Cultural Differences in the Workplace

Published Thursday, September 16, 2010 3:17 PM

Our increasingly global world and workforce can put cultural differences in high relief. A recent Harvard Business Review post Cultural Intelligence captured the challenges posed when individuals see the world through vastly different perspectives. The article opened by quoting an international advertising campaign for global bank HSBC that shows a grasshopper and the message: "USA-Pest. China-Pet. Northern Thailand-Appetizer."

One insect, three vastly different images. Culture powerfully shapes not only how we perceive the world but every human interaction: gestures, speech and comprehension. In business, where teamwork and mutual understanding are necessary to forge consensus and operate productively, cultural barriers must be surmounted.

At our company globalization is more than an abstraction: we have subsidiaries in 31 countries, distribution in more than 120 and our global management and sales forces work from a myriad of locations. In past posts, we've blogged about the logistical challenges of managing remote teams. 

Here, we've assembled some resources to help employees navigate cultural differences.

How does your workplace deal with cultural differences? Do you have tips and techniques to share?

 by Candie Harris


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