Cross Culture Awareness

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    As a trade professional that has worked in the US, Canada and Germany, I am fully aware of global cultural differences. Based on the learnings in this program, I understand an organization’s structure and culture can be quite different from that of a target company’s even within the same domestic market. I can only imagine the challenges an organization and its managers would face when conducting an M&A activity in a foreign country. Has anyone in the group experienced such an event and if so, how did it go? What were the learnings?

    Janani Ravishankar

    This is a very relevant and important question. If the cultures are dramatically different, it is going to be tough. Leadership and managers have to be trained to deal with colleagues from the acquiring organization keeping the cultural context in mind. It is easier said than done, but in this era of M&A, it is increasingly becoming a necessary skill for managers / decision makers.

    Shantaram Nadkarni

    Cross cultural training for executives, management and employees is now an integral part of my organization whether we are dealing with M&A or expanding BU in other geo-locations.


    Absolutely agree that cultural difference is easier said than done. Eventhough, in the same region, such as ASEAN, there are vast difference in culture, way of working, language used that will affect merger and post-merger integration. In my previous company, we took over a business overseas in the same region, i.e. ASEAN. The team has managed and trained the staff prior to sending to the target company on the course of life style, way of working, and their languages for 6 months for the A-team. This has been helpful during implementation.


    This should be a mandatory process, not just a best practice initiative.

    Keith Teo

    Cross culture awareness is as important as understanding the corporate culture. Cross culture awareness is more important especially for expats working outside your home region, for example in terms of the power of relationships, time and even prioritization schedule. In my home country, social tendencies have your firm(your work), family and faith as the main priorities. In the Middle East, social tendencies have faith, family and firm as the main priorities.

    Nazar Albuijan

    This is an interesting and increasingly important topic. Specifically that MA& activities are more and more corossing boarders and the culture aspect is not only pretains to corporate culture but also national culture.

    Teo Kim Heng

    From my experience, the complexity and challenge are proportional to the variety, scope and depth of businesses, such as revenue streams, patents, trademarks etc. number and types of personalities, spread and width of geographic coverage, and not least, the various, especially conflicting or contrary, belief, need or expectation of the teams on both sides of the M&A.

    Christine Barnum

    I have experienced cultural differences through an acquisition even within the same country! My organization is based in Portland, Oregon, which is known for being laidback and socially liberal, and my workplace was no different. Think dyed hair, tattoos, piercings, free spirited, etc. We were acquired by a manufacturing company based out of New Jersey – very rigid and process oriented, lots of khaki pants and golf shirts – while we operated within the same general industry, we were miles apart from each other both literally and figuratively. This was the hardest part of the integration – coming to terms with our new ownership, and figuring out a way that we could work together in a productive manner. Ultimately we were both able to grow a bit – we matured as an organization (still have dyed hair and tattoos, but now more process-oriented), and they relaxed as an organization and started to better understand the value of treating employees well, rather than as interchangeable pieces in a machine.

    Julien Cohen

    This is a very interesting (and probably debatable) topic. From my experience the mistakes that are often made is to think that 1 culture can absorb the other or can easily merge/mix with the other. When cultural differences are huge (for example a Brazilian miller bought by an Indian agro company), I would say that we need to observe operations before sending any conquerent-style personnel in the newly purchased company. Also, if anyone from the buying company is sent on site, it should not be to give directives at the first intent.

    Gretchen Asher

    It is so important to keep in mind that for the post-merger integration and change management work, one size does NOT fit all. In doing global work several years ago with a global sportswear company we customized the CM work to fit Asian cultures differently than we did for Europe. An example is that we created an identity for the “project” for the work in Japan, Korea, and China by developing an anime character as the face of the project. This went over exceedingly well in Asia but we would have lost all credibility had we tried the same approach in Europe.

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