How Culture Affects Business

The expression “money talks” suggests that the monetary aspect is the single most important aspect of doing good business. To be honest, this is true, since money can break the language barrier between two businessmen from different parts of the world. It’s a language of its own as it’s more about numbers than anything else. However, there are numerous other factors you should consider when meeting a potential business client. Culture and business are connected in more than a few ways, and here we will take a look at how exactly businesses get affected by culture.

Communication

When we say communication, we don’t necessarily mean talking. Some findings suggest that facial expressions and body language are far more important than speaking during a business meeting. While revealing the emotions on your face will probably be easily understood regardless of the culture, some aspects of your expressions might not. Eye-contact is considered positive during a business encounter in the USA, but some other cultures might find it uncomfortable. Touching while greeting is fairly common in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and some parts of Africa. However, some Asian countries avoid any physical contact during the introduction. Talking casually about religion or politics might be a little touchy, so it’s best to avoid it. Different cultures have different senses of humor, so don’t expect everybody to laugh at a particular joke. Try to learn at least a few words from a language of your foreign associates, like “hello,” “thank you,” or “you’re welcome.” Make sure to know the traditions and holidays of the countries you are doing business with.

Clothing

When it comes to clothes, you should probably keep it simple. The suits are accepted almost everywhere, so you can’t go wrong with that. Some countries expect you to dress up, and this can mean that wearing a tie is mandatory. Other cultures are more flexible when it comes to clothing. Many companies in America have a weekday when they can go to work in their casual clothes. Try to avoid dressing like a business person from a country you’re visiting, since it may come off as offensive. Represent your own culture, and you will be respected.

Lunches and Dinners

Business meetings do not necessarily take place in an office. It is quite common for you and your associates to go to lunch or dinner. This is where a lot of cultures differ, whether in terms of how and what they eat, or in which order. If you are sitting at a table in a foreign country, you should observe how the locals eat their food, but be subtle and don’t stare. In some cultures, paying for the bill as a host is considered respectful, while others might be offended by such a gesture. For example, Germans like to split the bill and pay for what they each ordered. In North America, it’s practically a rule not to let a client anywhere near the receipt. Always try the local cuisine, and even if you don’t like it, you should at least have a bite.

When it comes to drinking, you should be careful as to where you are. Some Muslim countries forbid alcoholic beverages. If you are in Japan and Korea, you should fill everyone’s glasses, but let another person fill your own. Avoid controversial subjects and try not to be loud or to get drunk.

Fun and unique ideas for kids you can use for Culture Day activities

Culture day is a day when students, parents, and teachers try to create, celebrate, and participate in artistic and cultural events in their communities. The goal of the Culture Day is to raise students’ accessibility, awareness, and partnership so they could develop into well-rounded individuals one day, and learn about the diverse world in which they live.

Hundreds of volunteer groups at the national and provincial level support thousands of artists, cultural workers, organizations and groups in hosting free participatory public activities, which take place in cities and towns across hundreds of countries in the world.  

Thousands of activities are registered each year at the official website of Culture Days as they try to catalyze and inspire great public participation in the arts and cultural life of our communities. These activities are centered around different cultural practices, and they help youth appreciate their peers and broaden their horizons. Here are some ideas how to celebrate Culture Day with your kids:

Druid toilet paper roll craft

A druid was a religious leader in the Celtic areas, from about 1500 BC to somewhere around 50 AD. Druids were doctors, judges, and lawmakers in real life. Here are the materials you need for a simple three-dimensional druid:

  •         Toilet paper roll or cardboard tube
  •         Something to color with
  •         Scissors
  •         Glue
  •         Paper
  •         Printer

Instructions:

  •         First print out the craft template of choice (since druids were both male and female), then cut out the template pieces.
  •         Glue the large rectangular piece on so you can cover the tube, but pay attention that

the slightly larger part is at the top (a dress or a robe).

  •         Glue the head and arms of the toilet paper roll.  
  •         Fold the tabs on the feet and glue them inside to create a perfect 3D effect.
  •         Fold the cloak in half and glue the two pieces and color it on both sides.

Make a Chinese New Year Crown or Hat

Make a simple construction paper “hat” the kids will have tons of fun creating, decorating, and they will certainly enjoy wearing it. You can decorate it with paper flowers, but you can also use stickers, markers, or gel pens instead. For material you need:

  •         Red construction paper
  •         2 gold pipe cleaners
  •         Pencil
  •         Scissors
  •         Tape
  •         Printer
  •         Paper
  •         Gold tissue paper
  •         Gold thread

The instructions:

  •         Print a template and color it if necessary.
  •         Cut out the template pieces
  •         Tape the pieces end to end to make a long bit
  •         Wrap around child’s head and trim of the excess
  •         Wrap the pipe cleaner around a pencil so you can make a “spring” with it
  •         Repeat with the other pipe cleaner
  •         Tape both pipe cleaners for the long piece of construction paper so they stay in front of the head
  •         Tape the paper ends together and put it on

 

Fun holidays and festivals around the globe

A wide variety of multinational holidays and festivals are celebrated around the world every year, whether within specific regions, cultures, or ethnic groups. There are some unique and fabulous celebrations which are famous for gathering a large group of people around the world.

Regardless of the cultural and religious differences, there is one thing that every person on the planet has in common- the desire to celebrate. Holidays and festivals have always been an important part of the human tradition and it usually represents a way to commemorate the spiritual world while bonding with your family and friends.

The Rio de Janeiro Carnival-Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Rio de Janeiro carnival is considered as one of biggest carnivals in the world with more than two million people roaming the streets daily during the event. This celebration of enormous proportions takes place 7 weeks before Easter and officially lasts for four days, but the street parade usually stretches on the streets for more than two weeks. The festival attracts millions of people around the world who come to witness the passionate determination of samba schools under the sunny capital of Brazil.  

The famous carnival has its roots in the ancient Roman Empire, where it was a pagan celebration, performed as a form of a tribute to the gods. After a while, the festival was transformed into “Carne Vale”, which means purification of the body and detachment of all bodily pleasures. Nowadays, it is a gigantic party where ordinary people go out on the street and dance while covering their faces with masks.  

Throughout the years, the carnival has dissolved all social differences, so, today everyone, regardless of the financial stature and religion, come to the carnival to participate in the exploding rhythms of samba dance and enjoy various parades.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is a world-famous holiday celebrated by more than 20% of the world population. It is the most important day in China where this holiday is also called the Spring Festival or Chunjie, and it represents the end of the coldest days. People welcome the spring as it represents a fresh start and a new beginning. The holiday is also called the Lunar New Year because it goes according to the lunar calendar, and is also celebrated in North and South Korea, and Vietnam.

The Chinese New Year is a spiritual way to pay tribute to gods and pray for a good planting and harvest season. One particularly interesting fact is that this is the time where most fireworks are set off in the world, and its purpose is to scare off the mythical monster Nian and bad luck.

The Chinese New Year is the holiday that causes the most massive human migration in the world as millions of Chinese people come home for the family reunion, which is the most essential part of the holiday.

Boryeong Mud Festival-South Korea

Mud festival is one of the most entertaining festivals in the world as thousands of people gather in the Korean peninsula to celebrate ice fishing, bullfighting, body painting, and a wide variety of fun-packed activities.  Boryeong Mud Festival is particularly unique because it is packed with amusing mud-themed activities. There are numerous recreational activities perfect for families as you can enjoy making mud figures or getting a mud massage.

Elements that make up a group culture

Groups of people tend to expand their culture over time, based on their knowledge, beliefs, and behavior of their group members. A group culture represents that unity people create when working together and with the same goals in mind. Shared beliefs are at the core of such communities and groups like that can thrive when mutual understanding and cohesion are at play.

What is culture?

The concept of culture is very difficult to pin down because there are too many variants. For a while, Japan was considered to be one of the most homogenous nations on Earth. However, the activity of many young Japanese and the emergence of sub-groupings tell us differently, so we are starting to doubt that idea.

Culture consists of the things people have, the things they do, and what they think, at least according to Herskovits. Members of a cultural group develop and maintain their group culture through mutual interaction, but culture is not only an interaction, but it is also about content and mutual cooperation.

Common expectations

Expectations have a significant impact on shaping a group culture, as they influence our efforts related to the accomplishments and desired outcomes from our teaching. In this way, expectations act like a compass that keeps us moving towards our goal. Expectations operate as “belief sets” which is a tad different from the way teachers usually think of expectations.

Language as a tool of communication

A language is a primary tool in a system of communication, and it helps communities to negotiate shared meanings and understand ideas and actions. It is perhaps the key element in shaping a group culture as it helps us to direct attention and action. Words and structures that make up a language have the power to create connections and associations that shape and influence our behavior. Language has that subtle ability to carry messages that develop our thinking and group affinity.

Environment is important

Environment presents a physical space occupied by a group, which includes its design, setup, displays, and furnishings. It is the “body language” of a cultural organization that shares values and key messages, even when its habitats are absent. For example, school , as a physical environment, will dictate how students (individuals) interact with each other, how they behave, and create.

Routines shape our culture

Routines are a group’s way of doing things, a set of shared practices. They are the foundation of classrooms because they guide activities that happen there. Whether routines are used for participation, discourse, learning, or thinking, their purpose is to simplify things, and minimize the confusion. Routines serve as patterns for groups and individuals and serve as a scaffolding for learning and thinking.