Working Within Hierarchies In Intercultural Backgrounds Cultural Studies Essay

Our interviewee has had the chance of working in assorted dissimilar organisational civilizations where the term hierarchy holds wholly different relevancy and values. Harmonizing to him, ‘Hierarchy ‘ is more of an ‘old-school doctrine ‘ in developing Asiatic universe. Career development is based non merely on single ‘s public presentation but besides on his/her trueness towards organisation. The greater the figure of old ages an person has given to an organisation, the greater is the chance of him stepping higher in the ladder. He besides observed that good relationships with subsidiaries and higher-ups can significantly increase one ‘s ability to run into his/ her professional committednesss. In Asiatic civilization, the hierarchy is preponderantly ‘Vertical ‘ whereas higher-ups are respected and orders are received. It is assumed that hierarchy will be maintained both within and outside the organisation ‘s premises. 6

As globalisation continues to spread out at an progressively rapid rate it becomes more and more apparent that intercultural consciousness and adaptability are non merely positive assets, but besides needed competences in respects to effectual concern direction. As a consequence of our surveies and experiences we recognize the importance of intercultural apprehension and the ability to interact efficaciously with diverse cultural environments now more than of all time. In hunt of farther penetrations to intercultural direction we conducted and interview with Karim Elguindi, a Technical/ Program Consultant at the Ministry of Social Solidarity in East Timor. We selected this person as our interviewee for his alone cultural background, exposure and experiences sing intercultural direction. Below you will happen a summing up of our inquiries ; our interviewee ‘s applicable responses and our readings in respects to the theories presented in category every bit good our corporate intercultural apprehensions and experiences.

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First, he talked about his background. He told us that he was born in Japan from a Nipponese female parent and an Egyptian male parent. Then he moved to Saudi Arabia, Canada, Italy and Pakistan with them. When he was old plenty he decided to travel once more, entirely, to Canada. After that he spent a batch of clip traveling and life abroad, ( he still spends a batch of clip going ) . Another component, which helped him construct his diverse intercultural background, was his parents, who told him narratives about their work life across the universe, ( about Africa from his male parent and about South America and the Middle East from his female parent ) . This made him more cognizant of what ‘intercultural ‘ agencies. As he lived in really different states with really different civilizations, he normally has a good apprehension of what to make or non to make in when faced with diverse cultural state of affairss while he besides tries to avoid stereotyping and analyzes others behaviours alternatively of knocking them.

After that he talked about the advantages he finds in possessing such a great cultural diverseness. The first 1 is ‘better understanding of foreign people ‘s behaviour ‘ . This is seemingly utile for him as people normally do n’t anticipate him to be able to understand them. Therefore, he additions a competitory advantage, which helps him non to see stereotypes but alternatively act against them. The other advantage of his state of affairs is ‘greater easiness in adaptability ‘ . As he has a to a great extent intercultural background it is easier for him to switch from one group to another with fewer troubles than many others might hold. This helps him to salvage clip in the trust constructing measure. The last advantage he finds in holding such a great intercultural exposure is that, because of this alone cultural composing, he is considered different in different parts of the universe. For illustration, he is considered European in Africa, Latin in Asia and Pakistani in Canada. This gives him the ability to see assorted points of position and cliches sing different civilizations.

Next he described the disadvantages of his state of affairs. The first one is related to childhood. As you ever look different from the people you grow with, you are ne’er decently accepted. At that clip he was more into cyberspace and globalisation. The 2nd point is related to his present life. Even though his parents are Egyptian and Nipponese, the fact that he has been fortunate plenty to hold international exposures and has become so multi-cultural that now he is considered neither Nipponese nor Egyptian. He has excessively wide a figure of different civilizations to be characterized by any individual 1.

Section 2: Positive / Negative Impacts of Working in an Intercultural Environment

Globalization is defined as ‘a procedure whereby worldwide interconnectednesss in virtually every domain of activity are turning ; some of these interconnectednesss lead to integration/unity worldwide ; others do non ‘ ( Parker, 2005 ) . It drives the economic interconnectednesss worldwide. More concern activities, such as amalgamations and acquisition, outsourcing and exporting, take topographic point in the planetary sphere, which, in bend, makes transnational companies seek human resources who possess cross-cultural positions and cognition of different civilizations. To analyze the impact of globalisation and progressively culturally diverse work environments, we asked our interviewee ‘What are some positive and negative impacts of working in an intercultural environment ‘ . Harmonizing to his abundant experience of working in different states, he presented that working in an intercultural environment has both strengths and failing for concern advancement and corporate development. Quoting him, we tried to analyse each of his response.

Positive impacts

“ If the range of concern activities is international, it is utile to hold co-workers/colleagues that are from or are familiar with mark client ‘s civilizations. ”

Harmonizing to Solberg ‘s ( 1997 ) nine strategic Windowss, when companies reach the mature degree of readiness for internationalisation, they consider making concern internationally, in order to derive more resources and market portions. Cultural differences may do deficiency of communicating, misinterpretations and even cooperation failure. Firms should cognize the civilizations of mark clients or spouses, so that they can avoid the hazard of concern failure due to cultural differences.

“ It is an index that the employers are modern and in-touch with the universe ( I believe cross-cultural is chiefly a good thing. ”

Globalization leads to the integrating of civilizations worldwide. Directors, who have inter-cultural positions and accomplishments, are more eligible to take the challenge of pull offing international squad and to collaborate with foreign spouses successfully.

“ Peoples from different civilizations may hold different ways of making things. They can complement each other. This, nevertheless, can implement stereotypes, and the impression that individuals of specific nationalities are good at different things. ”

Stereotypes are a classification of the features and behaviour of a set of persons ( Ashmore & A ; Del Boca, 1981 ) . Due regard should be given to the fact that people with different cultural background may hold different thoughts or solutions of jobs. This greatly increases the possibility of success.

“ Peoples who have cross-cultural accomplishments might larn different ways of making things, different ways of believing which can better them. ”

Different civilizations have their ain values based on their histories and experiences, which influence personal impression and behaviour. Peoples who have cultural intelligence have good personal accommodation and have the ability to heighten good interpersonal relationships cross-culturally. Besides, they can efficaciously finish task-related ends.

Negative Impacts

“ Peoples from different civilizations may hold different ways of making things and they may non complement each other. ”

As mentioned antecedently, civilizations are formed by history and experience. Peoples from different cultural backgrounds have their ain impressions and values. Sometimes it is hard to accommodate to other people who have distinguishable civilizations. The struggles between different civilizations negatively influence the corporate harmoniousness and benefit.

“ Language barriers and miscommunication. ”

Language, as the most indispensable tool of communicating, plays an of import function in intercultural cooperation and international concern. Working in intercultural environment may take to discrepancy of linguistic communications and misinterpretations, and later can damage the efficiency of working.

“ If you are a minority ( the odd one out ) you may hold to work harder to turn out yourself or to go to the full incorporate or adjusted, which could be awkward. ”

When there is large proportion of employees from two different cultural backgrounds, the one in minority may experience force per unit area to act harmonizing to bulk and therefore, may go under-confident. One needs to exercise more to accommodate to the bulk ‘s civilization, which at the same clip interrupts one ‘s self-performance and the part to the work.

Section 3: Significance of Hierarchies in Different Cultures

Colossal cognition of hierarchy is a significant plus for efficient direction in multi-cultural environment. Hierarchy can be defined as the agreement of persons, within an organisation, harmonizing to their power, position and occupation maps. It has great influence on the employees ‘ ability to progress within an organisation ( ) . In an organisation, hierarchies can be either perpendicular, where power percolates down from top to bottom or it can be horizontal, where power and duties are spread equally across the organisation. We were funny to larn the significance of hierarchy in different civilizations and states and hence, requested the interviewee to narrate his experiences consequently.

Our interviewee has had the chance of working in assorted dissimilar organisational civilizations where the term hierarchy holds wholly different relevancy and values. Harmonizing to him, ‘Hierarchy ‘ is more of an ‘old-school doctrine ‘ in developing Asiatic universe. Career development is based non merely on single ‘s public presentation but besides on his/her trueness towards organisation. The greater the figure of old ages an person has given to an organisation, the greater is the chance of him stepping higher in the ladder. He besides observed that good relationships with subsidiaries and higher-ups can significantly increase one ‘s ability to run into his/ her professional committednesss. In Asiatic civilization, the hierarchy is preponderantly ‘Vertical ‘ whereas higher-ups are respected and orders are received. It is assumed that hierarchy will be maintained both within and outside the organisation ‘s premises.

On the other manus, our interviewee ‘s experiences from working in a Western Urbanized World, presented him with a contrastive image of Hierarchy. The hierarchy in developed universe is more ‘Horizontal ‘ . A immature recruit enjoys the similar grade of ‘Right to inquiry ‘ as any other veteran in an organisation. He stated that ‘Age ‘ holds no barrier in Western universe and a gifted young person is respected for his legerity and his better entree to technological know-how, which older coevals deficiencies. ‘Democracy ‘ is the underlying construct adopted to take bulk of determinations in developed universe. However, he concluded that though democracy in organisations is good but over trust on democracy can hold negative affects every bit good, as sometimes it simply becomes a popularity competition instead than a agency to hold best alternate.

Well-versed with both the civilizations, he efficaciously utilizes his cognition on daily footing. He described an case where he was required to set his cognition to pattern. He is a adviser working for the Government of East Timor, a Vertical hierarchal state of South-East Asia ; on a undertaking which is funded by United Nations, an International organisation that follows Horizontal Hierarchy. The Head of undertaking for United Nations was a immature professional in his early mid-thirtiess whereas the Chief appointed by Government was an experient veteran in his late 1950ss. Our interviewee struggled difficult to do his old foreman accept the certificates of immature UN professional. It was hard for the Chief to take orders from a individual half his age. Our interviewee acted as a span and helped in developing the relationship between the Chief and the UN caput. The trust and relationship between the two non merely eased the direction of undertaking but besides increased undertaking ‘s productiveness by manifolds.

Harmonizing to Miller ‘s ( 1986 ) work on authorization and power, managerial behaviour of individual is derived non merely from personality of the individual. It besides occurs in the context of the societal system in which the organisation exists and from which the director comes. In other words, comparative importance of hierarchy is merger of the societal system in which people are born, educated and socialized. In this instance, we see that our interviewee ‘s diverse background and his immense exposure to different civilizations enormously benefited him to understand assorted person ‘s return on hierarchy. Our interviewee exploits the Iceberg theoretical account of societal/national civilization i.e. three degrees of civilization ( Schein, 1985 ) and uses them smartly in his personal and professional life to pull off the hierarchy to which he is exposed on a regular footing.

Section 4: Factors that Help the Evolvement of Intercultural Awareness

With the development of engineering and the procedure of globalisation, the construction of companies around the universe has changed to a big extent. The demand for employees with intercultural and international exposure is lifting among companies who want to possess this competitory advantage. Twenty old ages back, directors may hold been in charge of a group of employees that came from same metropolis or state. Presently in respects to globalisation, it is extremely possible that a director is still in charge of the group of same size group but its group members are compiled from assorted countries, France, China, Columbia, etc. Naturally, the significance of intercultural consciousness should ne’er be underestimated.

The 4th inquiry we asked was, “ How has your intercultural consciousness evolved through your assorted places and assignments? ” . The ground why we brought up this inquiry is that we strongly believe that cognizing the procedure of intercultural consciousness is rather practical and helpful for us given that we all come from different civilizations and have intercultural exposure in our educational surveies. Therefore, the thing we wanted to cognize next was ‘HOW ‘ to hold evolvement of intercultural consciousness.

Harmonizing to the interviewee, he is convinced that more the interaction with different civilizations the greater the consciousness of differences between groups and people. He stated that the interaction and communicating with individuals from other civilizations provides him the chance to detect and to larn their wonts and forms. With those experiences and cognition gained, he becomes more confident and effectual when covering with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Up till now, we wholly agree with him. More experiences, more apprehensions, more apprehensions, more edification. Besides, we believe that with the communicating and interaction with different civilizations and people, we will decidedly see more about our ain civilization that we may ne’er detect earlier. As there is an old Chinese expression, ‘one can ne’er appreciate the really beauty of the mountain whilst you are on it ‘ ( a??e?†a??a±±c?Ye??c›®i??a??c??e?«a???­¤a±±a?­ ) . It is true that sometimes we ne’er ask inquiries about things we have become used to, merely because everybody around us are making that and we are taught to make so. But when we meet people from other civilizations and see the differences between us, it raises our wonder to bring out the existent ground why people are making so, and therefore, we understand more about our ain civilization.

In his response, he mentioned that his earlier perceptual experiences were that non-western/Asian civilizations are more unusual and hard to cover with. He besides states that the universe is altering and accommodating to each other where easterners are larning western civilizations and scientific discipline, whilst westerners are lodging in their ways. He supported this by citing that there are more Chinese people larning English than western people larning Chinese.

However, while we agree with some facets of his statement we hold different sentiments in others. In his decision, he told us that he felt non-western/Asian civilizations are more hard to cover with, and we agree with this to some extent. We believe that the ground for this could be a job of communicating. As discussed in category, the bulk of western civilizations are low-context states while most eastern civilizations are high-context states. This means Westerners are consecutive and tend to show themselves aloud and clearly ; while their opposite numbers, Easterners express themselves in more indirect ways and seek to avoid direct struggles. Therefore, he feels more comfy covering with people from more western civilizations. When he claimed that Easterners are accommodating to western civilizations while Westerners are maintaining their ain manner, we were somewhat disbelieving about this tendency. Harmonizing to Martin Jacques, the editorialist for the Guardian and New Statesman and the writer of “ When China Rules the World ” , the ground for this state of affairs is the fact that for the last 200 old ages Westerners were the dominant power of the universe. They did n’t necessitate to understand other civilizations and civilisations, where two tierces of universe ‘s population lived, as they had the military force to do things run in the manner they prefer. On the other manus, Easterners were forced to cognize and to accept western civilizations and wonts because Westerners were so powerful and ruling. It appears today, that Easterners possess more cognition of western civilizations than Westerners do about the E. However, sing the rapid development of globalisation, we believe Westerners are traveling to hold to larn and understand eastern civilizations as good.

Section 5: Effectiveness of Communication ( verbal/non-verbal, direct/non-direct, linguistic communications ) in Intercultural Environments

While pull offing a squad and being a portion of a squad, which is basically multicultural in nature, communicating is a cardinal facet that should be taken into history. Different civilizations have different ways of communicating. Body linguistic communication can play large function is many state of affairss and particular attention should be taken to avoid unneeded positive or negative signals. In order to derive penetrations as to how things work in multicultural environments, we asked interviewee inquiries sing communicating. The undermentioned can be considered as an infusion of response we received from interviewee. Most of the advice provided appears relevant and utile.

Our interviewee ascertains that earnestness and enthusiasm in communicating are keys to success while facial looks play an of import portion of the procedure. Besides it is indispensable to observe that the single take the chance provided to demo their properties, as making so will assist in deriving trust, acknowledgment and grasp from the people around. Besides the manner of speaking in different parts of universe differs immensely. The interviewee gives strong importance to idioms and tones, which are required while working in a diverse cultural workspace. Therefore, it is needed to set the manner we talk. While making so, be careful to handle others as responsible. Charisma is of import ; it helps in keeping the others ‘ involvement. It is really of import to analyse how we put our words, effectual speech production is the key to success. It is imperative non to convey incorrect message. While working in diverse civilization we need to be precise and right while conveying the message.

The people around us may frequently hold stereotypes about other civilizations ; seek non to fall quarry to it. Our interviewee stressed the importance of taking by illustration. Remember the fact that cipher is perfect and therefore even people around us must hold some defects. He continued to emphasize the analysis of these defects. It is extremely possible that we excel in the defects they have. It is indispensable to show our accomplishments while get the better ofing their defects in a positive manner without aching others ego. Once this is established, our accomplishments are our strength. In a similar manner there can be certain defects that we possess which others can get the better of. Do n’t waver to inquire for aid, most of the clip people are ever happy to assist. Thus, reciprocally assisting each other is indispensable and gives us an chance to acquire closer to our co-workers.

As an exile, we are ever working in a different cultural environment. It is necessary to cognize about the local civilization ; the interviewee emphasized on this point. He besides tries difficult to acquire involved in local cultural activity. He recommends best manner to accomplish this is to larn local linguistic communication. By his experience he found out local people are more than happy when we are unfastened to larn their local linguistic communication ; they try to assist in this procedure. While working in East-Timor, he worked on his local linguistic communication accomplishments and was really successful in doing good relationship with local community every bit good as with local staff. We, as a squad, happen our experiences so far in France to be rather similar – seeking local linguistic communication, ( as such Gallic is rather an international linguistic communication ) , seeking Gallic nutrient and adapting to the local Gallic cultural has helped us to positively construct relationships. With all the good properties sing the version and apprehension of local civilization, the interviewee cautiousnesss about utilizing linguistic communication with senior people in office. Harmonizing to his sentiment linguistic communication should be used carefully while interacting with seniors, utilizing local linguistic communication can backlash. As many of us are new to the local linguistic communication we may non wholly adept in it, so errors are bound to happen which in bend may pique senior and may implant incorrect feeling about us in his head. Thus 1 has to be really careful and cognizant of these elusive differences.

By being cognizant and smart one can be rather successful in working in a really international and diverse working ambiance. Besides upon analysing the statement put by the interviewee an article titled “ Communication with Strangers[ 1 ]“ , we found that in intercultural environment there are three degrees of communicating. The primary degree is the “ cultural degree ” , where one receives information sing the difference between one ‘s civilization and the local civilization. The 2nd degree is the “ socio cultural degree ” ; at this degree one gather informations about people around, their behaviour and their life style. Last, the 3rd degree is the “ psycho cultural degree ” ; at this degree one gathers information about the person ‘s features. These guidelines are non to be followed purely but they provide us the cognition of how things work in intercultural diverse atmosphere and we can explicate our ain methodological analysiss to cover with it.

Section 6: U-Curve of Cross-cultural Adjustment ( Lysgaard, 1955 )

In order to better understand the assorted stages of our interviewee ‘s experiences when seting to new civilizations we asked that he highlight them harmonizing to the U-Curve of Cultural Adjustment. As an person with a diverse cultural background it was interesting to see how he was able to transition efficaciously.

When fixing his response to the stages he foremost mentioned that his dissection of the theoretical account would be harmonizing to his accommodation in East-Timor. He mentioned that he did n’t cognize what to anticipate, as he had no comparable civilization of relevancy therefore he went in “ blindly ” .

The “ Honeymoon ” phase was full of exhilaration for the newfound escapade. His involvements included the nature and beauty of his new milieus and a general cloud nine of the unknown environment. The 2nd stage “ Decent to Culture-Shock ” expanded on the world of his state of affairs, much different than outlooks and prepossessions he had formed. He mentioned the difference in incomes when comparing the local Timorese to the assorted members that made up the community every bit good as the adaptability challenges when seeking to “ suit in ” and adjustments non merely with cultural beliefs and values but even picks of vesture. The “ Adjustment ” stage highlights how he gained trust and credence to the assorted groups within the community. As per the locals he showed them that he was non the typical alien, ( that they were wary of ) , by actions, words and even “ colour ” in a manner. Sing the European co-workers he built trust through making some of the more “ unwanted ” undertakings and demoing that he could work hard and carry through the undertakings he was assigned. He refers to this point of his version as “ part- local part-European ” . This accommodation was doubtless indispensable to travel to the following stage of “ Mastery. ” It is the Mastery stage where he was able to turn out his accommodation and version hence having three publicities in merely one twelvemonth ‘s clip. He besides went on to advert that a proper “ balance ” of actions as per peculiar dealingss helped accomplish command and overall accommodation to the new cultural environment.

Harmonizing to Lysgaard ‘s U-Curve of Cultural Adjustment, all facets of our interviewee ‘s experiences proved true. Lysgaard stated that the “ Honeymoon ” phase is about “ visual perception and sounds ” and all the new involvements of the new milieus which was reflected in the interviewee ‘s commentary. The 2nd phase “ Culture Daze ” is depicted as “ disenchantment ” where the person must come to realization that they will hold to makes indispensable accommodations to get by with day-to-day life, which was besides identified above when he wrote of holding to “ suit in ” . During this stage of the theoretical account there is a downward incline bespeaking that this is the most unwanted and/ or unpleasant, but indispensable, portion of the diagram. The 3rd phase Lysgaard titled “ Adjustment ” where credence comes into drama and versions begin to take topographic point. Gradually during the accommodation stage the incline of the curve begins to mount once more bespeaking an easiness out of the “ Culture Shock ” low point. Our interviewee remarked that this was the point where some of the little alterations made large differences in his cultural accommodation development. Finally, Lysgaard completed the U-Curve theoretical account with the “ Mastery ” stage in which the person has adjusted consequently and hence had adapted. In the instance of our interviewee, we feel as though he more than adapted in the command phase, but excelled.


Our interviewee provided us with quite an in-depth cognition about his experiences and acquisition, which he acquired through huge intercultural exposure in his personal every bit good as professional life. From the interview and through our ain experiences, we acknowledge the turning importance of intercultural direction in this quickly globalizing universe. Cross cultural competency is a competitory advantage, which can convey persons and organisations to a much higher degree than their rivals. It is good to look for similarities instead than differences in different civilizations to get the better of the cross-cultural differences. Finally we like to reason our ideas, our beliefs and our evolvement in inter-cultural consciousness through a quotation mark by L. Hoecklin, “ The kernel of civilization is non what is seeable on the surface. It is the shared manner ; groups of people understand and interpret the universe. These differing readings that cultures give to their environment are critical influences on interactions between working and pull offing across civilizations. ”


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