The First-Class Postbuzz - Winter 2016
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Greetings from the Board
A Corporate Member in the Spotlight: Daniel Glinz, cinfo
Daniel Glinz works for cinfo.

What is cinfo?

by Anne-Claude Lambelet

Located in Bienne, cinfo ( is the center for information, counseling, and education for professionals planning to start a career or already active in the sector of international humanitarian aid, development cooperation, promotion of human rights and peace-building.
We support our organizations and our individual customers by providing them with relevant information, tailor-made services in career development, personnel recruitment, competency development and networking, thanks to our expertise, experience, and knowledge.

Who are your customers?

They include the Federal Department of External Affairs, the Secretary of Commerce (SECO), the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), multilateral organisations, international development banks, financial institutions, various UN organisations, the ICRC, as well as international and national NGOs, universities and other academic institutions offering further education for people interested in development and humanitarian aid.
Professionals having the necessary skills and the availability to work in this sector, often deployed in contexts with heightened security risks, are hard to find today. cinfo is increasingly asked by the Government, NGOs, and international organizations to find specific profiles. There are interesting career opportunities in the sector, whether in multilateral organizations or NGOs, including for persons whose main professional experience is in the private sector.

In what fields do you train people?

Leading people and managing projects in the non-profit sector is not done in the same way as in business corporations. The “products” of agencies engaged in humanitarian aid and development cooperation could be something like monitoring and improving conditions in detention places, restoring water supply systems or health care structures after an armed conflict or a natural disaster. The success of such interventions is not as easy to measure as the market share of instant coffee, smartphones or airline services. Likewise, the “customers” are “recipients or beneficiaries” of humanitarian aid and development cooperation. They do not pay for the services they receive and they often cannot choose their service providers! Finally, most of the money in the non-profit sector is not made: it comes from donor states and individuals.
At cinfo we concentrate on delivering short training programs and workshops on Leadership and Management in the non-profit sector, as well as Security & Stress Awareness and Preparation. Intercultural communication skills, trust building and dealing with conflicts in multicultural settings are of course core competencies in the non-profit sector: before joining cinfo, I was training people in the ICRC, which is active in 80 different countries around the globe and has a workforce of more than 125 different nationalities!

What are you working on right now?

I am developing a self-learning program “Managing across cultures”, where people all around the world can download pre-recorded lectures on the topic from a platform. Then they can book an individual coaching session by Skype to discuss the lecture and learn further. We aim at reaching people at a distance and at a time they need the training. Besides, people have less time to attend workshops now. This “learning at my pace” scheme, which is driven by demand from customers, should be ready by March 2017.

So you also offer individual coaching?

Individual coaching is a powerful way to develop competencies. Besides training, we also provide individual career orientation services and counseling for the people active in this highly demanding and quite volatile sector. We also accompany newcomers at a distance, for example, UN Youth Volunteers, to find their roles in the countries they have been deployed to.


Is there any advice you could give to intercultural trainers?

I would certainly invite them to get beyond national or ethnic labels. Oversimplifying statements such as "the Dutch are direct communicators, Japanese do not show their emotions openly” or questions like “how to do business with the Indians?” are not only misleading. They are highly disrespectful. Instead of making intercultural communication possible, they have just the opposite effect: they put people in boxes. It is high time we get rid of these outdated categories.

What is the main driver in your work?

As a trainer and coach, I like to see the light in peoples’ eyes whenever they have an “Aha! moment”. I also believe that learning is the best (and probably the only) way to staying alive! Our brains (at least the prefrontal cortex) were mainly built for that. Mahatma Gandhi once said: “live as if you were to die today; learn as if you were to live forever”.

Anne-Claude Lambelet is a French citizen and an ATCK (Adult Third-Culture Kid). She has been an active player in the global mobility service sector in Switzerland since the early 1980s. She is an Intercultural Competence Expert and a Career Development Coach. She holds a degree in Cultural Competence from the University of New South Wales and is the Vice-President of SIETAR Switzerland.
Member Submissions - How do you ensure that people of different social and cultural backgrounds work together successfully?
Natalie and Hagos

First Words

by Rachel Beacher

How do you teach a group of students a language, from scratch, when they don't share a common tongue with you or each other, and they come from vastly different parts of the world? For many migrants to Switzerland, learning the local language is essential in order to integrate, find work, and make new lives for themselves. Some have come here as employees of one of the many international companies or organizations based in Switzerland, while some have come as refugees, fleeing conflict and persecution, and for them, a successful integration can be a life or death matter. Teachers at inlingua language school in Lausanne explained to Rachel Beacher how they work with students from many different social and cultural backgrounds.

“Courses for absolute beginners, with students coming from such different countries and socio-cultural backgrounds, are truly a challenge,” explained head of French Agnès Collet. “It is important for trainers to impose French as the language of communication from the start, even if some well-educated students try to use English. In the first lessons, we use lots of images, for example, fruits and vegetables found in Switzerland, numbers, flags and maps. The teachers also have to use pantomime a lot, just like the students, which can sometimes bring about amusing situations.”

The school has 150-200 students, from many continents, about half of whom are migrants. Some have bigger challenges than simply learning a language, described Agnès. For example, some might seem addicted to their mobile phones during lessons but are in fact anxiously waiting for news of relatives who have attempted the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean. The classes frequently find ways to celebrate together, for example, religious festivals or birthdays. “The teachers regularly bring something to eat - chocolate is very much appreciated, but cheese – not at all!”

Agnès added that migrants often cooked food and brought it to class to share. “While there exist differences in their level of education, in their socio-cultural status and in religion, in general, I see a great mutual respect. All these migrants are, in some way, survivors, in the same situation, and I notice a lot of support between people from the same country, or at the same level of French.”

Students who progress quickest tend to be ones who immerse themselves in the culture, listening to songs and watching films in French.

Language Teacher Nathalie Berini offered one pupil a unique opportunity to immerse himself in Swiss culture – she invited him to live with her and her family. Nathalie teaches a group of eight students, half of whom are from Eritrea, while the others are ethnic Hazara from Afghanistan, a people persecuted by the Taliban. She explained that Hagos, a young man from Eritrea, moved in after studying on her course for five months and had shown himself to be very hardworking and open to learning the language and about Swiss culture.

“Everything is going well,” she said. “He is making good progress in French and has a pace of life very calm and balanced, he does a lot of sport and he is always ready to help and carry out household tasks.”

The Berinis receive funding from L'EVAM (Établissement Vaudois d'Accueil des Migrants) and Nathalie, who has founded a running group for migrants called Intégr'action, said that the process to move Hagos in had been very simple.

“I would only encourage people with a spare bedroom to welcome these young people who just want to integrate. Unfortunately, life in the shelters doesn't help them. I would like to think that there are many people who would like to help but don't know how.”

Attachment 2016-11-22- Sandra Gomes - corrigida.docx successfully uploaded and added.

Conversation opened. 1 read message.

Photos: Rachel Beacher

Rachel Beacher is a British journalist and editor who worked for UK newspapers and magazines for over 15 years. Also in her home country, she spent three years volunteering for refugee charities. She has lived in the USA, where she was part of an intercultural group for the families of international university staff and students. She moved to Lausanne in 2013 and is raising two bilingual children.

High Power Distance in Coaching Relationships – Six Ways to Establish your Authority

by Angie Weinberger

When you are an intercultural coach you have certainly come across an issue with having clients from cultures where high power distance is the cultural norm. Assuming you are coming from a culture with lower power distance such as Switzerland and your client used to live in the Middle East most of her life, it could be that expectations and understanding of coaching are entirely opposite. Since the Swiss tend to value modesty and often understate their credentials you could be perceived as either lacking depth, experience or academic stringency.

Your client might also expect you as the expert to be rather directive and with the cultural assumptions behind how to get a job in the Middle East expect you to establish the necessary connections and introductions for them. The client might expect you to serve them their new career step, international assignment or local job on a silver plate.

As we know in the current market situation in Switzerland and with the immigration restrictions imposed by the popular initiative of 2014 it has become rather difficult for foreign professionals to find a highly qualified job in Switzerland – unless they speak German in German-speaking Switzerland, French in the French-speaking part or Italian in the Italian part. Southern Europeans from Spain and Italy even struggle. So let alone a professional from the Middle East.

The clients I usually work with all have at least studied to Master level, often have a PhD and most of them have a resume with five to 10 years of relevant work experiences working in Pharma, Consulting or Banking. When their partners are hired into Switzerland by large pharmaceutical companies they are often led to believe that it will be a wonderful life in Switzerland and yes, most of it is true.

We frequently seem to make false promises though when it comes to spouse employment. We mention that unemployment in Switzerland is below 4% and has been this low for years. What we often fail to mention though is that expat spouses, local hires, and other skilled migrants are not accounted for in these statistics. We fail to manage spouse expectations in the hiring process of the partner and then you as the intercultural coach have to deal with it.

I would argue that my colleagues and I have become better at dealing with this frustration in our coaching sessions but our work is often a fight against windmills. What I have taken away from the last three years as an intercultural career advisor is that I do not connect my client’s success with my own success. In coaching, we believe that the client has all the resources to tackle her or his goals. Our success is connected to them being successful and reaching their targets but we cannot make us dependent on the job market. 

If you want to read the full post please click here.

Angie Weinberger offers intercultural career coaching to internationally mobile professionals, dual-career couples, and scientists. She consults Global Mobility Professionals and corporations on how to improve the international assignment experience. Angie graduated in International Business Studies from the university of Paderborn and studied in Tasmania, Australia. She is a certified Professional Certified Coach (Dr. Eva Kinast, Munich, Germany), Systemic Consultant, Intercultural Trainer (from SIIC Portland, OR, USA) and a Global Mobility Expert. 

When flexibility could be an anti-value!

by Verónica de la Fuente

Thomas a German manager in his 40s, working for a German company and expatriated in Brazil. He was going to lead a team composed of 10 people, half Latinos and half Brazilian. Thomas and his wife received a cross-cultural training when they arrived in São Paulo. The training was supposed to be delivered in German by a German speaker trainer but the couple asked the trainer to deliver it in Portuguese ...because they had been having Portuguese courses for six months and they wanted to practise it. 

The evaluation of the cross-cultural training was very good and Thomas commented that he felt well prepared to face the cultural aspects of his new team.

Two months later, Thomas' boss, a Dutch guy, called us for help. He explained that Thomas was having some problems with his team. Some of his subordinates complained about some processes that Thomas wanted to set up, which worked very well in European and Asian subsidiaries... but likely not in Brazil. The main complaint was that Thomas was “inflexible”. His boss asked for intercultural coaching but he explained that Thomas was a little resistant to this idea, arguing that he'd already had a cultural training.

The first time I saw him, he looked very serious and with an impenetrable air, surely, he did not want to be there. I was a little scared, so I took a deep breath and I thought… here we go!

I explained how the coaching works and the objectives his boss desired to achieve in the process, of which the basic and more important one, was to be more "flexible".

When I mentioned the word “flexibility”, he stared at me and said: ”I know what you mean by being flexible here in Brazil. It means making the least effort to do things, having no organization or processes, and blaming the circumstances or God because things do not work. In the rest of the world, each one of us has the responsibility to make things work. It is not God who helps us but each one does his part according to the organization and processes that have been discussed and put in advance. That allows us to move forward and achieve the company’s objectives and goals. I understand why things in Brazil are so difficult”

Firstly, I perceived that he was totally in defense mode, seeing cultural differences as a threat. Secondly, he was dealing with an anti-value. The Brazilian or Latino’s concept of flexibility was the opposite of what he had learned all his life. So how to deal with an anti-value?

Thus, I sent him to speak with his Brazilian and Latino colleagues, peers, acquaintances etc. and to ask them what it meant to be flexible.

Two weeks later, he came back with his findings, looking more relaxed than the first time. He started to tell me about the interesting conversations that he’d had with different people. Conversations about the big period of inflation in Brazil and how the country changed its monetary system four times in a few years, how political contexts in different Latin-American’ countries change every day and impact on business practices, how terrorism and violence prepare people to deal with uncertainties…. and more. So, the meaning of flexibility, in an ever-changing environment such as Latin America, is to be attentive to changes and generate solutions which may have to be improvised many times. Analyze the context and take risky decisions, and be creative to find quick and short-term solutions.

Lessons of this story

First the importance of "deconstructing words". Flexibility means different things in different cultures as well respect or harmony mean different things from Western perspectives than Asian perspectives. Encourage people who work in multicultural contexts, to practice "deconstructing words". What does this word or concept mean in your culture? Could you please give me an example?  To understand, the cultural meaning of words allows us to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts and have a better comprehension of specific issues.

The second learning is, when working in a multicultural team or environment, it is important to create spaces where people could have "cultural conversations". To understand what, why, how, when of some behaviors or beliefs, help people to go forward from defense to acceptance stage or even to move along to the adaptation stage where they can take advantages of cultural differences to improve performance into the team. Encourage managers and leaders to spend time in cultural conversations is a great opportunity to know each other and to build respect and trust.

Real case by Verónica De La Fuente, Intercultural Trainer and Profesional Coach (ACC)

Verónica De la Fuente is an intercultural consultant and professional coach, accredited by ICF. She has worked with global professionals and multicultural teams for over 12 years, first in Brazil, where she began his career in the intercultural field and now in Switzerland. She has a degree in business administration and she worked in the financial sector for many years. She is co-founder of Leman-Experience (  and she has her own consulting firm VDF Coaching & Culture

Bridging the Gap between "Them" and "Us"

By Stefanie Neumann

Calling strangers in riding gear in the Western US “cowboys”, refusing food in China, letting out the warm water from the bathtub of my Japanese host family – After having lived and worked in diverse countries from the West (USA) to the East (Japan and Hong Kong) I have put my foot into it many times – and very often didn’t even realize it until another person, mainly a knowledgeable Westerner, told me that my behavior was highly inappropriate.

What I learned the hard way was that being interested, open-minded and curious towards other cultures does not necessarily mean that one can act and communicate in a culturally adequate way. On the contrary, such self-perception can even lead to the assumption that “just being yourself” is enough in a foreign environment and can hinder cultural development and learning.

Imagine this scenario: A Swiss company wants to establish business in China. They initiate meetings and set up a project structure that monitors implementation. As there is no concrete opposition, the Swiss delegation assumes that the Chinese agree with the goals and milestones. Soon, however, deadlines are neglected and actions not implemented. The Swiss managers start to become pushier and pushier towards producing results, leading to even more contempt by the Chinese. Eventually the project has to be terminated due to “inadequate behavior by the counter-party”, as both sides declare.

What went wrong?

For me, Bennett & Bennett (2004) provide with their Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity a sound and practical orientation. They differentiate between ethnocentric stages, where people experience their own culture as central to reality, and ethnorelative stages, where their own culture is seen in the context of others. Learning is taking place on different levels and is not always linear. This can also mean that a person in a private context, e.g. when living with somebody from another culture, can be in a stage of ethnorelativity, while jobwise, often oblivious to it, being in an ethnocentric stage at the same time.

If we look at our above scenario, there was some behavior and mindset involved that might have been critical for the failure of the project. Having the viewpoint that “In a project everyone wants the same eventually, and that is to reach the set goal” or even “To get along well is all fine, but efficient project management needs clear structures and adherence to the rules, not just this touch-me-feel-me stuff” is displaying an absence of intercultural sensitivity which very often is not even known to the person – or worse, not even reflected after business relations are discontinued.

To be able to grow in the process of understanding, valuing and integrating diverse views, it doesn’t go without taking many turns, loops and mastering drawbacks – but the price of experiencing cultural versatility, richness and understanding of others is worth it.


Bennett, Janet M, Bennett, Milton J (2004) Developing Intercultural Sensitivity. In: Landis, D., Bennett, J., & Bennett, M. (2004). Handbook of intercultural training. 3rd Edition. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications, S. 147-165.

Stefanie Neumann is lecturer and consultant at the IAP Institute of Applied Psychology in Zurich. After 5 years in business development for Asia and ten years in leadership development for a global financial firm she applies her industry knowledge and leadership experience to work with leaders on their intercultural skills. She is also in the lead of a training program on Intercultural Competence for Leaders which is offered in English and German.
Photo: Stefanie Neumann

A ceremony of business cards handover with Stefanie Neumann

The Athena Centre for Women - Supporting Female Refugees on Chios Island, Greece

Guest Post by Prageeth Jayathissa
The Athena Centre for Women opened in Chios in July 2016; it is the first female-only facility for the refugee population of the Greek island of Chios. On opening day, the women who arrived told us they immediately felt a sense of safety, comfort, and excitement when they stepped through the door. As they removed their hijabs and settled into ‘the chill room’, there was a sense of ease and relaxation in the air. The Athena Centre for Women offers refugee women a haven for several hours each day.
Everything within the center is focused on improving the mental and physical well-being of female refugees. It offers meaningful educational programs and activities – like language courses, crafts, yoga, and meditation. In addition, sessions on feminine hygiene, female health issues and contraception are held with the aim to build and increase the women’s knowledge and skills to empower them with information and promote their participation in decisions that affect their lives. By providing a safe space, the center is also able to offer emotional care and support, as well as specific and tailored provision for those who have been a victim of sexual gender-based violence.
Volunteers from all over the world, including female refugees from the camps, run the center. We have a Syrian English teacher, whose career ended due to the war, who has teamed up with a young French woman to give language classes to a community of Syrian and Afghan women. A Sri Lankan-New Zealander in Switzerland ensures that a steady stream of donations reaches the center, which was the brainchild of a Singaporean. A Canadian, a Greek and a Brit run social media, while a Swiss manages the volunteers.
So how does a small team that spans five continents work so effectively? It’s because we don’t think in terms of borders, we simply consider ourselves to be citizens of the world. And in just three months, we have supported over 150 women at the center, and will continue to expand our best practices throughout other refugee hotspots in Greece.
For more information, please see
Action From Switzerland Team in front of the Athena Centre for Women on CHIOS Island, Greece.
Prageeth Jayathissa, Action from Switzerland

Greetings at the workplace: Kiss, Bow, Or Shake Hands?

Guest Post by Vincent Merk, SIETAR Netherlands and Europa

“Kiss, Bow, Or Shake Hands”, is actually the title of a book that reviews various business practices and forms of greetings  in about 60 countries. Needless to say, such general informative books are quickly outdated. But not so much when it comes to greeting practices, which tend to last longer. So what do you do at work in your respective culture?

Starting with the first days in January, how do you greet each other again after the holiday season and wish one another a happy new year? Probably not bowing if you live in Europe, only when showing utmost respect on special occasions based on religious or formal etiquette codes.

But now the tricky part: kiss or shake hands? Generally speaking, in northern Europe people are not physical communicators. They keep a clear distance between each other when speaking to one another, with very little physical contact. In comparison: two French people talking apparently touch each other about 110 times in one hour, while two English people hardly do it at all! More about that admirable French touching later…

So, in most cases, people in the north suffice with a (firm) handshake when you meet them in the first days of January. If you are in Holland, only relatives, friends and close colleagues will venture going for the kiss. How many times? Traditionally three times, starting the ritual on the left side. And beware… unlike in many other cultures, only women with women and women with men exchange kisses (so not men together).

People in other cultures have quite different habits in greetings at work, ranging from hardly any contact at all (much of Asia) to big abrazos in Latin  America.

Take the Belgians: they usually seal the encounter with just one kiss, which seems rather cold and distant for the physical French who produce between one to five kisses depending on the region.

Back to the Dutch: in general they face this greeting dilemma on two occasions: in early January and at birthdays throughout the year when congratulating the birthday boy or girl. Otherwise, it is a handshake, but only on formal occasions; so on a daily basis, no handshake, only a verbal greeting, unlike the French again, those notorious all-around hand shakers and comprehensive kissers.

Further Reading:

Vincent Merk is Senior Lecturer in intercultural management and community advisor at Eindhoven University of Technology. He also works as an independent trainer and consultant for international academic and business clients. He is the author of many articles on intercultural communication and management, and co-author of two books on doing business with the French. He also contributed to a chapter in the recent book “Intercultural Management - A Case-Based Approach to Achieving Complementarity and Synergy” (Macmillan Education, 2016). He served on the Board of Directors of SIETAR Europa (1995-1999), of which two years as president (1997-1999). He holds a double nationality French and Dutch and speaks French, Dutch, English, German and Spanish.
Picture: Dr. Gertraud Kinne.

Desert in Abu Dhabi
Intercultural workplace: Maria Maier feels uncomfortable within her team in Abu Dhabi.

Guest post by Dr. Gertraud Kinne
Maria, a German lecturer aims to be successful in her new job at the university in Abu Dhabi. She asks for advice from her new team regarding the content of the course and important organizational details.

Her colleagues Dr. Kofi from Ghana and Dr. Mohammed from Egypt do not respond to her emails. Maria is desperate and arrives angry at her workplace in Abu Dhabi. She has no information and is not able to prepare her lectures.

However, Dr. Kofi drives with her through the city for some hours and invites her to his home for a snack. Maria tries to focus the conversation on organizational issues, but nobody listens to her – the colleagues only talk about personal topics.
What might explain Maria’s reaction to Dr. Kofi’s behavior?
What could be the reason for Dr. Kofi’s behavior?
Maria feels uncomfortable because she expects people to be working on crucial tasks. Spending time on personal issues is a waste of time for her. However, in many cultures relationship building is more important for a successful team than task orientation.
Intercultural Academic News

Diversity in the workplace: recent research findings

by Gian-Louis Hernandez, MA & Prof. Dr. Jolanta Drzewiecka
As SIETAR’s academic advisor, my column will review results of recent research relevant to readers. In this first column, my assistant and doctoral student, Gian Hernandez, and I review several recently published articles on diversity and workplace relations. 

Scholars have shown that social relations and social support among employees enhance a sense of well-being, both in a general sense and work-specific sense such as job satisfaction. However, most of this research did not consider intercultural relations in the workplace. A study titled “Immigrants and host nationals at work: Associations of co-worker relations with employee well-being” does just that, by examining how supportive intercultural interactions among immigrants and host nationals influence employee satisfaction and well-being in the workplace.

The researchers surveyed employees of a Finnish transport company where about 30% of employees are first generation immigrants. They found that both support coming from members of the same culture and members of different cultures in the workplace had a positive effect on co-worker relations.

Additionally, they found that host nationals’ support of their immigrant co-workers more strongly influenced job satisfaction than support from their immigrant peers. The authors argue that supportive relations among employees provide immigrant employees with opportunities to learn cultural and workplace rules and norms. This article advocates for diversity and acceptance in the workplace by showing that mutual support between host nationals and co-workers of immigrant origin leads to an overall positive atmosphere.

How organizations approach and support diversity also matters. A study titled “Managing a culturally diverse workforce: Diversity perspectives in organizations” examined perspectives on and approaches towards diversity in Austrian organizations which, as the authors argue, are often not yet aware of the importance of diversity. The authors first interviewed decision-makers, experts, and managers. They found that most saw diversity as a strategy of gaining access to diverse customers and international markets.

Next, the authors developed the Diversity Perspective Questionnaire (DPQ) to survey 150 employees of 113 multinational organizations. They found that the most common strategy was striving for homogeneity and rejection of diversity. Thus, interestingly, when asked in person, managers described diversity as an economic advantage, but in response to a written survey, managers described their company’s approach as “reinforcing homogeneity” which may reflect desires to reflect the EU’s emphasis on valuing diversity

The study also concluded that diversity perspectives were related to specific beliefs about perceived costs and benefits of a multicultural working environment. The authors note that in Austria diversity is still mainly understood as age and gender diversity, but that managers are beginning to recognize migrants as a competitive talent pool. 

The authors of another study were interested in whether broad patterns which differentiate cultures, such as individualism and collectivism, shaped how employees perceived their behavior in conflict situations. The study titled “Individualism-collectivism and business context as predictors of behaviors in cross-national work settings: Incidences and outcomes” asked 1349 employees of organizations in several nations to describe a problem situation with another employee from a different country and answer survey questions about the context.

The authors were particularly focused on the extent to which participants in these interactions report changing behaviors, and how effective these changes are. The study found that employees from individualistic cultures emphasized performance goals and task focus, and those from collectivistic cultures were more focused on personal aspects of work relations.

One of the most interesting findings was that the authors predicted that collectivists would report changing their behavior when interacting with individualists, which was not the case. The study shows limits of predicting behavior based on board cultural patterns. 

A study titled “Enacting Cultural Identities in Conversation: Managing Collaboration in Two Nonprofit organizations” examined how people use specific ethnic and cultural categories while identifying themselves during organizational meetings. They refer to this process as "going categorial” which can be a resource for singling shared knowledge, experience and/or group membership in public meetings. The researchers found that self-categorization, i.e., “going categorical,” played an important role in the collaboration among organizational members. Most importantly, this study tells us that it is important to be aware of different cultural identities while managing meetings.
Gian-Louis Hernandez is a doctoral student and research assistant at the Institute for Public Communication (ICP) at Università della Svizzera italiana (USI). He is also the executive assistant for the European Masters in Intercultural Communication. His research interests include cultural issues, race and ethnicity in the context of intercultural exchange, and international education. He holds a Master’s degree in Global Studies from Universität Humboldt zu Berlin, in collaboration with the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) Argentina, as well as Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and a Bachelor of Music in Classical Music from San Francisco State University.

Jolanta A. Drzewiecka is Senior Assistant Professor and Intercultural Communication Chair at the Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Switzerland. She was a Visiting Professor at the IPMZ, University of Zürich, in Fall 2015. Her research centers on construction of cultural, racial, and national differences in discourse. She is particularly interested in contexts of systemic collapse and transition, regional and global
integration, and rescaling of government. She focuses on two areas: negotiation of belonging and public memories.


Hansen, Alan, and Trudy Milburn. "Enacting Cultural Identities in Conversation: Managing Collaboration in Two Nonprofit Organizations." Journal of International and Intercultural Communication 8.3 (2015): 224-236.
Smith, Peter B., et al. "Individualism–collectivism and business context as predictors of behaviors in cross-national work settings: Incidence and outcomes." International Journal of Intercultural Relations 35.4 (2011): 440-451.
Podsiadlowski, Astrid, et al. "Managing a culturally diverse workforce: Diversity perspectives in organizations." International Journal of Intercultural Relations 37.2 (2013): 159-175.
Bergbom, Barbara, and Ulla Kinnunen. "Immigrants and host nationals at work: Associations of co-worker relations with employee well-being." International Journal of Intercultural Relations 43 (2014): 165-176.
Book Reviews

Business Toolbox: “Interkulturelle Kompetenz” by Prof. Andrea Cnyrim (SIETAR Germany)

Review by Angela Weinberger

This German booklet on intercultural competence gives a good overview of the topic and uses layman's language to explain basics of intercultural dimensions, culture standards and differences based on research by Hofstede, Trompenaars, and Hall. The booklet also gives ideas on how to develop intercultural competence and has pragmatic examples, that are relevant in today’s business world. An example is feedback culture and how German managers are often perceived as harsh and unfriendly when giving feedback.

German managers are willing to listen to such tips as often they do not intend to be unfriendly, but it is the way they are brought up. It would be helpful to have a similar booklet in English, especially if you would like to give it out in training. If you are a German-speaking internationally mobile manager the booklet is ideal for you, especially when you are confronted with intercultural communication for the first time. Due to its pocketbook size, it can be easily read on a plane or train ride to your next international business negotiation. I recommend this booklet.
SIETAR Switzerland Updates

No one is better qualified to spread the word about the benefits of membership in SIETAR Switzerland than our own members!

Top Three Reasons to Refer New Members

  1. You create an ever stronger community of peers to exchange with.
  2. You have a chance to get CHF 30.- off next year’s membership fees by bringing two members in one calendar year.
  3. You help your friends and colleagues by introducing them to the benefits of SIETAR Switzerland’s membership.

When you recruit a new member, you ensure that our organization continues to grow. If you have any questions on our membership referral program please contact

Are you curious what SIETAR Switzerland will offer after the holidays? Have a glimpse here at our upcoming events and mark the dates in your diary!

11 January 2017

6.30 PM – 8.00 PM
Intercultural Brush Up: New inputs in regard to intercultural communication and how to apply them
Susan Schärli and Christa Uehlinger

19 January 2017

Human Stories– get an insight on migrant’s stories
Christa Uehlinger and Natalie Fasnacht

7 February 2017

5.30 PM to 8 PM
Annual General Meeting (AGM)
with Networking Apéro
in Bern, Kaefigturm


Bergli Books has a wonderful offer for members of SIETAR Switzerland. If you are a SIETAR member, you can avail 20% discount on all Bergli titles at If you're a member, contact us to get your discount code for 20% off at Bergli Books.

"The First-Class Postbuzz" - Winter 2016
First published as an electronic magazine on 5 December 2016
Copyright © SIETAR Switzerland, 2015. Individual contributors have the copyright for their article.
c/o Dr. Christa Uehlinger, Stadthausstrasse 77, CH-8400 Winterthur.

Editor-in-Chief: Daniel Glinz
Editorial Committee: Rachel Beacher, Daniel Glinz and Angela Weinberger
Setting & Layout: Angela Weinberger, Liliana Tinoco Baeckert
Photo Credits: Dr. Christa Uehlinger (unless other name is mentioned)
Publisher: SIETAR Switzerland
Responsible: Daniel Glinz

All rights reserved. No reproduction without prior written permission.
ISBN: 978-3-9524284-6-7
Copyright © SIETAR Switzerland, 2016
A great intercultural read: The First-Class Postbuzz - Winter 2016 Edition
A great intercultural read: The First-Class Postbuzz - Winter 2016 Edition
A great intercultural read: The First-Class Postbuzz - Winter 2016 Edition
A great intercultural read: The First-Class Postbuzz - Winter 2016 Edition

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SIETAR Switzerland · c/o Anne-Claude Lambelet · Chemin du Feuillet 9 · Veyrier 1255 · Switzerland

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