Sunday, 10 January 2010

Intercultural Management: University Lecture

Intercultural Management Quiz
by Ostfalia University

How well are your prepared for international assignments? Doing business in intercultural environments requires a special awareness for local customs and (business) behaviour. But even experienced managers are still bound for some surprises... 

Exploring the dimensions of intercultural management was the objective of my lecturing assignment during the winter semester 2009-10 at the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences in Salzgitter ( The course came about by special request from the students that I worked with in previous semesters, and iut proved to be highly insipiring and entertaining for both sides.

As a final assignment, the students were given the task to research a country of their choice from an intercultural business perspective. The following nations were thus presented:
  • Greece
  • Russia
  • Italy
  • Mexico
  • Singapore
  • India
  • Japan

The presentations were truly great, and a lot of different methodologies were applied by the students in presenting the individual countries: apart from the very good and authentic animations, also food tastings, role plays, souvenirs, recipes, handouts and films supported the individual performances.

And a very special result was also achieved: an intercultural management quiz with three questions for the different countries! In the following, I post the quiz as a means to test your individual knowledge about intercultural management... 

Intercultural Quiz 

Please answer with YES or NO:
  1. In Greece, nodding means "no" and shaking one's head means "yes"?
  2. Family and religion form the basis of the Greek's lives?
  3. In Greece, contracts are always concluded as quickly as possible?
  4. Has Russia a huge hierarchy system?
  5. Do Russians like to negotiate strongly about prices and offers?
  6. Would a Swiss army knife be an appropriate gift for a Russian business partner?
  7. Is it common to order a Cappuccino after the meal in Italy?
  8. Is it welcome to interrupt an Italian?
  9. Italians hate hierarchical differences – that is why they do not pay importance to formalities.
  10. Is business lunch in Mexico usually for everybody’s amusement?
  11. "Al ratito" in Mexico defines "just a moment"?
  12. Is "Sweet Sixteen" a very important ceremony for the Mexican girls?
  13. Singaporeans usually greet by saying "How are you?" or "Good Morning.
  14. Good topics for small talk in Singapore are: the local food as well as political issues and religious principals.
  15. Singaporeans feel distinctly unhappy drinking alcohol without food.
  16. Are Indians heavy users of the passive voice?
  17. Do Indians have a higher desire for security than the Germans?
  18. Is a present supposed to be opened right away, so that everybody can see it?
  19. Do you take off your shoes when entering a Japanese home?
  20. Is it common to change business cards at the first contact in Japan?
  21. Do Japanese like spontaneous visits?

Were you able to answer everything? 21 out of 21 correct? Or are there some doubts remaining? Drop me an email to and I will send you a list with the correct answers... and then you can check your knowledge about intercultural management!

The students" feedback from the entire lecture was highly positive -- for the second semester in a row the voted me as the best lecturer in the entire faculty! 

Student Feedback on Lecture Part 1

Student Feedback on Lecture Part 2 

So it was a mutually stimulating set of work sessions, and I would be looking forward to the next assignment.

Andreas Hauser

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