South Africa’s self-style epithet of the Rainbow Nation is accurate and useful to bear in mind.
Although all South Africans share a love of their country, within the one country there are a number of diverse and distinct sub-cultures. All South Africans are acutely aware of the ethnic and racial divisions and these divisions can make it difficult to build teams which cross these boundaries.
People are not just white South African; they are English or Afrikaner. They are not just black South African; they are Zulu or Xhosa. These rivalries cut many ways and are centuries old. It will take a long time for these traditional thought processes to change and they can create serious and unforeseen tensions in the workplace.
Do not just assume that people will automatically work well together because it is in the company interest to do so. Putting teams together and making them work requires a great deal of sensitivity and local knowledge.
Global Business culture is a leading training provider in the fields of cross-cultural communication and global virtual team working. We provide training to global corporations in live classroom-based formats, through webinars and also through our cultural awareness digital learning hub, Global Business Compass.
This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in South Africa only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.