Malaysian Teams

All of the ethnic groupings in Malaysia are basically group-oriented which makes them naturally good team players.

They are much happier working towards a clearly defined team goal than when given specific individual targets. Motivation comes from working within a team, not from being seen as a star performer.

The challenge for the expatriate manager is in how to harness the tremendous potential of the group. Group members want to feel as if the group is like a family and that the relationships extend outside working hours. This is another reason why managers need to take an overall interest in the happiness and well-being of team members. Take the time to chat and show some knowledge of their personal situation – the rewards will come in increased motivation and loyalty to both the organisation and the individual manager.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Malaysia

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Overview

Malaysia often appears very near the top of the tree in the ‘Best Country to Invest in’ league tables. With a highly skilled, well-educated workforce and a pro-business government Malaysia attracts high levels of foreign direct investment and Kuala Lumpur is rapidly becoming a destination of choice for global organisations who are looking to establish an Asian head office. In fact, more than 5000 companies from over 40 countries have established operations in Malaysia and that trend looks set to continue.

It would appear then that lots of global organisations consider doing business in Malaysia to be an attractive proposition. You should ask yourself why you haven’t considered Malaysia as a potential market if you are still to make that move. Political stability, great infrastructure, a highly motivated workforce and ideal geographic location make doing business in Malaysia sound like good business sense.

Yet Malaysia is a complex mix of different ethnicities all working and living together. This mix has produced a very distinctive local business culture which you need to understand before starting to build relationships and sell your good or services. Traditionally the minority Chinese section of society ran most business activities in the country but changing demographics and pro-Malay legislation have altered this picture over the past few decades. How have these changes impacted on day-to-day business dealings in Malaysia? What type of communication style can you expect from such a mixed-race culture? How do traditional hierarchical mindsets fit with the more modern matrixed approach used by so many foreign capital companies? You need to think about these things before you arrive in Kuala Lumpur rather than on the plane home. Don’t leave things to chance; do some homework.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Malaysian business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips