Culture Insights


Cultural Intelligence – The Cure to Stereotyping

“I prefer hiring candidates from ethnicity A because those from ethnicity B are generally lazy and unproductive.” “Ladies do not make good bosses because they’re typically mean, controlling and moody all the time.” “Oh no, I’ve got a Millennial on my project team. These Millennials always feel they are so […]


When Is Conflict not a Conflict?

When you notice two people speaking very loudly and gesturing animatedly, would you assume they are arguing or just having a normal conversation? Or when someone comments negatively on the work you produce, does that affect you emotionally as a person? Do you welcome disagreements or challenges to your idea […]


Dealing with Conflict Across Cultures

During a regional management meeting several years ago, Donald (an Australian manager working in Singapore) delivered his progress update and unashamedly claimed full credit for the data gathering and completion of a particular project. The irony was that the actual contributors (Malaysians and Singaporeans) to the project of whom he […]


Are You Known for Responding in a Timely Manner?

Ronald requires a third-party reviewer to provide feedback on his recent evaluation report for a construction project. He sent the documents via email to his peer, Thomas, two weeks ago but has not received a response. He decides to send a reminder email to Thomas. When Ronald returns to the […]


“It’s Not Part of My Job Description” – Working with Malaysians

Brian, a British expat living in Malaysia, receives an early morning email and walks over to one of his subordinates. Brian:        Zul, Nadia is on leave but one of her clients has just called up and requested for some information about their account. Can you help to […]


Differing Concepts of How to Show Respect When Working in Malaysia

Martha:         “Everyone, I’m throwing a birthday party for my daughter this Saturday at my house. Would you be able to come and join the celebration?” Wai Ling:      “I might have something to do on that day. If I can, I’ll try to make it.” Martha:  […]


Want to Get the Best Out of Your Malaysian Team? Try This!

“Thanks for the wonderfully written report, Mark! Your summary of the project gave us a really good insight about its progress and what we can expect in the coming months.” “Lina, great job with your presentation this morning! You got all your facts right and you delivered with such poise […]


Four Ways Malaysians Can Project Confidence as They Work Globally

We once organized white water rafting as part of our company’s teambuilding exercise. I was grouped with three other young ladies, all of whom were my direct reports and we were assigned one experienced guide to help us navigate through the challenging rapids. As all of us were inexperienced paddlers, […]


From Colleague to Team Lead – Navigating the Challenges of Promotion in a Relationship Culture

For the past two years, Amanda had enjoyed working in an administrative personnel role alongside five other colleagues. Recently, her supervisor resigned and after a few days of deliberation, Amanda was appointed as the successor. A few weeks into her new role, Amanda’s manager noted a drop in her performance […]


Power Distance – How Does It Affect You at Work?

Recently, a multinational organization had an opportunity to close a huge deal with a chip manufacturing company from China. The negotiations were led by Fabian, a German national, who arranged a site visit for the management team from China with the hopes of acquainting them with the local processes. Due […]