Culture and national characteristics

Your place of birth and childhood influences can have a major impact on your approach to work and business later in life as we are all ‘programmed’ to behave in a certain way and to respond to issues differently. Very few people are ever able to shake off this early programming and it is vital that you acknowledge and recognize that you have a certain ‘cultural style’ which may seem alien to other nationalities. It is as important that you understand your own cultural approach as it is to understand the approach of others.

Although people often object to the idea, each country seems to have developed its own slightly unique approach to certain business situations. Never forget that when dealing with colleagues or clients from a different culture, you need to know two things – your own approach and the approach of the other culture. Only when you understand both of these issues will you be able to determine where the likely areas of similarity and difference are.

Most people within a certain national business culture will conform to their own cultural norms most of the time – however there will always be people who do not. Every culture has people who deviate from the norms.

Regional differences exist but can be very difficult to see across the cultures. In order to spot regional differences you usually need to speak the language of the country quite well.

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