Many people may have heard about The Ugly American, the late 1950s novel and movie. These fictional works depicted a real problem: the failure of the US diplomatic corps in Southeast Asia, who were insensitive to local languages, cultures and customs. Their indifference led to disaster. Cultural insensitivity is not unique to one country, nor is it yet a thing of the past, and it can be extremely detrimental to companies with overseas operations. Laura Mitchelson of ICUnet Intercultural Consulting (Shanghai) Co Ltd examines some of the ways to detect and bridge cultural differences that, if left unchecked, can cause businesses to fail.

Do you have expatriate team members in China? This article by ICUnet might interest them.

You can find it on pages 26 and 27 in the EURObiz journal January/February 2019 or online at: