Reconciliation of cultural differences between India and Northern Europe

LIVING INSTITUTE’s Global Task Force in Surat, India LIVING INSTITUTE conducted a one-day workshop focusing on cross-cultural team collaboration between an Indian and a Northern European team working together in Surat, India. Observation 1: – Keeping deadlines “It seems that it is more important for the Northern European team than for the Indian team to keep the deadlines.” The reason for this is to be found in the different perceptions of time. In contrast to the majority of the world, Northern Europeans, generally speaking, have a monochromic time conscience, which means that time is a limited resource. Northern Europeans seem to let the calendar and clock influence and determine their actions – and not what seems possible and important in the moment. This is due to the belief that time flies, that time can be wasted and chances and opportunities will be missed. On the other hand, Indians have, generally speaking, a polychromic time perception. They consider time as a limitless resource; it comes in abundance, allowing Indians to prioritize according to what is important in the moment, and not necessarily to what the calendar dictates. Observation 2: – Communication style It appears that Northern European communication style sometimes offends the Indians, which makes the Europeans seem arrogant. The explanation behind this is that Northern Europeans in general communicate very directly. They tend to skip formalities and politeness and go straight to the subject. In contrast, it is valuable to be polite in Indian communication and thus maintain a balanced harmony instead of jeopardizing it by giving negative statements and sharing bad news.