Geography and location
Scotland forms the northern part of the island of Great Britain (England, Wales and Northern Ireland). Scotland is 31,510 sq. Miles in area; it is 274 miles long from North to South and varies in breadth between 24 and 145 miles.
The climate is cool, wet, and often windy. The capital is London.
In the eleventh century, the Scottish kingdom was a ethnic patchwork of Scots, Picts, Angles, and Britons. Under the Anglo-Norman feudal institutions, many cities were founded, often populated by Flemish, Norman, English, and Scandinavian immigrants.
The link between Scotland and England were reinforced by dynastic strategy when King James VI of Scotland acquired the English throne as James I.
In 2010, the population was estimated 5,170,492, with over three million persons in the central belt. There are around 65 thousand native Gaelic native speakers. There are also approximately 20,000 Pakistanis, 10,000 Indians, 10,000 Chinese, 6000 blacks (Africa, Caribbean, other), 4500 “other” Asians, and 1000 Bangladeshis, and 8500 from other ethnic groups. There are also many people from Italian and Polish extraction. People raised in Scotland will often refer to themselves as Scots regardless of their ethnic background.
Cultural tension exists between Catholics and Protestant and Highlanders and Lowlanders. However, the Labour party has been a major force on integrating the Protestant and the Catholic communities. There are also ethnic tensions between the Scots and English in some areas over access to jobs and housing, and non-white Scots often encounter racism.
Only a portion of the Highland-Island population speaks Gaelic as a bilingual milieu. Also, major governmental policy statements and slogans and publications of political parties are translated into Gaelic.
Scots speak English with strong Danish influence. It is also the official language for formal communication and administration. The immigration has brought many foreign languages.
Much of Scotland (particularly the West Central Belt around Glasgow) has experienced problems caused by the religious divide between Presbyterians and Roman Catholics. Some Scots maintain that sectarianism is still deeply rooted in Scottish society. This problem has historically manifested itself in a number of ways, particularly in discrimination in employment and in football fanaticism. The problems associated with sectarianism in Scotland have diminished markedly in recent years, although some issues remain. The Scottish police have recently moved to restrict the number of Orange Order parades.
As well as the Church of Scotland there are various other Protestant churches, including the Scottish Episcopal Church, which forms a full part of the Anglican Communion, and the Free Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian off-shoot from the Church of Scotland.
Islam is the largest non-Christian religion in Scotland, although its numbers remain small. There are also significant Jewish and Sikh communities, especially in Glasgow. Scotland has a high proportion of persons who regard themselves as having "no religion".
Most Scottish industry and commerce is concentrated in a few large cities on the waterways of the central lowlands. Edinburgh, on the Firth of Forth, is a cultural canter, the administrative capital of Scotland, and a centre of paper production and publishing. Glasgow, one of the largest cities in Great Britain, lies on the Clyde; it is Scotland's leading seaport and a canter of shipbuilding and it supports numerous light industries. Although heavy industry has declined, the high-technology “Silicon Glen” corridor has developed between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Tourism is also very important.
The significance of coal, once Scotland's most important mineral resource, has declined. Oil, however, gained prominence in Scotland's economy during the 1970s, with the growth of North Sea oil extraction companies. Natural gas is also abundant in the North Sea fields. Aberdeen is the canter of the oil industry. Other important industries are textile production (woollens, worsted, silks, and linens), distilling, and fishing. Textiles, beer, and whisky, which are among Scotland's chief exports, are produced in many towns. Salmon are taken from the Tay and the Dee, and numerous coastal towns and villages are supported by the herring catch from the North Sea. Only about one fourth of the land is under cultivation (principally in cereals and vegetables), but sheep raising is important in the mountainous regions. Because of the persistence of feudalism and the land enclosures of the 19th century, the ownership of most land in Scotland is concentrated in relatively few hands (some 350 people own about half the land). In 2003, as a result, the Scottish parliament passed a land reform act that empowered tenant farmers and communities to purchase land even if the landlord did not want to sell.
Rules of etiquette are affected by status, class, and familiarity. An initial reserve toward strangers is likely to be high lightened if one party is of higher status. However, friendliness and verbal politeness are expected in everyday life. Light, humorous banter, often about soccer, facilitates interactions. The notion that Scots are friendly and open than the English people in common.
Businesspeople are generally expected to dress smartly (Suits for both men and women). Appointments should be arranged before hand and business cards are exchanged during the first meeting, a quick glance maybe taken, so don’t get offended if they do not prolong looking at your card . A firm hand shake on meeting your business hosts and on leaving and remember to use their surnames until a good and firm relationship has been established or agreed upon using first names. Punctuality is expected at meetings. Standard office openings are from Monday to Friday 0900-1700.
Avoid prolonged eye contact as it makes people feel uncomfortable. In British culture there is certain etiquette in introducing people to each other.
· Introduce younger person to older
· Introduce a lower rank person to a person with higher rank.
· When people of a similar rank, introduce the one you know better to the other person.
If invited to someone’s home, it is normal to take along a box of chocolate, wine or flowers. Gifts are accepted when received.
Unlike other Europeans, British people enjoy entertaining people in their own homes. Punctuality is appreciated; however being late between 5-10 minutes is OK. British people use fork and knife for eating, scooping the food to the back of the fork. When invited to the pub, buy a round of drinks for everyone in your group.
If invited for a meal at a restaurant, the person extending the invitation usually pays the bill. Do not argue about the bill; instead return the invitation at a latter time.
If you are planning to use your own agenda for a meeting, insure you send a copy to your British associates so they can review in good time and add to it if needed.
Punctuality in business meetings is extremely important, and the Scots are very punctual. Call and explain your reasons if you are 5 minutes late.
Meetings in general are quite formal. The meetings always have defined purpose, which may include and agenda. Before the meeting starts there will be a brief amount of time to small talk before getting down to business. Take good care of any presentations or materials you are presenting and keep it professional and well thought of. Be prepared to back up your claims with facts and figures. Maintain eye contact and be aware of personal space.
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