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Old 05-11-2012, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Toronto
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I am curious. I think I might have read something like that in books about business culture differences between regions and countries.

Obviously this depends on the occupation or even economic class or level of development (hard to compare a still-developing agricultural society to say, a modern service-based one), but if you take an example, say office or business/corporate culture, I've heard there are some differences in how acceptable it is to mix the personal and work life.

I don't know which ones (some in Europe maybe?), but I've heard/read some people from outside North America mention how US culture incorporates personal life sometimes a little too much into work (eg. The boss cares what you do or the impression of you outside on your free time; nowadays there's the whole thing about social networking reflecting badly on you etc., of course that's recent) and that in some cultures, business is business, and what you do in your personal life doesn't matter as long as you get the job done. In some other cultures on the other hand I've heard, you might have to play a lot more social games (eg. go to corporate events, go drinking with your boss and co-workers outside work) to make it in the business world.

This might also be related to introversion vs. extraversion (perhaps some cultures promote more of a business culture where it's acceptable to spend a lot of time socializing at work/company events and even outside, which might even be encouraged etc.). In more reserved or introverted cultures, perhaps, people might just go to the office, rarely talk or socialize for work reasons unless necessary, and that's it.

In some cultures then it's said, the work social circle tends to overlap little with the social circle one is with in their private life or on their free time.

(actually if you go to say the work and employment forum, you might see some people complain that it is one of the things that's disliked about some kinds of "corporate culture" -- too much of this socialization/mixing between personal and private).

What is your experience if you've lived/worked/encountered any of it in various countries/regions/cultures you've been in?

Last edited by Stumbler.; 05-11-2012 at 01:38 PM..
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:42 AM
Status: "From 31 to 41 Countries Visited: )" (set 9 days ago)
 
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I imagine Italy and Japan are some countries that differ the most when it comes to that topic.

For Italy, personal and social life appears to be very separate from work life, and with very easy going, laid back, and maybe even a bit lazy and incompetent work life.

For Japan, kind of the opposite from Italy and in this situation personal/social/and work life all seem very integrated. Work life seems a bit more demanding, more strict, and not as easygoing and laid back. Work life seems efficient, active, and productive, but a bit stressful and high maintenance.

Even in the USA, and Canada some people think there are differences for that between the Eastern areas of those 2 countries (Such as in Washington DC/New York City and Toronto/Montreal) vs. the western areas of the countries (Seattle/Portland/San Francisco/Los Angeles/Denver and Vancouver/Calgary).

There is probably a significant amount of noticeable, maybe even if it is a bit subtle, differences between plenty of countries for this topic.

Last edited by ; 05-15-2012 at 02:49 AM..
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Old 05-18-2012, 09:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by View Post
For Italy, personal and social life appears to be very separate from work life, and with very easy going, laid back, and maybe even a bit lazy and incompetent work life.
Yes and no.

I have heard that, culturally, if you go into a business meeting with Italians, you tend to talk about personal things and get chummy first. If they have families, they will talk about them. Business details come a little later.

As for being easy going and laid back, that is probably true, but will vary by industry and location in Italy. If it's a law firm in Milan, I can guarantee you they work ridiculous hours and they have to be competent.

If it's a creative endeavor, like having a restaurant, they take real pride in their craftsmanship. Ditto for other artisans.

If you work at the ticket booth at a satellite train station or check tickets on the train, then it could be laid back and, depending on the employee, either pleasant or rude, and there ain't nothing you can do about it.

There are some great words in Italian to describe these attitudes, like "strafottente" and "scoglionato," meaning "one who doesn't give a crap" and "p!$$ed off," respectively.
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Old 05-19-2012, 07:44 AM
 
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In America, when you are introduced to somebody new, the first question you ask is "What do you do", if the introduction itself does not say "I'd like you to meet John, a bus driver", or "Hi, I'm John, I drive a bus". I don't think that applies nearly as much in most other countries, where I've had drinking buddies and girl friends without ever knowing what kind of work they do. In America, a person wears his occupation or profession as the central characteristic of his personhood, the first thing one 'needs to know' about somebody.

However, having said that, the USA is one of the few countries in the world where Profession is not one of the identifying boxes filled in on a passport title page. When applying for a visa or a landing card, it is almost always required to fill in the Profession line. I always said Farmer, which is everywhere a respected profession, except in the USA.

America has also become so suspicion-ridden and fear-mongered, that a lot of people don't even know anybody (nor want to know anybody) except their colleagues from work.
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Old 05-19-2012, 09:10 AM
 
1,106 posts, read 2,883,823 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CowanStern View Post
In America, when you are introduced to somebody new, the first question you ask is "What do you do", if the introduction itself does not say "I'd like you to meet John, a bus driver", or "Hi, I'm John, I drive a bus". I don't think that applies nearly as much in most other countries, where I've had drinking buddies and girl friends without ever knowing what kind of work they do. In America, a person wears his occupation or profession as the central characteristic of his personhood, the first thing one 'needs to know' about somebody.

However, having said that, the USA is one of the few countries in the world where Profession is not one of the identifying boxes filled in on a passport title page. When applying for a visa or a landing card, it is almost always required to fill in the Profession line. I always said Farmer, which is everywhere a respected profession, except in the USA.

America has also become so suspicion-ridden and fear-mongered, that a lot of people don't even know anybody (nor want to know anybody) except their colleagues from work.
This is perhaps, true. Americans are more tied to their profession than other places around the world. They also work more hours than their European and maybe their Asian counterparts. I noticed how my European peers are more outgoing, laid back and active-minded compared to the Americans (not all though).

The social aspects of the American culture are quite cold and picky and stuck up because Americans want things to be done at a certain place at a certain time on a certain day whereas most Europeans have more free time and would often go out even during the workweek. Also, you wouldn't get along with strangers as you would in Europe because in the US, everyone is a murderer, a gangbanger or some burglar.
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