The average size of a bribe in Russia nearly tripled between
2008 and 2009 and officials there accepted a whopping $33.5 billion in bribes from Russian companies last year, according to a new Russian government report cited in the St. Petersburg Times….

There is still concern about the notorious ‘‘dark’’ side of
Russian business affairs, which includes a range of activities that could be regarded as violations of universal codes of human integrity, including extortion and flagrant breach of contract. The Russian phrase ‘nel’zya, no mozhno’ (prohibited, but possible) sums up the attitude of getting around the ‘official system’ where “nothing is legal, but everything is possible”…

The black market economy in Russia is a huge industry, Corruption
estimated to be the equivalent of the GDP of Denmark – some US $300 billion. It is so rampant that many large Western firms are deciding to cut their losses and leave Russia for good, IKEA among them. This is just a tiny tip on an enormous iceberg…

by Adina Tarry

My brief stories relate to my personal experience in different countries, linked by a common language…or not.

I lived in London for a few years before going to Sydney, another English speaking place. Once there I found work and quickly noticed that my interactions with others were not quite fluid. Eventually an exasperated manager bit the bullet and challenged me one day, as I’ve been talking to him for some minutes. “Adina, what exactly is it that you want? Just tell me…??!!!” he interrupted. Slightly shocked by such abruptness I answered “Well…a meeting next Monday at 10 am if possible”, “No worries…why don’t you say so and waste my time…done…” and then he left…my English graces dismissed in an instant. The full impact of that story happened when experienced in reverse.

by Matthew Hill

The thought of foreign workers coming amongst us in the UK can be a daunting one. It can bring up emotive issues, practical considerations and a moment of contemplation about who we are and who are they?

Fear is part of the reaction – “Will they take my job?” “Will I be able to manage them?” “Will my life ever be the same again?”  One company was experiencing difficulty hiring experts in the UK…

Some years ago it was popular for OD consultants to observe that
many US organizational culture “managed by emergency.” s. In my several ongoing engagements with US groups, after living in France for some years now, it seemed to me that people in these organizations rushed about in a constant state of urgency, “putting out fires.” I won’t tell stories at length or repeat the literature on the effects of this kind of management on planning, productivity and morale, but I do want to share an observation about it that I did not remember seeing in this kind of discussion. It is much more of a cultural and personal insight. It comes from my US soul with the perspective of living abroad for many years now. The urgency is both part of me and something I recognize in others like me….

Interculturalists and cross-cultural communication
specialists are the first to advise caution when it comes to using humour in  international business. Copywriters and marketers often avoid humour for fear of offending readers in an increasingly diverse market place.

However, according to a recent study laughter may be a profit-enhancing business tool when used in negotiations by increasing trust and rapport. Read below to understand the role of humour on the early stages of negotiations and its subsequent impact on the trust between the negotiating parties – and, most importantly, whether there was any commercial gain…

 Originally got this via @raykwong through one of his Tweets. Interesting to read the attitudes of young Chinese shoppers and how global companies are looking to China to help them meet their turnover targets.

If you want to do international business on the web, consider the impact of culture on the understanding, interpretation, and use of your web-site. Things like colour, content, language, and even the tools we use are not accepted around the world in the same way – there are cross cultural differences. Here are just a few things to consider:

International Negotiations are a minefield. Often people believe that:

  1. International deals will happen automatically if the correct government policies and structures are in place.
  2. The successful strategies we use in meetings and negotiating on the domestic scene can apply to international settings.
  3. Others’ perceptions and stereotyping of us won’t be allowed to affect the negotiations
  4. Everyone likes to get down to business and focus on the end game: a legally binding contract.
  5. The ‘rules of engagement’ are the same all over the world

 But it just ain’t so …