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Building organisational cultural awareness


Building organisational cultural awareness

As my organisation continues to grow globally ….I am faced with the challenge of building a more culturally aware business. This will include preparing employees to work aboard through to negotiating across cultures and understanding basic differences. Has anyone been faced with a similar challenge?….and if so, please help guide my footsteps. Or if anyone could recommend any credible businesses that specialise in this area …….any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Ola Lagunju

Ola Lagunju

4 Responses

  1. Cultural Awareness
    I came across a very good section in Waterstones on Managing Cultural Diversity in Businesses. There is a marvellous concept in one book, whose name I will retrieve for you – just away at present – which talks about how things like a burger in Moscow become status symbols compared to their throwaway status in London

    We also used a training firm to run courses called Equal Opportunities for CUSTOMERS which embraced masses of cultural and diversity messages,unspoken and spoken.

    Is this what you are looking for?

    Have you tried the British Council in Medlock Street,Manchester. I am sure they will have units who can advise you


    [email protected]

  2. Cultural awareness

    I can recommend a consultant who has extensive experience in this area having worked with lots of different cultures in HR. She can provide training and coaching for groups and on a 1-1 basis for staff travelling abroad. Her contact details are:

    Laxmi Chaudhry
    1Stop HR

    E: [email protected]
    T: +44 (0) 1628 630064
    M: +44 (0) 7793 742767
    F: +44 (0) 1628 638933

    Kind regards
    Sandra Beale

  3. cultural awareness
    Charles Hampden-Turner, Peter Smith (Sussex University) and Fons Trompenaars have done a lot of good work in this field, with reference to business. Google them to find their work.

    An excellent basic book is “Mind your Manners” by John Mole.

    I’ve done work in this area , (with the above three people and on my own) and know something about the pitfalls of running training in this field – feel free to contact me if you want to talk things through. I could give you some tips from hard-won experience!

  4. Cultural awareness
    Hi Ola

    Sorry for the delayed comment – I have been away – hope it is not too late to add some ideas/comments.

    First – I agree with Joanna that a great place to start is Trompenaars and Hampden Turner – I would also add Geert Hofstede (that makes two Dutch and 1 British!!). They have produced the best models that help to understand national culture makeup, but also are potentially dangerous in that they can be used simplistically to ‘stereotype’. They provide a useful base on customs and rules of thumb, but not for dealing with individuals who may not conform to the norms.

    For me, training needs to be at three levels (depending on the degree of exposure and depth of engagement with a culture). The basic level is to know the do’s and don’ts so you don’t offend (how to give and take a business card in Japan, why you should pause in conversation in India, don’t show the soles of your feet in Saudi Arabia, etc). This is essential for all travellers on business.

    The second level is to understand difference – either tactically (how do you do business with the…) or more fundamentally (the sources of diversity using cultural driver models). This is for people working with other cultures and negotiating/building working relationships.

    The third level is preparation to ‘deep dive’ into a culture in order to live and work there. This requires detailed preparation in terms of customs, language and networking, plus further development of personal awareness.

    I can recommend some resources other than the books:

    Diversophy is a card game which is designed to develop cultural awareness – there are several specific versions (and languages) avalable –

    InterConnect is a consultancy specialising in cross cultural awareness. Run by Jem and Herta Scanlan they have some very successful programmes.

    My own organisation runs cross cultural versions of our Influencing and Negotiating for Results programmes which address level 2.

    Please call me if you would like to develop thoughts further. [email protected]

    Best wishes


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