Cross-cultural interactions — the good, the bad… and a couple of blunders!

This blog reminded me when I was still working in Year 2000 Project in my birth country, the Philippines. At that time, the telecommunications company hired a New Zealand company to manage Y2K project. Most of the expats are not familiar with our culture that sometimes it made them frustrated even in a minor situation, e.g., arriving five to ten minutes late in a meeting. One time the foreign Consultant was fuming mad when most of the attendees are late that he left the meeting in a mad rush. If the NZ Consultant and local employees knew their cultures beforehand, it would diminish their frustration and gave them a better working relationship.

On the other hand, people who are migrating to other countries should learn the culture before making a decision. I am a migrant too, and culture is one of the factors why I decided to migrate to New Zealand rather than other countries such as the United States, Canada or Australia. In my opinion, I can fit with NZ culture. But I was mistaken because it’s easier said than done. I am still striving to adopt to my home country without losing my identity.

I agree that embracing the different culture is a good start. Likewise, organisations with multi-culture should understand the different attitudes especially on making decisions, its impact on productivity, and the cohesion of the team.

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