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Professional Development Seminar Fri. 26 June 2009 1:00-2:00pm Pentecost Building, Room 420 Jessica Loh.

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Presentation on theme: "Professional Development Seminar Fri. 26 June 2009 1:00-2:00pm Pentecost Building, Room 420 Jessica Loh."— Presentation transcript:

1 Professional Development Seminar Fri. 26 June 2009 1:00-2:00pm Pentecost Building, Room 420 Jessica Loh

2 Purpose Understanding culture and ‘interculture’ is a process full of trial and error and error and error. The purpose of today’s session is to take one step towards intercultural understanding in our every day, cross-cultural lives. Goal To provide insight on the basics of intercultural communication concepts and their application to real world, cross cultural situations (i.e. business, personal, work, school).

3 Activity Points of Discussion -Messages are filtered and meaning is interpreted through our own understanding, reality, values, norms and perceptions : "cultural lenses“ - through our "lenses" we insert and infer meaning, make our own connections, and deem what is logical, rational and acceptable based on our own perceptions, a product which is acquired through socialization (we are innately ethnocentric).

4 A or B? Findings of Development Psychologist Liang hwang Chiu: American children preferred to group based on the “taxonomic” category Chinese children preferred to group based on “relationship” - R. E. Nesbitt, The Geography of Thought

5 1 or 2? Most Koreans chose group 1 based on a more obvious family resemblance Most European Americans chose group 2 based on a discovered “rule” (i.e. straight instead of curved stem) Asian Americans were in between but more similar to Koreans In a study conducted by Nesbitt, his participants consisted of Koreans, European Americans, and Asian Americans.

6 What is culture? - shared system of symbols, beliefs, attitudes, values, expectations, and norms of behaviour What is communication? - process of sharing meaning by transmitting messages through media such as words, behaviour, material artifacts, or third parties. - For successful communication, receiver must interpret the meaning of a particular communication the way the sender intended “Distortions" or "noise" alter meaning intended by the sender that lead to misunderstanding by the receiver. Therefore… Culture is the foundation of communication. When cultures vary, communication practices also vary. The more dissimilar the cultures of those involved, the more the likelihood of misinterpretation.

7 - The iceberg separates culture into visible and invisible elements which are almost always interrelated - Observable cultural elements often have deeper meaning and are rooted in fundamental values - what we think we see is not always what is going on; a visible aspect of culture can have completely different meaning in different cultures (i.e. laughing, smiling) - Symbols, words, gestures are loaded with cultural meaning that simply do not “translate” universally and may lead to serious misunderstanding CULTURE SPECIFIC Clothing art gestures food religion forms of communication language symbols Even the Titanic sunk because of it… CULTURE GENERAL Individualism collectivism hierarchy equality formality informality tradition progress & change predictive future uncertain future activity/work people/relationships polychronic time monochronic time Iceberg Analogy

8 Brainstorm

9 from specific to general :: cultural elements and the values that drive them Use of third parties, notes, Face-maintenanceCollectivism signs, gesture, silence, to Harmony convey important messages High-context Fluid notion of timeUncertain futurePolychronic Time “Impermanence” Respect for those with FormalityHierarchy statusAscription Direct, verbal communic-Notion of efficiencyIndividualism ation; “straight to the point”Low-context Time is a precious com-Predictive futureMonochronic Time modity; “time is money”Personal Efficacy Idea that “anyone can be Personal efficacy Equality President” and all humans Meritocracy should be treated the same

10 shifting gears applications in business

11 Intercultural Awareness in Business It is crucial to understand the impact of cross-cultural differences on business, trade and internal company organization. Poor understanding can affect areas such as management, PR, advertising, and negotiations, and could lead to damaging consequences. The success or failure of a company, venture, merger or acquisition is essentially in the hands of people. If these people are not cross- culturally aware, then misunderstandings, offence, and a break- down in communication can occur. The need for greater cross cultural awareness is heightened in our global economies. Cross-cultural differences in matters such as language, etiquette, non-verbal communication, norms, and values can, do, and will lead to cross cultural blunders.

12 a case study Obama. Change. And a monkey.

13 Video brought to you today by YouTube

14 Silly Ethnocentrics :: Business Management and Negotiations A Japanese manager in an American company was told to give critical feedback to a subordinate during a performance evaluation. Japanese use high context language and are uncomfortable giving direct feedback. It took the manager five tries before he could be direct enough to discuss the poor performance so that the American understood. When President George Bush went to Japan with Lee Iacocca and other American business magnates, they directly made explicit and direct demands on Japanese leaders. This violates Japanese etiquette. To the Japanese it is considered rude, a sign of ignorance, and/or desperation to lower oneself to make direct demands. Some analysts believe it severely damaged the negotiations and confirmed to the Japanese that Americans are barbarians. A sales manager in Hong Kong tried to control employee's promptness at work. He insisted they come to work on time instead of 15 minutes late. They complied, but then left exactly on time instead of working into the evening as they previously had done. Much work was left unfinished until the manager relented and they returned to their usual time schedule. An American business person refused an offer of a cup of coffee from a Saudi businessman. Such a rejection is considered very rude and the business negotiations became stalled. An American oil rig supervisor in Indonesia shouted at an employee to take a boat to shore. Since no-one berates an Indonesian in public, a mob of outraged workers chased the supervisor with axes.

15 Silly Ethnocentrics :: PR and Advertising – use of words and symbols In 2002, Umbro, the UK sports manufacturer, had to withdraw its new trainers (sneakers) called the Zyklon. The firm received complaints from many people as it was the name of the gas used by the Nazi regime to murder millions of Jews in concentration camps. Staff at the African port of Stevadores saw the "internationally recognized" symbol for "fragile" (i.e. broken wine glass) and presumed it was a box of broken glass. Rather than waste space they threw all the boxes into the sea! A golf ball manufacturing company packaged golf balls in packs of four for purchase in Japan. But, pronunciation of the word "four" in Japanese sounds like the word "death" and items packaged in fours are unpopular. A soft drink was introduced to Arab countries with an attractive label that had stars on it: 6-pointed stars. The Arabs interpreted this as pro-Israeli and refused to buy it. Another label was printed in ten languages, one of which was Hebrew- -again the Arabs did not buy.

16 The Swedish furniture giant IKEA somehow agreed upon the name "FARTFULL" for one of its new desks. In the late 1970s, Wang, the American computer company,could not understand why its British branches were refusing to use its latest motto "Wang Cares". To British ears it sounded too close to "Wankers" which would not really give a very positive image to any company. American Motors tried to market its new car, the Matador, based on the image of courage and strength. However, in Puerto Rico the name means "killer" and was not popular on the hazardous roads in the country. Mountain Bell Company tried to promote its telephone and services to Saudi's. Its ad portrayed an executive talking on the phone with his feet propped up on the desk, showing the soles of his shoes-- something an Arab would never do! When Pepsico advertised Pepsi in Taiwan with the ad "Come Alive With Pepsi" they had no idea that it would be translated into Chinese as "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the dead." A Laugh at Their Expense

17 In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into "Schweppes Toilet Water." A sign in a Yugoslavian hotel stated: The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid. In a Bangkok dry cleaner's: Drop your trousers here for best results. At a Budapest zoo: Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty. …and a few more….

18 These examples courtesy of services/articles/crosscultural-marketing.html

19 Q & A PDS evaluations


21 Monochronic vs. Polychronic Monochronic Culture Polychronic Culture Interpersonal Relations Interpersonal relations arePresent schedule is subordinate subordinate to present scheduleto Interpersonal relations Activity Co-ordination Schedule co-ordinates activity; Interpersonal relations coordinate appointment time is rigid. activity; appointment time is flexible Task Handling One task at a time Many tasks are handled simultaneously Breaks and Personal Time Breaks and personal time areBreaks and personal time are sacrosanct regardless ofsubordinate to personal ties. personal ties. Temporal Structure Time is inflexible; time isTime is flexible; time is fluid tangible Work/personal timeWork time is clearly separableWork time is not clearly separable separability from personal timefrom personal time Organizational Perception Activities are isolated fromActivities are integrated intoorganization as a whole; tasks are measured by output in timemeasured as part of overall (activity per hour or minute) organizational goal (adopted from: Victor, 1992, p.234)

22 Definitions of Culture “ Culture is a fuzzy set of attitudes, beliefs, behavioural norms, and basic assumptions and values that are shared by a group of people, and that influence each member's behaviour and his/her interpretations of the "meaning" of other people's behaviour.”(Spencer-Oatey, 2000, p.4) Hofstede (1994): “the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the member of one group or category of people from another”(p.5). Hofstede expands the concept of ‘collective programming’ by suggesting that culture could therefore be situated between human nature, which is not programmed, nor programmable on the one side – and the individual’s personality on the other side. This idea of the culture in the individual is particularly useful for explaining the concept of culture on the one side – as well as allowing for the diversity of individual personalities within any one culture. Hall (1983) views culture as often subconscious. He compares culture to an invisible control mechanism operating in our thoughts. In his view, we become only aware of this control mechanism when it is severely challenged, for example by exposure to a different culture. He believes that members of a given society, internalise the cultural components of that society, and act within the limits as set out by what is ‘culturally acceptable’ the role of culture as both an influence factor for behaviour as well as an interpretation factor of behaviour. The interpretative role of culture, as introduced by Spencer-Oatey, is especially important when considering cross-cultural interaction, or reaction towards products created in a different cultural context. ‘Culture’ consists of various factors that are shared by a given group, and that it acts as an interpretive frame of behaviour.

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