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.

How is body perceived in different cultures

Body image is not only the way we see our bodies in the mirror, but it is also a mental image of ourselves, stating clearly how we feel about our bodies. The psychological feature of it is maybe even more important as it is structured around how comfortable we are in our own skin and, together with the actual physical appearance, shapes us as human beings to a great degree.

The key factors that shape the standards of how we perceive our bodies are fashion designers, mass media, and also culturally-shaped concepts of how one’s body needs to be like.

These concepts have influenced both women and men alike, but have also differed greatly across countries and continents. However, with the help of movies and celebrities that have always been taken as an example of perfection, specific ideals have been formed, and not many can live up to them.

We shall now try to draw some parallels between how is body image judged and viewed in different cultural settings.

Body image in Asian cultures

The majority of men and women in China and Japan consider thinness and lean, lanky bodies as a model of how the ideal body needs to be like. They take the matters quite seriously and are willing to go the distance to achieve that ideal. What goes in their favour is their Asian cuisine, filled with healthy nutrients and low fat. Also, the skin tone should be as pale as possible as that has always been considered as a sign of aristocracy in their cultures.

Body image in the American culture

As controversial and evasive as the question of the ideal body is in America, some standards have been directly set thanks to the mass media originating from America. Most Americans will take a fit and muscular body as the norm, concerning what a perfect body needs to be like. It is a proper paradox given the fact that the statistical data show around 35% of Americans is overweight, and 33% are obese. Even though there are distinctions in respect to how African-Americans and Caucasians see ‘perfect’ body, statistic data clearly show that the ideal of fit, healthy, and thin body is the goal for all.

Body image in European cultures

Most Europeans would agree with the notion of having a thin and fit body is the perfect shape, for both men and women. In comparison to other continents and cultures, they seem to be able to live up to those expectations thanks to the active lifestyle and a lot of exercises. Europeans would always prefer to ride a bicycle or walk, and that is bound to yield results.

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

 

The benefits of taking paternity leave

Apart from being a tremendous joy in life, having a baby is a great responsibility. Throughout history, it has become evident that the most considerable part in child rearing almost exclusively pertains to mothers. In the world today, when it is expected of a woman to be both successful as a mother and as a businesswoman, this load can sometimes prove too much, and all the help they can get from early on is invaluable.

Here is where fathers play a significant role. Recent studies have shown that children develop faster when both parents are actively involved in their child’s development, and the bond that the child establishes with its parent is thus stronger and everlasting.

To achieve that, men should make themselves more available and need to rearrange their working hours and commitments. We shall now discuss the benefits of such an approach.

Men can be the help women need around babies

Many women would argue that men don’t know their way around babies. They are clumsy and don’t have the delicate touch. Changing diapers can also be quite a challenge, but that doesn’t have to be the case. If men took paternity leaves, they would have more time to practice and cope with these natural occurrences during baby’s first days.

Also, they can dedicate their time to attend schools of paternity and learn new and interesting strategies that would boost child’s development significantly. Being an integral part of a child’s upbringing gives out the message to all mothers out there that they are not alone and that men are willing to share in all duties and responsibilities.

Many countries have recognised this, and apart from maternity leaves, now offer fathers with a chance of taking up to two weeks of paid leave after the baby arrives. Such has been the practice in the UK for several years. No countries have done more for paternity than the Scandinavian nations, such as Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.

For example, in Sweden, fathers can take up to 496 days of paid leave during the first years of a child’s life. The Swedes consider it necessary and productive, and they are willing to pay up to 80% of their wages which they are entitled to in their social plans.

No need for external help

By taking paternity leave, men can dedicate more time to their children and decrease the want of external help in the form of asking the grandparents to babysit. Although their help and advice are valuable, nothing is more rewarding than to say you have managed to do it all by yourself, no matter the obstacles you have come across on your way.

 

6 countries that have different gambling styles and habits

Gambling is one of the most popular pastimes in the world. Its essence is in the fact that one can have a material reward apart from the spiritual one. Every culture created its gambling games, but only a couple of them lived long enough to expand all over the globe. We will cover a couple of cultures that already have extensive gambling system and big venues. Let’s take a look.

The USA

The Puritans who came to the New World did not approve of gambling, but something changed along the way, and the US became crazy about gambling, especially for card games such as poker. However, they also enjoy other casino games as well – roulette, craps, and slots.

However, not many states in this country approve of gambling. Some southern ones actually have strict laws that forbid any type of gambling activities.

The UK

Although there are casinos in the UK, they are absolutely in love with sports betting which is also the case with a lot of other countries in the EU. But this type of activity is not the only one that people take pride in. The United Kingdom is the only country which is obsessed over playing various lotteries and bingo games. Finally, they are avid fans of betting on horse races which take place almost every day at dozens of horse tracks across the UK.

Japan

Japan does not allow for casino games (although a bill was passed recently that allows the building of three Integrated Resorts). However, they have a unique gambling game called pachinko parlours which looks a lot like a pinball. The game was created back in the 1920s, and there are millions of Japanese players nowadays.

Spain

The residents of Spain are crazy about El Gordo, which is a lottery that has become a part of their tradition and culture. It was founded 203 years ago, and it is still prevalent. The lottery happens just once a year, and millions of Spaniards hope to win a prize that is approximately four million euros worth.

China

Although the Chinese people have a long history of gambling, their government frowns upon it. However, one place made a difference in the past fifteen years – Macau. Macau is a city that currently has 24 casinos and the highest revenue from gambling in the world. The Chinese love to go there and play various traditional casino games.

Norway

All of the Scandinavian countries are doing fantastic work in promoting gambling. They have state-controlled video terminals, and it is practically impossible to get addicted, but a lot of people play casino games on a daily basis. Norway, in particular, is an epicentre of poker stars as there are many poker players from this country that earned millions from online and live poker tournaments.

Conclusion

There are just some of the cultures that enjoy gambling. To answer the topic question – yes, gambling differs a lot, but there is are a couple of casino games that are present in almost all countries in the world.

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.

Which countries use the internet the most and which live without it?

It is almost inconceivable that there are places on Earth still without internet access; however, such places do exist. We live in a digital world and the era of computers, smartphones and tablets which operate on systems dependant on the internet.

The internet, as a global network, was designed with the purpose of sharing information across the planet. Since its inception, it has outgrown its initial goal and is now an integral part of even our most mundane daily activities, such as shopping or talking to a friend via chat applications.

With all this in mind, it is no wonder people tend to rely on the internet a lot. However, there are still places on Earth where people live without it.

China

China is one of the countries with the highest number of internet users. The internet runs deep in its modern culture, and a lot of daily transactions are done online. Tech giants, like Tencent, have found a way to incorporate the internet into the everyday lives of the Chinese, most notably with their chat application that allows you to deposit money to your account and pay for things by Near-Field communication.

The UK

More than 90 percent of people aged anywhere between 16 and 35 are internet users in Britain, ONS has declared. These individuals spend a lot of hours behind their computers and smartphones on a daily basis. If you walk the streets, you will see a lot of people with their heads glued to the screens of their phones. A lot of pedestrians walk while chatting on their phones and that poses a real threat to both people and traffic.

It is only a matter of time when the British authorities will follow in the footsteps of a town in the Netherlands which built LED traffic signalling into the pavement, designed to allow the people to watch the signs without lifting their heads from the screens of their smartphones and tablets.

North Korea

North Korea has tight control over internet access. North Koreans aren’t allowed to use the internet and are forced to use an internal network. Even tourists aren’t allowed the connection and buying local phones, and SIM cards won’t do either. The government has a close eye to all digital networking systems.

Cuba

Even though Cuba is a great tourist destination, internet access is hard to come by. Although it is not strictly prohibited, the internet service lacks the infrastructure to support a lasting connection. Also, Wi-Fi hotspots are charged additionally to tourists, and you need a special permit to access them which surely begs the question if it is worth the trouble.

Final Thoughts

The areas where we can apply the internet have expanded exponentially, and with that expansion came a proper infatuation with the internet and what it can do. We started implementing it even in devices such as refrigerators, but we shall be wary though, as too much use of technology can be and already is detrimental to humankind. It’s all about balancing the two.

Tips on how to appreciate foreign cultures

Thanks to modern technology, relatively cheap travelling arrangements, and the internet, we are now able to get acquainted with many different cultures and nations. This presents itself as a beautiful opportunity to find out more about the world and the people in it. Sometimes, one might feel a little bit overwhelmed, having been exposed to many different customs and ceremonies, so it is crucial you get prepared to process it and learn as much as possible.

Here are some tips on how to do it and what to expect.

Get to know your own culture first

In order to fully appreciate a different culture and the set of beliefs it entails, one should get familiar with his or her own culture first. Delve deeper into all intricacies and peculiarities of your background and be prepared to share them with others. Knowledge is one thing that multiplies with sharing and in that cultural exchange, you will learn not only about others, but yourself as well. Also, it is essential that during that exchange, you remain open to suggestions and questions that may come up and that may not be all too pleasant. Avoid the stance that displays any supposed dominance of one culture over the other, as all cultures are valuable and equally important.

Learn as much as possible

It is highly recommended that you do your ‘homework’ before you set out to travel and meet different nations and cultures. Look for authentic resources and try to remember the important days and what sort of customs are related to particular celebrations. By doing so, you won’t be caught off guard if you happen to be there during those festivities. Also, look for similarities between your own culture and the culture you want to get familiar with, since finding some common ground is the best starting point. Feel at liberty to ask questions and don’t be afraid to show you know only a little and that you are willing to learn. This will prove invaluable in all future interactions and will put you in a position to truly grasp one’s way of life.

Avoid stereotypes at all cost

Although we won’t argue with the fact that there can be some truth behind the generalisations made regarding certain nations around the world, that is not something you should bring up when talking to foreigners, and especially if you are to learn more about their culture. Examples that include the beliefs that Mexicans are lazy or that all Americans are fat are merely wrong and can lead to a heated debate that may result in a more severe conflict. It takes an enlightened person to feel comfortable enough to speak about character flaws without getting offended and thinking he or she is being ridiculed. Be respectful of others and treat them the way you want them to treat you, and you will soon understand that we all have a lot of things in common.

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.

6 Types and Characteristics of Societies Through History

Since time immemorial, people have understood the fact that they need to join forces and form communities to survive the harsh environment and weather conditions. The sense of camaraderie and unity is what kept them alive what has lead to the society we live in now.

Societies have evolved manifold, and people in them assume different roles, depending on the actual needs of the community. Sociologists and anthropologists have studied their development carefully and can discern them into different types, mostly according to their level of technology and characteristics.

Here are 6 types of societies that we have lived in throughout the history.

Hunters and gatherers

One of the first societies formed was that of hunters and gatherers. Since food is the primal source of life for humans, the main focus of hunters and gatherers was to hunt down animals for food, gather fruits and nuts, and search for water sources.

The roles in this society were divided between men and women, where men hunted bigger animals and were in charge of providing food and shelter, while women collected fruit and hunted smaller prey. Their nomadic tribal structure allowed them to form close unions and, as there were not many of them, they could quickly move from one place to another, wherever there were food and water.

Pastoral society

Pastoral societies were the first ones to domesticate animals and to form permanent settlements. They emerged in areas which were not very suitable for growing plants and where they needed to have food within reach. With storing food, these societies could thrive and even form the first traces of trade with other pastoral tribes.

Agricultural society

Agricultural societies emerged from what is referred to as the ‘Agricultural Revolution’. Growing crops and having greater technological means allowed them to grow in numbers and form more prominent families. This gave rise to the first form of nobility and division among labour. There were warriors, educators, farmers, artisans and others. All of it began to appear like a functioning system.

Feudal society

The systems above were first officially established with feudalism. A system that began as early as the 9th century implied that a wealthier member of the nobility lay claim to lands which were farmed and worked on by common people in exchange for food and housing. The families of commoners worked for feudal lords for generations and thus helped them amass great wealth.

Industrial society

With the further advent of technology, people were able to put the machines to work and establish factories. This revolution began in 18th century Britain and quickly spread to the rest of the world. What this meant to people was that many of them could get employment and support their families. With the rise of the industry, transportation and housing also grew, education was institutionalised and made available.

Post-Industrial society

We are now in what can be referred to as a post-industrial society. Factories are still present, but with a lot more technology and with the appearance of the digital age. We now have computers in our pockets, social networks on the internet and even intelligent machines.

Final Thoughts

The history is long, so is our progress. No matter how far we have reached, we are still carrying the seeds of our predecessors to create a better society in the future.