CULTURE, CONFLICT AND COMMUICATION IN THE GLOBAL WORKFORCE March 27, 2008 University of Illinois Dr. Gary R. Weaver American University
WHY IS DIVERSITY IMPORTANT? Changing demographics Not just in urban areas “Globalization”
The American Culture Today Not a Cultural Cookie Cutter or Melting Pot Patchwork Quilt Salad Bowl Mosaic Tapestry
Minorities in USA Today 12% African American 15% Hispanic 4% Asian and Pacific Islanders 1% American Indian
TO MORE EFFECTIVELY SERVE YOUR CLIENTS Conveying information Developing skills Overcoming barriers caused by differences Using differences to create synergy
TRAITS THAT CORRELATE WITH FAILURE IN CROSS- CULTURAL INTERACTIONS Low tolerance to ambiguity or high uncertainty avoidance Overly task-oriented or high need for individual achievement Overly closed-minded and inflexible
What is “Culture?” culture - the way of life (values, beliefs and behaviors) of a people passed down from one generation to the next through learning
Generalization vs. Stereotype Cultural Generalization –Never applies to everyone in every situation –Only a first “guess” –Discard it when no longer accurate or useful Cultural Stereotype –Applies to everyone in every situation – no exceptions –Retained even when no longer accurate or useful
Culture is like an Iceberg. Most of it is UNDER the water.
B EHAVIOR B ELIEFS V ALUES AND T HOUGHT P ATTERNS V ALUES AND T HOUGHT P ATTERNS
As we interact, differences will become LESS important. Leon Festinger –Theory of Cognitive Dissonance Muzafir Sherif –Development of a “Superordinate Goal”
CULTURAL CONTINUUMS To Do To Be Earned Status Individual Achievement Individual Action Equality Immediate family Self Reliance Independence Individual Competition Individualism Guilt Future Class Mobility Ascribed Status Affiliation Stability Inequality Extended Family Reliance on Others Interdependence Cooperation Collectivism Shame Past or Heritage Caste Rigidity
What Doesn’t Fit? Nice weather we’re having! Sunny, high in the 70s. Haven’t we met before?
What Doesn’t Fit? Nice weather we’re having! Haven’t we met before? High-Context - Relational - Associative To Be - Poets Sunny, high in the 70s. Low Context - Abstractive - Analytical To Do - Memo Writers/Lawyers
QUESTIONS: How do you know if it’s a conflict? Is it escalating or de-escalating? When do you resolve it? When it is beyond resolution? How do you resolve the conflict?
Resources Hall, Edward. Beyond Culture. Weaver, Gary R., ed. Culture, Communication and Conflict, 2nd edition. Boston, MA:Pearson Publishing, 2000. Weaver, Gary R. and Adam Mendelson, America’s Midlife Crisis: The Future of a Troubled Superpower, Boston, MA: Intercultural Press, 2008 www.interculturalpress.com www.imi.american.edu