My first ever trip to Australia has been a once in a lifetime experience. Australia the first foreign country I have visited that I could actually see myself living in someday- perhaps that has to do with its Western-like culture, a culture I’m most familiar with. On the other hand, Australia’s business culture is far more relaxed than business culture in the United States. This became very apparent after visiting ANZ Stadium, the Sydney Opera House, Employment Innovations, Cochlear Hearing, AmCham, IBM, KPMG, and the presentation given by Suzi Skinner.
ANZ Stadium Having been to many different sporting events or concerts at different stadiums in the United States, it was interesting to get a behind the scenes look at how a stadium operates. There are so many elements that must be taken into consideration when building a stadium, like structuring it in a way where you can increase or reduce the size of certain areas (the field, the seating, etc.).
Additionally, the constant innovation in technology makes it so the stadium must also be constantly innovating itself, meaning the work is never finished. I’ve never gotten a behind the scenes look of a stadium’s functions in the United States, but I would imagine it would be similar.
Sydney Opera House The tour of the Sydney Opera House was by far the visit I was looking forward to most. I’ve wanted to visit the Opera House ever since I was a little girl, so this experience was overwhelming in the best way possible. The history is so rich, and there is always so much going on- it’s truly a unique operation.
The culture of the Opera House was very artsy, as expected, but our tour guide also stressed the importance of continuous innovation with in the Opera House to keep it up to date where necessary (like implementing a new lift system to allow disabled people to access every level). People from all over the world travel to the Sydney Opera House, all bringing their own personal cultures and interests, and it’s beautiful to think that a landmark is able to bring such a diverse group of people together- sharing some kind of common ground.
Cochlear Hearing It was stimulating to learn about a business I am so disconnected from. Nobody in my family has a hearing aid, nor do I have a great deal of understanding of engineering or supply chain, so visiting Cochlear Hearing was a learning experience. Aside from the actual process of making the hearing devices, the most interesting aspect of the company for me personally was the requirements needed to put them together- or lack thereof. Asian women made up the majority of the assembly team due to their smaller hands and better eyesight, but we were told they could literally walk in off the street and get a job as long as they were able to work with and assemble the microscopic pieces. That means there appears to be no educational or experiential requirement, which is something I’m definitely not used to in the United States. If that were the case, I’m not sure I’d be in grad school.
Additionally, we were completely separated from the machines at all times, unlike our experience in Thailand where they let you get up close and personal. I’m not sure if this has something to do with the difference in businesses as a whole, or a difference in safety standards between the two countries.
Breakfast: Suzi Skinner, Employment Innovations, AmCham, IBM, KPMG I’ve chosen to group each of these companies together because they each stressed very similar differences in business culture between Australia and the U.S. At least one representative from each of these companies mentioned that hierarchical status is not nearly as important in Australia as it is in the United States. When Australians introduce themselves, they don’t feel it’s necessary to mention their title, whereas Americans often do.
They also stressed how much more laid back it is doing business in Australia, where in America it’s constant deadlines and pressure. While at AmCham specifically, we were reminded of all of American business’s flaws, which isn’t a bad thing. Knowing where you need to improve is the first step towards improving.
At IBM, I learned that in addition to a slower pace Australian business also tends to be less risky than the United States.
The presentation given at KPMG was by members of all levels of the company, which also illustrated the lack of hierarchical importance in the company. Overall, the business structure in Australia is much more informal than it is in the United States, and it was a nice change of pace for me personally, and it seems to be very successful for them.