Cultural understanding


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:  […]


Are You Getting the Most out of Your Training?

Many organizations today recognize the value of providing training to their staff on an on-going basis. Among the many benefits that training programs can provide are opportunities for staff to acquire new skills, keep up with changing industry standards, improve work performance, increase morale and meet new people from different […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


Implicit Leadership Theory – What Makes a Good Leader, to You?

Have you ever briefly interacted with someone new and deduced that the individual must be in some form of a leadership role? Even though you hardly know that person, you connect some of the attributes displayed by that individual to what you view as good leadership qualities. Such a phenomenon […]


What is Double-Voiced Discourse and How Does it Affect Us at the Workplace?

Double-voiced discourse is a phrase coined by the Russian philosopher and linguistic theorist named Mikhail Bakhtin. While we may not often speak of this term, some of our everyday actions would fall under its very definition. As opposed to single-voiced discourse (where a topic is expressed in a straightforward way), […]