May 17, 2011

New Facebook Page Launched

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — admin @ 10:32 am

Kulturtolk is proud to present its new Facebook Page!

Our launch coincides with Norway’s National Day, the 17th of May. Enjoy reading about this month’s feature country, Norway, as well as current National Days and other interesting topics.
Then join us and help us to spread the word by inviting others! Thanks!

May 6, 2011

Who Cares About Reverse Culture Shock?! I Do, and So Should You!

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 3:11 pm

Suite101 has a great series on Work/Study abroad which features several articles on expat life by contributing writer Maria Foley. Since I’ve been focusing on reverse culture shock a lot lately, I wanted to share these two articles by her, with blurbs from various interviews with expats who have gone through the experience, and references to a great piece by Sheila J. Ramsey, PH.D., and Barbara Schaetti called ‘Re-entry: Coming “home” to the Unfamiliar’. Maria’s second article offers solutions on how to manage reverse culture shock, which are practical and important.

November 19, 2010

Kulturtolk welcomes its new partner, INN!

As of today, Kulturtolk is happy to announce INN as its newest partner. INN is a daughter organization of the Oslo Chamber of Commerce and as such, provides services to expats through their member program.

INN offers relocation services and expat support throughout the expat lifecycle. Their members receive many benefits, including:
* INN® Expatriate Handbook
* Weekend suggestions
* Counselling
* Events – cultural and social
* 24 hour emergency line
* Support for accompanying partners

September 9, 2010

Kulturtolk article published on IMDI Mangfoldsportalen

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — admin @ 3:58 pm

Bjørn Christian Nørbechs article “Hva skal til for å lykkes med integrering?” was published on the front page of IMDI’s website “Mangfoldsportalen”. It delves into how you can get people from different backgrounds to communicate and work together effectively. What do those who are successful in integration do and how do they do it? This article covers these questions and gives some answers and general tips to leaders and others working with integration in Norway.

Here is an excerpt: “Hva skal egentlig til for å lykkes med integrering? Hvordan får man mennesker med ulik kulturbakgrunn til å kommunisere og samarbeide effektivt og lystbetont med hverandre? Er det noen som er dyktigere enn andre på dette, og hva gjør i så fall de? I denne artikkelen skal jeg ta for meg disse spørsmålene og forsøke å gi noen svar og generelle tips til ledere og andre i norsk arbeidsliv som ønsker å arbeide med integreringen i egen virksomhet.

June 2, 2010

Maybe NOW they’ll learn!

Well, Kulturtolk got its two cents in today. Bjørn Christian Nørbech, Managing Partner, was quoted in Aftenposten. This was a follow-up to an article from May 14th discussing how many Norwegian M&A’s have been unsuccessful despite sky-high price tags. Today’s article looks at the why’s. The conclusion? Not enough focus on cultural differences! A study has found that 85% of M&A failures were due in part to culture. The importance and effects of cultural differences on business were underestimated.

It’s about time that companies took a closer look at their organizational culture before forking out money on an acquisition. What happens, ultimately, is that two or more cultures are forced into collision mode before they can unravel, shake themselves off and start creating a new, joint culture. But if companies were prepared for the culture clash, it would be less painful, take less time and lessen negative effects to the bottom line.

Bjørn Christian points out that most of today’s leaders came into the job market at a time when culture was not a focus in business school. It’s not their fault. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know. But these days, we should know better. Companies should be doing a cultural due diligence in addition to the economic and legal due diligence that is a given in an M&A situation.

To read the articles in Bjørn Christian’s native Norwegian, click here.

May 15, 2010

Higher ed and a hijab

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 3:02 pm

An article in Aftenposten from May 12 highlights a subject that gets a lot of press in Europe in general, and Norway specifically: immigrants and education. But instead of taking a negative stance, it focuses on a positive and probably surprising fact for many – that half of 2nd generation immigrants to Norway go straight from high school to higher learning.

There is a growing trend that 2nd generation immigrants are doing well in school and see education as a better alternative to working straight out of high school. Too often there is the impression that Muslim women are kept out of school and pushed toward marriage and family. According to the girls interviewed for this article, neither the hijab nor strict mores (no alcohol) are stopping them from pursuing a university degree. This is a look at a positive trend and how these young men and women can be role models for other immigrant children and also be the catalyst to help overcome prejudice toward minority cultures in Norway.

Read more here.

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?