Culture shock happens when travelling to foreign countries and places we’ve never been before. While travelling is one experience, opening a business in another country is another. Canadian oil and gas exploration and development company, ACL International, operates in Indonesia. The Indonesian business culture is a much different landscape than it is in Canada, and it is very broad due to the 17,000 islands that comprise Indonesia. Some of the key attributes to their business culture are as follows: “There is a strong belief in subjugation to nature, meaning that nature controls your life and there is little you can do as an individual to move yourself ahead. One should accept one’s position in life. Most Indonesians tend to look toward the past as an example for today. There is a strong belief in tradition but also in rules and regulations that need to be followed regardless of practicality.
In Indonesia, the proper aspect of humanity is to be expressive and emotional although that expressiveness and emotionalism lives just under the surface. This means that it can be difficult to determine the emotional state of most Indonesian coworkers, but that strong emotions can surface in ways that may be confusing to a Western supervisor. Social relationships tend to be twofold in Indonesian culture. First there is a strong authoritarian framework with natural born leaders and natural born followers. These relationships are clearly defined. However, within each group there is a strong belief that the community makes decisions to avoid individual responsibility. A change in management becomes a particularly difficult situation in Indonesia. Often the corporate home office will not accept common practices and procedures found in Indonesia as a best practice and requires Indonesian managers and staff to adapt to the international corporate culture.
A deep understanding of the cultural traits found in Indonesian business is required before an action plan can be completed to implement change. The home corporate office usually has little understanding of the profound cultural complexity of implementing change in Indonesian offices, factories, and businesses. For these reasons and many others, it becomes critical that foreign professionals working in Indonesia look past the elaborate subterfuge found in Indonesian business and incorporate the correct cultural traits to manage Indonesian personnel. Simultaneously, Indonesian managers must be instructed in the expectations of their foreign superiors and coworkers. Without an understanding of the cultural expectations of the other group, frustration and confusion are the norm.” ACL International Is a Leader In Indonesian Oil And Gas Exploration And Development.
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