Recruitment/ Hiring practices
Individualist cultures – individual is hired based on his/her competencies (skills). Trust is based on one’s skills.
Collectivist cultures – loyalty to one’s in-group/ company is valued, hence there is a preference towards hiring those with similar social ties, value and social norms. Trust is based on not letting down one’s in-group
Different Attitudes Toward Conflict
In individualistic cultures, people tend to be verbally direct: they value communication openness, differences in views are aired openly
Collectivist group, indirect communication is preferred. Disagreement or Conflict is seen as embarrassing or demeaning. Differences are best worked out quietly and indirectly. Managers who work in cross-cultural environments must learn how to adapt their communication/ leadership styles accordingly.
This view towards conflict and communication hence affect the HR performance appraisal process
Individualist – direct feedback especially on areas to improve is accepted.
Collectivist – indirect feedback is preferred. Receiving negative feedback is received badly as shame, a loss of face and weakness.
Rewards and promotion
Individualist cultures – rewards and promotion is based on individual’s achievement, self interests.
Collectivist cultures – rewards is based on loyalty to team and company. Promotion may even be based on loyalty to company, e.g. years working in company, and seniority is respected.
- Examine how your company structures its compensation and rewards.
When I switched careers from the foreign service to the private sector, I was very impressed when the senior leadership went for a 2-day team bonding exercise. With high expectations, I asked my boss, “Are we going to have more cooperation from Dept A after this?”
Today, I’m much wiser. As much as a company wants to promote team work, there is a need to go beyond socialisation and games we play. The type of people you hire. Driven by win-lose or win-win. The way rewards and status are structured. To promote company loyalty, organisations give out company shares or team bonus.
2. How is status ascribed?
Do employees come from a certain school, e.g. Havard/ Ivy League graduates? Children of a certain social class? If so, you are more collectivist than you think.
3. What stories are told of your heroes?
Examine the stories people tell about heroes in the company. Is it about the risk they take, and the money they make? Or whether they live out company values of trust and teamwork?
4. How are differences resolved?
Is there a blame culture or pointing fingers? When your back is turned, people say nasty things.
5. What values are you bringing into the company?
Beyond the color of your skin, the accent and the gender, do you bring in people who embrace your values? Who are you attempting to change ?
Beyond Herman Miller Chairs or free lunches and corporate values emblazoned on company walls, what is unspoken and hidden may say more of your culture (National, organisational or even profession).
Have a coffee chat with a friend, instead of visiting company website or attending corporate presentations to understand what the real corporate culture is.
US President Trump has made a clear statement about US not subsidising the rest of the world, and imposing tariffs on its trade partners. We also see US and UK companies increase their investments in Asia bypassing tariffs.
Without the backing of political relations, will US companies finally look at increasing local relevance rather than exporting US based designs and R&D?
Especially in the digital and security space where US companies dominate, we are seeing intra regional trade, ASEAN, India-China, China-Korea and Europe-Asia Pacific as engines of growth.
These are some areas to watch out, especially in Digital innovation and the disruptive stress it brings, we see growth in the beauty/wellness/ entertainment sector, food security, cybersecurity and the financial sector that fuels these disruption!
- Industry 4.0
Urban Solutions and Infrastructure
Companies investing in Digital Innovation Lab in Singapore
- Beauty/ Wellness area
Luxury brands driven by Milinieals
Globally, the average age of people buying Porsches is 56, according to Dong Tao, a prominent economist with Credit Suisse. In China, the average buyer is just 36. Nikkei
- Digital entertainment
Major brands spend 40-50% on digital marketing in China
- Digital Finance
- Asia Pacific Hub
Organisation Development and Learning
What Singapore lacks in space and scale, its assets are density, connectivity and location between East and West, hub to East Asia and South East Asia. Singapore is an excellent test bed and pilot for new technology.
Singapore has been an early supporter of the BRI. Nearly a third of China’s total outbound investments to BRI countries flows through Singapore; while Singapore’s investments in China also account for 85 per cent of total inbound investments from BRI countries. ST
- What are some trends shaping your industry?
Southeast Asia: An Emerging Market With Booming Digital Growth
Getting your portraits done in Lego blocks for 999RMB only. ONLY?
In Shanghai, brands are fighting online consumption by creating experiences for their customers.
Whether it is your own portraits done in Lego bricks, or creating your unique Nike designer shoes, to creating mini stadiums to cheer your favourite team in the Adidas concept stores. Everything is created for instammgramable moments.
How has 2018 been?
As I sit at Shanghai Pudong Airport waiting to catch a midnight flight back to Singapore, I reflect on this photo I took of “New World” 新世界 outside the People’s Square metro I take everyday.
Its a strange new world of ups and downs. My friend posted a philosophical photo of a bird sitting in a dirty corner of pooh but sheltered from strong winds.
From an eventful Trump-Kim Summit to the US-China Trade War and nearer to home, our rough relations with our neighbours to the Tsunami.
There are many other things to be grateful for.
1. Loved ones
2. Clean hot water ( I recall bathing in cold water in winter in Beijing in 1985.)
3. Relatively peaceful world
4. Friends and great colleagues
5. Stretching myself in new ventures
What about you? How has 2018 been for you?
“Maslow was right when he postulated that there was a hierarchy of needs, that when you had enough material goods you moved your sights to social prestige and then to self realisation.
Perhaps however his hierarchy did not reach far enough. There could be a stage beyond self realisation, the pursuit of an ideal or a cause which is more than oneself.
It is this extra stage which would redeem the self centred tone of Maslow’s thesis, which for all that it rings true of much of our experience, has a rather bitter aftertaste.”
齐白石 QiBaishi’s Crabs, at the 古树新芽exhibition. Photo of block print taken by me
As George Bernard Shaw put it, in Man and Superman: This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the one being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy</em>.”
“Service to others is the rent we pay to live on earth”
“Those who invest only to get rich will fail. Those who invest to help others will probably succeed.” Arthur Fry
“It is hard, in the conditions of comfortable democracy to find a cause which lifts the efforts of the comfortable ones. That is why some fear a return to war as a way of putting some energy back into our peoples. Making money not war has turned out to be less inspiring. …
It is better to look smaller, to our now smaller organisations, to local communities and cities, to families and clusters of friends, to small networks of portfolio people with time to give to something bigger than themselves.
We have to fashion our own directions in our own places.”
The Empty Raincoat by Charles Handy
Credit source: Mediacock FB page
A picture says a thousand words.
What do you see in this picture?
a. Old economy work place vs Newer economy- robots , technology disrupting our lives and livelihood!
b. Who stole my lunch?
C. Mistrust between management and worker
d. A company that is top heavy?
e. Workers do not know management’s value add. Poor communication by management?
f. Managers that are not value adding to the bottom line beyond paper pushing.
If the company continues down this route, its unlikely to last long before its overtaken by competitors.
Unfortunately, its true that many workplaces are short of workers because of lack of skills and the lack of attrativeness of certain jobs.
Salaries need to be adjusted to compensate person doing the work.
I wonder, if you were the worker on the ladder, what would you do ?
a) join a union
C) brand myself
d) network to change jobs
e) start a company
f) become part of management
A plane made an emergency landing on water. The stewardess asked the passengers to slide down to the lifeboats, but the passengers refused.
The stewardess then asked the captain to help. The captain, being very knowledgeable and experienced, guided her –
“You tell the Americans this is an ADVENTURE. Tell the British this is an HONOUR. Tell the French this is a ROMANTIC activity, and tell the Germans this is the LAW. Tell the Japanese this is an ORDER, and everyone will be sorted out.”
The stewardess remembered the flight had some passengers from Singapore too. “What about them”, she asked.
The captain, taking a deep breath, patiently explained –
“You need not tell the Singaporeans anything, my dear. Once they see a QUEUE, they will join in without questions.”
Humour is a survival skill. However, what can be funny to one group can be faux pas in the wrong context.
I am a Singaporean, so I can tell this joke to laugh at myself. But when it is about another group of people, they may take it as racism.
Beneath the surface though, this joke pokes fun at every good who do not question beneath the surface because they are conditioned with positive connotations of a word like “adventure”, “honor”, “law”, “order”. Likewise we can get good people to do bad things because its a badge of honor to keep their word.
Dark humour and reflections beneath this simple joke!
Why you need to learn mandarin and not trust google translate. One wonders about the Tamil translation.
Small change unavailable here（此处无小额零钱可兑换）”则译成了“小的更改无法在这里”。Change in this context refers to coins for the ticket vending machine. Whereas if you had used google translate, it will use “change” as in “improve”, ie “make changes to”.
Good intentions to appeal to a multiracial group need #mindfulness# in execution.
With the increasing interest in Asia and globalisation of the world economy, cracking the cultural code has become important.
Beyond handing namecards with both hands and bowing, what are some of the differences in East and West. Both Hofstede and Trompenaars are very insightful in outlining some challenges to watch out for.
I came across a very practical book on cracking the cultural code. However it involves observation. India is different from China from South Korea from Indonesia from Malaysia.
Where are some of your challenges?
1. Making small talk with colleagues
2. Asking a favour from a colleague
3. Promoting myself at networking events
4. Receiving compliment from colleagues
5. Telling a joke at lunch
6. Giving feedback to my boss
7. Giving a formal presentation at a meeting
8. Pitching my idea to investors
9. Interviewing for a job
In the section on “You can be a Cultural Detective”, Prof Molinsky suggests to use a series of diagnostic questions, using the 6 dimensions of the cultural code he coined.
1. Brevity and en pointe:
Do people tend to be succinct in what they say and get right to the point – often with as few words as possible?
Or do they use words more general, or ambiguous poetic language, hinting at what they mean without being too direct? Senior Chinese government officials tend to favour reference to Tang poems for instance.
There are regional differences in that regard.
When something positive has happened, do people express emotions openly through facial expressions, body language and tone of voice eg Mediterranean cultures. Or do they tend to hide or suppress the outward expression of positive emotions despite their feelings, example British stiff up lip.
Do people dress conservatively, make official appointments to speak with each other and use titles such as “Doctor” or “CEO” . Or do they dress casually, drop by casually for a chat or first name basis. Do not be deceived by outward appearances though. Sometimes people may want to be addressed by first name but they are very formal.
Do people express views strongly and forcefully. Is conflict encouraged? Do people express different view points in meetings? Or do they express opinions in a cautious manner and public display of conflict or disagreement is frowned?
Here, there is a difference in hierarchy. Those at the top tend to be more forceful.
5. Self promotion
Do people tend to highlight or draw attention to their personal accomplishments or tend to minimise, underplay their achievements?
6. Personal disclosure
Do people keep conversations strictly about business or do they discuss details of their personal lives with colleagues at work? In Asian cultures, people do discuss details of family life.
How much to ask depends on the seniority. Do not be surprised if an older colleague were to ask how much you earn, and your age. Such invasion of privacy may be uncomfortable for an American, who although comfortable with small talk will consider such topics taboo. A German boss on the other extreme will unlikely ask questions about your family as this would be considered too personal.
“Global Dexterity , how to adapt your behaviour across cultures without losing yourself in the process” by Andy Molinsky
395.52 MOL (NLB)
SMU Associate Professor Tan Hwee Hoon is investigating on how trust is influenced by culture. In a cross-culture longitudinal study, the research team is examining dimensions of trust depending on 1. Ability 2. Benevolence 3. Integrity.
In American culture, trust is highest when the imdividual is deemed to have high ability. Whereas in Asian culture, benevolence or whether a person has consistently shown that he/she watches your back is more important.
Stay tuned as she prepares to publish her report.
Hilarious look at cultural differences between East and West