Intercultural Awareness

Sana is rapidly expanding and growing internationally. As a result of this most of us have the pleasure of working with different cultures on a daily basis.

This e-learning is focused on creating a higher cultural awareness within the company, helping you to collaborate with your international colleagues easier and preventing 'silly' misunderstandings. 

When you've finished this short micro-learning, you will:

Have fun! - The HR team. 

Why cultural awareness?

Our business areas around the globe.

Our offices around the globe.

Sana is rapidly expanding and making huge strides internationally. Thanks to this we have offices located throughout the entire world, these offices help us establish ourselves in new markets.

Use your mouse to explore the map below: find out more about our locations around the world, and what each one specializes in.


Can you locate our offices?

Use your mouse to pinpoint our offices around the world. Good luck. 

Why cultural awareness?

Why should you care? 

Why is it important for me to learn about intercultural communication? Instead of providing you with the answer straight away. You should first take a look at this short video. 

What is culture?

What is culture exactly?

  • Culture can be seen as the DNA of a group of people from a country or region.
  • As an explanation as to why a certain group or community does things.
  • Or as the "social glue" that keeps us together.    

So.. Why should you care? 

As seen in the previous video it can be easy to mistake your own culture for what is normal, which may lead to awkward situations. It is therefore important to understand that different cultures come with different behaviour and customs. 

Culture may be what is immediately visible from the outside but often carries a deeper meaning and requires a better understanding. The video on the right will explain this phenomenon. 

Cultural Iceberg.

The cultural iceberg.

After the brief introduction about the different layers of culture, your new knowledge will be put to the test. Drag and drop the phrases to where they belong in the "cultural iceberg". 

  • Language, greetings, dress, food, art, rituals.
  • Concepts of time, worldview, power distance, authority.
  • Behaviour, values, feelings and thoughts.

Comparing culture

Comparing culture.

You now have a basic understanding of culture and its various layers. We will now focus on a deeper understanding of culture. In order to do this, it is important to compare your own culture with other cultures. Hofstede's (a famous professor on culture research) dimensions form a great platform to do this. Comparing will allow us to see that there are cultural differences. 

Hofstede's cultural dimensions

The reason for using Hofstede's dimensions is because it provides us with an idea of how a culture works. However, keep in mind that these are just snippets of a culture and that cultures vary (even within a country). These dimensions can be used as guidelines.The dimensions are:

  • Power distance (social inequality, hierarchy, authority) 
  • Individualism vs Collectivism (Relations between individuals and groups, I vs we)
  • Masculinity vs Femininity (wanting to be the best (Masculine) or liking what you do (Feminine). 
  • Uncertainty Avoidance (Dealing with insecurity, degree of need for control)   
  • Long-term vs Short-term orientation (focus on future vs. past or present) 

Matching dimensions.

Matching dimensions.

Try to match the following texts with each other. If you succeed you're on your way to having a better cultural awareness. 

  • Individualism / Collectivism
    Relations between individuals and groups
  • Power Distance
    Social inequality, hierarchy, authority
  • Masculinity / Femininity
    Wanting to be the best vs liking what you do.
  • Uncertainty Avoidance
    Dealing with insecurity, degree of need for control
  • Long term / Short term orientation
    Focus on future vs. past/present

The Netherlands

The Netherlands

The Netherlands

Our Headquarters are located in the Netherlands, Rotterdam. But what do you actually know about Dutch culture? This course aims to:

  • be more familiar with the Dutch culture.

  • know the do's and don'ts when interacting with your Dutch colleagues.

  • Have guidelines for working with Dutch people.


Did you know?

More bikes than people.

The Netherlands has a population of 17 million with a population density of 507 per KM2 (1,312 people per mi2). Surprisingly, the Dutch are outnumbered by the number of bikes in the country, which is estimated at around 18 million. Which means the Dutch have more bikes than people! 

Dutch delicacy 

The Dutch are renowned for their snacks whether it concerns 'bitterballen', 'frietje met' or 'stroopwafels'. "If it ain't Dutch, it ain't much!". The video on the left will showcase some dutch specialties, take a look at the video on the left if you are interested to learn more about Dutch snacks.  

Dutch drinks

Gin was invented in the Netherlands. It was – and still is – called 'jenever' (pronounced yeh-NAY-ver) and was originally used for medicinal purposes in the 16th century. The juniper berry, which is used to mask the flavour, comes from the juniper bush, a protected plant.

Do you recognise the Dutch flag?

Most of you are aware that our HQ is located in the Netherlands, however, do you also know what the Dutch flag looks like? Select the one you think is right from the images below.

The Cultural dimensions of the Netherlands.

Cultural dimensions of the Netherlands

These statistics show the scores on the different cultural dimensions of the Netherlands as researched by Hofstede. Through these scores, we will try and paint a better picture of Dutch business culture. 

Click this link for a quick reminder. 

Power Distance

Power Distance

With a score of 38, the Netherlands score relatively low on power distance. Which shows the Dutch Style of being independent, horizontal hierarchy, with equal rights. In fact, in Dutch Business culture it is expected of you to contribute. 

Dutch managers appreciate the experience and feedback of their team members and will be direct in offering feedback to you. This results in the following:

  • Communication is informal and on a first name basis.
  • Direct and participative working culture.
  • The manager appreciates it when you ask for feedback
  • However you can also expect the manager to be direct and blunt to you in his/her feedback.

The image on the right illustrates power distance with the Dutch style in the blue.  

Individualism vs Collectivism

Individualism vs Collectivism

This dimension shows whether a culture is focused on I (Individual) or we (Collective). The Netherlands score 80 on the individualism dimension. 

This means the Dutch have a very individualistic society. 

  • Focused on taking care of themselves and their immediate family only.
  • In a professional setting, this means that you are expected to perform individually and the group feeling is lower than in collective culture. 
  • This also shows in the Dutch management style, which is much more focused on coaching the individual


Masculinity vs femininity

Masculinity vs femininity

The important thing to understand is that masculine cultures are focused on being the best. While feminine culture is focused on doing what you like. 

The Netherlands scores 14 on this dimension and is, therefore, a Feminine society. In Feminine countries, it is important to keep the life/work balance and you make sure that all are included.

In Dutch business culture this can be seen through the following points:

  • A  manager is supportive of his/her people, and decision making is achieved through involvement.
  • Managers strive for consensus and people value equality, solidarity, and quality in their working lives.
  •  Conflicts are resolved by compromise and negotiation with the Dutch being known for their long discussions until consensus has been reached.

Uncertainty avoidance

Uncertainty avoidance

The Netherlands scores 53 on this dimension and therefore shows a slight preference for avoiding uncertainty. What does this mean for Dutch business culture? In Dutch culture, time is very important. 

For example When you have a meeting at 14:00 make sure you are available at 14:00. Do not be late. If you are late, you should notify in advance. Same goes for deadlines.


Do's and Don'ts

Do's and Don'ts

These do's and don'ts will give you a headstart when working with your Dutch Colleagues. Did you know this already?

Do's

  • Call your manager by the first name.
  • Ask your manager for feedback.
  • Shake hands with everybody present.
  • Work on your project individually

Don'ts

  • Be late for a meeting without notification.
  • Overpromise. When you say you will do something, it should be done on the agreed date.
  • Say yes, when you mean no. Honesty is appreciated in Dutch culture.


How well do you know the Dutch?

How well do you know the Dutch?

After learning more about Dutch culture through this E-learning. We will now test your newly found knowledge. Read each statement carefully and answer true or false. Try again when you do not succeed at first.; remember getting to know a culture takes time and experience! 

  • It is okay to ask your manager or others for feedback on your work.
  • In Dutch business culture, you are expected to perform individually.
  • The Dutch are known for their quick style of negotiation.
  • In a Dutch business meeting it does not matter if you are 5 minutes late without notification
  • It is okay to say yes to something while you are actually not sure if you can make it.
  • Adress your manager on first name basis.

Feedback!

Is there anything you missed in the E-learning about Dutch culture? Something you always wanted to know? Or are you still uncertain how to act in Dutch business culture? Maybe something you want to add? Please let us know your questions!

Germany

Germany

Getting to know German culture

A great number of our SANA deals go through Germany. But what do you actually know about German culture? This course aims to:

  • be more familiar with the German culture.

  • know the do's and don'ts when interacting with your German colleagues.

  • Have guidelines for working with German colleagues.

Did you know?

It's illegal to run out of fuel in the German Autobahn 
 
Although not forbidden, motorists are only allowed to stop on the legendary highway for emergencies. Having an empty tank of gas is not. Drivers can be fined and also have their licenses suspended for up to six months. Walking or running in the highway system is also illegal and is punishable by a fine of around EUR 90.

The German language

To non-German-speaking countries, the German language can sound quite rough. In this fun video, you will find out how the German language compares to other languages...

Over 800 million currywurst are eaten in Germany each year. 

Currywurst is a sausage served with a spicy sauce and is a street food that has become a cult classic in Germany. About 7 million currywurst are eaten in Berlin alone. There's even a museum in Berlin dedicated to the popular snack.

Do you recognise the german flag?

Germany has been one of the most well-known countries throughout Europe. However, can you also recognize the German flag? Select the flag you think is right from the images below.

The Cultural dimensions of Germany.

Cultural dimensions of Germany

These statistics show the scores on the different cultural dimensions of Germany as researched by Hofstede. Through these scores, we will try and paint a better picture of German business culture.What is Hofstede again?

 Click this link for a quick reminder. 

Power Distance

Power Distance

With a score of 35, Germany's score shows a relatively low power distance. This means that while there are equal rights, the hierarchy is very much respected. Characteristics of German business culture are:

  •  A direct and participative communication and meeting style are common.
  • control is disliked and leadership is challenged to show expertise and best accepted when it’s based on it. 
  • Communication is among the most direct in the world following the ideal to be “honest, even if it hurts”.
    However, while this may appear too blunt, the aim of such direct feedback. Is to give colleagues a chance to improve themselves.

Individualism

Individualism vs Collectivism

This dimension shows whether a culture is focused on I (Individual) or we (Collective). Germany has a score of 67 on the individualism dimension. Making Germany a truly individualistic society. This can be seen in the following:

  • Small families with a focus on parent-children relationship rather than aunt and uncles. 
  • Strong belief in self-actualization (e.g. unlocking your full potential) 
  • Loyalty is based on personal preferences for people as well as a sense of duty and responsibility.

Masculinity vs femininity

Masculinity vs Feminism

With a score of 66 Germany is considered a Masculine society. 

  • Performance is highly valued and early required as the school system separates children into different types of schools at the age of ten. (lower to higher education) 
  • People rather “live in order to work” and draw a lot of self-esteem from their tasks. 
  • Managers are expected to be decisive and assertive
  • Status is often shown, especially by cars, watches and technical devices.

Uncertainty Avoidance

Uncertainty avoidance

Germany scores 65 on this dimension and therefore shows a big preference for avoiding uncertainty. What does this mean for German business culture? In German culture, time and promises are very important. 

Germans are very punctual. When you have a meeting at 14:00 make sure you are available at 14:00. Do not be late. If you are late, you should notify in advance. Same goes for deadlines. Or promising something. Always notify in advance.

Do's and Don'ts

Do's and Don'ts

These do's and don'ts will give you a headstart when working with the German Culture. Did you know this already?

Do's

  • Be courteous in an email. Use "dear" instead of "hello". Same goes for meetings start off formal and see how the conversation goes. 
  • Do not use the first name in conversation e.g. Andreas Meier ->Wrong: Hi Andreas, correct: Dear Mr. Meier
  • Use proper salutations, e.g.  Dr. Andreas Meier – correct: Dear Dr. Meier
  • Correct Gender when not sure please ask German Natives (or use Google), e.g. Andreas = male, Andrea = female -> Dear Mr. Meier, Dear Ms. Meier

Don'ts 

  • Do not assume that bluntness is automatically rudeness. Remember “honest, even if it hurts”, .e.g. when you receive blunt feedback this means your colleague is giving you a chance to improve. 
  • Force someone to speak English when their level of English might not be proficient. Especially when dealing with contracts. It is best to do in German, with a native German speaker.
  • Sie versus du, 

    Remember that German is a language that distinguishes between formal and informal manners of address. Therefore it is important that you do not use du. 

Can you write a proper e-mail?

Email to a potential German customer.

Using formal language is extremely important when emailing to German clients. For this exercise, you are asked to use the proper salutations in an email. The person you are writing is Andreas Meier-Lüdenscheidt. Good luck! -



 

The reason why I am contacting you is that I was wondering if you are still interested in optimizing your E-commerce journey? 

Therefore my question is; would you be interested in a short meeting (or call) to discuss your plans? Looking forward to your reply. 

Feedback!

Is there anything you missed in the E-learning about German culture? Something you always wanted to know? Or are you still uncertain how to act in German business culture? Maybe something you want to add? Please let us know your questions!

Colombia

Colombia

Colombia

One of our development hubs is located in Colombia, Medellín. But what do you actually know about the Colombian culture? This course aims to:

  • be more familiar with the Colombian culture.

  • know the do's and don'ts when interacting with your Colombian colleagues.

  • Have guidelines for working with Colombian colleagues.

Did you know?

Colombia is football crazy.

Most Colombians are absolutely crazy about Futbol. The iconic yellow jerseys, the passion for the games and James Rodriguez make this country crazy about football. 

However, the most Colombian thing is maybe how they love dancing in celebration, which is shown in the video on the right.

Bandeja Paisa

Bandeja Paisa is a huge platter of meat, beans, white rice, chicharron, carne en polvo, chorizo, fried egg, ripe plantain, avocado and arepa. Quite a big breakfast... The video on the left will show you how to prepare this yourself.

Colombian Celebrity

One of the most famous Colombian celebrities is Shakira. She was born in Barranquilla, Atlantico, Colombia and ever since her birth she has released hit after hit. Haven't heard from Shakira? Small chance. You can watch her hit 'Hips don't lie' on the right.

Do you recognise the Colombian flag?

Cultural dimensions of Colombia

Cultural dimensions of Colombia

These statistics show the scores on the different cultural dimensions of Colombia as researched by Hofstede. Through these scores, we will try and paint a better picture of Colombian business culture. What is Hofstede again?

 Click this link for a quick reminder. 

Power Distance

Power Distance

With a score of 67, Colombia scores relatively high on power distance. Which explains the vertical hierarchy within Colombian business culture. 

  • Because of this Colombian society believes that inequality amongst people is simply a fact of life.
  • This inequality is accepted in all layers of society.

    E.g. a manager will have a lot of power compared to his team members. So people do not question authority as much.  
  • Colombia's culture would, therefore, identify with the red image on the right
  • However, now shifting towards more horizontal power distance in business 

Individualism vs Collectivism

Individualism vs Collectivism

This dimension shows whether a culture is focused on I (Individual) or we (Collective). Colombia scores 13 on the individualism dimension. 

This means that the Colombians have a very collective society. Focused on being part of a group, such as family or your team. It is important to be aligned with your group's opinion.

  • Because of the strong sense of collectivism loyalty to your group is high and conflict is avoided
  • At the same time conflict is avoided, in order to maintain group harmony. 
  • Relations within a team are more important than the task at hand. So when a group of people holds an opinion, they will be joined by those who feel part of this group.
  • In Colombian business culture, this means it is better to do things as a group. Achieving things collectively will be more productive than focusing on the individual.
  • However, take into account that while power distance is still very high in Colombia with regards to social classes, the working environment is shifting towards a more equal power distance.


Masculinity vs femininity

Masculinity vs Femininity

The important thing to understand is that masculine cultures are focused on being the best. While feminine culture is focused on doing what you like. 

Colombia scores 64 on this dimension and is, therefore, a masculine society. 

In Colombian business culture this can be in the following points:

  • The Colombian society is highly success oriented and driven. With status being important.
  • However, this means competition is more focused on members of other groups as opposed to members of your own in-group. 
  • People focus on membership in groups in order to gain status and rewards linked to performance. 
  • They sacrifice leisure against work, as long as this is supported by group membership and people in power.

Uncertainty avoidance

Uncertainty avoidance

Colombia scores 80 on this dimension and therefore shows a large preference for avoiding uncertainty. What does this mean for Colombian business culture?This means the following:

  • As a nation (collectively), they are seeking mechanisms to avoid ambiguity. 
  • Emotions are openly expressed; there are (extensive) rules for everything.
  • Rules are not necessarily followed, however: this depends on the in-group’s opinion of the rules. 
  • In work terms, this results in detailed planning that may not necessarily be followed in practice.

Do's and don'ts

Do's and Don'ts

These do's and don'ts will give you a headstart when working with the Colombian Culture. Did you know this already?

Do's

  • Be polite! Never hesitate to ask about someone's day. Forming relationships is very important. 
  • Give positive feedback. Do not be afraid to compliment. Confirmation of a job well done is always appreciated. 
  • Respect family-time. The collective nature of the Colombians means that time with the family goes above everything. 
  • Show emotions and be patient.
  • Be aware that your colleagues work in a different time zone.

Don'ts

  • Do not mistakenly write Colombia with the letter "u". Columbia is not a country...
  • Do not discuss Pablo Escobar, drugs or politics.
  • Raise your voice or lose composure. While it is okay to show your emotions, be aware that you do so respectfully. 
  • Criticize the country

How well do you know the Colombian culture?

How well do you know the Colombian culture?

After learning more about Colombian culture through this E-learning. We will now test your newly found knowledge. Read each statement carefully and answer true or false. Try again when you do not succeed at first.; remember getting to know a culture takes time and experience! 

  • A manager has equal power compared to his team members.
  • The task at hand is more important than relationships with team members.
  • Colombians rather do things in group work as opposed to individualistic.
  • The Colombian society is highly success oriented and driven. With status being important.
  • When the majority group has a certain opinion about something, it is common to speak out against this opinion

Feedback!

Is there anything you missed in the E-learning about Colombian culture? Something you always wanted to know? Or are you still uncertain how to act in Colombian business culture? Maybe something you want to add? 

Please let us know your questions!

United States of America

The United States of America

Getting to know American culture

A great number of our SANA deals go through the US. But what do you actually know about American culture? This course aims to:

  • be more familiar with American culture.

  • know the do's and don'ts when interacting with your American colleagues.

  • Have guidelines for working with American colleagues.

Did you know?

History of the USA

For centuries, native peoples lived across the vast expanse that would become the United States of America. In the early 17th century, settlers moved from Europe to the ‘New World’, established colonies.

The settlers fought for their independence from Britain in the late 18th century and formed a union of states based on a new constitution. The nation continued to expand westward and, although the country is a relatively young nation, it has become a global power since declaring independence from Britain on July 4, 1776.

All American Hamburger 

Fletcher Davis of Athens, Texas claimed to have invented the hamburger. According to oral histories, in the 1880s he opened a lunch counter in Athens and served a 'burger' of fried ground beef patties with mustard and Bermuda onion between two slices of bread, with a pickle on the side.

See in the video on the left how to make an all American hamburger.

The Statue of liberty

Did you know that the Statue of Liberty was actually a gift from the people of France? It was designed by French Sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel (Yes. He also built the Eiffel Tower.). 

With an impressive height of 151 feet and 1 inch (46 meters) and from the ground to torch 305 feet and 1 inch (93 meters), this statue has been a landmark in New York City ever since 1886.

Do you recognise the American flag?

A global superpower. America is one of the most well-known countries in the world. However, can you also recognize the American flag? Select the flag you think is right from the images below.

Cultural dimensions of the USA

Cultural dimensions of the USA

These statistics show the scores on the different cultural dimensions of the USA as researched by Hofstede. Through these scores, we will try and paint a better picture of American business culture. What is Hofstede again?

 Click this link for a quick reminder. 

Power Distance

Power Distance

With a score of 40, The US's score shows a relatively low power distance. This means that while there are equal rights, the hierarchy is very much respected. Characteristics of American business culture are:

  • The American statement “liberty and justice for all.” Can be seen back in the equality of rights in all aspects of American society and government.
  • Within American organizationsa hierarchy is established for convenience, superiors are accessible and managers rely on individual employees and teams for their expertise.
  • Informal, after the 1st meeting it is common to address your contact on a first name basis and internally nearly everything is on the first name basis
  • Communication style is energetic and positive. A 'problem' is known as a 'challenge'. Terms such as "let's do this" "make it work!" or "instant solution" characterize the American communicative style. 


Individualism

IndividualismThe fairly low score on Power Distance (40) in combination with one of the most Individualist (91) cultures in the world is shown in the following.

  • The society is loosely-knit in which the expectation is that people look after themselves and their immediate families only and should not rely (too much) on authorities for support. 
  • There is also a high degree of geographical mobility in the United States. Americans are the best joiners in the world. E.g.  it is not uncommon to move to another state or country for work.
  • Americans are accustomed to doing business with people they don’t know well. Consequently, Americans are not shy about approaching their business prospects.
  • In the business world, employees are expected to be self-reliant and display initiative
  • Also, within the exchange-based world of work, we see that hiring, promotion and decisions are based on achievement

Masculinity vs femininity

Masculinity vs Feminism

The US their score on Masculinity is high at 62, and this can be seen in the typical American behavioural patterns. This can be explained by the combination of a high Masculinity drive together with the most Individualist drive in the world. 

  • Behaviour in school is focused on 'being the best you can be'. As a result, Americans talk freely about their successes and achievements in life.
  • There exists a "can-do" mentality which creates a dynamic society. This results in a belief that there is always the possibility to do things in a better way.
  • It is believed that a certain degree of conflict will bring out the best of people, as it is the goal to be “the winner”. Resulting in a highly competitive status and performance-oriented business climate.

Uncertainty avoidance

Uncertainty avoidance

The US scores below average, with a low score of 46.  This score is reflected in the following. 

  • New ideas and innovative products are encouraged. 
  • Willingness to try different things. E.g. new business ideas or solutions, or even food
  • Time management is however very important, hence the all American phrase "time is money"



Do's and Don'ts

Do's and Don'ts

These do's and don'ts will give you a headstart when working with your American colleagues and their Culture. Did you know this already?

Do's

  • Be positive! As mentioned earlier, Americans embrace a positive 'can do' attitude. 
  • Small talk, is a good way to come across as personable, social and positive. And generally considered as good manners. 
  • Say 'please' and 'thank you' for even the smallest kindness. Politeness goes a long way.
  • Be aware that your colleagues work in a different time zone.

Don'ts

  • Don't bring up controversial topics (religion, politics, race)
  • Don't make any form of physical contact such as hugging when greeting your American counterpart for the first time. Privacy and personal space are respected.
  • Don't expect all companies to be the same. Business culture in the US differs from a company on many levels. 

How well do you know the American culture?

How well do you know the Americans?

After learning more about American culture through this E-learning. We will now test your newly found knowledge. Read each statement carefully and answer true or false. Try again when you do not succeed at first.; remember getting to know a culture takes time and experience! 

  • Managers do not rely on the expertise of their teams and employees.
  • Americans are accustomed to doing business with people they do not know well. Consequently, Americans are not shy about approaching their business prospects.
  • Americans talk freely about their past achievements.
  • Small talk is not accepted in american culture
  • Don't bring up controversial topics (religion, politics, race)

Feedback

Is there anything you missed in the E-learning about American culture? Something you always wanted to know? Or are you still uncertain how to act in American business culture? Maybe something you want to add? Please let us know your questions!

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

One of our development hubs is located in Sri Lanka, Colombo. But what do you actually know about the Sri Lankan culture? This course aims to:

  • be more familiar with the Sri Lankan culture.

  • know the do's and don'ts when interacting with your Sri Lankan colleagues.

  • Have guidelines for working with your Sri Lankan colleagues.

Did you know?

Tuk Tuk Madness

A fun and fast way to get around anywhere in the city is by tuk tuk. The tuk tuks In Sri Lanka are commonly called “three wheelers.” In every neighborhood, at almost every other corner, you will find a group of tuk-tuk drivers that hang around there. 

Kotthu Roti - Street food

One of the most beloved foods in Sri Lanka. Kotthu Roti is to be found around every corner, served in various street vendors. You can't ever visit Sri Lanka without eating Kotthu Roti. As it is an absolute must try.  To be fair though, the mere mention of kottu roti will have that effect on many Sri Lankans, who have come to embrace this uniquely Sri Lankan dish regardless of race, religion, age or socioeconomic status.

Seeing Sri Lanka

Being a diverse multicultural country Sri Lanka has a lot to offer in terms of people. However, another well-known asset of Sri Lanka is just its sheer beauty. Sri Lanka is known for its diverse and beautiful landscape, ranging from beaches, mountains, and to rainforests. On the right, you see a picture of Sigiriya rock. An ancient fortress located in the Central province, Sri Lanka.   

Do you recognise the Sri Lankan flag?

Cultural dimensions of Sri Lanka

Cultural dimensions of Sri Lanka

These statistics show the scores on the different cultural dimensions of Sri Lanka as researched by Hofstede. Through these scores, we will try and paint a better picture of Sri Lankan business culture. What is Hofstede again?

Click this link for a quick reminder. 

Power Distance

Power distance

With a slightly high score of 80, Sri Lanka is a  hierarchical society. This means the following:

  • People accept a hierarchical order in which everybody has a place, which needs no further justification
  • Hierarchy in an organization is seen as  inherent inequalities 
  • Centralization is popular, subordinates expect to be told what to do and the boss is seen as someone with absolute power.
  • Although the younger generation is shifting towards a more horizontal hierarchy. Especially in the IT sector.

Individualism vs Collectivism

Individualism vs Collectivism.

A low score of 35 in this dimension means that Sri Lanka is considered a collectivistic society. This can be seen in the following:

  • Commitment to a 'group' this can be a family, extended family, or even extended relationships. e.g. friends with colleagues.
  • Loyalty and building relationships are the keywords in collective societies and override most other societal rules and regulations.
  • In collectivist societies: offence leads to shame and the loss of face -> this may lead to an employee being less inclined to say no
  • The above may create misunderstandings when dealing with different cultures. 
  • Overcoming these issues is done by being more specific and detailed about the task at hand. So instead of a single sentence provide background information and detailed planning

Masculinity vs femininity

Masculinity vs Feminism

The important thing to understand is that masculine cultures are focused on being the best. While feminine culture is focused on doing what you like. 

Sri Lankan culture is an interesting mix between masculine and feminine. In Sri Lankan business culture this can be seen in the following points:

  • People value solidarity and quality in their working life. 
  • Relationships are very important.
  • Conversations are not too firm. 
  • People want to be the best they can be.
  • The manager's word is final -> although remember that this is changing. 
  •  Status e.g. is shown and is important. 

Uncertainty avoidance

Uncertainty avoidance

Sri Lanka scores 45 on the uncertainty avoidance scale, showing Sri Lanka does not indicate a strong preference for Uncertainty avoidance. 

  • Time management: People are serious about deadlines, however, one might be tempted to say yes when something might not be done yet due to the saving of face. Which is related to the high power distance score.

Do's and don'ts

Do's and Don'ts

These do's and don'ts will give you a headstart when working with your Sri Lankan colleagues and their Culture. Did you know this already?

Do's


  • Give compliments. Maintaining 'face' is important in a collective culture. So approval is always appreciated.
  • Work as a team! Make sure to involve everyone in getting to a collective goal.
  • Feedback is expected. Not asked for - so make sure to provide feedback. 
  • Invest in your relationships with co-workers. Relationships take time, but you build trust. Which takes away from power distance making it easier to be more honest.
  • Ask someone about their day: "Hi, how are you, or thank you." Go a long way in building a relationship.
  • People like to have detailed explanations and clarity. 

    Instead of using one sentence explain and ask more. 

Don't

  • Do not put people in awkward positions, never openly criticize people. As mentioned above maintaining 'face' is very important. However direct feedback is appreciated when done in a constructive manner 
  • Sri-Lankans are very non-confrontational in their communication style. It is important to read between the lines. E.g. saying yes while meaning no. 
  • Therefore make sure to ask questions and give more background as to why this task is important.
  • Be too harsh and direct in your feedback. Sri Lankans may be worried to be open and honest. Seeing as this could backfire. In order to avoid this, it is important to build a relationship that allows for more openness and honesty
  • When you give personal feedback make sure to do this in private, not public. This way you will not offend

How well do you know the Sri Lankans?

How well do you know the Sri Lankans?

After learning more about Sri Lankan culture through this E-learning. We will now test your newly found knowledge.Read each statement carefully and answer true or false. Try again when you do not succeed at first.; remember getting to know a culture takes time and experience! 

  • A manager is often challenged by his team in Sri Lankan business culture
  • Loyalty and building relationships is seen as very important
  • In collectivist societies: offense leads to shame and the loss of face -> this may lead to an employee being less inclined to say no.
  • Relationships are unimportant in Sri Lankan culture it is best to be very direct straight away.
  • It is common to be good friends with your colleagues.

Feedback!

Is there anything you missed in the E-learning about Sri Lankan culture? Something you always wanted to know? Or are you still uncertain how to act in Sri Lankan business culture? Maybe something you want to add? Please let us know your questions!

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Getting to know UK culture

A great number of our SANA deals go through the UK. But what do you actually know about UK culture? This course aims to:

  • be more familiar with the UK culture.

  • know the do's and don'ts when interacting with your UK colleagues.

  • Have guidelines for working with UK colleagues.

Did you know?

The British love tea.

Ever since the eighteenth century, the United Kingdom has been one of the world's greatest tea consumers. With an average annual per capita tea supply of 1.9 kg. Tea used to be an upper-class drink in mainland Europe, however, the British have now adopted the drink in every social class. Making tea a prominent feature of British culture and society.

A lot of accents.

In the UK there is a rich variety of accents, many of them well know and admired and some lesser known and impossible to understand. There are so many accents in the UK that you will hear a new accent every 40km you travel! 

Fish and Chips

An inceridbly well-known dish and comfort food by the British. Fish and Chips is something you will find a lot when travelling to the UK. In the video on the left famous chef, Gordon Ramsey will show you how to make your very own. 


Do you recognise the British flag?

Do you know what the British flag looks like? Select the one you think is right from the images below.

Cultural dimensions of the United Kingdom

Cultural dimensions of the United Kingdom

These statistics show the scores on the different cultural dimensions of the United Kingdom as researched by Hofstede. Through these scores, we will try and paint a better picture of British business culture. What is Hofstede again?

Click this link for a quick reminder. 

Power distance

Power distance

At 35 Britain scores relatively low on power distance. This means the following:

  • Society believes that inequalities amongst people should be minimized
  • Hierarchy, however, is respected in a business.
  • The British have a mix of communication styles encompassing both understatement and direct communication. 
  • The British under-state most things rather than exaggerate, e.g. if someone says “I am quite good,” means they are extremely happy.
  • When communicating with equals to themselves in the hierarchy, the British are direct but modest. If communicating with someone they know well, their style may be more informal, although they will still be reserved.

Individualism vs Collectivism

Individualism vs Collectivism

At a score of 89 the UK is amongst the highest of the Individualist scores. This means the following:

  • The British are a highly Individualist and private people. 
  • Children are taught from an early age to think for themselves and to find out how they uniquely can contribute to society. 
  • The route to happiness is through personal fulfilment


Masculinity vs femininity

Masculinity vs femininity

At 66, Britain is a Masculine society. This means the following:

  • highly success oriented and driven.
  • A key point of confusion for the foreigner lies in the contradiction between the British culture of modesty and understatement which opposes the success driven value system in the culture. 
  • Critical to understanding the British is being able to ‘’read between the lines’’ What is said is not always what is meant. 
  • People in the UK live in order to work and have a clear performance ambition.

Uncertainty avoidance

Uncertainty avoidance

At 35 the UK has a low score on Uncertainty Avoidance which means the following:

  • They are flexible in regards to what they will do for the day.
  • Comfortable in ambiguous situations. 
  • There are generally not too many rules in British society, but those that are there are adhered to (the most famous of which of course the British love of queuing)
  • In work terms, this results in planning that is not detail oriented. The end goal will be clear but not in great detail how. The actual process is fluid and flexible to emerging and changing environments.  
  • It is important to be on time, if not make sure you are a bit early.

Do's and Dont's

Do's and Don'ts

These do's and don'ts will give you a headstart when working with your British Colleagues. Did you know this already?

Do's

  • Try to use humour, it is ever-present in English life. They are always making fun of themselves, and their humour is often rather sarcastic.
  • A good way to start a conversation is to talk about the weather. It is 'safe-ground' and an easy way to start a conversation. 
  • Be on time. When you are late please notify. Even when you are only 5-10 minutes late. 
  • Understand British use of language: Language is very situational in the UK sometimes a person may say something which sounds like the complete opposite of what you would expect them to say. 
  • E.g. when something goes very badly wrong, the British may well say “Marvellous!” Instead of being happy, they might be sarcastic and mean they are unhappy.

Don'ts

  • Do not ask personal questions when you do not know someone very well. 
  • Do not boast. The British do not like boasting. They never talk about their salaries and rarely take credit when they have done something well.
  • Do not use first names until you are invited to do so.

How well do you know the British?

How well do you know the British?

After learning more about British culture through this E-learning. We will now test your newly found knowledge. Read each statement carefully and answer true or false. Try again when you do not succeed at first.; remember getting to know a culture takes time and experience! 

  • When someone says: "I am quite good" after asking them how they are it means they are very happy.
  • What is said by the British is always what is meant. No need to read between the lines.
  • The British are very unflexible when it comes to achieving an end goald and dislike ambiguitiy
  • A good way to start a conversation is to talk about the weather. It is 'safe-ground' and an easy way to start a conversation.
  • Ask personal questions when you do not know someone very well.

Feedback!

Is there anything you missed in the E-learning about British culture? Something you always wanted to know? Or are you still uncertain how to act in British business culture? Maybe something you want to add? Please let us know your questions!

Ukraine

Ukraine

Getting to know Ukrainian culture

Our development hub is located in Ukraine. But what do you actually know about Ukrainian culture? This course aims to:

  • be more familiar with Ukrainian culture.

  • know the do's and don'ts when interacting with your colleagues from Ukraine.

  • Have guidelines for working with Ukrainian colleagues.

Did you know?

Ukraine is enormous.

Something you maybe did not know yet is that Ukraine is the continent's 2nd largest country at 603,628 square kilometres, stretching from Russia in the east to Poland in the west, in between the Black Sea in the south and Belarus in the North. When visiting it is recommended to visit the Ukrainian village and the Pirogov Museum which is located in central Ukraine.

Horika heaven

While the Ukrainians like a drink, (Ukraine being 6th on the WHO drink per capita rankings) their national drink might not be what you think it is. Instead of vodka, the Ukrainians favour Horika. A drink similar to vodka made from rye or wheat, or sometimes distilled from sugar, beets, honey or potatoes. Be careful though this drink might contain hot pepper and is usually around 40%.

Authentic Ukrainian Borscht

This video on the right will show you how to prepare real authentic Ukrainian Borscht, a famous sometimes high-calorie Ukrainian dish made with lots of different ingredients, such as potatoes, beets, carrots, cabbage and beef.


Do you recognise the Ukrainian flag?

Ukraine is one of the largest countries in the world. However, can you also recognize the Ukrainian flag? Select the flag you think is right from the images below.

Cultural Dimensions of Ukraine

Cultural dimensions of Ukraine

These statistics show the scores on the different cultural dimensions of Ukraine as researched by Hofstede. Through these scores, we will try and paint a better picture of Ukrainian business culture. What is Hofstede again?

Click this link for a quick reminder. 

Power distance

Power distance

Ukraine, scoring 92, is a country with a large distance in power. This means the following:

  • A great importance of status symbols. 
  • Ukrainians highly respect their superiors. 
  • Do not mind strict hierarchies in the company structure
  • Behaviour has to reflect and represent status roles in all business interactions. Whether these are visits, negotiations or cooperation. 
  • Tasks should come with clear instruction due to the high power distance.  


Individualism

Individualism

With a score of 25, Ukraine is a collective society. This means the following

  • Family, friends and not seldom the neighbourhood are extremely important to get along with everyday life’s challenges. e.g. If Ukrainians plan to go out with their friends they would literally say “We with friends” instead of “I and my friends”.
  • Relationships are crucial in obtaining information, getting introduced or successful negotiations. e.g. get to know someone before being very direct. 
  • As collectivists, Ukrainians value their team and put the interests and results of the group over their individual achievements.

Masculinity vs femininity

Masculinity vs femininity

The important thing to understand is that masculine cultures are focused on being the best. While feminine culture is focused on doing what you like. 

Ukraine’s relatively low score of 25 may surprise with regard to its preference for status symbols, but these are related to the high Power Distance of Ukraine. This score means the following:

  • When meeting a stranger Ukrainians rather understate their personal achievements. Being very modest.
  • Dominant behavior might be accepted when it comes from the boss, but is not appreciated among peers.
  • Relationships with others are very important, therefore behaviour is sensitive and conflicts are avoided. Often resulting in collaboration instead of conflict. 


Uncertainty avoidance

Uncertainty avoidance

Scoring 95 Ukrainians feel very much threatened by ambiguous situations. This means the following:

  • Rules and regulations are very important these are used in order to do their job step by step to prevent any undesirable risks.
  • Detailed planning and briefing are very common. Ukrainians prefer to have context and background information. 
  • When interacting with people considered to be strangers they may appear very formal and distant. At the same time formality is used as a sign of respect

Do's and Don'ts

Do's and Don'ts

These do's and don'ts will give you a headstart when working with your Ukrainian colleagues. Did you know this already?

Do's

  • Do take the time to develop trust and build relationships with your Ukrainian colleagues for a successful collaboration.
  • Do make eye-contact when talking. 
  • In Ukrainian business environments, it is customary for people to greet each other with a handshake.  However, Bear in mind that it is not very common for men to shake hands with women or for women to shake hands together. 


Don'ts

  • Do not confuse Ukraine with Russia or Ukrainians with Russians.
  • Do not talk about politics.
  • Do not discuss a conflict in public they are best discussed in private.  Resolving conflict in public is likely to increase tension and worsen the problem.

How well do you know the Ukrainian culture?

How well do you know the Ukrainian culture?

After learning more about Ukrainian culture through this E-learning. We will now test your newly found knowledge. Read each statement carefully and answer true or false. Try again when you do not succeed at first.; remember getting to know a culture takes time and experience! 

  • Ukrainians do not mind strict hierachy in a company.
  • Building relationships is unimportant for successful collaboration
  • Ukrainians value individualistic preformance over that of the team.
  • Detailed planning and briefing is important
  • It is best not to make eye contact when meeting.

Feedback!

Is there anything you missed in the E-learning about Ukrainian culture? Something you always wanted to know? Or are you still uncertain how to act in Ukrainian business culture? Maybe something you want to add? Please let us know your questions!