Working with different nationalities and cultures

Written by Kees de Kraker

08 February 2022

If you work with people from different nationalities and cultures, the book “The Culture Map” by @Erin Meyer is highly recommended. An eye opener for me was the difference between “normal” communication and giving negative feedback.

You would expect that cultures in which communication is very explicit (such as the US and the Netherlands) would also give negative feedback very directly. And vice versa, an implicit communication culture also gives negative feedback very indirectly. But this is not the case.

In the quadrant on the photo you can see that for example the US and the UK have a relatively explicit communication (low-context), but have an indirect way of giving negative feedback. And vice versa, e.g. people from France and Russia are less explicit (more high-context), but very direct in giving negative feedback.

Erin argues in her book that it is not only important to know this and to take it into account, but also to make it explicit more often in intercultural cooperation. This increases awareness, understanding and hopefully patience on both sides.


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