Understanding the Cultural Diversities of Sydney, Australia
Columbia Southern University
Australia is one of the most laid back and easy-going Countries that I have ever researched. Starting a business in this country is an opportunity that can really evolve and benefit the managers. Opening a subsidiary business is hard enough in a different country. Understanding the countries culture, population interests, how business is conducted, etc. will help opening a business opportunity easier and have a far better chance of being successful. With the languages that have evolved over the years, to the aboriginal tribes throughout the country, the culture of Sydney, Australia is ever changing. Australians believe in their people more than any other country I have seen. The true love of success and opportunity is enhanced and thrived upon within the city of Sydney’s population. The way they talk to one another, the way social class is nonexistent, the way opportunities are shared with one another, makes Australia a great option for a subsidiary opportunity. Expanding a business abroad in this country, if done correctly and within the local customs, can really make success for all possible.
Australia has many different cultures and people come from all different backgrounds. Understanding a countries culture is one of the most important research topics needed if one investigates opening a subsidiary business within a country abroad. No matter what the business may be, large or small, you cannot simply manage with the current culture, work ethic, and expectations of one country while working in another. Forcing change within one’s culture is a step toward failure. Understanding how your partner country interacts with one another and what they find to be good morals and work ethic, is what will make the business a success. While researching the country of Australia as a possible subsidiary business partner, I have found some things that would impact my capabilities and help provide the best possible chance for success. The language of the people is something like no other. How they speak to one another is like they are all equals, no matter what your title may be. Everyone is a person, not a position. Also, Australians come from all over the world. Many of which are born outside the country and ancestors are not even from Australia. Australia is a very diverse culture with many races and backgrounds. There is not one set way of doing things. Everyone is treated equally and are valued the same. Also, Australia is also very different as far as work practices than the United States. The way they go to work, wear to work, hierarchy within the office, etc. is something that needs to be considered when setting rules and regulations for the business.
The language of Australia is different than most places. This doesn’t mean that the language is something one cannot understand, but the style of how they speak and what is an acceptable form of communication with one another is different. According to a cultural article by Sarah Kimmorley, it states that “Profanity has a natural place in the Australian vocabulary. It’s regularly used in workplaces to express frustration, used to exaggerate for effect, or for humor. For example, “bastard” is frequently a term of endearment in Australia and isn’t really considered swearing.” (Kimmorley, 2016). Knowing that Australians are less formal and respect for titles are not as common, is something to understand. When you want to open a business and you come into work, and an Australian says he, or ‘Godey, mate, don’t take this as a sign of disrespect. Australians believe more of a free spirit, and less formal communication. This helps the work environment less stressful and more work can get done. Having stress is not one of the things Australians look for when working. In America, swearing around co-workers and bosses, can be taken as a severe sign of disrespect. So, when opening a subsidiary business in the country of Australia, understanding the language will impact the business. Strictly enforcing the respect of titles and what they can and cannot say in the workplace, will be significant when hiring and managing the business. When hiring, how they introduce themselves or speak to the executive conducting the interview cannot be taken personally or as disrespect. That is just how they communicate with one another in their country and is considered a normal way of communication.
There is not one type of race or culture within the country. Everyone there is considered Australian. An article from the Culture Trip states, “Australia doesn’t have one uniform national culture because the country is made up of so many different cultures thanks to waves of migration following European colonization in the late 18th century. Joining the hundreds of Indigenous groups are those early British and Irish settlers, European immigrants following World War Two, then growing Asian and African communities in recent decades. In fact, a quarter of Australians were born overseas, and another quarter have at least a parent born abroad, too.” (culture trip, 2020). Knowing that everyone comes from all different backgrounds means that when hiring, staffing, or doing anything for your business, you must understand that the people are not the same. Everyone is different and may talk differently, dress differently, or believe in different things. People of all kinds are accepted in Australia. In fact, multiple studies have been conducted and is states that Australis is one of the most open-minded countries in the world. (culture trip, 2020). Same sex marriage was also legalized with a 62% acceptance rate. With that high of a rate, you must assume that same sex couples can be common for the area, especially Sydney, one of the most populated cities in Australia. You cannot discriminate towards an individual or group of people just by the person they married or who they love, not matter what your personal views are on the subject. A subsidiary business can thrive with many cultures, beliefs, lifestyle choices, etc., and in Sydney, this is something that is all around. People love being themselves and others accept who you are and love you for being yourself. Incorporating that into the staff of your business will create a positive work environment and a place people would more than likely like to visit.
The overall work ethic, dress, and what is acceptable in the Australian workforce is something totally different than the United States. In Sydney, “Australians take casual wear to a whole new level. You may notice students barefoot in class, and in hospitals your Doctor might attend to you wearing board shorts. They do dress up in the cities but in smaller towns it’s an anything goes attitude.” (Finlay, 2015). By instilling a formal dress code, you can expect some backlash. This is not the way in Sydney. They go by your work output instead of what you look like doing it. A lot of people walk to work in flip flops, or without shoes altogether due to the hot and humid weather. An article is referenced as saying, “It’s also OK to wear thongs (sandals or flip-flops) while walking to work. Whether it’s the warm climate or our lack of interest in being cramped up in heels or suit shoes, Australians often will bring their work shoes in a bag and put them on when they arrive at the office.” (Kimmorley, 2016). Australians will take shoes to work with them, or leave them at the office, and put them on when they arrive and change back into sandals as they leave for the day. Unlike the U.S., work relationships are ok in Australia. If you get the job done, your personal life is yours alone. As stated by Sarah Kimmorley, “It’s not considered a big deal to be in a relationship with a colleague. This can freak out some foreigners, particularly Americans. If you’re professional during office hours and remain transparent, people don’t care what you do with your spare time.” Understanding this can be beneficial when writing policies for your business. In America, this is seen as fraternization and completely inacceptable behavior. But Australia is okay with it. Understanding that the work ethic of Australians being so different than Americans, will help a business open a subsidiary office by not inflicting one work practice into another’s culture.
Australia and the United States are completely different when it comes to how people live, work and communicate. This is not surprising when you visit the city of Sydney, Australia. By looking into articles and watching tv programs, the country is one that is envied. Opening a business in a foreign location can be extremely stressful and will require a lot of research and studies. Your business can be successful if you make some of the necessary changes in order to adapt your policies to their culture. You need to be aware of the language norms and how believing in a social class just isn’t something they do. Everyone is equal and all have a part in the workforce and in everyday living. Also, how they dress for work and how they conduct business as well as office etiquette is different. Relationships with one another is okay, the dress code is more casual than formal, and work gets done when it gets done and there is no rush in the completion. Also, knowing that the country was formed by immigrants from all over many years ago, adapted the way people live there today. No one is the same, and this makes the country so much more acceptable of the lifestyle choices of each other. Overall, if you would like to open a business in Sydney, Australia, your standards must be lowered as far as the formality of the workplace. The more casual, laid back and free-spirited lifestyle of the country is why it is thriving economically and why it is called “The Lucky Country,” and that Australia is fortunate enough to be one of the most prosperous nations on earth. ‘The Lucky Country’ has become an oft-used nickname for Australia since the term was coined half a century ago, and it’s an accurate moniker for a nation that enjoys such an enviable climate, stable political system and wealth of natural resources. (culture trip, 2020).
Culture Trip. (2020). 11 Things You Should Know About Australian Culture. Retrieved from https://theculturetrip.com/pacific/australia/articles/11-things-you-should-know-about-australian-culture/.
Finlay, M. (2015). Australians v Americans: Cultural Differences. Arcadia University, The College of Global Studies. Retrieved from https://studyabroad.arcadia.edu/blogs/arcadia-australia/post/australians-v-americans-cultural-differences/
Kimmorley, S. (2016). 20 things about Australian working culture that can surprise foreigners. Business Insider Australia. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com.au/20-things-about-australian-working-culture-that-can-surprise-foreigners-2015-3
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