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Indian work habits through eyes of foreigners

Source | LinkedIn : By Murali Ganesan


One caution: Don’t get worked-up or emotional. There can be some positive takeaways from it.

The Economic Times

Argumentative too emotional – are Indians tough to work with?

By Lijee Philip DIBYENDU GANGULY, ET Bureau | 26 Dec, 2014,

Corporate Dossier asked expatriate CEOs to describe the most incorrigible traits of Indian work culture.
The list we’ve compiled might upset you, but feel free to argue — which you will anyway.:

We’re always late

Seasoned expats have given up complaining about this quirk, except for a few German and Japanese CEOs, who still feel the pain every time they see an Indian colleague sauntering into a meeting 15 minutes late.

Makoto Kitai, MD, Mitsubishi Electric India, remembers fondly his days in Japan, when everyone would actually arrive five minutes early. “In India, being late by 15 minutes for a meeting is not considered to be late,” he sighs. “Schedules go haywire in India but people don’t complain.”

If only our lack of punctuality was confined only to meetings! “Whether it a dinner or a larger function, I now assume that guests will arrive at least one hour late,” says Philipp von Sahr, President of BMW Group India.

We’re very argumentative

Indians, as Nobel laureate Amartya Sen tells us, are argumentative by nature and given the opportunity, we will debate and discuss till the cows at home. Jean-Christophe Lettelier got a taste of this as soon as he took charge at L’Oreal India last year. The meetings he conducted would go on interminably with everyone going in circles.

“Maybe it’s because of an inductive approach to understanding things, but Indians make things more complex than they really are,” he says. “I value the depth of thinking, but sometimes I have to just close the topic. Else there is complete chaos.”

Mitsubishi’s Makoto Kitai is another expat CEO who has had a hard time conducting meetings. “Japanese are very good listeners. We as a culture never speak out of turn which ensures that our suggestion would be asked every time. My Indian colleagues, on the other hand, are very ardent speakers and are always impatient when it comes to an opportunity to articulate their views,” he says. We also have a propensity to get into time consuming discussions just about anywhere.

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