multicultural globe

When working internationally, there are certain principles that are good to remember when things just don’t seem to be going right. The principle one is:

Don’t take things personally! This comes from personal experience…

When you don’t understand why people are behaving the way they are or people aren’t doing things the way you thought they would, don’t jump to the conclusion that they are doing it to annoy/upset you.

The first lesson of intercultural communication is to STOP BEING SELF-CENTRED. You’ve probably stumbled across a cultural difference which has prompted a form of culture shock.

Make life easier for yourself and remember these principles:

  1. When you notice a ‘violation’ of any rules or norms, you tend to think it’s the ignorance of others.
  2. If these violations persist, you suspect people are being deliberately rude and in some cases downright dishonest.
  3. Only later do you begin to suspect the possibility they have a different set of ‘rules’.
  4. The more similar two cultures are, the greater the shock when discrepancies surface.
  5. Cultural friction is aggravated by communication breakdowns.
  6. When there is a cultural clash, people tend to give up easily rather than fight for principles.
  7. Groups look for external referees and arbitrators when they are unable to communicate with each other.
  8. People who communicate effectively usually get their own way!
  9. People become embarrassed when they have to communicate in ‘new’ ways (remember trying to speak a foreign language at school?)
  10. Time spent in improving your communication skills is frequently more valuable than time spent on tasks and ‘doing’.  That time is never wasted.

Edward Hall once remarked:

The essence of effective cross-cultural communication has more to do with releasing the right responses than with sending the ‘right’ message”

My other articles related to culture shock can be found here:

What Is Culture Shock?

The Stages of Adjusting To A New Culture

Before You Go: What To Do Before You Leave

Overcoming Culture Shock

The Classic 5-Stage Culture Shock Model

Rhinesmith’s 10 Stages of Culture Shock

Collective Culture Shock

Advice For  Expats Moving to the Arab World

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 at 12:08 am and is filed under culture shock & stuff, General, working internationally . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “ 10 Culture Shock Priniciples for Working Internationally ”

  1. John says:

    It´s lovely to surf with Google. Wrote working culture and look what a great blog I´ve found