TImagehe allegory of the Frog

Once upon a time there was a race by frogs. The goal was to reach the top of a high tower.

All animas gathered to see and support them. The race began.

In reality, other animals probably didn’t believe that it was possible that the frogs could reach the top of the tower, and all the phrases that one could hear were of this kind :

  • “What pain !!!
  • They’ll never make it!”

The frogs began to resign, except for one who kept on climbing

The animals surounding continued :

  • “What pain !!!
  • They’ll never make it!…”

And the frogs admitted defeat, except for the frog who continued to insist.

At the end, all the frogs quit, except the one who, alone and with an enormous effort, reached the top of the tower. The others wanted to know how he did it.

One of them approached him to ask how he had done it – to finish the race, and discovered that he…was deaf!


THE LESSON FOR LIFE IS_______________

  • Never listen to people who have the bad habit of being negative because they steal the best aspirations of your heart!
  • Always remind yourself of the power of the words that we hear or read. That’s why, you always have to think positive
Always be deaf to someone who tells you that you can’t and won’t achieve your goals or make your dreams come true.

I. Understanding Cross Cultural Communication

a. Culture

The Collin Cobuild Dictionary 2006 defined culture as a particular society or civilization, especially considered in relation to its beliefs, way of life, or art.

b. Cross Cultural Communication

We live in a culturally diverse world. People will encounter individuals from different races, religions, and nationalities in their day to day encounters. There is often anxiety surrounding unfamiliar cultures. What manners are acceptable? What will offend a person from a very different background? It can be paralyzing to deal with other people if we do not know what to expect. The following suggestions discussed in the manual, Becoming a Master Student, by Dave Ellis are applicable to people in a variety of settings.

The desire to communicate is the first step in being effective. No matter what tools you gain in cross cultural communication. The desire to connect with another human being is the bond that will express itself clearly. A genuine effort to understand another person goes a long way in the path to communication. Not all people are successful in their management careers especially those who are in cross cultural management as people are different.

II. Barriers to Effective Cross Cultural Communication

A lot of barriers may exist in the cross cultural communication leading to failure in cross cultural management. Here, I try to raise only three main barriers that block the communication of people who belong to different cultures. People who are exposed to situation of confronting others from different background include those who deal with international business, people who are not living in their home Country, people who communicate globally through the internet, among others. Those three main barriers are:

1. Stereotype

The most significant barrier to effective cross-cultural communication is the tendency of human beings to stereotype, or more specifically, to categorize and make assumptions about others based on identified characteristics such as gender, race, ethnicity, age, religion, nationality, or socioeconomic status.

Stereotypes are essentially assumptions that are made about a person or group’s character or attributes, based on a general image of what a particular group of people is like. Just as people assume that all cars have four wheels, while all bicycles have two, they also assume that all men have certain attributes that differ from women. In reality, a few vehicles that might be called “cars” have three wheels-as do some bicycles. Thus, these stereotypes about cars and bicycles are not always accurate. Stereotypes about men and women are even less likely to be accurate, as people’s characteristics vary much more so than do vehicles. Some men have physical or psychological characteristics that are more characteristic of women, while some women may resemble men in certain ways. So stereotypes are generalizations that are often oversimplified and wrong.

Stereotypes are especially likely to be wrong in conflict situations. When people are engaged in a conflict, their image of their opponent tends to become more and more hostile. As communication gets cut off, people make generalizations and assumptions about opponents based on very sketchy and often erroneous information. They see faults in themselves and “project” those faults onto their opponent, preferring to believe that they are good and their opponents are bad. Eventually, opponents develop a strong “enemy image,” that assumes that everything the other side does is evil or wrong, while everything they do themselves is good. Such negative stereotypes make any sort of conflict resolution or conflict management process more difficult.

2. Lack of Understanding

One of the major barriers to effective cross-cultural communication is the lack of understanding that is frequently present between people from diverse backgrounds. As they may have different values, beliefs, methods of reasoning, communication styles, work styles, and personality types, communication difficulties will often occur. This is compounded by the fact that many of us are not very effective at getting to understand the ways in which others may differ.

3. Judgmental Attitudes

Many of us have it when it comes to interacting with people who are different. Most of us would like to believe we are open minded and accepting. But in reality, a great many of us find discomfort with those who are different in terms of values, beliefs and behaviors. We may then evaluate those values, beliefs and behaviors in a negative light. This is the essence of ethnocentrism, where we evaluate good and bad, right and wrong relative to how closely the values, behaviors and ideas of others mirror our own. Put simply, to effectively interact with people who are different from us, we must suspend judgment about their ways, and try to get to understand them from their perspective. But for most of us, this is much easier said than done.

Developing a feedback culture means encouraging people to feel comfortable about giving and taking feedback about their performance – in the interests of better business and their own personal development. Feedback doesn’t have to be negative; indeed there are far more occasions when positive feedback should be given. As a leader, you can seek those occasions using the above simple five-step process.

I. Solution to Effective Cross Cultural Communication

In order to effectively overcome all the barriers which lead to failure in cross cultural communication, the following factors should be critically considered:

Observation: It is always best to observe the behaviors of the group and follow their lead. High- and Low-Context Cultures: Communication in high-context cultures depends heavily on the context, or nonverbal aspects of communication; low-context cultures depend more on explicit, verbally expressed communication. A highly literate, well read culture is considered a low-context culture, as it relies heavily on information communicated explicitly by words.

Nonverbal Communication: In low-context cultures, such as in academic communities, communication is mostly verbal and written. Very little information in this culture is communicated nonverbally. In high-context cultures, much of the communication process occurs nonverbally. Body language, status, tonality, relationships, the use of silence, and other factors communicate meaning. Studies show that more than 60% of communication is nonverbal and will be remembered long after your actual words. Many cultures determine the seriousness of your message by your actions and emotions during your delivery. Eye Contact: Most U.S. children are taught to look at the teacher or parent when they are being scolded and during interpersonal communication in general. However, in some cultures, looking down is considered a sign of respect for the person who is scolding them. Many adult Americans regard someone who does not look them in the eye as untrustworthy. However, some cultures may regard direct eye contact as confrontational. It is often considered to be rude or aggressive to look into someone?s eyes for more than 4 or 5 seconds. Smiling: Rather than being a sign of friendliness, some cultures regard smiling as false, overbearing, or worse. There still more about body gestures.

Verbal Communication: Avoid use of technical phrases, jargon (words that are commonly understood), and acronyms(it is not much serious if the acronyms are broadly used or commonly known for example, UN is mostly understood as the United Nations). Explain the meaning of technical language and acronyms throughout your conversation or presentation. Pause between sentences and ask some questions to ensure listeners understand you. The questions may include, ?Do you have any questions so far?? Do not wait until the end of your presentation. Do not be afraid to use facial expressions, body language and other signs of emotion to enhance your message (make sure you understand the meaning of each sign in real context so it won?t pull you down).

Emotional Responses: Emotional responses will vary among different cultures. While some cultures will not react emotionally to your messages, others will. Do not become concerned whether there are emotional outbursts during your conversation. Be prepared to compassionately acknowledge the emotional impact that your message may have on your listeners.

Interpreters: Get to know the interpreter in advance. Your phrasing, accent, pace, and idioms are important to a good interpreter. Review technical terms in advance. Ensure a shared understanding of terms in particular and your message in general before you speak. Speak slowly and clearly. Try to phrase your thoughts into single ideas of two sentences; work this out with the interpreter in advance. Be careful with numbers. Write out important numbers to ensure understanding.

Watch your body language. The audience will be checking your body language while your words are being converted into their language. The interpreter will not be able to transmit your inflections and tone, so you must find other ways to underscore your message and why they should believe what you are saying. Watch their eyes. Watch to see if the interpreter?s words seem to register with them. Avoid humor and jokes. American humor often depends on wordplays that do not translate well. Rely on a pleasant facial expression.

Use visuals where possible. A picture really is worth a thousand words; the universal language of pictures can make your job easier. Spend time to let the interpreter become acquainted with your visual material.

In addition to the above mentioned, Neil Payne of Kwintessential (2004) suggest the following tips should be considered to solve most of the barriers in effective cross cultural communication as he believes that Communicating across cultures can be confusing and uncertain?unless we have the right frame of mind and approach.

Slow Down.

Even when English is the common language in a cross cultural situation, this does not mean you should speak at normal speed. Slow down, speak clearly and ensure your pronunciation is intelligible.

Separate Questions.

Try not to ask double questions such as, ?Do you want to carry on or shall we stop here?? In a cross cultural situation only the first or sec-ond question may have been comprehended. Let your listener answer one question at a time.

Avoid Negative Questions.

Many cross cultural communication misunder-standings have been caused by the use of negative questions and answers. In English we answer ?yes? if the answer is affirmative and ?no? if it is negative. In other cultures a ?yes? or ?no? may only be indicating whether the ques-tioner is right or wrong. For example, the re-sponse to ?Are you not coming?? may be ?yes?, meaning ?Yes, I am not coming.?

Take Turns.

Cross cultural communication is enhanced through taking turns to talk, making a point and then listening to the response. This means you cannot just keep talking without your partner understanding. Let them interact with you. Give them chance to talk or ask for confirmation.

Write it Down.

If you are unsure whether something has been understood write it down and check. This can be useful when using large figures. For exam-ple, a billion in the USA is 1,000,000,000,000 while in the UK it is 1,000,000,000.

Be Supportive.

Effective cross cultural communication is in es-sence about being comfortable. Giving en-couragement to those with weak English gives them confidence, support and a trust in you.

Check Meanings.

When communicating across cultures never assume the other party has understood. Be an active listener. Summarize what has been said in order to verify it. This is a very effective way of ensuring accurate cross cultural communication has taken place.

Avoid Slang.

Even the most well educated foreigner will not have a complete knowledge of slang, idioms and sayings. The danger is that the words will be understood but the meaning missed.

Watch the humor.

In many cultures business is taken very seriously. Professionalism and protocol are constantly observed. Many cultures will not appreciate the use of humor and jokes in the business context. When using humor think whether it will be understood in the other culture. For example, British sarcasm usually has a negative effect abroad.

By understanding all these important factors, effective cross cultural communication may be likely to be made leading to successfulness in cross cultural management careers.

II. Reference

1. Kwintessential Ltd 2004.

2. D. Eckberg and M. Podkopacz, Family Court Fairness Study, (2004) Fourth Judicial District of the State of Minnesota, Fourth Judicial District Research Division.

3. http://www.mpsinfo.wordpress.com/leadership across culture.html

4. Collin Cobuild Advanced Learner?s English Dictionary 2006

5. Crode Devade, Cross Cultural  Guides, (2003), 2nd Edition


Read the About . . . section on the right side of this page. Then review the definitions of each Hofstede Dimension listed below. Following that, you can select the country or countries you’re interested in from the list in the left margin of this page.

On each country page you will find the unique Hofstede graphs depicting the Dimension scores and other demographics for that country and culture – plus an explanation of how they uniquely apply to that country.

* Description for each of Hofstede’s Dimensions listed below

Power Distance Index (PDI) that is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. This represents inequality (more versus less), but defined from below, not from above. It suggests that a society’s level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders. Power and inequality, of course, are extremely fundamental facts of any society and anybody with some international experience will be aware that ‘all societies are unequal, but some are more unequal than others’.

Individualism (IDV) on the one side versus its opposite, collectivism, that is the degree to which individuals are inte-grated into groups. On the individualist side we find societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after him/herself and his/her immediate family. On the collectivist side, we find societies in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, often extended families (with uncles, aunts and grandparents) which continue protecting them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. The word ‘collectivism’ in this sense has no political meaning: it refers to the group, not to the state. Again, the issue addressed by this dimension is an extremely fundamental one, regarding all societies in the world.

Masculinity (MAS) versus its opposite, femininity, refers to the distribution of roles between the genders which is another fundamental issue for any society to which a range of solutions are found. The IBM studies revealed that (a) women’s values differ less among societies than men’s values; (b) men’s values from one country to another contain a dimension from very assertive and competitive and maximally different from women’s values on the one side, to modest and caring and similar to women’s values on the other. The assertive pole has been called ‘masculine’ and the modest, caring pole ‘feminine’. The women in feminine countries have the same modest, caring values as the men; in the masculine countries they are somewhat assertive and competitive, but not as much as the men, so that these countries show a gap between men’s values and women’s values.

Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) deals with a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity; it ultimately refers to man’s search for Truth. It indicates to what extent a culture programs its members to feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations. Unstructured situations are novel, unknown, surprising, different from usual. Uncertainty avoiding cultures try to minimize the possibility of such situations by strict laws and rules, safety and security measures, and on the philosophical and religious level by a belief in absolute Truth; ‘there can only be one Truth and we have it’. People in uncertainty avoiding countries are also more emotional, and motivated by inner nervous energy. The opposite type, uncertainty accepting cultures, are more tolerant of opinions different from what they are used to; they try to have as few rules as possible, and on the philosophical and religious level they are relativist and allow many currents to flow side by side. People within these cultures are more phlegmatic and contemplative, and not expected by their environment to express emotions.

Long-Term Orientation (LTO) versus short-term orientation: this fifth dimension was found in a study among students in 23 countries around the world, using a questionnaire designed by Chinese scholars It can be said to deal with Virtue regardless of Truth. Values associated with Long Term Orientation are thrift and perseverance; values associated with Short Term Orientation are respect for tradition, fulfilling social obligations, and protecting one’s ‘face’. Both the positively and the negatively rated values of this dimension are found in the teachings of Confucius, the most influential Chinese philosopher who lived around 500 B.C.; however, the dimension also applies to countries without a Confucian heritage.

Source: http://www.geert-hofstede.com/

By Simon Kriss, Sagatori

Many people are now turning to the work done by Geert Hofstede between 1967 and 1973. Working for IBM at the time, the professor collected and analyzed data from more than 100,000 individuals in 50 countries to develop his Cultural Dimensions model.

IDV, the first dimension
Individualism focuses on the degree to which the society reinforces individual or collective achievement. The Individualism (IDV) Dimension for China was scored at just 15 (the Asian average is 24). By comparison, the U.S. score for IDV is 91! [img_assist|nid=448|title=Figure 1|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=355]

The abnormally low IDV score is shown through very close and committed member groups, be they family, work or sport teams. Loyalty is a highly regarded trait in a society where relationships are strong and is, therefore, of paramount importance to most Chinese people.

The “collectivist” thinking of a culture such as China also tends to be extremely parochial, with people and businesses not changing suppliers lightly for fear of the impact on relationships. In other words, if all the members of my family shop at a certain store, then I, too, should shop there). However, once a change is made, the new relationship will enjoy loyalty.

PDI, the second dimension
The Power Distance Index (PDI) focuses on the degree of equality, or inequality, between people in the country’s society. A high Power Distance ranking indicates that inequalities of power and wealth have been allowed to grow within the society.

While the Western countries have a low PDI, China has a score of 80. This shows a high inequality between people. This condition is not necessarily forced upon the population but, rather, accepted by the society as the cultural heritage. [img_assist|nid=450|title=Figure 2|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=355]

The high PDI means that Westerners need to be aware of the hierarchy that exists both within society at large and within the organization they are dealing with.

MAS, the third dimension
The Masculinity (MAS) Dimension focuses on the degree to which the society reinforces, or does not reinforce, the traditional masculine work role model of male achievement, control and power. A high Masculinity ranking indicates that the country experiences a high degree of gender differentiation.

This is the one dimension in which China most aligns itself to the rest of the world, and yet, it is often totally missed by Western businessmen, who think that the women in China are, for the most part, ignored. To the contrary, I have met some of China’s business leaders who are very powerful and inspiring women. Do not always shake the male’s hand first! [img_assist|nid=451|title=Figure 3|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=355]

UAI, the fourth dimension
The Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) focuses on the level of tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity within a society. A high Uncertainty Avoidance ranking indicates that the country has a low tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity (people will tend to be heavily driven by laws and rules).

In the UAI, the USA scored just 46, indicating that it’s a society with fewer rules and does not attempt to control all outcomes and results. It also has a greater level of tolerance for a variety of ideas, thoughts and beliefs. In contrast, China scored lower, at just 32, indicating an even more liberal society. This score is deceiving.

While China may not always place great emphasis on laws (this emphasis has changed radically in the last 20 years) and the official religion is atheism, the cultural expectancy placed on everyone tends to control behavior. That is, you may not be thrown in jail for breaking a law or rule, you-and your family-will be disgraced and shunned. [img_assist|nid=452|title=Figure 4|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=355]

It is important for Westerners to remember that culture and the possibility of “losing face” are 10 times more important than any written law! Don’t expect the courts to always protect you.

LTO, the fifth dimension
The Long Term Orientation (LTO) shows another huge cultural mismatch. China ranked far higher than most other countries in this dimension, with a score of 114. This dimension indicates a society’s time perspective and an attitude of perseverance, that is, the society’s willingness to overcome obstacles over time (with a fair measure of will and strength). By comparison, most Western cultures scored in the 20s! [img_assist|nid=453|title=Figure 5|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=355]

Time can often be a stumbling block for Western-cultured organizations entering the China market. The length of time it takes to get business deals done in China can be two or three times that of the West.

On many occasions, the initial deal takes the longest, allowing the Chinese client to feel that a suitable “courtship,” upon which a mutually beneficial and sustainable relationship can be built. So if your initial meeting with a Chinese company does not yield an immediate sale, do not despair. Don’t rush into China. Time is the Chinese’s greatest ally.

The meaning of a message is the change which it produces in the image. – Kenneth Boulding in The Image: Knowledge in Life and Society

Good leaders are made not born. If you have the desire and willpower, you can become an effective leader. Good leaders develop through a never ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience. This guide will help you through that process.

To inspire your workers into higher levels of teamwork, there are certain things you must be, know, and, do. These do not come naturally, but are acquired through continual work and study. Good leaders are continually working and studying to improve their leadership skills; they are NOT resting on their laurels.


The partnership is a drastically different kind of leadership from the styles previously discussed in this section. Both the dictatorship and the “almost” democracy maintain a clear boundary between leader and group members. The partnership, however, blurs the line and requires the leader to become just one of the group. អានបន្ត | READ MORE

To help you be, know, and do; (U.S. Army;1973) follow these eleven principles of leadership (later chapters in this guide expand on these and provide tools for implementing them):

Know yourself and seek self-improvement – In order to know yourself, you have to understand your be, know, and do, attributes. Seeking self-improvement means continually strengthening your attributes. This can be accomplished through self-study, formal classes, reflection, and interacting with others.

អានបន្ត READ MORE

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