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How to give negative feedback in different cultures

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

Part 2 - Understanding the difference between direct and indirect negative feedback

It can be difficult to handle negative feedback. Neither giving nor receiving it is easy.

But if you’re in a leadership position, there will be times when you have to step up and give someone negative feedback.

Sure, there is plenty of advice available. Google “giving negative feedback” and you’ll get 779,000,000 search results.

However, one important aspect is rarely reflected: The concept of constructive criticism varies from culture to culture.

A fundamental principle to understand is the difference between direct and indirect negative feedback, and whether feedback is better given in private or in front of others.

In the video below I explain

  • The differences between direct and indirect negative feedback

  • Which cultures have an unexpectedly indirect approach to negative feedback even though their way of communication in general is very direct

  • What the problem is with the so-called Feedback Sandwich method


Watch the first part of the video about high-context vs low-context cultures here

This video is part of a webinar I gave about The Challenges of Cross-Cultural Communication. You can watch the full video on Youtube.


The data I present comes from Erin Meyer’s “The Culture Map”, a highly interesting book about cross-cultural communication. I recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about this topic.

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