Malaysian business culture


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

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:  […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]