One of the more exciting aspects of being an international contractor is the number of countries you get to experience living in. However it is not just problems with language gaps that you need to look out for sometimes cultural habits can cause friction as well.
As a contractor it is not only the social aspects of international integration that you have to be concerned with, more often than not you will be working with locals for several weeks at a time and need their support and therefore it is not an option for cultural differences to create conflict that might endanger your working relationship.
There are many habits that are external habits that can be adapted quickly when moving to a foreign country, for example greeting people with a kiss on both cheeks or choosing to support the local football team. However it is usually our core habits and values that control our behaviour that cause the most problems especially when it comes to values and etiquette.
Therefore when dealing with cultural differences you have to realise the difference when a person is dealing with you a certain way because this is specific to their culture to when they are generally being obstructive. Attacking the way you are dealt with when it pertains to their culture will almost certainly result in conflict unless handled in a diplomatic way.
It is not common for companies to provide cross-cultural training and productivity reviews have highlighted that these cultural related differences do account for an alarming decrease in productivity resulting in substantial losses to international companies. Therefore when dealing with someone from a different culture to your own always take the time to understand points of contention with regards to their behaviour before trying to tackle this and creating a bigger problem.
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