Culture Blog: Cross cultural and intercultural communication in India

Practical and Culturally Relevant: India Startup Report

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Are you looking for information about India with a desire to understand market realities?  The India Startup Report SlideShare takes a look at local culture, trends, players and challenges.  It gives a good overview of the Indian Ecosystem.  While focusing on the startup community, it contains information that will help established corporations as well.  The Indian market is different than other emerging markets and the report looks at innovations in several different commodities.  Some key cultural insights include the traditional cash-flow mindset, risk tolerance, investment norms, time, decision making, ambition and optimism about the future.  The masses of IT firms compete for qualified human resources. Learn what’s unique about the Indian talent pool.

It’s brief; give yourself about 15 minutes and expect to learn something that will help you as you navigate your venture in India.  Shanti gives a “thumbs up” to this practical report.

India Startup Report

Increasing Cross-Cultural Effectiveness in Virtual Teams

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

In the recent DataQuest article Increasing Cross-Cultural Effectiveness Shanti consultants David Peace and Benjamin Bowling discussed the impact of cultural differences on global IT teams. “Effective communication and leadership across cultures is increasingly being recognized as a key factor in raising productivity and profitability in the global workspace,” note the authors. They point to a study conducted by Vantage Partners which indicates that differences in business culture is the most challenging aspect effecting offshore relationships.

What can be done to effectively manage these cultural differences? Increasing our own awareness of our cultural values is a good place to start. The more aware we are of our own paradigms, the better equipped we will be to interact with people who act and think differently. One way to increase our self-awareness is to read books about your own culture like those in the Culture Shock or Culture Smart series. Another positive step forward is to encourage cross-cultural training workshops for all members of the virtual team.

For more information on the effective management of intercultural virtual teams, browse over to the full Dataquest article or contact us for more information.

Cultural Orientation Workshops Benefit Embassy Workers

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Working as a Foreign Service Officer in an embassy in India can be a daunting task. On one hand, you are surrounded by fellow expatriates and your home culture which has been transplanted abroad. On the other hand, much of your daily interactions are with local staff that do not change their way of thinking and working simply by walking in the door. In fact, the very purpose of the embassy, consulate, or diplomatic mission is cross-cultural in nature and requires you to adapt to the local culture while representing the interests of your nation.

One of the biggest mistakes that embassy workers can make when taking on a new assignment in India is to assume that the approach and strategies that worked in their previous assignment will work in their new post. India consistently ranks as one of the most challenging assignments for expats due to the pervasiveness of strongly held cultural values and the subtlety by which they are expressed.

How can we begin to develop the cross-cultural competencies required to work effectively as embassy workers in India? David Livermore suggests that there are four key components in increasing our cultural intelligence: drive (or motivation), knowledge, strategy, & action.

A good place to start is to increase your cultural knowledge by attending a cultural orientation workshop facilitated by expatriates who have extensive experience living in India. Intercultural workshops which go beyond simple lists of “dos” and “don’ts” can help new assignees begin to uncover some of the deeper layers of cultural values and worldview. This process of discovery can significantly reduce the often steep learning curve a new assignees to an embassy in India.

Common Challenges Faced by Trailing Spouses

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Culture shock and also culture stress are a normal part of living abroad.  Because I’m in a new environment, I now have to think about things that I did in my home country without thinking.  Simple things take more effort.

When a couple or a family move internationally, the trailing spouse, most often the wife, faces some adjustment issues that are different than those of the one who is employed.  The one with the job gets to go to work.  The one at home is often left to flounder through culture shock, culture stress, and adjustment to a new life on their own.

The results of a study done by the US based Interchange Institute called Many Women, Many Voices has some helpful information and interesting findings based on the past experiences of women following their husbands on International assignments.  Perhaps most interesting to me and applicable to my life in India was the impact of gains and losses on an expat’s adjustment process.  The obvious was stated thus, “Those who experienced gains in these areas (professional identity, social status, material comfort and time with friends) had better adjustment while those with losses had poorer adjustment.”  As I reflect on our family’s move to and life in India, I realize that my adjustment was easier because of many enriching, treasured experiences which weigh heavier on the scale than the frustrating experiences.

The article also points to the fact that women who start well prepared in terms of cultural understanding have an easier adjustment.  Shanti Consulting offers training and coaching for expat wives focused on their needs.  See our Expatriate Assignments page to learn more.  You can also browse our recommended readings for living cross-culturally.  Don’t feel trapped.  There are things that a trailing spouse can do to move from experiencing losses to experiencing gains.


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