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Interculturalism at Work

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Kirsi Korhonen

on 22 May 2015

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Transcript of Interculturalism at Work

Managing Expectations- Interculturalism at Work
Djuddah Leijen & Kirsi Korhonen
* origin Latin ’cultura’ from ’colere’ meaning ’to cultivate’
* "cultura animi" (cultivation of the soul) - Cicero
* culture vs. anarchy culture vs. state of nature
* distinct worldviews consist of same basic elements or set of ideas that all human societies share - 1860 Adolf Bastian
* culture a diverse set of activities characteristic of all human societies
- 1870 Edward Tylor

Culture and interculturalism
"Travel, in the younger sort, is part of education; in the elder, a part of experience." - Francis Bacon
Living abroad
* What kind of intercultural situations do you face at work?

* How can you make sure things go smoothly?

* What kind of intercultural situations will your researchers face?

* How you can you/your university ensure that their stay also goes smoothly?
Intercultural communication
* 164 definitions in Culture: a Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions (A. Kroeber & Clyde Kluckhohn, 1952)

* 383 000 000 hits on Google for 'culture definition'

* 6 definitions by Merriam-Webster

* The shared values, beliefs, practices, social forms etc. of a racial, religious, social group or organization

* Can be extended to any group/organization/individual

Hello! We were wondering
- have you lived abroad
- what was your first impression of the host country
- how did it change over time
- why do you think it changed
- if you have not live abroad, think about this visit to Tartu
- what kind of intercultural encounters did you have there/have you had here

* Do you think culture is uniquely human or shared by other species too?

* How did culture evolve among human beings?

Have a chat
* what is a stereotype
* how would you stereotypically describe your culture
* what kind of challenges might stereotypes create
* in what way can they be useful
* do you have a stereotype about Estonians

* A commonly held public belief about a nation/people/group
* Some created and upheld by group in question, some by outsiders
* Can be useful but can also distort your views
* Stereotype ≠ prejudice
* Are usually based on fact but exaggerated
* Personal views usually change in the course of time
* Playing with and comparing stereotypes

© www.satwcomic.com
Common stereotypes:

Germans are always on time.

Finns are shy and reserved. Finns like to go to the sauna. Finns like to be alone.

Italians are lively.

The British like tea.

Japanese are polite.

Americans are talkative.

Estonians are hardworking. Estonian physical neighbours are lazy. Estonians like to sing and dance.

Chinese are family oriented.

Latinos like to party.

The Dutch are open-minded.
What's on your mind when moving abroad?

* What's my new working place like?

* How's my family going to like it?

* What's my new home like?

* What are my new colleagues like?

* Settling-in and practical issues

* Immigration and bureacratical issues

* Language issues

* Hobbies and freetime activities

* How will I make friends?

How to make it easier

* Preparation
* Interest in host culture
* Previous experience
* Open attitude
* Initiative
* Asking questions and seeking help
* Accept local practices and policies
* Do not expect things to be like at home
* Be sensitive to host culture but maintain your own too
* Communicate and make friends

English Lingua Franca
Language and culture
Culture and language
“a ‘contact language’ between persons who share neither a common native tongue nor a common (national) culture.” Firth (1996) p. 240

Shaped by non-native speakers in the same way as it is by native speakers.

“on the one hand, for the majority of its users, English is a foreign language, and the vast majority of verbal exchanges of English do not involve any native speakers of the language at all.”

“On the other hand, there is still a tendency for native speakers to be regarded as custodians over what is acceptable usage.”
Language is ambiguous by nature
We must draw inference about meaning
Our inferences tend to be fixed, not tentative
Our inferences are drawn very quickly
4 general conclusions
based on — language used
based on — what we know about the world
We always tend to make assumptions!
Successful intercultural communication
Sharing as much as possible the assumptions we make about what others mean
"Direct Style"
You prefer to say it ‘how it is’. Directness for you mean honesty (being yourself), efficiency (problems can be solved quickly) and toughness (people should be able to take the truth). You may see it as a sign of politeness to be direct and honest. You may come across to others as rather arrogant and abrupt.
"Indirect Style"
You see yourself as sensitive to people’s feelings during communication and so like to communicate indirectly to manage feelings and maintain harmony. You may also see it as a sign of politeness and even sophistication to be able to communicate like this. You may come across to others as weak and indecisive.
Dimension # 1 - Impact
"Big picture Style"
You see yourself as a strategic thinker who doesn’t want to get lost in detail. You probably value quick decision making based on just enough data so that you can get moving towards a solution. You might get frustrated when people constantly ask for facts or get bogged down in detail. You may come across to others as lacking analytical excellence.
"Detailed Style"
You enjoy complexity and detail. You are not keen on communicators who do not think deeply enough about topics. In meetings, you can give long inputs when you have the chance to speak, and will ask questions to get the facts from others if you feel they need to back up their arguments. You may come across to others as too focused on detail.
Dimension # 2 - Information
"Respect Style"
You prefer to keep a degree of distance from work colleagues. You think this is professional and believe that too much laughter and fun can distract you from working objectives. You may come across to others as rather serious although over time, you will be able to form strong and intimate relationships.
"Rapport Style"
You like to be liked and you like to like others. You prefer it when there is a strong harmony and laughter in working groups. You enjoy exchanging personal information with others and mix private and working life easily. You may come across to others as rather superficial.
Dimension # 3 - Intimacy
"Pull Style"
You like to facilitate others to find their own conclusions. You believe in empowerment rather than directive leadership and you will hold back on advice - even when you think you have the answer. You ask questions to stimulate others to find the solution. You can come to others across as lacking conviction.
"Push Style"
You see yourself as leading others and are comfortable telling people what you think they should do. You are confident, believe you know what has to be done to move things forward and can be impatient when others don’t move with you. You can come across to others as rather dominant at times.
Dimension # 4 - Influencing
"Participative Style"
You enjoy participating as a listener. You try to give explicit positive feedback with nods and smiles and comments - That’s interesting - as people are talking to you. You may even interrupt sometimes because you enthusiastically want to develop what has been said. You may come across to others as rude (you interrupt) and superficial (you say it is interesting when it is not).
"Distant Style"
Distant Style
You like to listen in silence when others are talking to you. You listen carefully and analyse what is being said, probably focusing on facts rather than feelings. When the other person stops speaking, you will offer your opinion. You see interruption as impolite. You may come across to others as reserved and even not interested as a listener.
Dimension # 5 - Interactivity
Hi, how are you doing?
Hi, can I help you with something?
I hope I am not disturbing.
What kind of definition would you give it?
culture is a tool for thinking: a heuristic
culture is a verb (according to Brian Street)

You do not possess a culture
You do not live in a culture
Culture is something you DO.
Small talk
Small talk
Face and Losing face
Who we talk to
Who they are
Which position they take
Which position we take
How far away are they from us?
How well do we know them?
How much distance do I want to create
Rate of imposition
How urgent is the request
Face refers to the respect that an individual has for him or herself, and maintaining that "self-esteem" in public or in private situations.
Person's self concept
Person's group identity
Person's identity in relation to others
(group or individual)
Politeness strategies
Involvement and Independence
and independence
in conversation
Notice or attend to a person
Show interest
Use "we" and not only "I"
Show empathy
Be optimistic
Indicate understanding
Use given names and nicknames
Use another person's language or dialect
How might intercultural challenges be avoided?

What can we do to help?
Many expectations and challenges thereof have to do with cultural issues.

Know yourself and your culture to understand others.
What impression do foreign researchers/teachers/other staff have of your country/city/university?

What kind of intercultural challenges might they when moving to a new country?
Managing expectations
Information and communication is key!

- you need to know how to reach them and what points to bring up

- clear, comparative, understandable information
- offered in advance (e.g. online)
(e.g. housing prices in Tartu/Helsinki)
- face to face meetings
- peer experience vs. admin info

If you say it, write it, print it and send it, the recipient should understand it. KISS

Misconception and false expectations lead to complaints.

Satisfaction = living up to expectations
Set Monitor Influence

- expectations not set in a vacuum. Be there to make them realistic.

- ask for feedback/experiences, listen and develop your services/information
- what don't they talk about

- get in touch, establish trust, raise awareness, explain, be personal, be reasonable and realistic, act early
What sort of expectations might researchers/teachers have about working at your university?

What about living in your country?

Are they related to culture or something else?

Are they correct? If not, how might you change them?
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