Cultural norms affect working life, survey finds

Mideast poll shows 34% think cultural differences influence a person's performance.
By Elsa Baxter
Mon 14 Sep 2009 01:17 PM

Thirty four percent of people who took part in a recent survey think that a country’s cultural norms have a direct influence on a person’s working life.

The poll by the jobs website
Bayt.com

found that 20 percent of respondents agreed employees might not be able to perform to their best when working abroad because of social differences.

But, a further 34 percent said cultural differences may impact on a person’s personal life, but would not harm their productivity at work.

Meanwhile, 6.3 percent said moving to another country would not affect a person’s life whatsoever, while 2.4 percent did not answer the question saying they were unsure.

“The poll’s results clearly demonstrate that professionals moving to new countries for the purpose of employment expect new cultural norms to influence their lives – at home, at work, or both,” said Amer Zureikat, regional manager, Bayt.com.

“But varying responses regarding the strength and scope of such influence speak perhaps to the different mindsets of people currently working overseas or considering an opportunity abroad.”

The Culture and Working Abroad survey consulted a total of 14,844 people across the Middle East.

It found that 29 percent of respondents said they would consider working abroad in a country with no cultural similarities to their home if they could learn about the traditions to fit in with society more easily.

“These results indicate that helping expat workers gain their footing in a new cultural setting could have tangible and far-reaching benefits for both organisations and their employees,” said Zureikat.

“Companies that understand the potential consequences of so-called ‘culture shock’ and implement strategies to help employees adapt in both their working and personal lives could gain a considerable competitive advantage.”

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