"What did you say? Intercultural expectations, misunderstandings, and communication" a workshop given at Digital Divide Data, Vientiane, Laos.
<ul><li> What Did You Say? ! Intercultural Expectations, Misunderstandings, and Communication ! Greetings! I am pleased to see that we are different. May we together become greater than the sum of both of us. ! Surak in the Savage Curtain episode of Star Trek ! Frederick Zarndt </li> <li> The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. George Bernard Shaw,1925 Nobel Peace Prize for Literature. ? </li> <li> I most enthusiastically recommend this candidate with no qualifications whatsoever. What did you say? </li> <li> In my opinion you will be very fortunate to get this person to work for you. What did you say? </li> <li> Please revert as soon as possible. What did you say? </li> <li> What does this mean? Fine for Parking Here </li> <li> What do you see? The young girl is turning away... The old woman is very sad... </li> <li> What do you see? </li> <li> Why (better) communication is necessary </li> <li> Wiio's laws of (mis-)communication Osmo A Wiio in Wiion lait - ja vhn muidenkin cf. http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/wiio.html 1. Communication usually fails, except by accident 1. If communication can fail, it will 2. If communication cannot fail, it still most usually fails 3. If communication seems to succeed in the intended way, there's a misunderstanding 4. If you are content with your message, communication certainly fails 2. If a message can be interpreted in several ways, it will be interpreted in a manner that maximizes the damage 3. There is always someone who knows better than you what you meant with your message </li> <li> Osmo A Wiio in Wiion lait - ja vhn muidenkin cf. http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/wiio.html 4. The more we communicate, the worse communication succeeds. 1. The more we communicate, the faster misunderstandings propagate. 5. In mass communication, the important thing is not how things are but how they seem to be. 6. The importance of a news item is inversely proportional to the square of the distance. 7. The more important the situation is, the more probably you forget an essential thing that you remembered a moment ago. Wiio's laws of (mis-)communication </li> <li> Exercise: Introductions Introduce yourself and say where you were born Say one thing about you that you really like Say one thing about you that you dont so much like Tell one unique thing shared by all / most members of your native culture that is different from other cultures Do this is 2 minutes or less! </li> <li> Goals Personal goal: Through my behaviour in thought, word, and deed to be and to become a better person Business goal: Everyone wins as measured by the 4 way test* 1. Is it the truth? 2. Is it fair to all concerned? 3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? 4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned? Your goals? * Adapted from Herbert Taylors 4 way test. See http://www.rotary.org </li> <li> Simple principles for communication 1. Be impeccable with your word 2. Dont take anything personally 3. Dont make assumptions 4. Always do your best 5. Be mindful Adapted from The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz </li> <li> The basic human </li> <li> Genetic difference at most 0.5% </li> <li> Estimated number of neurons in an adult human brain 10,000,000,000 (1011)* ! Estimated number of synapses in an adult human brain: 100,000,000,000,000 (1014) ! Estimated number of synaptic connections for each neuron: 7,000 ! Number of combinations of n (1011) neurons with s (7000) synapses C (n, s) = C (1011, 7000) is very large (for example, the number of combinations of n (52) cards taken 5 at a time C (52,5) is 2,598,960 * Another estimate is 86 x 109 total neurons, 16.3 x 109 in the cerebral cortex and 69 x 109 in the cerebellum. Genes, neurons, and synapses: How humans are different </li> <li> Humans have about 3,000,000 nucleotides. Maximum genetic variation based on ! single nucleotide polymorphism is 0.1% or 1 difference in 1000 base pairs copy number variation resulting from deletions, insertions, inversions, and duplications is 0.4% ! Total maximum genetic difference between two randomly selected humans is ~0.5%. ! Genetic difference between human and chimpanzee is ~4%. Genes, neurons, and synapses: How humans are alike </li> <li> Reticular activating system ! The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is a structure common to mammals that is necessary for consciousness to occur. RAS filters data coming to your mind so that your perception of events agrees with your past experience. Everything you see, hear, smell, feel and touch is a message entering your brain. RAS filters through all these messages and decides which ones will get attention from your consciousness. Midbrain Pons RAS Medulla Exercise (+) Noise (+) </li> <li> Basic human nature Physical Vehicle comprised of meat body and its needs. (Latin physica things relating to nature.) Emotional Motivational force for human activities. (Latin emovere move.) Mental Sets goals, creates problems, solves problems. (Latin mens mind, Indo-European / Sanskrit revolve in the mind, think.) Spiritual Relationship to creator. (Latin spirare breathe.) Regardless of culture, humans have 4 basic natures. With only slight racial and geographic differences, the physical body is the same for all cultures. How humans meet their physical needs -- water, food, shelter, procreation -- and fulfill their emotional, mental, and spiritual natures differs from culture to culture and from person to person. </li> <li> Basic human activities Relationship Manner in which one connects to and interacts with other humans. (Latin referre bring back.) Work Physical and mental activity intended to achieve a purpose or result or to create something. Recreation Activities done for enjoyment and to re - create oneself. (Latin recreare to create again, renew.) Devotion Activities to fulfill and develop spiritual nature. (Latin devotionem to dedicate by a vow.) Basic physical needs -- water, food, shelter, procreation -- are fulfilled in variety of culture specific ways. Once these needs are met, humans from every culture engage in 4 fundamental activities. </li> <li> Culture is like the color of your eyes: You cannot hide it and can change it only with difficulty, and although you yourself cannot see it, it is always visible to others when you interact with them. Culture Any knowledge passed from one generation to the next, not necessarily with respect to human beings. Culture is a collective phenomenon shared with people within the same social environment. Culture is learned, it is not innate. Culture is different from personality but the border between culture and personality is fuzzy. Definitions of culture </li> <li> Culture Personality Human Nature Learned Inherited and Learned Inherited Specific to Individual Specific to Group Universal Levels of mental programming </li> <li> Cultural expectations Cultures similar Cultures different Behaviors and values </li> <li> Culture stereotypes Advantages of stereotypes Disadvantages of stereotypes Prediction of cultural behaviors Stereotypical behavior does not match real behavior Illuminates intent Expected intent disguises real intent Helps one avoid giving offense Ability to put things in conceptual categories is fundamental to perception. </li> <li> Exercise: Cultural stereotypes Think of a cultural stereotype from your own or from another culture. Think of advantages, disadvantages, and dangers of the stereotype. </li> <li> realize that there is no color in the natural world and no sounds nothing of this kind; no textures, no patterns, no beauty, no scent. the world out there is synthesized in our consciousness. Sir John Eccles,1963 Nobel Peace Prize for Medicine. </li> <li> Perception To become conscious of or aware of through the senses (Latin perceptin or perciptio: comprehension, taking in) </li> <li> Process of perception 1. Observation 2. Interpretation 3. Evaluation or judgement </li> <li> He must be late... That man is running Those foreigners are always in a hurry! Perception: ObservationPerception: JudgementPerception: Interpretation? </li> <li> Exercise: Judgement Think of one of your own judgements about someone else or a judgement that you witnessed. It may have been the result of your own personal or cultural programming or the result of your assumptions about a situation, relationship, or the circumstances. </li> <li> Some more equal than others: Power distance Power distance is the extent to which the less powerful members of an organization within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally. </li> <li> Small power distance DirectorEmployee Large power distance DirectorEmployee </li> <li> Small power distance Large power distance Inequalities among people should be minimized Inequalities among people are expected and desired Hierarchy in organizations means an inequality of roles, established for convenience Hierarchy in organizations reflects existential inequality between higher and lower levels Managers rely on their own experience and on subordinates Managers rely on superiors and on formal rules Subordinates expect to be consulted Subordinates expect to be told what to do Privileges and status symbols are frowned upon Privileges and status symbols are normal and popular Manual work has the same status as office work White-collar jobs are valued more than blue-collar jobs There are fewer supervisory personnel There are more supervisory personnel Parents treat children as equals Parents teach children obedience Teachers are experts who transfer impersonal truths Teachers are gurus who transfer personal wisdom </li> <li> Power distance cultural differences Small Power Distance Large Power Distance </li> <li> Power distance cultural differences Small Power Distance Large Power Distance </li> <li> Exercise: The emperors new clothes You are an operator with 3 years experience. For the last year, you have been part of a 5 person team of equally experienced operators at the Tweedle Dee Corporation. One day during a team meeting, the team leader asks the team to change the way zoning is done. The new way is very different from the old way. What do you do?  </li> <li> I, we and they: Individualism and collectivism In individualistic cultures ties between individuals are loose, everyone is expected to look after himself or herself. In collectivistic cultures people from birth onward are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, which throughout peoples lifetimes continue to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. </li> <li> Collectivist Individualist Purpose of education is learning how to do Purpose of education is learning how to learn Employees are members of in-groups who will pursue their in-groups interest Employees are economic men who will pursue employers interest if it coincides with their interest Employer-employee relationship is basically moral, like a family link Employer-employee relationship is a contract between parties on the labor market Relationship prevails over task Task prevails over relationship High-context communication prevails Low-context communication prevails On personality tests, people score more introvert On personality tests, people score more extrovert Harmony should be maintained and direct confrontations avoided Speaking ones mind is a characteristic of an honest person Interdependent self Independent self Occupational mobility is lower Occupational mobility is higher </li> <li> ingroup outgroup ingroup P outgroup P Perception of relationships INDIVIDUALISTIC CULTURES COLLECTIVISTIC CULTURES more perceived less perceived intercultural distance intercultural distance </li> <li> Individual / collective cultural differences More individualism More collectivism </li> <li> Individual / collective cultural differences More individualism More collectivism </li> <li> Exercise: Who is responsible? A new employee joins an experienced production team. The employee receives the usual training (same training that all production teams receive) and passes a proficiency exam. During her/his 1st week on the production line, s/he makes a mistake that cause several days of production to be recalled. Who is responsible?  </li> <li> He and she, masculine and feminine, tough and tender A culture is masculine (tough) when emotional gender roles are clearly distinct; men are supposed to be assertive, tough, and focused on material success, whereas women are supposed to be more modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life. A culture is feminine (tender) when emotional gender roles overlap: both men and women are allowed to be modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life. </li> <li> Masculine Feminine Chal...</li></ul>