• Manage emotion We will look briefly at each of these eight abilities. Gather Knowledge about Other Cultures Scholars agree that the more one knows about another culture, the easier it is to communicate with members of that culture. However, on a team with a great deal of diversity, it is hard to know about every culture. That is why this textbook gives you a way to know about all unfamiliar cultures, using the 24 questions. When you have answers to them, you will have an understanding of the key aspects of another culture. Reflection about what you know about any other culture is important, since it suggests differences and similarities. In teamwork, for example, two important cultural priorities are the communication style (how direct? how indirect?)—and the approach to authority (is it direct? is it mediated?). Reflection about what you know of a teammate's views of these two priorities can make you consider other cultural dimensions that may be part of your teammate's views, such as hierarchy or horizontally in management structures, and which one your teammate might prefer to operate in your team. You may see a results- orientation or a relationship-orientation. Recognize Different Information-Processing Styles In Chapter 3 of the textbook, you learned about some general ways to process information that are related to culture. For example, in Western European societies, the ancient Greek tradition of reasoning is common. It is based on the concept that every individual thing has a unique identity, which can be discovered through probing and research. Each item individually relates—or doesn't relates—to each other item. A key principle in Western thinking is that two opposing things cannot both be true. Reasoning in results-oriented cultures involves a linear sequence of logical steps that include and exclude items from categories. Cause-and-effect patterns of reasoning result from the Western approach, and most Western cultures use cause-and-effect reasoning without being aware of it. Commonly, they approach problems as effects and look back to the causes in order to solve problems. Non-European ways of processing information, or of reasoning, are based on concepts of interrelatedness. Items are points in a whole network, and when one point is engaged, others in the network are also affected. The identity of any one item depends on its relationships with other items. A key principle in Asian thinking influenced by ancient Chinese authors is the importance of opposing ideas being held together in balance. Both exist, and influence each other, because they are related to each other. Reasoning in relationship-oriented cultures involves taking into account an entire web or network of things or people, and finding what leads to balance. This principle often is at work in teams where members from Asian cultures seek to reconcile opposite ideas held by different members. They are not simply trying to patch up differences; they are trying to arrive at a conclusion where balance is achieved between opposing points of view, as the most desirable outcome.
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- Spring '08
- Foreign Language