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Habits that hinder cultural adaptation.

Updated: Sep 6, 2023


The international transfer of personnel is an increasingly common reality in a globalized world. Companies are looking to expand globally and, to achieve this, they send their employees to different countries to establish subsidiaries, open new branches or lead international projects.


However, this transition is not always easy and there may be significant obstacles to adapting to a new culture. One of the biggest challenges is rooted habits that can hinder cultural adaptation. Here are some of these habits and how to overcome them.


Resistance to change: Many people tend to cling to their established habits and routines. In a new environment, this can generate resistance to change and hinder cultural adaptation. It is essential to be open and willing to explore new ways of doing things. Learning about local practices and traditions, as well as understanding and respecting cultural differences, is essential for successful adaptation.


Ethnocentrism: Ethnocentrism is the tendency to judge other cultures from one’s own perspective. It can lead to prejudices and negative stereotypes towards the host culture. To avoid this, it is important to adopt an open mind and be aware that each culture has its own norms and values. Empathy and respect for cultural differences will help build positive relationships and foster successful adaptation.


Lack of knowledge of the local language: Language is a fundamental component of culture. Lack of knowledge of the local language can be a significant barrier to cultural adaptation. Learning the local language, at least at a basic level, will facilitate communication and allow a better understanding of culture. Taking language classes or working with a tutor can help you overcome this barrier.


• Social isolation: In a new environment, it is common for people to feel alone or socially isolated. This may be due to language barriers, cultural differences or the lack of a support network. It is important to make efforts to establish contacts and build social relationships with both colleagues and local people. Participating in group activities, community events, or joining local clubs and organizations can help overcome social isolation and facilitate cultural adaptation.


• Lack of intercultural sensitivity: Intercultural sensitivity implies the ability to recognize, understand and appreciate cultural differences. Lack of intercultural sensitivity can lead to misunderstandings, conflicts and poor adaptation. Taking the time to learn about the local culture, its values, beliefs and practices will help you develop greater sensitivity and avoid uncomfortable or inappropriate situations.


In conclusion, adapting to a new culture in an international personnel transfer can be a challenge. However, by being aware of the habits that can hinder cultural adaptation, we can effectively address them. Cultural adaptation not only benefits individuals in their personal and professional lives, but also to companies by enabling smoother integration and greater success in international markets.


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