International Management and Ethics: Culture Dimensions
INTERCULTURAL MANAGEMENT & ETHICS ACTIV-1 ACTIVITY 1 – TOPIC 1: CULTURAL DIMENSIONS DIALOGUE 1 1) Which cultural differences cause the misunderstanding or confusion? Which cultural dimensions can help us understand the situation? On my understanding of the situation – bearing in mind that when in a multicultural dialogue, many meanings can be found or understood by just context without the use of words – I believe that the confusion has its origin by the cultural difference amongh both characters. The conversation lied on Mr. Bakr’shoulders although Mr.
Amstrong tried to redirect it to the field that was occupying his mind but without success. Mr Bakr has the strongest part of the dialogue: having a flexible concept of time, paying more attention to social talks –business small talks in this specific case – , focusing to address the conversation to become more social and mentioning the religion makes Mr. Amstrong to have a conflict with his cultural dimensions. Mr Bakr coming from an arab culture through this dialogue shows to be polychronic, particularistic, control oriented and collectivist.
The reality could be a little bit different from my own words here. We need also to bear in mind the context where this conversation is taking place, the circumstances and sometimes, even the mood of the interlocutors. Mr Amstrong really wants to skip the social talk to stick into business but should he knew that Mr Bakr’s culture gives more importance to social talk rambling would have accept it and take some more time on this to try to redirect the conversation to his key point afterwards. 2) How do you think that the people involved feel in regards to his / her partner?
How would they interpret the other party’s answers? I think in this case Mr Amstrong may have felt a feeling of frustration as well as distressed since he can think that Mr Bakr has been rude to him for avoiding the topic he wanted to talk about it. Mr Bakr may have not probably even noticed Mr Amstrong’s troubles otherwaise he could have done something change it during their conversation. However Mr Bakr could also feel upset for Mr Amstrong’s insistence on the distribution subject. So from a small thing could become a big misunderstanding and depending on the context this could be a very grave problem.
Maite Molina Sabate MIBTM INTERCULTURAL MANAGEMENT & ETHICS ACTIV-1 3) What would be helpful to avoid misunderstandings? Why is Mr. Amstrong unsuccessful trying to get the conversation where he wanted? This may be due to that Amstrong’s and Bakr’s cultural dimensions were just opposite to each other’s and neither of them tried to understand each other’s different cultures and respect that it is necessary to adapt oneself to other’s at some stage and show respect. And this should have been done by both parts. In real life this is not happening as often as it should.
Most situations are resolved by one of the characters taking the lead and the other respecting the culture difference and filling the gap as better as possible showing respect. But before introducing ourselves in another culture context –either by a meeting, a business trip or any sort of communication with someone from abroad – we should need be more conscious about the possible cultural differences and learn a little bit about customs and facts from that other culture in order to understand better the person who we will communicate with and the communication we will be holding.
DIALOGUE 2 1) Which cultural differences cause the misunderstanding or confusion? Which cultural dimensions can help us understand the situation? I don’t see any confusion or misunderstanding in this second dialogue but an understanding. However if a subliminal confusion or misunderstanding is flowing it might be for the situation itself. Carolina’s priority is her daughter’s illness and so taking her at the doctor’s appointment whilst Alice is thinking in setting up a time to hold a meeting.
Fortunately this meeting can be reschuled so there’s not a big problem on this situation. Cultural dimensions that could bring this situation would be from Carolina: polycronic (her sense of times and priorities can be diverse from anglo’s Alice), particularistic (decisions can be made by subjective decisions like in this case), a little bit egalitarian (in this case there’s no hierarchical since the meeting will be moved for everybody due to Carolina’s personal reasons and this brings us to the individualist concept as well.
For Alice could be as follows: Hierarchical, collectivist (she moves the meeting’s day to meet Carolina’schedule) and harmony oriented since she is willing to adapt her and the fellow colleagues to Carolina’s needs. 2) How do you think that the people involved feel in regards to his / her partner? How would they interpret the other party’s answers? I believe that in this situation Alice may feel frustrated since she cannot help but moving the meeting to help Carolina’schedule. Very understandable and comprehensive by her side but leaving business hierarchy and control aside.
If every employee would ask for a change that would be needed and finding a date for a single meeting could be a nightmare every time that the question would arise. So some organization should be on demand or company’s policy to try to organize this gap at Maite Molina Sabate MIBTM INTERCULTURAL MANAGEMENT & ETHICS ACTIV-1 the same time as supporting employees that need some sort of help with personal and professional lifes. Carolina can feel very relieved to have Alice’s acceptance and support for the situation and very valuable for the company since not just understand the situation but change the date so she can assist. ) What would be helpful to avoid misunderstandings? In this case a good communication and having an internal policy to follow that would organize this and support either the employees as well as managers. Good communication is important because Alice could knew about Carolina’s problem earlier and reschedule the meeting beforehand and not just the day before. Carolina should know that a company needs an organization a hierarchegy so if she needs some time off that should be regulated and everybody that should need to be informed beforehand. Maite Molina Sabate MIBTM