Because you Don’t Have a Second Chance to make a First (Cross-Cultural) Impression.
Cross-Cultural awareness recognizes that we are all shaped by our cultural background, which influences how we interpret the world around us, perceive ourselves and relate to other people. You don’t need to be an expert in every culture or have all the answers to be culturally aware; rather, cultural awareness helps you to explore cultural issues with your care recipients more sensitively.
People see, interpret and evaluate things in a different ways, and cross-cultural awareness becomes central when we have to interact with people from other cultures. What is considered an appropriate behavior in one culture is frequently inappropriate in another one. Misunderstandings arise when we use our meanings to make sense of our reality while in a different social environment.
One of the primary goals of a multinational executive is to recognize that in a culture different from his own native one, he/she must withhold judgement and embrace the differences of the host country. Both a Parka and a Burka are equally able to fully cover a person, but you will be hard pressed to find someone wearing a parka in the middle of a desert; and even harder to find someone wearing one in the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. Failing to identify these differences, and assuming that everybody should adapt to your own culture because “you’re the boss” can be one of the quickest ways to achieve irrelevance, much more when as it happens often the executive does not even speaks the local language and depends on local translators to conduct his/her own business and personal affairs.
The Cultural Awareness
Culture is …
“… the collective programming of the human mind which distinguishes the members of one group from another… “
Dr. Geert Hofstede
In recent years, with the increase in globalization and diversity in the workplace, cross-cultural management has become an important element of organizational life. The ability to work with others from different cultures is a key skill for executives and multinational managers with jobs outside their home countries; but it is a kind of competence that is rarely well understood or defined.
While many people perceive culture based on their own set of values and expectations, cultural awareness includes more than simply what we can see on the surface. Culture has been described many times as an iceberg, where barely the tip of it is perceived, and the basic components remain hidden under the surface. From the way to dress, greet, eat, and even negotiate, today’s executives need to be able to understand and navigate the challenges of conducting business in a multinational environment. Without it, they risk not only their own personal growth, but also the eventual success of their organizations in the new environment.
Cross-Cultural Organizational Development
With over 20 years of multinational management expertise in the U.S. and Latin America business environment, Inloso can help you identify and properly address the challenges that you are facing in your multinational operations. In addition our partnership with ITIM International, gives you the programmatic and operational support of the leading company in Cultural Business Management research and consulting in the world. Our areas of expertise include:
- Cross-Cultural Organizational Measurements
- Multinational Internal Employee Organizational Development
- International Customer and Business Strategic Development
- Cross-Cultural Executive Leadership Management
Please feel free to contact usif you have any questions, or need our assistance.
References and Related Articles
-  http://www.culturaldiversity.com.au/practice-guides/cultural-awareness
-  http://www.culturosity.com/articles/whatisculturalawareness.htm