INDIVIDUAL or COLLECTIVE IDENTITY: IMPLICATIONS for BUSINESS
Although the human need for self-knowledge and self-definition is universal, people in various cultures define the “self” very differently. Some see themselves as independent and autonomous; some as interdependent and part of a larger group. Individualist cultures value independence, competition, and personal achievement. Collective cultures prize relationship, harmony, and group achievement. Our view of life—and our way of communicating and conducting business—changes immeasurably if we view ourselves as independent or as interdependent, as individuals or as part of a larger whole.
This workshop examines these diametrically-opposed self-definitions, discusses their origins and common convictions, and assesses their impact on communication and on business transactions. It concludes by providing practical guidelines for communicating and conducting business in individualist and collective cultures.
HOW DIFFERENT CULTURES USE TIME
All human beings share time — live in the present, remember the past, and dream of the future — yet cultures view time differently. For example, the United States and Mexico share the same hemisphere and continent, yet they experience and use time in such a different manner that it often causes intense friction between the two countries. The Swiss and German attitudes to time bear little resemblance to neighboring Italy, Spain or Portugal. For the British, the future stretches ahead; in Madagascar, because the future is unknowable, it flows into the back of your head from behind.
This workshop discusses how various cultures view time and includes practical guidelines on conducting business with people who measure time differently.
THE HUMAN NEED FOR PRIVACY: HOW DIFFERENT CULTURES USE SPACE
Although the human need for privacy is universal, cultures view requirements for personal space differently. Individualist cultures value privacy so highly that they mandate private offices, dictate appropriate behavior in crowded situations, and separate work and private life. Collective cultures deal with the need for personal space in a different way and are generally more comfortable working in open-plan offices, dealing with crowds, and blurring the boundaries between public and private life.
This workshop examines these different approaches and provides practical guidelines for conducting business with people with different spatial needs.
CULTURE & REASONING
Communication with someone from another culture can result in surprises. You have assumed you and the other person were in agreement about the basis for understanding an idea or program or each other’s motives, when suddenly you are faced with a logic that is baffling. Culture not only leads to differences in language and in behavior; culture drives cognition. How people think — as well as what they think — depends on culture, not the other way around. What do people from very different cultures think makes a good argument? How do they construct ideas in order to convince or persuade? What are the fundamental principles on which they base their reasoning? Analysis of the argumentation that is “logical” to members of a specific culture is a way to understand the cognitive processes in that culture.
CULTURE & LEADERSHIP
As business becomes more global and companies more diverse, the challenge of aligning personal leadership models with company expectations becomes critical. This workshop examines different leadership models and what often happens when a manager from a collective culture seeks promotion to a leadership position in an individualist company. The future of identifying and developing talent will require the ability to recognize the presence of talent even when its manifestations are significantly different and the knowledge to coach that talent in “style switching” skills. Absent this ability and knowledge, the chances of many organizations to locate and “grow” leaders will diminish.
ENGLISH IN INTERCULTURAL BUSINESS: THE ISSUE OF SLANG
This presentation examines the impact of slang on international business communication and advocates making appropriate vocabulary choices to facilitate understanding and cooperation. Many examples of current business slang and possible misinterpretation will be offered. The presentation includes a historical perspective on slang, specifically focusing on its generational, vocational/professional and ephemeral aspects and will discuss how slang enters general vocabulary.
One-on-one work covering the critical topics listed in Developing Cultural Agility, targeting specific cultures. Please review the Developing Cultural Agility description for more information.