General

Singapore presents a confusing mix of solidly traditional Asian values and modern business techniques

Singapore is a mix of ethnic Chinese, Malays, Indians and global expatriates

Business structures tend towards the hierarchical with decisions made at the top by senior management before being cascaded down the chain

It is unusual for people to display open disagreement with a decision made. Any debate would be held in private

Ensure that people of a similar status deal with senior people. Do not show disrespect by expecting them to deal with younger, more junior colleagues

Age is respected and managers tend to be older

Managers expect and receive respect

Harmony is sought in meeting situations and everything should be done to promote and maintain that harmony

Relationships are the key in Singapore

Do not belittle the arguments of the manager in front of his or her team.

Remember that diplomatic and coded language is the norm and that what is said is not what is necessarily meant

Try to look for the meaning beneath the actual words. If in doubt return to the issue later

Teams work on a consensus decision-making basis, which can be lengthy and frustrating. Patience is a virtue in these situations

English language levels are almost universally high with much of Singaporean education being conducted in English

‘No’ does not always mean ‘no’ and ‘yes’ may merely be an indication of comprehension. Always try to explore beneath the surface level as to what may actually be meant

Humor, although appreciated in social situations, can be confusing and undermining in a more serious business context

Women play an active and senior role in business life and will be found in most functions of an organization

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