two years.

Read more >> CILT
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BA clerk loses crucifix row appeal



A British Airways (BA) check-in clerk who claimed she was religiously discriminated against for wearing a crucifix on a necklace has lost her appeal case.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has upheld the employment tribunal's ruling from earlier this year, that Nadia Eweida was not indirectly discriminated against on the grounds of her religion when her employer insisted the cross worn on her neckline be concealed by her uniform.

Eweida was suspended in September 2006, after she refused to conceal a small crucifix at her post at Heathrow Airport, claiming it was her human right to express her faith by having the crucifix on display. She returned to work in February 2007 after BA revised its uniform policy.

Eweida claimed discrimination on the grounds of her religion and had sought £20,000 in back pay and compensation from the airline. She said that she turned down £8,500 from BA to settle out of court.

Read more > BA
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Managing Asian Cultural Diversity: Cross-cultural Issues in Asia

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Managing Asian Cultural Diversity: Cross-cultural Issues in Asia" report to their offering.

Managing Asian cultural diversity can be very complex for Western companies. Each country has its own culture, history, ideology, language and philosophy: a strategy in Taiwan may not work in China, and vice versa. Understanding the local mentality, beliefs, and even linguistic traits can make a world of difference in managing Asian employees effectively. Please attend our April 8, 2008 webcast on Asian Cross-Cultural Issues. This 90-minute session will include a 60-minute presentation, followed by 30 minutes of Q&A.
The following topics are covered in this webcast:

-Diversity of Asian Cultures
-Erroneous Assumptions about Asian Cultures
-Comparison of Key Asian Cultural Concepts
-Cultural Impact on Asian Management Issues
-Common Challenges in Managing Asian Diversity
-Strategies for Effective Asian Management
-Benchmarking Practices for Global Effectiveness

For more information visit Research Markets
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HR Expat Management Conferences, Event, Seminars 2008


HR events 2008


GMS (Global Mobility Specialist) Training and Certification

When and Where:
13th, 16-17 June 2008 – Brussels, Belgium
27-29 October 2008 – Washington D.C.
Produced by: Worldwide ERC’s Global Workforce Association
Cost: See website
More information:
www.erc.org/PERC_INTERNATIONAL/gms_dates_locations.shtml
Description: The Global Mobility Specialist (GMS™) designation signifies that you have taken training in the specialized field of global workforce mobility and are committed to ongoing education to grow your expertise.

HR Strategy - Translating Business Strategy into HR Actions
When and Where:
30th July, 2008 – Hong Kong
Produced by: Mercer
Cost: see website
More information:
www.mercer.com
Description: As organisations in Asia ask HR to play a more active role in helping achieve business success, many HR professionals are being required to actively contribute to setting and implementing the business strategy. HR professionals are also being called upon to play the role of strategic advisor to the business.  How can HR play an active role in helping to implement business strategy? Through developing congruent HR and Human Capital strategies that align what business needs to achieve to what HR does, HR can directly contribute to business success. Acquiring the knowledge and applying the know-how to make this happen has become an imperative for HR professionals in Asia to start playing this crucial role.

Becoming an Effective HR Business Partner
When and Where:
2nd September, 2008 – Melbourne, Australia
Produced by: Mercer
Cost: see website
More information: www.mercer.com
Description: One of the challenges for HR Professionals today is the need to not only deliver efficient and reliable HR operations and systems, but also to act as a business partner and strategic advisor to the senior team. This 1-day workshop helps participants to understand the new demands and roles of the HR Professional, and explores how to position oneself as a true business partner. Case studies, group sharing and facilitated discussions help highlight issues and how to address them.

JSB’s 5th Annual Employment Law Europe 2008 - A Practical Approach to the Latest Developments in Six European Jurisdictions: France, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy and Spain
When: 23 - 25 April 2008
Where: London, U.K.
Produced by: JSB Training and Development
Cost: see website
More information: www.eurolaw2008.com, Email: www.jsbonline.com/booking
Tel. UK 020 8371 7032
Description: Europe plays a central role in the UK’s economic success and is vital for UK businesses. Understanding how employment law works in different European countries has become one of the key challenges facing business for many HR professionals, in-house lawyers and advisers who operate in more than one European jurisdiction. This comprehensive three-day conference will enable you to deal with employment law issues in France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain.  Leading experts from each jurisdiction will point out pitfalls and highlight how each domestic legal system differs from the UK.

The Summit on Leading Diversity – Practical Solutions for Building Inclusive and Productive Organizations
When: 28 – 30 April, 2008
Where: Atlanta, GA
Produced by: Linkage, Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/div/default.aspx
Description: As the nation's premiere diversity event, the Summit on Leading Diversity plays an integral role in creating and sustaining inclusive work environments that mirror the demographic makeup of this country. Linkage prides itself on the quality and depth of the program and remains committed to showcasing a collection of the most vital tools, strategies, and best practices available in the diversity field. Each year, the Summit takes diversity work to new levels by building on the concepts presented the previous year and challenging presenters and participants to be visionary in their thoughts and actions



The Human Resources Forum
When: 7-10 May 2008
Where: Oriana, Southampton, U.K.
Produced by: Richmond Events
Cost: see website
More information: www.hrforum.co.uk
Description: An event that combines an outstanding conference programme with facilitated networking. Meetings are pre-arranged allowing delegates to research potential suppliers, benchmark existing ones and hear about new products and services in the marketplace. Equally, for suppliers, it’s an opportunity to build new relationships and affirm existing ones. It’s also an event where you’re likely to achieve more in three days than you usually do in three months!

The Best of Organizational Development Summit – Proven Tools, Skills and Best Practices for OD and HR Practitioners 
When: 13 -15 May 2008
Where: Chicago, IL
Produced by: Linkage, Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/od/default.aspx
Description: In its 10th year, The Best of Organizational Development Summit addresses the OD practitioner's highest priorities and challenges with the latest and most pertinent tools and information from thought leaders, practitioners, and world-class keynote speakers. Each year, Linkage conducts field research with hundreds of practitioners, thought leaders, and consultants from around the world. This research and the resulting Model for High Impact OD set the agenda for The Best of Organizational Development Summit. The Summit is able to address the needs of OD practitioners at every level, equipping them with practical and cost-effective tools and applications to immediately improve business results. This event combines competency and skill development with action learning, networking, and best practices to accelerate the capability of OD practitioners.

EuRA 10th Anniversary Conference
When: 14-16 May 2008
Where: Rome, Italy
Produced by: European Relocation Association
Cost: see website
More information: www.eura-relocation.com or by email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Description: EuRA is an industry body for relocation professionals in both Europe and Worldwide. Relocation service providers are required to abide by EuRA's Rules of Conduct. This year’s conference, “We Versus Me; Celebrating our Work-Life Balance,” will focus on balance for expat and relocation professionals.  The focus will be on the psychological reactions to an increasingly work-driven lifestyle, especially for the globally mobile employee and family.

The 9th International Conference on Human Resource Development Research & Practice Across Europe
When: 21-23 May 2008.
Where: Lille, France
Produced by: The University Forum for Human Resource Development (UFHRD), the Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD), and IÉSEG School of Management
Cost: See website
More information: http://hrd.ieseg.fr/index.html 
Description: THEME: Developing Leaders and Managers - The University Forum for Human Resource Development (UFHRD), the Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD), and IÉSEG School of Management (part of the Catholic University of Lille), are pleased to announce the 9th International Conference on Human Resource Development across Europe.  The conference aims to promulgate the latest research findings, best practices and theoretical developments in HRD.  The theme of this year’s conference is developing leaders and managers as a key HRD activity. In particular we hope to highlight how we, in the HRD community, in our roles as academics, educators, professionals and trainers shape, constrain and contribute to the process of developing and leaders.

Expatriate Compensation Seminar
When and Where:
21-22 May 2008 - Cambridge, MA USA
28 -29 May 2008 - London, U.K.
Where: Produced by: AIRINC Associates for International Research, Inc.
Cost: see website
More information: www.air-inc.com/seminars/cambr08.html or for USA contact Scott Sutton in Cambridge +1 617 354-2133 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and for UK contact Ilse van Loon in Amsterdam +31 20 618 5205 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Description: Our restructured training program consists of a two-module format: The first-day session will focus on the fundamentals of expatriate compensation and the second day will cover more advanced material, addressing best practices in policy design & strategy.  International human resources professionals (or the equivalent) can register to attend both sessions or one of the individual modules.

Eighth International Conference on Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations

When: 17 – 20 June 2008
Where: Montreal, Canada
Produced by: Common Ground
Cost: see website
More information: http://diversity-conference.com
Description: This conference will address a range of critically important themes in the study of diversity today. Main speakers will include some of the world’s leading thinkers in the field, as well as numerous paper, workshop and colloquium presentations by researchers and practitioners.

Global Workforce Summit: Focus on Europe, Middle East & Africa
When: June 18-19, 2008
Where: Brussels, Belgium
Produced by: Worldwide ERC®
Cost: See website
More information: www.erc.org/Global_Summit/emea08.shtml
Description: This conference promises abundant opportunity for those responsible for workforce mobility and talent management in Europe, Middle East and Africa. This year the event will be hosted by the globally important city of Brussels – where many important decisions that impact business prospects are made and which is home to many corporate decision-makers. Workforce mobility is a key strategy for talent management in today’s dynamic economic and business environment. Finding and keeping the right people in the right jobs is more difficult than ever before and demographers predict the labour shortage will continue to grow. Learn from the leaders in workforce mobility about best practices and emerging trends that will help your organization succeed in this competitive environment.

New Regulations for Cross Border Workers
When: 23 June 2008
Where: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Produced by: Lexlumen, in cooperation with Expatica
Cost: See website
More information: www.lexlumen.nl or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Description: Learn about the latest changes in Dutch regulations for expats and inpats in labour law, tax regulations and pensions.

Employing and Vetting Non-UK Nationals
When: 2nd July 2008
Where: The CBI Conference Centre, London, U.K.
Produced by: Symposium Events
Cost: see website
More information: www.symposium-events.co.uk  Tel: (UK) 020 7231 5100
Description: Symposium Events’ 5th Annual Employing and Vetting Non-UK Nationals 2008 is the authoritative conference for employers involved in recruiting and screening non-UK nationals. This unique and timely conference features an update on the most recent vetting rules and legislation surrounding both EU and non-EU nationals. By attending you can ensure your vetting practices are rigorous and fair, and avoid the risk of litigation.

W.I.N. Global Leadership Forum 'women creating the future'
When: 18-20 September 2008
Where: Barcelona, Spain
Produced by: WIN Conference/Kristin Engvig
Cost: see website
More information: www.winconference.net - Registration Opens 1 May 2008
Description: Come join hundreds of outstanding women in Sitges, Barcelona, Spain for the global leadership forum of the year. W.I.N. is bringing a vision of sustainability, authenticity and nurturing values and the women at W.I.N. are making it happen.  Come and meet highly dynamic, experienced and competent women and some courageous men too. Learn how to do business in a graceful way and create an innovative future that is beneficial for all.  Join us in developing, empowering and connecting leaders with a feminine, authentic and truly global vision.

CERC National Conference
When: 21 – 23 September 2008
Where: Vancouver, B.C.
Produced by: CERC
Cost: see website
More information: www.cerc.ca/events/conf/conference.aspx or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone: + 866-357-CERC (2372)
Description: John Ibbitson, a respected journalist with the Globe and Mail newspaper and author of several books, will be the keynote speaker at this year's annual conference.  Mr. Ibbitson is currently covering the U.S. primary race in advance of the U.S. Federal elections in November 2008. He is a noted expert on Canada/ U.S. political relations and trade matters. In 2005 he wrote the Canadian best seller - "The Polite Revolution, Perfecting The Canadian Dream."

Global HR News Conference - Going Global and Thriving
When: 23rd September 2008
Where: Mexico City, Mexico
Produced by: Global HR News
Cost: See website
More information: www.globalhrnews.com/b4/b4conf.asp?cid=52 or contact Ed Cohen: Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Phone: +1.619.297.5700
Description: Conference educational theme: Aligning Human Capital Financial Resources, Talent Management and Mobility Policy with Corporate Strategy.

TAMA Conference 2008 - Quality, Standards and Technology: Terminology's Future
When: 9 - 10 October 2008
Where: Ottawa, Canada
Produced by: TermNet
Cost: see website
More information: www.termnet.info/english/events/idss2007.php, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Tel.: +43-1-524 0606-11
Description: TermNet, the International Network for Terminology, is an international co-operation forum for companies, universities, institutions and organizations who aim at developing a world-wide market for terminological products, services and tools.  The 9th International Conference "Terminology in Advanced Management Applications (TAMA)" will take place within the "Canadian Terminology week."

The Global Institute for Leadership Development
When: 12 – 15 October 2008
Where: Palm Desert, CA
Produced by: Linkage, Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: http://gild.linkageinc.com
Description: In its 11th year, with over 3,500 alumni, GILD is an intensive 5.5 day leadership immersion program providing a world-class accelerated learning experience that combines expert instruction, real-time business application, and social awareness in a pragmatic and hands-on environment. GILD joins together seasoned leaders from all industries and functions representing Global 2000 companies.  Participants engage in focused learning around the 15 components of the model through our leadership assessment instrument, lessons in leadership sessions, skill development programs, private executive coaching program, and business simulation.

Best Practices in Leadership Development Summit – Tools, Processes and Systems for Developing Leaders
When: 12 – 15 October 2008
Where: Palm Desert, CA
Produced by: Linkage, Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/bpld/default.aspx
Description: Linkage's 1st Annual Best Practices in Leadership Development Summit: Tools, Processes & Systems for Developing Leaders is the one place where those who are responsible for accelerating the development of managers, executives and leaders in their organizations can come each year to learn the state-of-the-art in their profession. Thought leaders, world-class practitioners and expert instructors join an elite faculty to help attendees produce the results expected of them. Benchmark against the best in the industry and dramatically increase your know-how and ability to succeed in your role. Your organization's future depends on it!

Japan Human Resources Roundtable
When: November 2008
Where: Tokyo, Japan
Produced by: The Economist
Cost: see website
More information: This conference is currently being developed; please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the latest information on programme, venue and speakers.
Description: Please see above info.

The Women in Leadership Summit – Distinctive Learning. Practical Solutions. Proven Results
When: 10 – 12 November 2008
Where: San Francisco, CA
Produced by: Linkage Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/wil/default.aspx
Description: The Women in Leadership Summit equips women leaders with the strategies and skills to catalyze change, accelerate development, gain visibility, and create sustainable operating results. The event boasts more than 5,000 alumni and hundreds of world-class speakers. Year after year, the Women in Leadership Summit delivers exactly what it promises, including proven leadership skills; strategies from best-in-class practitioners; inspiration and renewal; opportunity for reflection and change; unmatched networking opportunities; and continuous learning and development.

The Global HR Congress; Aligning Human Capital, Talent Engagement, Innovation & Competing Globally
When: 3-4 December 2008
Where: Paris, France
Produced by: Global HR News
Cost: see website
More information: www.globalhrnews.com/b4/b4conf.asp?cid=71 or www.globalhrnews.com/b4/b4conf.asp?cid=52 or contact Ed Cohen: Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Phone: +1.619.297.5700
Description: Theme: Strategic Role of International Assignments in World Trade.

The Best of Talent Management Summit
When: 9 – 11 December 2008
Where: Lake Buena Vista, FL
Produced by: Linkage Inc.
Cost: See website
More information: www.linkageinc.com/learning_events/conferences/default.aspx
Description: The Best of Talent Management Summit is a gathering of the world's foremost talent management experts, thought leaders, and experienced practitioners, brought together to share the tools, models, leadership skills, and overall implementation plans executed during successful talent management initiatives. Attendees are offered a genuinely unique immersion learning experience through a combination of visionary keynote presentations, best practice case studies, and small, focused learning teams. Participants and team leaders alike will have the shared opportunity to discuss and debate principles and methods learned throughout the presentations and then apply them to their own real and current challenges in small action learning groups.
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New website supports partnerships in community languages

our languages

The launch of the website for Our Languages, a groundbreaking initiative funded by the DCSF, takes place today at the third CILT Community Languages National Conference in Sheffield.

The new website, hosted by CILT, the National Centre for Languages, provides vital information and support for community languages teachers and managers in the UK. Content includes video clips showing best practice, case studies, useful links and training and event information. Key features include a database of schools teaching community languages in England and information on how to gain accreditation in community languages: www.ourlanguages.org.uk

The Our Languages project began in September 2007 in response to a need to raise the status of community languages in the curriculum and to recognise the work of the complementary (or supplementary) sector in England. The project aims to provide support for community languages teaching by developing partnerships between complementary and mainstream schools. In its first phase, which ran until March 2008, nine schools, teaching more than twelve community languages, formed regional partnerships in Birmingham, Leicester, London and Manchester.

Read more > CILT 
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Charity calls for business leaders to take up diversity challenge

A charity that campaigns to provide a "secure base for Britain's minority ethnic communities" has called for effective leadership to promote diversity, after a poll revealed that almost nine in 10 recent graduates have experienced some kind of discrimination at work.

The Ethnic Minority Foundation, called for leaders to be held accountable for discrimination which, it says is "ruining the life chances of young people".

It follows a survey of 200 graduates by recruitment site Milkround.com which found that 86% of had faced discrimination while working.

Race discrimination affected two in five respondents, with age discrimination affecting 14% and gender 12%. Other reasons for unfair treatment included sexual orientation and height.

One respondent said: "People like me coming from a different country or continent to study and then try to get a work placement here are very vulnerable, particularly if they are unfortunate enough to have employers or managers as ignorant as the one I [worked for]."

Read more > Diversity 
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Expats in Spain filling job gaps

Ex-pats living in Spain are being recruited and trained to work as remote telemarketing staff for English businesses because there is a shortage of suitable candidates in the UK.

Call centre staffing company Sensée has hired 10 sun-soaked British workers as telesales agents for Sense On Hold (SOH), a UK-based company providing marketing to callers while they are waiting on hold. The agents will never meet their new bosses at SOH, as all elements of recruitment and training take place online.

The move reflects the growing number of employers using mobile workers for traditional, office-based jobs.

Read more> Expats 
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Recruiters have a key role to play in helping ethnic minorities into work

Following the publication of the National Audit Office’s report that showed there was still a significant gap between the employment rate for ethnic minorities and the general population, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation has again highlighted the need for more work to be done in this particular area.

The report stated that the employment rate is 60 per cent for the ethnic minority population compared to 74 per cent for the general population.

Read more > Diversity 
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Finding talent globally

The war for talent never ends. Middle managers in China? Good luck finding them, let alone keeping them. Assembly line workers in Central Europe? They're well-educated and hard-working: Trouble is, every company wants them. The cubicle warriors of Bangalore? They get the job done—if they stick around. I For corporations, managing this widely scattered, talented, restive, multicultural workforce has never been harder. This Special Report, written to coincide with the 2008 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, brings readers to the front lines of the struggle. It delves into IBM's (IBM) effort to rein- vent the way it gets tasks done around the world, follows a Nokia (NOK) manager as he recruits a workforce from scratch in Transylvania, meets a restless generation of IT workers in India, and hears from the corporate road warriors who never, ever stop traveling.

These and other stories make a simple but powerful point: The old way of managing across borders is fading fast. In the first half of the 20th century, the globalization of business was based on the British colonial model. Headquarters, functions, and capital were in one place, with managers dispatched to run regional operations like colonies. In the second half of the 1900s, companies adopted the multinational model, replicating their home country operations in other places where they did business. Country units rarely dealt with other divisions in other markets.

Today, global corporations are transforming themselves into "transnationals," moving work to the places with the talent to handle the job and the time to do it at the right cost.

Read more: transnationals 
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Language and Culture are issues for midwives

The UK's population is growing. Part of that increase is fuelled by women from other countries having children here.

And as the Local Government Association (LGA), representing 400 councils in England and Wales, outlines to a House of Lords select committee how migration stretches community services, one midwife tells how the changes affect her.

language and culture in the uk


For midwife Jayne Cozens, going to work these days is also becoming something of a geography lesson.

She has worked in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, for 12 years, and her caseloads are containing increasing numbers of foreign nationals from across the globe.

Language and culture are becoming more of an issue, as Mrs Cozens' job becomes ever more multi-cultural and multi-lingual.

"It can be a challenge explaining to a 17-year-old English girl what an amniocentesis is, let alone to a teenager from abroad who doesn't speak the language," she says.

There are cultural issues, too, which midwives must handle in the course of giving their advice to non-UK nationals.

"Chinese families tend to sleep together in the same room and the same bed.

"Children, new baby, mum and dad are all together. It's what they're used to, so you go to a house and there's a couple of mattresses on the floor.

"But our advice in relation to cot death is for women to not sleep with their babies, so if you have the whole family in together then that presents a problem."

Mrs Cozens said that in the course of her work "you do learn a few words" but that this is not enough to clearly explain the full message.

Read more> Language & Culture
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Technology for global mobility programmes

The use of information technology within human resource (HR) management has increased greatly during recent years, with most organisations now using technology to some extent in their management of HR.

Some believe that HR practitioners have become more focused on adding strategic value within an organisation and becoming a business partner to line managers. A number of authors have suggested that technology may be used within HR to facilitate this shift in the role of the HR function, including Edward Lawler and Susan Mohrman in their 2003 Human Resource Planning article, 'HR as a Strategic Partner: What Does it Take to Make it Happen,' and Samir Shrivastava and James Shaw in their 2003 Human Resource Management article, 'Liberating HR through Technology.' However, HR functions also have been under pressure to reduce costs and make efficiency savings, sometimes achieved by outsourcing parts of the function, but often through streamlining the transactional aspects of the work by means of call centres, self-service, and a greater use of new technology.

Read more> Expatica 
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BA "culture of hostility" against

A British Airways check-in clerk who was suspended for refusing to conceal a small crucifix on a necklace at her post at Heathrow Airport has accused her employers of having a "culture of hostility" to Christianity at an employment tribunal.

When Nadia Eweida was suspended, without pay, in September 2006, she claimed it was her human right to express her faith by having the crucifix on display. She returned to work this February after BA revised its uniform policy.

The case caused a storm and prompted criticism from then prime minister Tony Blair who told British Airways that its attempts to stop staff wearing the crucifix was a waste of energy.

Read more> British Airways 
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Blears urges HR staff to attract more BME workers

Communities secretary Hazel Blears has urged human resources professionals to get out more to attract more black and minority ethnic (BME) workers.

Speaking exclusively to Personneltoday.com, Blears said the role for HR in attracting more BME people into work was to go to the places where different communities live, and encourage them to apply for positions.

Currently, the ethnic minority share of the working age population stands at 9.3% or 3.26 million people, according to 2004 Department for Work and Pensions figures. The latest Office for National Statistic figures (2002-03) state that the employment rate for white people working in the UK is 75.5%, compared to just 57.3% for non-white groups.

Read more> Hazel Blears 
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Blears urges HR staff to attract more BME workers

Communities secretary Hazel Blears has urged human resources professionals to get out more to attract more black and minority ethnic (BME) workers.

Speaking exclusively to Personneltoday.com, Blears said the role for HR in attracting more BME people into work was to go to the places where different communities live, and encourage them to apply for positions.

Currently, the ethnic minority share of the working age population stands at 9.3% or 3.26 million people, according to 2004 Department for Work and Pensions figures. The latest Office for National Statistic figures (2002-03) state that the employment rate for white people working in the UK is 75.5%, compared to just 57.3% for non-white groups.

Read more> Hazel Blears 
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The perfect expat?

Changes in the world economy have made many companies change their businesses in an international context. Expatriates are used to share the knowledge from their country and make these businesses a success. Expatriates cost a lot of money, and because of this it is necessary to know who is and who isn’t suited to work abroad. Research has been done to which personality characteristics are important for a good performance by an expatriate, but does this theoretical background suit the reality?

At first four variables used in this research are four of the ‘Big Five personality dimensions’ (Costa & McCrae, 1992): extraversion, emotional stability, agreeableness and conscientiousness. Extraversion can be seen in two different dimensions: ambition and social capability. There are different intra individual factors that can be indicative for the emotional stability of a worker. Examples of these are concern, being depressed, anger, embarrassment, emotionality, anxiety and insecurity. Examples of characteristics following agreeableness are courtesy, flexibility, reliability, helping others, soft-heartedness and tolerance. Conscientiousness can be described with thoroughness, responsibility, being organised and the quality of plans.

Read more: Expats 
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France allows family members to work during an expatriate assignment

France is the latest country to allow family members of skilled international staff to work during an assignment. The changes, which apply to intra-group transfers and a new category for `competences and talents', were part of the 2006 Immigration and Integration Law, implemented in May 2007.

The change is applauded by Permits Foundation, which promotes open work permits for the spouses and partners of international staff worldwide.

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Language and Cultural background holding foreign-born workers back

“When you're looking at skills and technical professions there's a good body there of commonality,” said Tom Ryan, who's in charge of Communitech's recruitment strategy. “What we also find is culture shock. We find culture shock and language as a two-part killer.”

Not always, according to Herbert Hess, president of Hess Associates, which provides a placement service for people looking for work in the IT sector. Hess said that while language and culture shock can be a problem for some immigrants looking for work, people from countries such as India are used to working 10 to 14 hours a day - the kind of work ethic employers are looking for. “They've got language skills, communication skills and are very well educated. They don't seem to have a problem in terms of fitting in.”

Hess said he's seeing more Middle Eastern people looking for work nowadays compared to previous years, when Russian and Asian workers dominated the field.

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High Translation costs for Multicultural N. Ireland

The impact of foreign immigrants on the translation costs for Northern Ireland's courts has been revealed today. The Court Service had to fork out almost £200,000 to hire 946 language interpreters during 2006, according to figures released by the Government.

The figures give one indication of the dramatic changes happening in the increasingly multi-cultural Northern Ireland as workers flood in from far and wide, boosting what is a thriving economy. They reveal 936 translators were engaged to work in criminal court cases during 2006. The most often featured languages were:

1. Lithuanian 344.

2. Polish 209.

3. Russian 90.

4. Portuguese 63.

5. Mandarin 43.

Read more: Ulster Courts 

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