Notes on Cultural Differences
Jinfo Blog

Friday, 28th September 2007 Sign in to MyJinfo or create an account be able to star items Printable version Subscribe via RSS to get updates as soon as Blog items are added

Item

In German-speaking regions people usually wish 'Guten Appetit' to everyone at the table before starting to eat, no matter that is business gala dinner or family supper. The same protocol is mostly unnecessary in the United States or in China. Cultural differences as such can be learned by reading a cultural etiquette tip list or one of the many other ways. This kind of knowledge - the subtleties of how to behave - helps navigate the day-to-day challenges presented by life in a new country. However, a country's cultural profile goes beyond what can be seen or heard. Understanding and respecting the state of affairs in the minds and souls of people from other cultures may need not only patience, but also a flexible mindset. While cultural differences were highly interesting topics for several panel discussions at the recent GIIS conference in Berlin, many of the off-stage small talks were also quite enlightening on the subject. Cultural differences get complicated when cultures share a particular value but express it in very different ways. Some examples: * Americans like to look good and make a good first impression. So do Europeans. And Chinese go a long way to avoid losing face. But what constitutes 'looking good' for Americans may be quite different from Europeans or Chinese. * Social networks are important everywhere in the world for business and personal success, although the degrees of influence and the dependency of social system functions vary greatly in different cultural contexts, as it is exemplified in the Chinese concept of Guanxi, which is usually translated as 'relationship'. In America, social networks can be very fluid and change frequently; in Europe and China, it may take longer to be admitted to a social network, and locals may hold newcomers at arm's length for a period of time. * Americans value team-building but in a cultural context that also venerates the individual. Chinese, on the other hand, put group goals ahead of their own personal desires and belonging-together community spirit is deeply embedded in the Chinese collective culture. Chinese have also been deeply affected by the teachings of Confucianism which emphasizes the importance of interdependent relationships. Recognizing cultural differences, no matter in which form or color, is important for business success in the global markets. Investment in understanding these differences will pay dividends in the future.

« Blog

What's new at Jinfo?

Focus on Value Chain

Document the value chain, and transform the way you think about, manage and report on your product portfolio and your information service contributions to your organisation goals.

Focus on Value Chain


Focus on Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is a required process for a healthy information department. It gauges the ability of your services, team, portfolio and overall value to withstand stress.

Focus on Risk Assessment

Sorry, there seems to be a problem with Webinar and Community listings. Please let us know, by email to support@jinfo.com. Thank you.

Benefit from our research

Our proven processes, resources and guidance will help your team make the shift from transaction centre to strategic asset.


Workshops

Designed around the most common challenges and pain points for time- and resource-strapped information teams

Supercharge remote productivity and value
Holistic content portfolio management
Future-proof your information service
Executive-ready communications


Briefings

A tailored overview of our research and active discussion with your Jinfo analyst.


Assessments

Measure your starting point to articulate your strengths and set priorities for future improvements. Assessments gauge risk, capacity, value and more.


Read case studies, and start the conversation:

Consulting benefits

Connect your team with the practical tools, original research and expertise to build and support information strategy in your organisation.

A Jinfo Subscription gives access to all Content (articles, reports, webinars) and Community.

Subscription benefits