May 22, 2010

International Experience Required!

USNews covers the trends for CEOs of American companies in Liz Wolgemuth’s article “What the Résumés of Top CEOs Have in Common”. You might be surprised (or not) to learn that 75% of Fortune 100 CEOs today have spent at least two years working in a senior position overseas, according to a new study by Healthy Companies International. This is great news for interculturalists, because it highlights the importance of cultural understanding and the need to provide that cultural training to these global leaders. Liz Wolgelmuth writes: “So much of what’s learned abroad concerns cultural differences. The trend toward international experience may signal how much companies now value employees who understand the differences.” If those companies are placing value on cultural competence, that means that more value should be placed on the services we provide. We are the ones who help leaders develop those skills and prepare for their next assignment, so they can lead more effectively in a cross-cultural setting. This may well be the perfect time to start promoting how your company can help fulfill this leadership requirement.

May 8, 2010

Among Worlds Glossary

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 2:54 pm

There are all sorts of terms used for persons who grow up or live in more than one culture, particularly those children who are raised in a culture different than their parents’ culture. Most of these terms are unknown to people outside of expat life, but many are even unfamiliar to expats. TCK is becoming a pretty well known term, but there are so many subsets of TCKs, depending on what your parents did for a living. This glossary posted by Among Worlds is a great start to getting a handle on all the words to describe those intercultural beings who grew up internationally.

April 22, 2010

More Culture in the Doctor’s Office

I’ve recently come across more and more information regarding culture in the doctor’s office. There are articles and You Tube videos about cultural sensitivity, cultural interpreters and cross-cultural communication between doctors and patients. It’s important that this topic gets more attention, as it is so easy for misunderstandings to take place in a medical environment. As I mentioned in my blog “Culture in the Doctor’s Office”, there is the question of strong emotions, language, professional culture and national culture at play.

I was encouraged to see an article in Norway’s Aftenposten with the title “Culture Clash at Norwegian Hospitals” (loose translation). The gist of the article is that researchers believe that Norwegian ER nurses and hospital staffs need more cultural awareness and conflict management skills and knowledge. For a sample of the article or for access to the full article, click here.

With a little further digging I found out that the University of Michigan School of Dentistry has actually created a series of cross-cultural videos on effective communication between health providers and patients. They make some good points and again, at least they are being proactive. Here are two samples. The first features bad communication and the second features good communication.

And there are plenty more where those came from if you want to explore a bit. Thomas Jefferson University Hospital also has a good video showing cultural from both the health care provider’s and the patient’s perspective. Take a look here.

This topic has even trickled down into pop culture. One Grey’s Anatomy episode features a tense situation between the doctors and a Hmong family. It’s a great example of western versus traditional medical traditions and a good (albeit Hollywood) way to blend the two. Who says TV can’t be a good influence?