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East Asia in danger September 10, 2012

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Japan is currently engaged in serious disputes with both China and South Korea about territory. Intransigence and extremist views are the main causes and they come from all sides. Despite efforts to talk about “future-oriented discussions”, it is clear that yet again China and Korea point to Japan’s refusal to apologise sufficiently for actions in the early 20th century. They can’t seem to move on. See http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120910a1.html

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East Vs West: an Indian perspective December 29, 2011

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Have a look at this wonderful lecture:
http://www.linkedin.com/redirect?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eted%2Ecom%2Ftalks%2Fdevdutt_pattanaik%2Ehtml&urlhash=dYhy&_t=tracking_anet

When in Rome, do as the Romans do October 4, 2011

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To what extent do you subscribe to this proverb? Should you always mimic the behaviour of your hosts? Or should you just behave “normally” – as in doing just the same as you would in your own environment? Or is there a middle path? What do you think?

The importance of cross-cultural training – FT article June 25, 2011

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Gradually, over many years, businesses looking East are beginning to take high quality, focused cross-cultural training more seriously. See below…

Ex-LG VP Interview April 16, 2011

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Here’s an interesting interview with Didier Chenneveau, formerly the Chief Supply Chain Officer at LG Electronics. What do you think?
http://www.linkedin.com/news?viewArticle=&articleID=468921663&gid=2073875&type=member&item=50209373&articleURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ekoreabusinesscentral%2Ecom%2Fforum%2Ftopics%2Fkorea-business-central-45&urlhash=FkKc&goback=%2Egde_2073875_member_50209373

Dealing with Others January 24, 2011

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Wherever there is conflict and misunderstanding, we need to get past the stereotypes and the fixed positions. Have a look at this http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_lesser_take_the_other_to_lunch.html

Why change a winning formula? Cultural rigidity in globalising companies March 1, 2010

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You can see the appeal. If a company has transformed itself over the years from a small domestic entity to a fast-growing international operation, they might be forgiven for thinking that what they have done so far works pretty well. So why change that? Western companies have done this for years – only a few have had the imagination to fully open themselves up to cultural integration. The conversation goes something like this:
West: You do things differently from us. We’re the new owners, so do things our way. After all, we have got here because of the way we do things (we do them right).
East: Yes, but look. We have a lot of new companies who are beginning to do really well and are even thinking about going international themselves. You don’t have a patent on successful business.
West: Aha, I notice that the way you do things also works fine for you. Maybe we could adjust things to harmonise more effectively while at the same time retaining both of our identities and doing our best to share a common overall inclusive vision

And now, things have progressed. Now, we have strong Eastern enterprise from India, China, Korea and Japan coming to Europe and America, saying pretty much the same in reverse. They will be facing all the same questions about localisation of management, performance management of local staff and avoiding the risks of the “hired hands” syndrome, when all local staff are regarded as not quite “one of us” and talent slips through fingers needlessly.

Lots of research points to the conclusion that multicultural teams, when they really work, are better than any monocultural team. The only problem is, if they don’t work, they can be the worst and least effective. The focus, then, is on global leadership and team management. What is your experience of this? What do you think?

Beyond world-wide recession: changing models June 4, 2009

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Learning about other cultures is a cultural thing. We tend to use our own models when we address the issue of cross-cultural competence. How do we know this? Those of us who have run programmes around the world will have seen in action the learning preferences of different nationalities again and again. Are they in fact preferences? Or are they rather routines? This is the way we’ve always learnt things; this is more of  the same in terms of substance and range of issues. Do people shy away from unfamiliar learning processes and search for the comfort zone of habitude?

Westerners hate the prospect of learning stuff by rote, of memorising, of processing large quantities of data. Just give me the three-bulletpoint presentation, they seem to say. Reduce the thing to basics, give it to me in logically-connected arguments and supply evidence that would stand up to the scrutiny of debate. Make it relevant to me as an individual and show me what’s in it for me?

East Asians also clamour for the familiar: what’s the etiquette (shades of Confucian li: proper conduct of rituals)? Which knife and fork must I use? Give me the data and test me on it in multiple choice formats. Don’t single me out or ask me to show my knowledge/skills too openly in front of others. Don’t expect me to answer back or challenge much.

So, where would we be if all the management science models had not come out of the USA (and Northern Europe)? What if they had come from Confucian East Asia or the heart of Islam? Maybe, they did! Management and leadership styles handed down from one generation to the next but not captured in books on sale to the hungry air-traveller on her way to the departure gate, but kept inside the organisation for the betterment of their own group but not for general dissemination.

What interests me is : how many East Asian companies are beginning to think: “Hey! This western style is all very well, but we’ve outgrown most Western companies over the last decade. Why change a winning formula?”

Does anyone know about stuff like this? Any comments?

When all our bosses are Asian September 10, 2008

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Doing good business with Korean companies. June 5, 2007

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Chan Mool Eu Do We Ahrye Ka Itda
There is up and down in a cup of cold water

When I first heard this Korean proverb, I was very puzzled. What on earth could it possibly mean? Is it like “the glass is half full or half empty”? No. Is it to do with good times and bad times? No. A complete puzzle. Then I began to think about proverbs in general. What are they? They are, of course, expressions of some truth accepted by most members of a particular culture, in this case Korean. We have to accept that any culture makes very good sense to itself; it is our job to work out how and why. Curiosity is the key.
So how can we begin to summarise the key messages in how to do business with Korean companies? Let’s divide the job into three parts, each based around a Korean proverb.

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