Cultural Interactions in Turkish Social and Business Life

An Awareness Program about Turkish Culture for Expatriates

By Prof. Dr Zeynep Aycan & Şerif Yenen

Prof. Dr. Zeynep Aycan is the Koç Holding Chair of Management and Strategy at the Koç University. She is a renown professor with many studies and publications about cross-cultural management, leadership, work-life interface, and HRM practices. The impact of her researches has been widely recognized and she has received several important international and national awards. Her most notable book, “Organisations and Management in Cross-Cultural Context” is a finalist for Management Book of The Year, by CMI (UK).

Şerif Yenen is a Turkish travel specialist, travel writer and tourist guide. He is the author of “Turkish Odyssey”, the “first cultural guidebook of Turkey ever written by a Turk”. He gives lectures in the US and Turkey about travel in Turkey, Turkish history and culture. His guidebooks are used as textbooks at many universities.

Prof. Dr Zeynep Aycan from the Koç University fills the academic aspect of the program, whereas the Travel Specialist and Writer Şerif Yenen takes over the cultural aspect. With additional two hands-on workshops which will be chosen from among a variety of Turkish cultural arts or music, participants will be able to immerse themselves in Turkish local culture.


Cultural Interactions in Turkish Social and Business Life

Moving to a new and foreign country is an exciting yet stressful time. Apart from all the logistics of moving belongings, finding a new place to live and worrying about the kids, people also find themselves facing a new culture.

International assignments are always challenges from both professional and personal perspectives as coping with the differences within the workplace and the personal environment can be difficult.

Statistics show that failed international assignments are mainly related to a lack of adaptation either from the expatriate or his/her family.

Working habits are one of the main problems encountered by expatriates as they can be fairly different from one country to another. The way people deal with risk, hierarchy, time and decision making processes are different and these differences can hinder an expatriate’s performance.

Cultural awareness, understanding a country’s people, religion(s), customs and etiquette can help people adjust a lot easier to a new home abroad. Although daily life can still be unsettling at first, cultural awareness helps the foreign become less alien and most importantly less unexpected. Therefore, any preparation in the form of cultural awareness helps people adjust more quickly.

The program “Cultural Interactions in Turkish Social and Business Life” for expatriates will:

  • Ensure a successful cultural adaptation
  • Increase the understanding of the impact of the differences, which will help the expatriates to adapt more easily to their new environments.
  • Provide expatriates with key insights and practical information about business and social practices in the country.
  • Help participant to benefit from the experience of their facilitators who will share anecdotes and first hand testimonies that can help expatriates to foresee what await them in their host culture.
  • Help to break down myths and stereotypes which sometimes lead to false assumptions and cultural insensitivity.
  • Minimize miscommunications and misunderstanding with co-workers, team members, clients, and stakeholders while working in their assigned location, and therefore lead to a more productive experience.