How well do you know the cultural landscape of workplaces in Asia? Below is a quick quiz to test out your knowledge

Q1: If you ask someone to do something and they say ‘yes’, what does it mean?

  • A: Yes, I’ll do it.

  • B: Yes, I’ll try to figure out what you mean and then work hard on whatever I think you mean.

  • C: No, but I’m not going to say no so I will just ignore it.

  • D: Any of the above.

asian workplace

Q2: If someone says ‘yes’ they will do something, and you don’t know which sort of ‘yes’ it is, what is the best way of figuring it out?

  • A: Double checking, ‘Are you sure you know what you’re doing here’?

  • B: Asking ‘What is the first thing you plan to do on this?’

  • C: Explaining what you want again, louder.

  • D: Explaining what you want in a different way.

See below for answers.

In our own cultures we are usually very sensitive to avoid words or actions that could offend customers, fellow employees and others we deal with in our work. We  know that misjudgments could have serious consequences and damage the interests of our organisation.

However, when we step away from culturally familiar surroundings, how would we go? For example, if working in Asia, how should we adjust to the cultural norms of the people we work with? To what extent can we apply our way of doing things, and how do we need to adjust our approach to local methods? These are real dilemmas facing expatriates and business visitors to Asia.

Many organisations understand the value of preparing their employees to recognize the diverse cultural behaviours they will experience when they are in the region so they can adapt successfully in any experience they encounter. For today’s time-poor employees, online training is an increasingly popular method. Online cultural tools are always available for self-paced learning and thus can deliver critical information to help “decode” an interaction immediately.

One such tool is Culture Wizard, from RW3. Since 2001, RW3 has helped hundreds of companies around the world develop the cultural competency and global mindset needed to drive business results.

For a personal introduction, please contact Anna, Client Services Director at Woodhams Relocation Centre. Anna can be reached at

Answers to Cultural Quiz: Question 1 = Option D. Question 2 = Option B. How did you do?