Making ‘Work’ Work Across Cultures
A Training Course on Cross-Cultural Awareness and Communications
with a Focus on Indian and American Cultures
Learning Objectives:
 Become more aware of cultural differences and
similarities in the workplace
 Gain a better understanding of how culture influences
communications and other behaviors at work
 Learn some techniques to adapt or flex your own ways
of communicating so you may become more effective
 Take away more information and tips about cross-
cultural business communications.
Importance of Cultural Understanding
High
Business impact
Realize and Root
Implement
Reconciling Actions
Low
Reconcile
Resolve
Cultural Differences
Respect
Appreciate
Cultural Differences
Recognize
Increase
Awareness
Time/period of engagement
High
Dimensions of Culture
Country
Gender
Department
Culture
Profession
Relationship
Company
The Power of Culture in Business
“Imagine that your beautifully crafted strategy failed when the
divisions within your organization clashed. Logically, it seems
that strategy should drive behavior—but, in reality, it's your
culture (underlying norms, values, belief systems) that dictates
how people are going to work together. As a result, employee
behavior directly impacts your bottom line—your costs,
revenue, productivity, customer base, even your brand. Every
aspect of your business is affected.”
Juli Ann Reynolds, CEO, Tom Peters Company
& Susan A. Murphy, Ph.D. & Chief Consultant
Model for Culture
What are some more of the elements
that are a part of a culture?
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Tree Model of CULTURE
Surface Culture
Language
Dress
Art & Music
Food
Gestures
Personal Space
Holidays
Religion
Gender Roles
Formality
Time
Values
Relationships
Attitudes
Communication & Learning Styles
Methods of Decision Making
Work Ethic
Negotiating Styles
Deep Culture
Culture is always evolving and changing
“It is not the strongest
who survive, or the
fastest.
It is the ones who can
change the quickest.”
- Charles Darwin
INDIA
(Republic of India)
Some Facts and Figures
Internet Domain: .in
Overview of India

7th Largest Country in area, 28 states & 7 territories

Largest Democracy , a Parliament , a PM & Pres.

>1.16 Billion Population, world’s 2nd most populous,
median age is 26

GDP ~ $ 4 Trillion, 5th biggest in world

Religions: Hindu, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, others

Languages – 14 Official and over 1600 other
languages and dialects.

380 Universities

11200 Colleges & growing!

1500 Research Institutions

2.5 million Graduates are added to the workforce
every year
 which includes 300,000 Engineers and 150,000
IT Professionals
Some perceptions about Indians
 Shy, soft spoken, reserved & speak in a low voice
 Takes time to “warm up” or “get started”
 Lack of common interest conversational topics with the client
 Mutual dependence and interdependence - family bonds
 Hesitant to shake hands especially with opposite gender
 Eye contact with female colleagues is low
 Public display of emotions/affections is discouraged
HCL in Noida & Chennai
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This also seems to apply to other “English”
speaking countries…
“England and America are two
countries separated by the same
language.”
- George Bernard Shaw
Asian Indian English vs. American English
 Hello = Hi
 Phone is engaged = Busy
 Disconnect a Phone =
Hang-up
 Petrol Pump = Gas
Station
 Lift = Elevator
 Bill = Check
 Note = Bill
 Too = Very/ A Lot
 Repair = Fix
 Fix = Assemble
 Clear (a test) = Pass
 Fresher = Recent Grad
 Revision = Review of a
subject
 Tick off = Check off a list
 Schedule = S(k)edule
 Route (Root) = Route (Raut)
 Fast (Faast) = Fast (Fa’st)
 Z (Zed) = Z (Zee)
 Zero = ‘O’
 One Lakh = Hundred
Thousand
 One Crore = Ten Million
 1,00,00,000=10,000,000
 Brinjal = Eggplant
Group Discussion
What are 5 aspects of Indian culture that you
may have noticed are different from your own
culture?
Cross-Cultural Business
Behavior
What are some cultural differences to
keep in mind at work?
Cultural Communication Context
Japanese
Chinese
Arab
Indian
Greek
HIGH
Mexican
Spanish
CONTEXT
Australian
COMMUNICATION
French
French Canadian
British
English Canadian
American
Scandinavian
German
German-Swiss
LOW CONTEXT
COMMUNICATION
Communication Context
Communication in a
LOW-context culture
Communication in a
HIGH-context culture
Place
Gestures
Relative status
Gestures
Tone of
voice
Posture
Content
Words
Words
dress
Silence
Eye
contact
Facial expression
Facial expressions
Previous
interaction
Relationship
Cultural Differences Explained
Low Context Cultures
U.S.
High Context Cultures
India
 Priority = Fact
 Priority = Harmony
 Value independence,
 Value interdependence, group
individuality
 Compartmentalization;
separation of work from
orientation
 Holistic; including work and
personal life, interconnected
personal life
 Results-oriented
 Process-Oriented
 Communication is explicit;
 Communication is implicit;
verbal or written
often non-verbal
Non-verbal communication differences
Perceived Western Norm
Perceived Indian Norm
 Shaking head from side
 Shaking head from side
to side = "No".
to side = Yes
 Personal space needed is  Personal space needed
18 to 24 inches.
 Touching less common,
considered inappropriate.
is 6 to 18 inches.
 Touching during
communication is
common.
Two Little Words That May Make Big Differences
Perceived American Norm
Perceived Indian Norm
 “Yes” means “Yes.” It’s
 To
save face and not be
disagreeable, “Yes” may
like a verbal contract.
mean “Yes, I will try.”
 “Maybe” means “It might
 Maybe = No, much of the
be possible for me to do it,
time. It’s less harsh than
I’m not sure but I’ll try.”
“No.”
 “No” means “No.”
 “An absence of “Yes” may
mean “No.” A vague, “I’ll try”
may mean “No” I can’t do it.”
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Approach to situation- differences
Perceived Western Norm
Issue
Person
Perceived Indian Norm
Person
Issue
Western/Indian Communication
Perceived U.S. Norm
Greeting
Perceived Indian Norm
Greeting
Fact
Fact
Idea
Idea
Feeling
Feeling
Emotion
Emotion
Total
Total
Rigid Time vs. Fluid Time
SE Asia
Africa, Latin America
Arab & Middle East
India
Singapore
Hong Kong
North Mexico
South Brazil
Southern Europe
Fluid Time
Rigid Time
Central &Eastern Europe
E-C Europe
Russia
ANZ
North America
Nordic & Germanic
Japanese
Power Distance : What’s a good manager ?
Egalitarian managers
tend to …
Hierarchical
managers tend to…
Listen
Gives instructions
Ask for info
Answer questions
Empower his/her
collaborators
Make the decisions
Brainstorm with the
team
Draw his/her own
conclusions
Communicate informally
Maintain distance, more
formal
Power Distance
Australia
USA Canada UK
Israel Sweden Denmark
Egalitarian
Mexico
France Italy Spain
China
India
Hierarchical
Problem solving approach differences
Perceived American Norm
Perceived Indian Norm
 Gathers some facts before
 Gathers all facts before
taking action.
 Doing something (even if it
taking action.
 Reluctant to take action
is wrong) is better than no
without full understanding
action.
of the problem
 Speed is important;
mistakes are tolerated
 Takes action without
waiting for approval.
 Seems to lack sense of
urgency
 Desires approval before
taking action.
Interaction at work difference
Perceived Western Norm
Perceived Indian Norm
 "Take charge" personality is
 Defer to superiors
valued.
 A frank debate is OK.
 Courteous & polite
communication
[mailto:[email protected]]
 Disagreement with
superior is  Disagreement with
considered okay.
 Advancement is based on
performance and
superior is considered
disrespectful.
 Advancement is based in
demonstrated command of
large part on seniority and
skills.
longevity.
Homework
 Who scored highest
 Who scored second
in:
highest in:
 W
 W
 A
 A
 N
 N
 F
 F
 C
 C
30
So – what does it mean
 W – Withdrawal /Avoidance
 A – Accommodate
 N – Negotiating / Compromising
 F – Forcing / Compete
 C- Collaborate
 If you get a score of more than 6 that is your dominant style. Any score of 9 or
more is an area of concern.

Score of less than 3 means that it is the least used style. You need to improve in
that style.

The effective zone is score between 4 to 8 in any style.
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Conflict/Negotiation Style
High
Cooperative /Value on others’ interests
Accommodate
Low
Collaborate
Compromise
Avoidance
Assertive behavior/Value on own interests & concerns
Compete
High
Conflict/Negotiation Style
Indian
Focus -1
High
Cooperative /Value on others’ interests
Accommodate
Low
Western
Focus - 2
Collaborate
Compromise
Indian
Focus - 2
Avoidance
Assertive behavior/Value on own interests & concerns
Western
Focus -1
Compete
High
Effective Communication Methods
 Email
 When everything is written comprehension improves
 Instant Messaging
 Great for quick questions
 Phone (cell phone)
 Use to talk through issues or discuss approaches
 Video conferencing, if available
 SMS / Texting
 Faxes are considered unimportant, don’t use them!
Effective Collaboration Strategies
 Internal kickoff call at start of a project
 Get to know each other
 Hold Regular meetings
 Discuss progress and issues
 People exchange also helps
 Travel as schedule and project costs allow
 Team & morale builders
 Letter of appreciation, Certificates, thank you emails,
& birthday and holiday greetings
Deal Focus vs. Relation Focus
Japanese
Chinese
Arab
India
Deal Focus
Singapore
Hong Kong
North Mexico
Relation
South Brazil
Chile
Focus
Central &Eastern Europe
Latin Europe
South Africa
ANZ
North America
UK
Northern Europe
Build Relationships
Relationship development is the key to success
(especially in high-context cultures)
If possible, establish face-to-face meetings
Video conferencing
Make small talk before you start to talk about work
Exchange some personal information
Building a relationship establishes trust
Some action steps:
1. Follow the “KISS” principle
2. Use a word that has the fewest different meanings whenever
possible. For example, “set” has over 100 meanings so using
a different word may be better.
3. Avoid using sports, military, popular movie or TV metaphors
or expressions. These uniquely American words or terms
may cause more confusion than clarity.
4. During phone calls, summarize key points and/or ask the
other person to do so while still on the call.
Guide to navigate through the tool
February 2012 – Version 1
Getting Started with Globe Smart

What is this tool?
This tool equips an individual to understand his/ her own cultural orientation.

How is this tool different from any other?
This tool is comprehensive as well as gives a subjective input in case one would want to look at it at a
glance. A detailed report is important to bridge the gaps in all parameters. The parameters spoken
about, are standard parameters in all cultural orientations.

What is in it for me, as an individual?
You as an individual will be able to gauge where you stand in your personal cultural orientation and
thus know how well you understand your customers and your international peers.

What is in it for my project and my account?
This tool enables you not only to understand your own cultural orientation but also helps you
understand your team and your account’s/ project’s cultural orientation at large. This is possible,
only after your entire team has undertaken the self assessment and informed the SPOC assigned.

What is in it for HCL as an organisation?
Given the understanding that every organisation is made up of employees from all spectrum & that
as an organisation, are a global organisation, we need to have a tool that equips us to be sensitized
enough and enables us working across borders.
Registering on Globe Smart
First time users –
• Visit https://www.aperianglobal.com/login/
• Click on “Register Here” – Refer to the screen shot below
• Enter your HCL email id
February 2012 – Version 1
Activating your Account
• You will receive an activation email within 30 mins from [email protected]
• Please check your “Junk Mail” folder for the mail if its not come to your inbox
• Click on the link and activate your account.
February 2012 – Version 1
Logging in
• Those who have already registered their email id can directly login using this link
https://www.aperianglobal.com/login/
Getting Started
• This is the introduction screen.
• Top right corner you will see your name and HCL Technologies mentioned.
• There is a link to an Introductory video
• On the right side is the link that will take you to the Globe Smart Portal.
• Click on “Globe Smart Quick Launch”
February 2012 – Version 1
Globe Smart
• This is the main portal page
• From this page you can navigate to 60 different countries and get information.
• As step 1 – you need to click on the “Take an assessment” link (In the screen shot below it says
Retake only because I have already taken he survey once)
• This survey can be taken multiple times.
February 2012 – Version 1
Globe Smart
• This is the survey page . After answering all the 27 questions.
• Please “tick mark” on the box that says allow this survey can be taken multiple
times.
• Submit your survey
February 2012 – Version 1
Globe Smart
• This is your culture profile.
• You can click on “Learn More” to understand your profile in detail.
• You can choose to compare your profile with any individual/ team/ demographic or
country.
February 2012 – Version 1
Globe Smart
• Comparing your profile
• You can choose to compare your profile with any individual/ team/ demographic or
country.
February 2012 – Version 1
Globe Smart
• Sample Comparison of my culture profile with the avg culture profile of USA.
• We can click on “Get Advice” and understand better what the map means
Other Learning Tools Available
•Country Specific Information for 60 countries across the globe pertaining to
• Communication
• Managing People
•Culture and Customs
• Travel
February 2012 – Version 1
Other Learning Tools Available
• Learning Paths – Quick and easy e-learning modules (country/ topic specific)
February 2012 – Version 1
Other Learning Tools Available
• Global Advice- you can find in this section tips and a vast repository of information
on various topics.
February 2012 – Version 1
Globesmart
 The link to take the survey and know the personal cultural profiling
is: https://www.aperianglobal.com/login/
58
In conclusion
“You must be the change you
wish to see in the world.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Making ‘Work’ Work across cultures
Questions? Concerns? Comments?
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