Author Topic: US vs Australia - Is this a cultural difference, or lame excuse?  (Read 3330 times)

k-vette

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"Theoretical" question here...  but perhaps it will clear up some things at work.

Let's say someone (who is American) was "invited" by someone (who is Australian) to extend part of a business trip to visit a customer.  The purpose of which is to have the expertise of the American by your side when needed.  There is no real benefit to the American worker.  This trip would cross approximately half of the United States, and involve air fare and hotel fees.  This trip is made under the premise that the Australian counterpart would pay for the airfare and stay for the American.  No hourly pay/wage is expected.

Upon completion of the trip, nothing is paid for and said American is out a couple of days and several hundred dollars.  When it is brought up, here is the response:

"Oh, I think I know what happened.  This is a cultural difference.  In Australia if you invite someone to do something, they are expected to pay their own way."

To be clear, I am neither the American or the Australian, just a bystander.  (Theoretically, of course...)

Is this a cultural difference and miscommunication?  Or as I said in the title, a lame excuse?  This situation is done and over with, but it would help clear up communications in the future.




Jags4186

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Re: US vs Australia - Is this a cultural difference, or lame excuse?
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2014, 12:57:12 PM »
I'm shocked the Australian didn't  pay for anything and that an American with this much significant "expertise" would agree to give their services for free.


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deborah

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Re: US vs Australia - Is this a cultural difference, or lame excuse?
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2014, 12:58:45 PM »
Generally speaking, when the idea came up, I (as an Australian) would immediately ask who was paying. I guess this means that I wouldn't be sure - rather than it being an obvious thing that the Australian would pay (or that the American would pay). If the American didn't ask that question, I would be surprised and *might* expect that the American was paying (however, if I was the Australian, I would then ask just to confirm, because I am very pedantic about these things - others wouldn't).

So from my perspective it might be a bit cultural, but not totally.

I have actually seen this sort of thing happen in a work situation, but usually there is the immediate question of payment by the one being asked to go along. And it really depends upon the situation (which was not explained here)

Jules13

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Re: US vs Australia - Is this a cultural difference, or lame excuse?
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2014, 01:45:09 PM »
Sounds like more a miscommunication to me...ie lame excuse.  I am American and my husband is Australian.  Both of us would have assumed this was being covered, especially if the first part of the business trip has already been covered by the company/business and the person asking has control/authority to cover these expenses.  My husband would too (and he's Australian).  But, you know what they say about assuming....  However, if the person doing the asking doesn't have control/decisions over expenses, then I would have inquired about it. 

NoraLenderbee

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Re: US vs Australia - Is this a cultural difference, or lame excuse?
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2014, 03:45:51 PM »
Worse than lame excuse--it's BS. Oz Man didn't "invite" GI Joe to anything. This wasn't a dinner or a concert. Oz Man asked GI Joe to do him a favor, and then he sleazed out of reciprocation. It's like "inviting" your friend to drive you somewhere you (not they) need to go, and then not giving them money for gas because "you invited him for a drive".

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Re: US vs Australia - Is this a cultural difference, or lame excuse?
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2014, 05:57:57 PM »
I doubt there is a cultural difference when the cost is small.  When we invite our kids' friends to play golf or some other activity, we expect to pay.  However, if we invite someone out to dinner, the expectation (always) is that each pays for themselves.  If I am renting a vacation home and ask if someone wants to join, then if I expected them to contribute, I'd let them know.  If we ask people over for dinner, we don't expect any contribution even if a decent amount is spent on food/drink.  For out of town guests, we often pay for dinners, etc., but it is not nec expected, rather it is since they paid and spent the time to travel to see us.

For a large cost, I simply would have discussed who pays what beforehand.  Hard to tell w/o knowing what was explicitly discussed. Does "under the premise" mean it was discussed, or do you mean "under the assumption"?

With all the qoutes, it is hard to tell whether it was presented a being a favor or not.  Still, given the cost, I'd expect it to be discussed.

Hell, the Aussie could have thought the favor was the full deal. 


kaetana

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Re: US vs Australia - Is this a cultural difference, or lame excuse?
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2014, 06:09:29 PM »
Having lived in both the US and Australia and now identifying as Australian, I would say that it sounds like a case of standard miscommunication.

If a friend asked me to come out for lunch, I would assume I'd have to pay my own way. If the same friend asked me to go on a long trip for business, I agree with Deborah - I would absolutely make it crystal clear who was paying for what. However, I would behave this way in both the States and Australia.

By the way, I am sometimes asked to travel for work, and my (Australian) company always pays for flights, accommodations, and some other work-related expenses.

MsRichLife

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Re: US vs Australia - Is this a cultural difference, or lame excuse?
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2014, 07:42:33 PM »
Also as an Aussie who lived in the US for a few years, I'd say this is miscommunication rather than a cultural issue.

Because it's hard to tell from your theoretical example, I can't gauge the relationship between the American and Australian. Are they peers? Is one higher up in the company?

Honestly, if I was 'invited' somewhere I would have clarified who was paying before I agreed to do it. If I didn't ask who was paying, then I think the invitee could assume that the invited was happy to pay their own way.