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In the Shoes of Another : Learning Culture by Simulations Sorina Chiper Al. I. Cuza University of Iasi.

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Presentation on theme: "In the Shoes of Another : Learning Culture by Simulations Sorina Chiper Al. I. Cuza University of Iasi."— Presentation transcript:

1 In the Shoes of Another : Learning Culture by Simulations Sorina Chiper Al. I. Cuza University of Iasi

2 One prerequisite of effective intercultural dialogue - understanding and acceptance of the wide range of different forms of life, thought, work and self expression. One prerequisite of effective intercultural dialogue - understanding and acceptance of the wide range of different forms of life, thought, work and self expression. Purpose of the paper: show how we attempted to develop awareness of cultural diversity among students of Economics (MA level - International Business and Intercultural Strategies Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in Iasi, Romania. Purpose of the paper: show how we attempted to develop awareness of cultural diversity among students of Economics (MA level - International Business and Intercultural Strategies Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in Iasi, Romania.

3 IBIS Started in 2008 Started in students 40 students Strong focus on English and German Strong focus on English and German Student profile: 85 % graduates of International Business Student profile: 85 % graduates of International Business

4 Effective Written Communication in English Theoretical models of analysing culture: Theoretical models of analysing culture: Hofstede (Culture and Organizations: Software of the Mind, 1996) Hofstede (Culture and Organizations: Software of the Mind, 1996) Low power distance vs high power distance Low power distance vs high power distance Individualism vs collectivism Individualism vs collectivism Masculinity vs femininity Masculinity vs femininity Low uncertainty avoidance vs high uncertainty avoidance Low uncertainty avoidance vs high uncertainty avoidance + long term orientation vs short term orientation + long term orientation vs short term orientation

5 Edward T. Hall (The Silent Language, 1973; Edward T. Hall (The Silent Language, 1973; Both time and space are subject to less distortion than the spoken language, therefore they can shout the truth where words lie (Hall. 1973: 3). Both time and space are subject to less distortion than the spoken language, therefore they can shout the truth where words lie (Hall. 1973: 3). Low context vs high context cultures Low context vs high context cultures

6 Trompenaars and Hampden Turner, in Riding the Waves of Culture Trompenaars and Hampden Turner, in Riding the Waves of Culture Universalism vs particularism; Universalism vs particularism; Communitarism vs. individualism; Communitarism vs. individualism; Neutral vs emotional; Neutral vs emotional; Diffuse vs specific cultures; Diffuse vs specific cultures; Achievement versus ascription; Achievement versus ascription; Human-Time relationship; Human-Time relationship; Human-Nature relationship Human-Nature relationship

7 Theory in Practice Framework: McDonald's Framework: McDonald's Countries/national cultures: Russia, Romania, the United States of America, Greece, Italy, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Korea, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Portugal, Brazil, New Zealand and Canada. Countries/national cultures: Russia, Romania, the United States of America, Greece, Italy, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Korea, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Portugal, Brazil, New Zealand and Canada.

8 Assignments 1. country report: 1. country report: What is more important – rules or relationships? What is more important – rules or relationships? Is relationship-building needed before getting down to business? Is relationship-building needed before getting down to business? Do businesspeople from that country function in groups or as individuals? Do businesspeople from that country function in groups or as individuals? Do people say things directly or not? Do people say things directly or not? Is status important in doing business? Is status important in doing business? Are time and punctuality important in business meetings in that country? Are time and punctuality important in business meetings in that country? Challenges: recycling former work; plagiarism; no answers to my questions

9 2. In-depth analysis of companys national website 2. In-depth analysis of companys national website What is the level of formality or informality in the communication with customers? What does this say about the power distance implied in the relationship between the company and its customers? What is the level of formality or informality in the communication with customers? What does this say about the power distance implied in the relationship between the company and its customers? What are the values promoted by the company? Do these values reflect a masculine or a feminine company culture? What are the values promoted by the company? Do these values reflect a masculine or a feminine company culture? What kind of identity does the corporation build? What kind of image does it construct for itself? What kind of identity does the corporation build? What kind of image does it construct for itself? Identify a few sites of localization. What and how do visuals communicate in the process of localization? Identify a few sites of localization. What and how do visuals communicate in the process of localization? Challenges: sites in languages that students could not understand; values – questioned after watching Super Size Me Challenges: sites in languages that students could not understand; values – questioned after watching Super Size Me

10 3. Write your CV as a McDonalds employee 4. Student A: Write a letter of invitation to the celebration of n years since McDonalds has been in the country where you works. Student B: answer by declining the invitation and conveying good will. Student B: answer by declining the invitation and conveying good will. 5. Student A: Write a letter asking for a reference for a person who used to work for McDonalds in country B, and has applied for a job in country A. Student B: Write the reference letter and provide support for the application. Student B: Write the reference letter and provide support for the application. 6. Answer a letter from an educational institution that organises a conference and would like McDonalds to be the caterer for the lunch break

11 6. Write an in response to a proposal from the head offices to introduce a Diversity Programme to stimulate the promotion of women in higher management positions 6. Write an in response to a proposal from the head offices to introduce a Diversity Programme to stimulate the promotion of women in higher management positions

12 India I was verry disturbed to find out about this new policy, because I dont think that this is apliable to every country. I was verry disturbed to find out about this new policy, because I dont think that this is apliable to every country. As you well know, in India women are not allowed to work, it is against our culture. As you well know, in India women are not allowed to work, it is against our culture. Our religion does not allow them to show their face or talk to other men except their husbands. Our religion does not allow them to show their face or talk to other men except their husbands. As you see, it is practiclly imposible to aply this policy in our country. As you see, it is practiclly imposible to aply this policy in our country. We hope that you understand and respect our culture, as much as we respect your culture We hope that you understand and respect our culture, as much as we respect your culture

13 Saudi Arabia I was very surprised when I read your . This is an unexpected decision. We had an emergency meeting and we discussed your decision. I was very surprised when I read your . This is an unexpected decision. We had an emergency meeting and we discussed your decision. As you know our culture does not tolerate employment of women, especially in middle or top management. After long discussions we agreed to hire women only in low management. This is the best we can do! As you know our culture does not tolerate employment of women, especially in middle or top management. After long discussions we agreed to hire women only in low management. This is the best we can do! I hope you will understand that it is culture and we cannot get over it. There are some unwritten laws and we have to respect them. I hope you will understand that it is culture and we cannot get over it. There are some unwritten laws and we have to respect them. We hope you will accept our decision! Thank you for your understanding! We hope you will accept our decision! Thank you for your understanding!

14 Switzerland I have received your letter about the companys new line of attack. I must say that I am very pleased to hear about this and you have my full support. Our country is actually very serious about this matter and we have been walking on this path for a long time. Congratulations for this new initiative, I will get to work immediately. I have received your letter about the companys new line of attack. I must say that I am very pleased to hear about this and you have my full support. Our country is actually very serious about this matter and we have been walking on this path for a long time. Congratulations for this new initiative, I will get to work immediately.

15 South Korea In the recent context of our society, your proposal it is going to be more than welcome. South Korea used to be a patriarchal-oriented society, but things changed a lot in the last years. Sudden changes in womens gender role determined the Korean women to have an active economic role. These days you can see a lot of business women, most of them occupying management positions. It is very hard to notice any gender discrimination. In the recent context of our society, your proposal it is going to be more than welcome. South Korea used to be a patriarchal-oriented society, but things changed a lot in the last years. Sudden changes in womens gender role determined the Korean women to have an active economic role. These days you can see a lot of business women, most of them occupying management positions. It is very hard to notice any gender discrimination. Taking into account the statistics, we can assert that inside our branch organization we have as many manager women as in America. Of course, there is always place for better. I will take the best care to implement the new rules of evaluation and promotion of women. Taking into account the statistics, we can assert that inside our branch organization we have as many manager women as in America. Of course, there is always place for better. I will take the best care to implement the new rules of evaluation and promotion of women.

16 Students writing from a European, North American, Japanese and South Korean perspective conveyed support for the measure to hire more women in management positions. Students writing from African and Arabian perspectives argued against this top-down decision, and their grounded their rejection on local culture and religious imperatives. They emphasized that its enforcement could not only show disrespect for local culture, but also lead to potential conflict. Students writing from a European, North American, Japanese and South Korean perspective conveyed support for the measure to hire more women in management positions. Students writing from African and Arabian perspectives argued against this top-down decision, and their grounded their rejection on local culture and religious imperatives. They emphasized that its enforcement could not only show disrespect for local culture, but also lead to potential conflict.

17 Germany 1 We are very glad to have received your concerning the new Diversity Program. We think that this decision will have a positive outcome on our company. I can firmly assure you that our German managers will provide all the necessary support to our female employees towards a promotion. We also hope that by the end of the current business year we would increase our numbers of female managers by 40 %. We salute the Boards decision and welcome our new future managers. We are very glad to have received your concerning the new Diversity Program. We think that this decision will have a positive outcome on our company. I can firmly assure you that our German managers will provide all the necessary support to our female employees towards a promotion. We also hope that by the end of the current business year we would increase our numbers of female managers by 40 %. We salute the Boards decision and welcome our new future managers.

18 Germany 2 It is well known that germans value their privacy and they wear like a shield when doing business. In my opinion, hiring a woman in the top management level of this company could cause problems to the system because women are more talkative persons and this can divert attention of the employers and they wont focus as much as before. It is well known that germans value their privacy and they wear like a shield when doing business. In my opinion, hiring a woman in the top management level of this company could cause problems to the system because women are more talkative persons and this can divert attention of the employers and they wont focus as much as before. Besides that they wont have the same authority a man has and the results wont be as good as before. Besides that they wont have the same authority a man has and the results wont be as good as before.

19 By way of conclusions When students are asked to put themselves in the shoes of another, they do so at various degrees of internalization of what they have been taught to be cultural specificities. When students are asked to put themselves in the shoes of another, they do so at various degrees of internalization of what they have been taught to be cultural specificities. Despite broad initial pool of countries/cultures, student answers showed homogeneity of responses rather than heterogeneity, and the justification of their answer was simplistically (or simply) homogeneous Despite broad initial pool of countries/cultures, student answers showed homogeneity of responses rather than heterogeneity, and the justification of their answer was simplistically (or simply) homogeneous Variety of English : combination of American English with Romanian English Variety of English : combination of American English with Romanian English

20 Students develop an intra-culture where grand generalizations and stereotypes, as well as universalized traits from their own national culture coexist. Students develop an intra-culture where grand generalizations and stereotypes, as well as universalized traits from their own national culture coexist. the teaching of traits of national cultures - valuable, but not necessarily as fixed labels and prescriptions but as analytical tools to understand various situations, intercultural misunderstanding or conflict in their global context. They can also be used to anticipate potential sources of conflict and think in advance of possible solutions. the teaching of traits of national cultures - valuable, but not necessarily as fixed labels and prescriptions but as analytical tools to understand various situations, intercultural misunderstanding or conflict in their global context. They can also be used to anticipate potential sources of conflict and think in advance of possible solutions.


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