To Internalise An International Culture Is Not A Challenging Call

Mumbai: | Updated: May 27 2003, 05:30am hrs
Ladies first, thats the general maxim. Its your turn to get into the elevator, thats global etiquette, says New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Professor Paul Dine to one of the women managers. This is Mr Dines way of practically driving home the concepts on blending into a global culture, something that he enumerated recently to assembled corporate professionals.

Mr Dine was here again in Mumbai after a gap of six months to conduct a Management Development Programme (MDP) for banking professionals at the Bombay School of Business (BSB). The audience mainly comprised professionals who were on international postings. My agenda for the MDP is to get people to realise how they could identify and integrate with the diverse ethnicity and the cultures of the world. This goes much beyond the workplace and even extends to the immediate neighbourhood where these professionals would have to reside and mingle, says Mr Dine in an exclusive interaction with FE.

Mr Dine considers this to be crucial since the decision of the Indian managers to continue staying abroad is often dictated by a couple of social factors with work environment being just one amongst them.

And being able to internalise an international culture is never a challenging call, he assures. Probably all that one needs to do is understand the key attributes of the people from that country in question, and try and realign the behavioral patterns. This may imply that one needs to have the precision of an Italian, the punctuality of a Spaniard, the humility of a German and host of other human attributes, explains Mr Dine. He also says that all of this coupled with the culture of flexibility could lead to a peaceful and productive co-existence in the global universe.

However, deriving such positive experiences as Mr Dine puts it may not always entail that the migrant professionals need to replicate every other cultural nuances that are prevalent in the country where they have been posted. It could be more about trying to retain the personal identity yet acquire and internalise those realities which if unattended can lead to miscommunication. The Dutch, for instance, could be a bit traditional and cross culturally sensitive. In that case never boast of a modern leaning or a cross-cultural upbringing, he cautions.

The next time you have an offshore posting on cards, you know what it takes to be right(ly) there.