29 Jul 2004

Working abroad with Indians

This is'nt a guide, in case you were looking. These are just some thoughts on the subject. I have been doing some reading on the subject of working with people overseas. Each country has its on way of doing things and thought stream. This often leads to problems when people from different cultures interact. Whats casual for one may very well be offending for the other.

Most of the literature or training on this subject deals with nuances of dealing with the Americans, the Japanese, the french, the spanish, the english and so on. It goes on to detail finer points of how cultural differences can make a difference between what the same gesture means to each one of them.

I come from India - one of the several thousands of people who are working on foreign lands. Of late india has been receiving a lot of attention for a variety of reasons - especially outsourcing.  The above mentioned literature are usually fed to indian employees moving abroad - especially since they are to interact with a lot of different cultures in the future.

One thing that caught my attention was that none of these literature seems to attempt studying indians and their behavioural patterns. Being an indian, i have noticed that lack of such information leaves a lot of overseas client offending an indian, who being polite enough chooses to ignore the offense (thats one of the facts about an indian - indians tend to be extremely loyal employees - they bond emotionally with their workplace).

I think its time that if someone from the west doesnt do it - someone from India should.  After all, who can know us better - than us.  I can almost see it - "Working with Indian - the proper etiquette" ;)

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