Culture Blog


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, […]


Successful Change Management – The Malaysian Way

Several years ago, the multinational company I was working for went through a merger which resulted in significant organizational changes. The new company direction favoured a more web based approach to training, so half of the total number of trainers were at risk of unemployment. As the last employee to […]


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 […]


5 Key Points to Consider When Making Conference Calls across Cultures

In the past, an international corporation’s Customer Inventory Planning was done separately by teams located in its respective regions. Recently, the company decided to merge its Asia Pacific and Japanese planning operations together. Senior advisers from both teams (a Malaysian named May and a Japanese named Kaori) arranged a conference call […]


Malaysian Communication-Stating an Opinion Outright vs Implying a Point

An international organization held a conference in Malaysia to standardize its manufacturing line processes across the different regions and participants came from all over the world. The organizers had offered to provide transportation for the delegates from their hotels to the conference site. As the Japanese participants had initially politely […]


Why Don’t Malaysians Like Asking for Help?

Katrina*, a Danish national, is here in Malaysia for a 2-year expat assignment to assist in standardizing the company’s policies and procedures on a global scale. After understanding how a particular process is done in Malaysia, Katrina explained how it is done on a Group level and provided suggestions on […]


3 Reasons Why Expats Need to Learn Some Malay

Sarah, an expat from Canada, was expecting a visit from her family during the upcoming week. She went to her usual supermarket located near her home to stock up on groceries and was in the midst of loading them all into a taxi when the driver unexpectedly drove off before […]


Ways Malaysians Say No

Wai Keat is busy at his desk when he hears a knock on his door. His American boss, Frederik, extends an invitation to his house for a barbeque this weekend. Wai Keat has made plans for the weekend, so he begins to say, “Ohh…err…I got something to do…” Frederik jumps […]


Malaysian Telephone Etiquette

For most of us, an important aspect of our daily lives is the making and answering of telephone calls. We make and receive calls for a variety of reasons – to make appointments, to enquire about something or simply to connect with our friends and loved ones. Telephone calls are […]