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Bridging Cultural Divides: Eastern and Western Worldviews in Focus


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Approaches worldviews from the perspective of a cultural hybrid of both Eastern and Western culture. Uses the unique method of playing both cultural roles to give the reader a more insightful …

Approaches worldviews from the perspective of a cultural hybrid of both Eastern and Western culture. Uses the unique method of playing both cultural roles to give the reader a more insightful understanding of Eastern and Western cultural differences through the eyes of each worldview. Many personal anecdotes and experiences from the field are shared as pithy examples of these cultural differences. Using these examples, practical, real life, solutions are given of how to successfully bridge these cultural divides.

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  • 1. !!
  • 2. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 2BRIDGINGBRIDGINGCULTURALDIVIDESEastern and WesternWorldviews in focusPAUL RATTRAYBRIDGING CULTURAL DIVIDES (Text Version)By Paul Stewart Rattray© ETC Indonesian Language and Business Services, 1998, Revised April 2013All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used, reproduced or transmitted in any form or byany means, without prior written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotationsembodied in referenced articles and reviews. For further information contact: Paul Rattray 26 SpringMyrtle Avenue Qld 4560 Australia.Tel: +61-(0)7 5441 4803 or 5477 1555 Fax: +61-(0)7 5477 1727 Mobile :0418 712 919
  • 3. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 3TABLE OF CONTENTSPreface 3Introduction 4Chapter 1 Backgrounds and Worldviews 5Chapter 2 How Worldviews Effect Thinking 91. In Individuals 92. In Education 113. In Communication 134. In Organisation 15Chapter 3 The Outworking Culture 191. In Relationships 192. In Business 223. In Management 284. In Politics 31Chapter 4 Working Out Cultural Differences 331. In Feelings and Emotions 332. In Religion and Belief 353. In Ethics and Principles 374. In Language and Customs 39Chapter 5 Overcoming Cultural Differences 431. In Learning Culture 432. In Talking Culture 473. In Transferring Culture 524. In Applying Culture 57Epilogue 61Bibliography 63
  • 4. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 4PREFACEIn this rapidly changing world, the notion of East and West has become blurred aswe are physically brought together by technology and communications. Multiculturalism isthe new mantra for equality, but its often an ideal, the reality being that when we arethreatened by change, we cling even more strongly to our cultural roots. East has metWest. We live and work together, but do we understand each other?The world has become a global village with hundreds of thousands of Easternersmoving to the West. In parts of Australia more people speak a first language other thanEnglish. Thousands of Western expatriates now live and work in the East. Despite thisconvergence of peoples, convergence of the minds seems to remain an ideal. In thinking,East and West often seem as far apart as ever.Yes, we are all part of the human race. We are not that different. But we thinkdifferently. And as we think so we are. The stereotype of the arrogant Westerner andinscrutable Easterner continues. This book attempts to bridge that cultural divide.Understanding why we see things differently will help us to learn how to overcome thesedifferences in a mutually beneficial manner.Oftentimes we compare the relative merits of our worldview against those of others.However no people or culture is better than another, simply different. In the West weadmire a steady gaze, firm handshake and upright manner when greeting. In the East,many cultures prefer a deferred manner, bowed head and pliant handshake. Bothgreetings are expressions of mutual respect.Indeed this example is stereotypical in itself, for there are numerous sub-cultureswithin cultures. Each country is different. The aims of this book are: "To provide abalanced perspective of Eastern and Western worldviews and deliver a practical means ofrecognising and overcoming these cultural differences." To achieve this aim, this book hasbeen written in a unique way.This approach doesnt look at Easterners and Westerners as specimens to bestudied, but represents views from each perspective. For me, this is perfectly natural, as Iam a mixture of two cultures, having grown up and lived in Indonesia for over 20 years,then worked and studied in Australia. For this reason I have taken on the dual role of bothEasterner and Westerner, hence my use of "we", "us" and "our".A worldview is a combination of similar cultures, not the specific cultural differencessay, between Australians and Indonesians. So, this book deals with generalisations byusing some culturally specific anecdotes. I trace the Eastern worldview to a largelyHindu/Buddhist heritage. While North and Southeast Asians differ culturally, theirunderlying thinking is similar. The same can be said for Westerners: Europeans, Americansand Australians are culturally diverse, however they adhere to basic principles found inJudaeo/Christian philosophy. Generalisations will help us see these differences moreclearly.
  • 5. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 5Due to our rapidly changing world, all cultures today are in transition. More Asianstudents than ever before are studying in the West, learning to research, question anddebate long held views. Westerners in ever-increasing numbers are living and working withEasterners, learning to define experiences and relationships based on time honouredtraditions. This interaction has produced some hybrid cultures (like me). English speakingand educated Malaysians are a composite of East and West, as are Western followers ofHindu and Buddhist New Age philosophies.Change however is relative and often superficial. Beneath the surface, how wethink and react is still determined by our original culture. This means that a western-educated Indonesian may know Western business principles, but continue to interpret themin the Asian way. An Australian expatriate manager living and working in Indonesia mayknow about Indonesian culture, yet continue to work in the Western way.INTRODUCTIONReceiving a visit from some Western colleagues, Mr John Scott decides to take themon-site to see how the new residential housing project is going. (All names have beenchanged for privacy reasons). A few days ago he had mentioned to the site manager, Pak(Mr) Suhardi, he would be coming to show his business colleagues the development. PakSuhardi had indicated that this was fine. No formal appointment was made, as they knoweach other socially and work together.Arriving at the construction site the foreman invites them to tour the development.Not wanting to interrupt the obviously busy site manager (Pak Suhardi), John and his groupleisurely set off, stopping to talk with the builders and tradesmen while checking the overallprogress of the job. This enjoyable reverie is cut short by a request from Pak Suhardi forJohn to come and see him in his office as soon as possible.An obviously perturbed Pak Suhardi ushers John into his office, proceeding tolambaste him for not bringing his guests to the office first and introducing them personally tohim. John explains that he knew Pak Suhardi was very busy and that the foreman hadinvited the group to look around. He had intended to bring his colleagues back to PakSuhardis office after the tour. Pak Suhardi counters that John had not shown him theproper respect accorded by his position.John is hurt and disappointed with Pak Suhardis attitude. He had not wanted tobother an obviously busy Pak Suhardi. Furthermore, Pak Suhardi already knew he wascoming on-site with his colleagues and had agreed to it. Pak Suhardi does not understandwhy John is so insensitive, treating him as if he is inferior, whereas they are equals in status.John should know by now that even when busy, Pak Suhardi should always be given thechance to meet the guests and excuse himself.Westerners can be so arrogant and insensitive when they want to be, they just neverseem to see things the way we do. Easterners are so inscrutable, always leaving thingsunsaid and assuming that we should know what they mean. Now, how do we bridge thiscultural divide?
  • 6. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 6CHAPTER 1Backgrounds and WorldviewsFirst of all we need to get back to basics and ask ourselves how we view reality. Dowe see ourselves as the key player, an individual seeking to understand the outside worldin order to shape our own destiny? Or, do we recognise the world as the great reality andour holistic harmony within it as being the key to achieving our personal destiny? Thesetwo fundamentally different approaches sum up the differences between Western andEastern worldviews.Western Background and WorldviewMuch of Western thinking is based upon Greek philosophy and the individual humanbeings relationship to the world. Reality begins with mans personal interpretation of itbased upon empirical observation, exploration and verification. The Christian principle ofindividual action through a personal faith in God, and Gods command to subdue the earth,was a further impetus for individual self-determination. Such rationalist philosophers asDescartes and more recently Jean-Paul Sartre have further reinforced these principles.It is not my intention to expand on these various systems of thinking any more thanis necessary to illustrate their influence on the current Western worldview. Descartes, wholived from 1596 to 1650 made famous this statement: "I think therefore I am." Jean-PaulSartre continued this line of thinking with the words, "Man is nothing other than what hemakes himself."In simple terms, these influential thinkers interpreted reality as beginning with theindividual person and their own existence. Reality thus becomes a personal responsibilityby virtue of the power of reason and logical deduction. We either make ourselves or, in asense, allow ourselves to be made by others. This view of reality is determined by ourpersonal interpretation of what we define reality to be. This viewpoint places man apartfrom the world of reality outside as he tries to relate to it. This may be represented usingthe following diagram:A result of this thinking is the Western version of logic, which begins with doubtrather than faith and becomes belief only if it can be substantiated. Rationalistphilosophers such as Aristotle, Descartes and Sartre held that one should not accept truthas being absolute unless one clearly knows it to be so. Thus, to find truth one follows aprocess of elimination, first identifying the subject to be examined, and then dividing it intovarious parts. After moving from one part to another, proceeding from more simple tocomplex, the whole process is reviewed to ensure that nothing has been left out.
  • 7. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 7By dividing reality into parts, conclusions can be drawn about a concept as a whole.This process involves logical thought by employing principles of cause and effect is knownas the scientific method. It is widely credited for the advanced economic and technologicaldevelopment of the West. The following illustration describes this thinking:Such thinking moves from A to B to C to D in logical progression. When applied toreality, the sum total of the parts defines the whole. Thus Western philosophy seeks to unitemany parts into a oneness that explains and integrates the many. The heavy emphasis onreason in understanding life and the universe has seen Western thinking compartmentalised.Even individual psyche can be divided into thinking, feeling and will. The importance ofrationalism and personal fulfilment in determining reality has taken the cult of the individualto new heights, nothing is absolute. This worldview has spawned relatively stablegovernments, societies and economies, and developed certain extremes of individualism.Increasingly though, many Westerners are "escaping the rat race" to seek a more naturalexistence or embracing holistic [Eastern] New Age philosophies.Eastern Background and WorldviewThe origins of Eastern thinking can be traced to the Hindu concept of Dharma, whichcomes from the Sanskrit word dhar, meaning to "support, uphold and nourish." Dharma isoften defined as that which supports life, the sustaining force of the world, the divineessence of the universe (Chin-Ning, 1995:69-70). In human terms dharma is first proactive:to understand the appropriate action for any circumstance, then reflexive, where one acceptslife as it comes and acts according to ones duty. The diversity of Asian religions, beliefsystems and philosophies stem from the concept of duty. ‘An individual knows what isexpected of them and does it.’ Thus from Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism toMalay Islam, reality is as the individual finds it.This view of reality recognises the universe as a holistic entity that functions as awhole, with every part fitting harmoniously within it.A Hindu maxim provides an interesting interpretation of this concept: "With what youget from others you make a living for yourself; what you give to others makes a life foryourself." The Bhagavad-Gita Hindu philosophical writings expounded this thinking further,"According to your life your duties have been prescribed for you; follow them and yourdesires will be naturally fulfilled." An individual gets in tune with the whole by relating to it,not through the self, but by being in harmony with the surrounding wholeness.Therefore an individuals first duty is to their family, clan, race and nation, rather thanto themselves. The effect of this thinking on a person is that an individual’s reality is notseparated from that of the whole.DA BC
  • 8. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 8This thinking is illustrated with the following diagram:Lateral thinking of this nature begins with the external universe already in existence.Rather than trying to understand how it came to be, it is more beneficial to relate to it as itis. Relating to others has thus become an art form in Eastern societies. How we interpretfeelings may be an appropriate analogy. Westerners attribute emotions to the heart, theengine room of the body, that active pulsating organ responsible for keeping our wholesystem functioning. For Asians, feelings emanate from the belly.In the Indonesian language, the word hati or "liver", the organ which acts to absorband break down waste materials in the blood is an apt descriptive, reacting to the externalelements in such a way as to protect the internal system. This thinking also comes throughin a quote from Sun Tzus Art of War: "If one is able and strong, then one should disguiseoneself in order to become inept and weak." Rather than simply being concerned withphysical and mental prowess in overcoming obstacles, the Eastern holistic approach takesinto account both projected and internal feelings. Concentration and preparation are whatmake the difference.The ability to achieve victory without direct confrontation epitomises Eastern thinking.In this thinking, the reality of here and now is far more important than how it came to be.Natures law is holistic and absolute. An individual must choose before acting, for once anaction is delivered, absolute consequences will follow. To reach this state of mind requires acertain amount of passivity rather than activity. The key element of this thinking is thatreality is here. Our task is to learn to relate to reality as harmoniously as possible. Thus theidea of God is impersonal and pantheistic—God is everything there is.Malay Muslims often attribute their core existence to the central pillar of their house,the tiang seri, which represents everything that is important in their lives. From this centralpillar emanates the life force of family, clan, religion and community. That is, everything anindividual needs to exist. This apparent minimisation of self also appears in ClassicalBuddhism, where true harmony is gained not from personal fulfilment, but from absorptioninto the whole and cessation from a tiresome sense of individual existence.The main emphasis of Eastern thinking is geared towards relating to life holistically.Personal fulfilment is measured against the group as a whole, rather than individually. Thisworldview has seen the rapid development of nations and economies through education andcooperative activity, sometimes at the expense of the individual, and tending towardextremes in wholeness. However, as more Easterners become exposed to Western ideals ofself-determination, their views are changing.
  • 9. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 9When East meets WestIn the East to relate to the whole is to understand the individual. In the West, to understandthe individual is to relate to the whole. These diametrically opposing ways of approachingreality are the roots from which our cultures and ways of thinking have grown. Unless weacknowledge these differences, we can never understand each other. The rest of this booktraces the effect these divergent worldviews have on our relationships. What is yourworldview?Rate your worldview in order of importance from 1 to 6:• Self?• Community?• Job?• Family?• Beliefs?• Values?Western Eastern
  • 10. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 10CHAPTER 2How Worldviews Effect ThinkingNow that we have examined some of the basic differences between Eastern and Westernworldviews, we will move on to see the effect this thinking has in the way we interact withothers.1. IN INDIVIDUALSThe Western ApproachDevelopment of rational thinking in the West has tended to be limited, exclusive,focused and results-driven. Thus, to be rational, one centres attention on the brain to theexclusion of feelings. To be emotive is to feel rather than to think rationally. Advantages ofthis rational approach include being able to investigate our environment and to some extentcontrol it. By applying the scientific approach to almost all levels of interaction we can oftencontrol outcomes. First we develop strategies, and then define goals by excluding any falsetrails on the way to an objective. Our significant technical achievements pay homage to thisrational approach.Westerners like to employ logical thinking, be reasonable and straightforward andfollow through on principles. This includes the practice of discussion and debate, whereby agroup defines particular goals and individuals within the group then proceed to hammer outtheir differences. This style of interaction is characterised by disagreement, as each side in adebate has a slightly different view of how the issue is to be resolved. Often rationalthinking experts in particular fields are called in to give their opinions, thus turning to reasonto overcome an impasse.The direct approach of the Westerner tends to view long discussions as beingindecisive. We are eager to arrive at a conclusion. Time is also of utmost importance. Thesaying "time is money" aptly describes our reluctance to go around in circles. Getting to thesubject at hand and resolving it as quickly as possible is definitive of the Western way.Western thinking centres on individual intellect and goal-focused strategies designedto reach a conclusion by the shortest possible route. This is achieved by resolving issues ona point-by-point basis utilising individual skills and knowledge. Things are placed into anarrow-as-possible context. Language also comes into the equation, with the precise natureof English represented by its use throughout much of the developed world as the languageof technology and media. Whereas many Asian languages rely on context to explain logic,English is fundamentally literal in explanation, with a word to describe almost every activityor thing.The Eastern ApproachTaking time to achieve a rational solution seems to define Eastern thinking, with asubject discussed from almost every conceivable angle. The development of thinking in theEast holistically combines intellect, emotions, seniority and experience. When conclusionsare reached they can appear to the uninitiated as if by accident.
  • 11. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 11This begins with the group and not the individual, with the whole situation ratherthan just the point being discussed. The objective is to find a mutually beneficial solution tothe whole situation, rather than to simply reason out an understanding.Dealing with others is much more personal and relates to all those present at thediscussion, with considerations such as family ties, religion, seniority and status all factoredinto the equation. Our focus is on relationships and what effect a decision will have onthem. Going around a problem helps participants get a feel for the discussion, with allcontributing to the outcome. Respected senior members of the group then apply theirintuition and ability to understand the groups feelings to decide on a mutually agreeablesolution.Intuition is a highly prized commodity in the East. It is the ability to "feel" the rightcourse of action using all our senses. Thus the English saying, "A womens intuition isalways right" may not be so far off the mark, since in Asia it is regarded as both a male andfemale virtue to be admired. This way of thinking can be seen from the Indonesian wordrasa, which means to feel, taste or think. Rasa in its various forms describes the differentbut related senses.Eastern thinking focuses on the whole rather than the separate. Thus, to sacrifice theindividual for the group is natural in Asian culture. Leaders who use their intuition and driveto determine the fate of others are admired, provided they can continue to represent thegroups interests. Things are placed in the widest possible context, with achievements beingjudged by their continuation rather than their realisation.Accepting ones fate or lot in life and carrying it out to the best of ones abilityepitomises Asian thinking. Those who are superior in rank or status are to be respected andobeyed. Decisions determined by group consent are to be received gratefully by theindividual. The widespread use of the passive structure in many Asian languages symbolisesa different emphasis to the more active approach of Western tongues.When East meets WestWhen we review these different ways of thinking, we realise that rather than beingcontradictory, they are in fact complimentary. Without clear logical thought and carefulexclusion of extraneous factors good science and technological development is difficult. TheEast has embraced logical, brain-centred reasoning in its push to gain the technical skillsneeded for scientific advancement. Western thinking is also changing as Easternexplanations of life, health and human relations seem to be better served by this holisticapproach than by rational science. These two different approaches to thinking arecharacterised by the following diagram:Narrow Context Holistic Context
  • 12. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 122. IN EDUCATIONWestern Learning: Think for yourselfWhile we may not always consciously know why we think in a certain way, we seldomunconsciously act. The most obvious outworking of differences in thinking is through ouractions. In the context of worldview and culture, thinking begins at the stage an individuallearns to distinguish categories of imagination and thus begins to develop a reality principle.This learned reality is primarily cultural. Beginning with our worldview, thinking and learningbecome more defined by our cultural environment, and therefore influences our actions.Western education is active, teaching us to think for ourselves, to find out all that wecan and apply this knowledge in practice. In one sense the learner is the centre of theequation, learning to research and apply principles to different life circumstances. Thiscreative method focuses on learning how to think inventively. The teacher acts as a guide,leading learners to discover, rather than telling them what they ought to know.This educational process emphasises individual thinking and personal expression ofopinions. Putting forward points of view, asking questions, seeking answers and debatingthem is all part of the Western educational method. A high value is put on an individualsability to defend their viewpoint rationally, using researched principles to verify their findingsand to answer their critics.Increasingly in the West the emphasis on education is for a more practical approachdetermined by skills rather than general knowledge. Some of the results of this vocationallearning and emphasis on personal discovery can be found in the poor literacy and readinglevels of many Westerners, prompting a return to some traditional rote learning methods.In general however the scientific method remains prominent in the West, with mosteducational books written in the logical and precise lexicon of English. The only real changein Western educational thought is that it is more inclusive and that holistic learning continuesthroughout education, as focusing on more exclusive skills may limit an individualsopportunities in a rapidly changing world.Eastern Learning: Learn from othersThe holistic approach of Eastern education is more passive, teaching us to learn,know and understand what we are taught. In this equation teachers are at the centre,representing the knowledge students must learn to be part of their society. Teachers arehighly respected and senior members of society. The Sanskrit word guru, meaning revered,is often used in the West to denote prominent leaders who excel in particular fields, whereasin the Malay language "guru" means teacher.Because teachers hold such high status in Eastern society, learners rarely questionthem and the educational process emphasises the ability of the learner to reproduceinformation given. Rote learning is the primary educational method and students developstrong skills in pure memory work. To thoroughly know what you have been taught is thekey. The emphasis of education in the East is to have knowledge. To be educated isesteemed in itself, for an educated individual understands their environment and society. Aweakness of this approach is its lack of application, thus in vocational and research contexts,where knowledge must be applied practically, learners have often learned the principle butare unable to apply it in different situations.With many more Asian students studying in the West and the rapid industrialisationof the East, traditional rote learning techniques, especially in the vocational skills area areunder question, as the ability to practically apply skills in a variety of contexts becomesincreasingly important. Learning to apply does have a long history in Asia.
  • 13. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 13However, these skills were often presented informally over long periods of time,being handed down from generation to generation. Formalising and integrating these skillsinto the educational system has been more difficult. Because education is so highly regardedas a means of obtaining status and respect, the more practical aspects of learning are oftenless emphasised. It is unlikely that highly educated individuals will be expected to provethemselves on the shop floor, as they have already done so with their academicqualifications. This means that there is often a shortfall of practical skills, because manuallabour is considered above those with status. These views are changing, albeit slowly.The benefits of general knowledge and the ability to remember are still regarded asthe most important educational benchmarks in the East. For those who have the means,higher learning is in itself an end, for with it come respect, status and rank—values Asiansregard as being at the core of holistic living. Thus even in this era of rapid change, the valueof knowledge and education in itself remains offset by the need to apply theory to practice inwider and more diverse contexts of learning.When East meets WestAs the world is brought closer together through global trade, the differences in theway we think, learn and process information come to the fore. Understanding thesedifferences will help us to better manage the cross-cultural exchange of information.Interestingly enough, the more we work together, this mix-and-match of Eastern andWestern learning methods will actually improve educational standards. Yet because learningis primarily socio-cultural, it is vitally important to understand each others backgroundsbefore attempting to share information. Thus for anyone wishing to work with othercultures, understanding how each other thinks should come before anything else.Three key areas of learning that are strongly influenced by worldviews are content,process and context. Knowing the right mix of resources for each of these three areas isvital to providing an effective transfer of knowledge to a new learning environment. Thediagram below provides an example of Eastern and Western learning cultures:EASTERN LEARNING CULTURE WESTERN1. Emphasis on retaining andusing general knowledge Content1. Emphasis on analytical skillsto problem solve2. Based on observation,imitation and participationProcess2. Based on research, selfthought and verification3. Teacher-centred seniorityand cooperative approach Context3. Learner-centred, individualand critical approachBecause learning is so vital to most activities, knowing what information to present[content], how to present it [process] and the social environment of the learner [context] isa priority. In more practical terms it means being sensitive to the learner and their culturalvalues.This factor can be illustrated by the strong motivation to learn amongst mostEasterners. There is no need to motivate us to learn, only to practically apply it. On theother hand motivating Western learners is the key. Getting us to apply it is relatively easy.These principles become even more important where teachers and learners hail fromdifferent cultural backgrounds.
  • 14. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 14Some of my students have complained that their Japanese lecturers do not explain tothem how to learn the language. "You just do as I tell you and you will learn," does not sitwell with those trained to reason through a problem. However it cuts both ways.A colleague of mine, Mr Richard Coggins, with much training experience in Indonesia,laments that while Asian learners are able to reproduce information faithfully, they havegreat difficulty in applying it practically. After a few sessions together looking at the wayIndonesians learn, he was able to report much better results on the next trip because hespent more time concentrating on practically applying knowledge.3. IN COMMUNICATIONWestern Approach: Seek an outcomeAs a direct result of the way we think and learn, communicating in the West focuseson achieving an outcome. Communication involves interaction with others and is theoutworking of our internal thinking. Discussions in the West usually begin with individualsputting forward their ideas about a specific topic. No particular idea is considered superior toanother and each participant is prepared to argue the case for their idea. An example mightbe the practice of brainstorming, where ideas are tossed around, argued, discounted oraccepted.The key aspect of Western communication is to solve the problem at hand, thenmove on to the next point of discussion. To keep discussions rational, there are certain nogo zones such as politics, religion and race. "Putting your cards on the table" and "notbeating around the bush" are all examples of how we communicate in the West. While thereare certainly exceptions to this rule, such as in personal relationships, this is definitive of theWestern communication method.Conversation, the most personal of communication methods considers the individualsinvolved as equals, even if their knowledge and learning is not. While this situation may bedifferent at a private or personal level, where equality can in reality be only a cliché, itremains a Western ideal. Furthermore, speaking together at a professional level is usuallyformal, matter of fact and to-the-point, since it should not relate to the personal view of theindividual, but rather their particular knowledge of the subject at hand. Discussion ofpersonal views is rarely entered into, as this may discriminate against an individual and isunprofessional, besides MY private life is not anyones but my business.Written communication in the West is even more formal than in conversation, beingconcise and factual with an emphasis on form. Texts are organised clearly so as to ensurethat the message is in no way ambiguous. Business letters are to the point, seeking to layout the technical or legal matters to be discussed in plain English. There is no wasting ofwords and ideas are put forward as proposals on which to argue for particular results. Whilerelationships are important, it is the content of the material that is the key to effectivecommunication.Eastern Approach: Seek a consensusTo communicate effectively in the East we need to understand the factors influencingour communication—all those mitigating factors leading to a consensus. Communicationrequires interaction with others to arrive at a mutually agreed solution. Discussions in theEast begin with the most senior partners defining the context of discussions, often puttingforward their views of how they see the situation. This allows individuals to discuss issueswithin certain relational guidelines, knowing full well that their views should represent theirstatus in the group.
  • 15. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 15Being polite and deferring to superiors is part of the process and eventual consensusis reached by leaders interpreting the mood and tone of the group in a decision which takesinto account group interests.One of the most important aspects of discussions in the East is that the harmony ofthe group be maintained. Thus religion, politics, family, seniority and status all influence thefinal outcome. Personal relationships and alliances within the group are vital to ensuring anindividuals wishes are represented. "When benefits are mutual, cooperation will follow" by"performing the sacrifice of doing our duty" are Eastern examples of communication whichapply both personally and professionally.In conversation face features highly in the exchange, as how we are perceived byothers and consequently treated, is tremendously important. The concept of face in the Eastis all about our place in the whole and our personal dignity. Thus it is considered extremelyrude and insensitive to carry on a formal conversation without first determining each othersstatus at an informal level, since in the East people are defined by their holistic role insociety. In the East my private life is OUR business.Written communication in the East is based on the oral tradition, thus people writehow they speak and focus on context. This genre concentrates on the development andprogression of a relationship and its surrounding opportunities and constraints (Mead,1990:84-87). Correspondence is organised into a strongly interpersonal and cooperativeapproach where technical and legal matters may be alluded to, but not clearly stated. It isonly after careful reading that a picture emerges from the background relationship on whichit is based.When East meets WestWhen these two very different ways of communicating meet there is often a clash ofwills, as both sides feel uncomfortable with the others way of doing things. In jointdiscussion Eastern and Western expectations are very different, and when certain unspokenprotocols on either side are not observed, misunderstandings occur. When the Westerner isfirst introduced to the group the ensuing silence appears to be a prompt to put forward anidea. Uncomfortable with silence and hearing murmurs of affirmation the Westernercontinues expounding an idea, surprised at the easy acceptance of his or her view. Themeeting proceeds with the Westerners motion carried with the apparent acceptance of thegroup.The Easterners on the other hand have not necessarily agreed with the Westernersviewpoint, they were simply nodding and affirming that they had heard what was said. Theywere not satisfied with the Westerners approach because it failed to take into accountfactors outside of the issue itself. There was no time to discuss these factors becausewhenever there was silence, the Westerner began to detail the plan further, probablyassuming that they did not understand. Surely the Westerner knows that silence in Asiausually means possible disagreement, that the group is waiting for a senior to speak or thatthe meeting should wind up.Two myths are perpetuated in the above discussion. One is the myth of the arrogantWesterner, quick to express ideas and too impolite to wait for others of higher status. Theother is the inscrutable Asian, saying one thing and then going out and doing somethingelse. While cross-cultural miscommunications will occur, the important thing is tounderstand where the other is coming from. This often does not occur because neither sidehas built up sufficient trust with the other.
  • 16. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 16This concept is graphically illustrated in a current project. The Australian side of theventure has made it clear in writing and verbally their views on the projects progress, withthe ensuing strategies to achieve these proposed outcomes.Their Indonesian counterparts on the other hand have written asking my assistancein explaining to the Australians that they want correspondence to be on-going and written ina more questioning manner, in order to seek the advice of seniors in the venture rather thanto propose strategies. The following illustration helps clarify the cross-culturalcommunication process:EASTERNER WESTERNER4. IN ORGANISATIONBased on real life experiences and formal and informal learning, values arecommunicated via social organisation. How we organise our lives and societies very muchdepends on our thinking. While social values are difficult to define, they usually include fourdimensions: (1) Individualism versus Collectivism, (2) Hierarchy versus Egalitarian, (3)Independence versus Dependence and (4) Masculinity versus Femininity (Hofstede, 1983:8-10). East and West are a constantly changing mix of the above. Our societies reflect thesevalue dimensions in everyday life.Western ValuesIn the West we begin with the individual and hold on to values which focus onpersonal rights and the ideal of giving everyone a fair go. Democracy is based on the "onevote one value" rule, as we want to have a say in who governs us and how they will do it.We jealously guard individual rights believing that their suppression will lead to fewer rightsfor all. Because we see ourselves as isolated entities, we form like-minded groups to protectour rights: pitting pro-lifers against pro-abortionists, blacks against whites, and labourunions against business…the list goes on.Ironically, amidst this apparent chaos, we are generally law-abiding citizens, providedthese laws are enforced equally throughout the community. Due to our political system,which allows for the periodic removal of unpopular political leaders and parties, either bylegislative or electoral processes, the worst excesses of government are able to be curbed. Arelatively free and independent press and judiciary is a further safety valve, enablingindividuals to let off steam without disrupting the society.According to Hofstede (1983) four Western organisational value dimensions are asfollows:1. Individualism is looking after ones own interests and that of ones immediate family(husband, wife, children, etc) and being independent of that in society with which we donot wish to be associated.LEVELS of COMMUNICATION Know each others beliefs and culture Understand each others expectations Respect different personal reactionsWorldviewHolisticCultural ValuesGroup ExpectationsPersonal ResponseSeek a ConsensusWorldviewIndividualisticCultural ValuesIndividual SolutionIndividual ResponseSeek an Outcome
  • 17. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 172. Egalitarianism is the level to which weaker members of society are protected frominequality within society. Inequality exists in all societies, but is defined by the extent ofits acceptance.3. Independence is the characteristic which defines individuals as being prepared to actoutside of strict codes of behaviour and belief observed in a particular culture.4. Masculine cultures tend to emphasise male qualities of assertiveness, ambition andcompetition in seeking material success, and respect is for physical strength, size andspeed.In the above value dimensions we can recognise generalisations, though it is obviousthat we as a society are not that easy to define. The aim of this exercise is to help us torecognise our own values first. From there we can better analyse the values of others—thencompare them.Eastern ValuesEastern values begin with the group and what is best for them. This is usuallydecided by one who is seen by the group to have an inspired almost spiritual ability to bringoverall harmony to society. Once this is established—in the interim there may be muchbloodshed and chaos—it is the leaders right to determine the fate of the nation. Only inextreme circumstances will the people rise up to overthrow an ordained leader, as this coulddisrupt the harmony they have brought. Special interest groups are formed to discuss issuesand authorised representatives make recommendations for the welfare of society. Thosewho are seen to threaten social harmony are removed, detained or neutralised.Interestingly enough, within this apparently harmonious and tightly controlled society,we generally accept that laws will be circumvented in some way or another, since laws arenot applied equally across the board. Most individuals accept a strong state as necessary—even preferable.The four Eastern organisational value dimensions are summed up below.1. Collectivism is looking after the interests of ones in-group (immediate and extendedfamily) and protecting their interests and welfare, but in return expecting theirpermanent loyalty.2. Hierarchical is the level to which weaker members of society accept and regard certaininequalities according to their status in society, thus accepting these realities as beingunavoidable.3. Dependence is the characteristic which usually defines individuals as being willing to actwithin the strict codes of behaviour and belief observed in a particular culture.4. Feminine cultures tend to emphasise the more feminine qualities of overlapping socialroles, in which harmony and quality of life in material success are sought and respect isfor inner strength and humility.Again we can see that these definitions are generalised and cannot be taken at facevalue, but like all models of organisations in a particular society, are the starting point for amore in-depth study of culture.When East meets WestAs more and more Easterners come to study and learn in the West and moreWesterners embrace the New Age teachings and philosophies of the East, a peculiar meldingof cultures can be seen in many of the large metropolitan areas of the world.
  • 18. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 18Scratch a little below the surface however and we tend to find that many of thesenew ideas are just that—ideas. Traditional views in organising society have not changed agreat deal. Studying values all depends on their scale. As Hofstede (1985:13) states,"Studying cultures is like using a zoom lens": interest in a particular country requires us tozoom in on the differences within the country. If we want to compare countries we canzoom out on a world scale to see the differences between countries.A technique often used to evaluate differences between countries in order tocompare their organisational values is a scoring and ranking system based on four culturaldimensions. Although research into cultural views and values can be somewhat subjective, itis an informative exercise.Here is an example:Organisational Values ChartIndividualismScore RankHierarchyScore RankIndependenceScore RankMasculinityScore RankAustralia 90 49 36 13 51 17 61 35Indonesia 14 7 78 44 48 12 46 22Source: G. Hofstede, Cultural Consequences, SAGE Publications 1980, R. Mead, Cross-cultural Management Communication,John Wiley and Sons 1990 and additional research.The aim of this research is to gain information about the difference between twocountries organisational values or to compare these countries against a broader cross-section of countries. The scoring system is based on a set of numbers, say one to 100, witheither the Western or Eastern values as the denominator. The distance of a culturaldimension can be measured as "high" or "low" i.e. “near” to or "far" from that value. Thisscore then becomes the numerator. A ranking system is usually based on certain criteria ora comparison between differing factors [countries].There are discrepancies between both source authors (Hofstede, 1980, Mead, 1990).For example, Mead states the "power distance" (Hierarchy level in my diagram) to be 35points for Australia and 85 points for Indonesia. Hofstede on the other hand quotes 36 and78 points respectively. What this research does tell us is that at no point did Australian andIndonesian value dimensions cross, meaning that we are scored and ranked as twosignificantly different cultures with few similarities.Organisational culture is an important benchmark for gauging and measuring thevalue dimensions of a particular people group, society, country or worldview. However, weknow from personal experience that values are relative to them being put into practice. Theideals of honesty and sticking to ones principles are well known Western values, yet areoften not practised in real life.In the East the notion of strong family ties and quality of life are similarly regarded asvirtues, however may not always apply to the vast majority of people. Our values define us,but by our deeds are we known. As Eastern and Western values collide and meld it isimportant not to lose the positive values of each in the process. Knowing our own culturalvalues helps us to better determine the values of others.
  • 19. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 19What are your cultural values?VARIOUS CULTURAL VALUESValues About Western EasternENVIRONMENT Mastery HarmonyTIME Precise [Future] Flexible [Past]ASPIRATION Success ContentmentCHANGE Rapid GradualEXPLANATION Scientific NaturalINDIVIDUALITY Self-realisation Group identificationWhat are your cultural values in relation to:ENVIRONMENT?TIME?ASPIRATION?CHANGE?EXPLANATION?INDIVIDUALITY?
  • 20. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 20CHAPTER 3The Outworking of CultureNow that we have a firm basis of what constitutes a worldview and how this thinkingmanifests itself in our societies, we are able to move on to the outworking of culture in ourdaily lives. Some say that what you see is what you get. To a certain extent this is true.Yet we all consciously (or unconsciously) wear masks or play roles which culture and societyhave set for us—striving in the process to define a certain individuality or harmony forourselves.1. IN RELATIONSHIPSWestern ApproachDeveloping good relationships based on individual choice and mutual advantage isthe hallmark of Western alliances. Thus our sphere of personal contacts may not beparticularly large, whereas business contacts and those with which we have a professionalrelationship are generally considered separate. We dont tend to mix business with pleasure.Because of our individualistic nature, we draw a strong distinction between private and publiclife. As long as I carry out my responsibilities to society through work and taxes I shouldhave the right to be left alone.We admire those who show initiative in developing relationships, those who go outand get what they want. Of equal importance is the principle of being forthright and honestwith constructive criticism. It is considered juvenile to not have the courage to facesomeone directly. "If you have a problem, tell me!" is an oft-heard expression. As adultswe consider it wrong to tell others of a perceived slight without the perpetrators priorknowledge. This means being up-front. You should say what you mean. In the case ofconflicts, resolving them is considered more important than avoiding them, since there willalways be conflicts. In fact conflicts can be good because they allow us to let off steam.Relationships form as a natural dynamic, because we as social beings need them tosurvive. However, it is the motivation for forming and maintaining relationships that is thekey. When we form relationships in the West we establish them with those we think will beof direct advantage to us. This choice may be subconscious, but has the aim of securing aninterpersonal relationship with the other person. Relationships are with individuals andbased on that dynamic alone. It is regarded as being manipulative to use friendship withone person to foster a relationship with another, though most of us have done this at somepoint in time.Gift giving in the West is a common means of expressing appreciation and is usuallyopen-ended. A simple thanks will do, as a gift affirms the advantage (love, friendship,assistance) that the other person brings to the relationship. We are also incredibly generousto those in need, especially in natural disasters, as we sympathise with the individuals caughtup in the calamity. Because of our care for individual rights and values we sympathise withthe underdog, not so much for those who do little to better themselves, but for thebattlers. We also like relationships to be on as equal a footing as possible—not one sided.Eastern ApproachIn the East relationships form across a much broader spectrum due to theunderstanding that an alliance is a mutually beneficial relationship extending beyond thosedirectly involved.
  • 21. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 21We have many friends and the line between personal and professional relationships isvirtually non-existent. Relationships are also much less direct, since issues like status andrank mean that inequality is an accepted fact of life. Often we form friendships with go-betweens who we know will benefit them and us through the relationship. We bothunderstand and accept that we are indebted to each other.Those who excel at relationship networking are admired for their ability toharmoniously bring people together for the mutual benefit of the group. A key criterion ofsuccessful relationships is achieving the above without conflict or criticism, as that couldjeopardise the relationship and make both parties lose face. Losing face is to be avoided atall costs.We avoid criticism like the plague, but if necessary, it will usually be via a thirdperson, as we rarely are critical to ones face. Easterners are much more honest to amutually trusted third party, as they know the criticism will be passed on, but with the rightprotocols accorded to the other person. This has saved both of us from a confrontation andthe possibility of one or both of us becoming angry and upset. Conflicts are to be avoided atall costs. Needing to resolve a conflict means that we have failed to avoid them in the firstplace. Harmony is the key to good relationships. Conflicts only serve to disturb the setboundaries of a friendship.When we form relationships in the East we do so with those who may be of indirectbut mutual benefit to us. While our relationships are with individuals as well, this is not theonly dynamic, as this person is also part of a group. It is expected that the friendships wehave with individuals will be used by them to attain benefits for us and we accept that theywill use our relationship with them to gain benefits for themselves.It is good to be indebted to one another and we give gifts to affirm that relationship,expecting in return a similar gift according to our status in the relationship. If we arestrongly indebted to the other person the gift should be large or vice versa. We aregenerous to those within our own relational group but tend to be less generous to those withwhich we have no personal contact, as they belong to a different group. NeverthelessEasterners extend friendship to everyone, since it is not considered just a personalrelationship but part of our way of community life.When East meets WestThese rather distinct ways of forming and maintaining relationships survive quite wellin isolation from the other, but when they coincide or collide, problems can arise. BecauseEasterners identify with individuals through groups, expectations are very high that they willact according to the groups values. This means that our handling of situations defines oureligibility in the group, i.e. a high or low status. It is not the solving of a problem thatcounts. Rather, it is how a problem is handled that is the benchmark. This may be quitedifferent to how Westerners approach the same situation. Even if we ruffle a few feathers,the main thing is to solve the problem.The best way to study some of the differences in our maintenance of relationships isto see their outworking in culture. Here are some examples.1. Expressing emotions in awkward situations: Pak Migi had a very difficult son whowas a constant source of embarrassment to him. In this particular instance he hadcaused Migi to lose face by his actions and as the father he had a responsibility toreprimand his son and make amends to the offended party. This he did with a personalapology and material reparation. On explaining the situation to his friend, Bruce, hehighlighted the fact that he had handled all of it without getting upset or angry eitherwith his son or at the situation. Bruce commented that he was pleased that he had
  • 22. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 22resolved the situation, but the most important thing to Migi was that he had handled itwithout [apparently] getting angry or upset.2. Resolving conflicts in the best possible way: An individual had been stealing—again. The company leadership called a meeting to decide on appropriate action;disciplinary action that ensured the culprit would be forced to confess was decided upon.The group leader of this persons division was party to the decision. On the following daythe offender would be confronted, her bag searched and the stolen item returned to itsrightful owner. However, the group leader called the girls in her group together andproceeded to tell them that a certain item was lost and invited any person(s) in thegroup who may have it to return it to a particular location. This was done, without theperpetrator being made accountable, even though most everyone knew who she was.Understandably the Western leadership were concerned about their authority beingusurped and demanded an explanation. The Indonesian group leader felt her actionswere justified because the situation had been resolved without any major loss of face toany individual, even though the culprit was spared the humiliation of being madeaccountable for her actions. Management had wanted to solve the problem by bringingthe culprit to account and punishing her. The group leader decided that to resolve thesituation by avoiding a direct confrontation and loss of face was a better way to solve it.Another interesting facet of culture in relationships is its outworking throughinteraction with others. Get-togethers are a good medium to study how people interact bothformally and informally, because we tend to follow certain (often unwritten) protocols.1. Entertainment rules: Budi has been invited out to dinner. On arrival he notices onedinner guest arriving with a bottle of wine and another with some sweets. When heintroduces himself to the host he apologises for not bringing anything. He is told that itdoesnt matter, and another guest explains that we [Australians] often bring somethingfor the host. He can bring something next time. Budi is confused, why would you bringfood or drink to someone elses house—arent they embarrassed by that? (On the otherhand Budis Western hosts probably think it a little selfish that Budi contributed nothingto the evening.)2. Expensive Hospitality: Richard has been invited to supper at his new friends house.He knows theyre not well off, as he has been to their house before. So on his way hestops for some biscuits. On arrival he offers the lady of the house the biscuits—sherefuses. He offers it to her husband and he wont take them either. The meal laid outfor him is fit for a king and he knows they have gone way beyond their means. Richardcant understand why they wont accept even a small contribution to such a lavish meal.His Indonesian hosts are offended that he didnt feel they could cater for him. Theywould sell family possessions or go into debt to ensure their guest was well catered for.3. Catering Capers: At an important East-West function it soon became obvious that theywere going to run short of [cooked] rice. The speedy solution for the function to run ontime was to restrict the consumption of cooked rice. The Western conference convenerhumbly apologised and politely informed guests that they would be restricted to oneplate of rice each. While he felt the best had been made of a bad situation, the Easternguests were somewhat offended. Its almost a cardinal sin to run out of rice in Asia."Far better to have guests wait while more rice was being cooked," was the commentfrom the Asians. The Westerners felt it better that everyone got a share.These customary examples of hospitality may seem unimportant until we considerhow we feel about certain etiquette observed by us. We dont like it—even if we pretendthat it doesnt matter—when our cultural values are not respected. The way we form andResolve co
  • 23. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 23maintain relationships is coloured indelibly by our cultural values and worldview. On the onehand Westerners dont like being indebted to anyone (except the bank), as it infringes ontheir individualism and independence. Easterners prefer being indebted to each other ratherthan a faceless entity like a bank, as it reinforces their group dependence.A further manifestation of these values is our Western concept of space—we like ourown space to be physical—my own room, house, car. "A mans home is his castle", definesour view of the world. We need space to breath and often find solace in solitude. In theEast there is little personal space, in fact we tend to feel uncomfortable away from thegroup, finding solace with people, since we dont consider physical space to be thatimportant. Our space is in our minds—there we can think our own thoughts and nobody canintrude.Based on the examples given in this section, we can see the influence of cultures andworldviews on relationships. While all of us as human beings need to be in relationships, theway we approach their development is different, and the way we deal with the conflicts thatinevitably arise from this interaction is not the same. Some of these differences can besummarised as follows:Western Relationships (Individual)Eastern Relationships (Group)2. IN BUSINESSThe concept of doing business is a wide field, but in this particular case I am referringto the interaction between individuals where the objective is to achieve a mutually beneficialoutcome. The primary difference between East and West in relation to business is that inthe West, business is usually equated with work and occupations, whereas in the East, thesame term is understood to be more holistic, relating to life, work and play. Thus, oftentimes, the context and expectation of what business is and where it should be done can bequite different.Western Approach: Regulations and a level playing fieldIn the West we have a long tradition of business being based on a system of fair playwhereby certain rules govern the way we do business. Like almost all other competitiveactivities in the West, business is regarded as a game played on a (mostly) level playingfield. Sporting bodies (Governments), with specific written rules (laws) controls the gameand umpires (lawyers) determine the rules in disputes involving players (businesses). Thekey criteria for this system to work are that all concerned understand and obey the rules.Those that do not are usually dealt with in a uniform manner according to the rules—irrespective of their position in society. This system has worked relatively well in mostWestern countries and goes hand-in-hand with the cherished ideals of individualism andIndividual mutual advantageSolve problems and conflicts and stick to principlesSupport the individual<>Support the groupResolve conflicts at all costs and negotiate principlesGroup benefits through individual relationships
  • 24. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 24personal effort we regard so highly as fundamental human rights. Where this approach hasfailed somewhat is in international business, where rules and regulations are not the sameand standards are not uniform.Many Western businesspersons feel that if Easterners simply followed the same rulesand regulations that we do, then they would be saved from the often nepotistic and less thantransparent Eastern way of doing business. While there are elements of truth to this view,attempts to impose monetary and financial controls have often proved ineffective, sinceEasterners consider that Westerners are imposing their values on them. Because financialdominance has and continues to come from the West, it is often assumed that businesspractices should as well.Western Business PracticesThe influence of Western culture in organisations is most often seen in business.Business skills play such a significant role in defining individuals in Western society. Thosemost admired are able to carve a niche for themselves in a particular profession, occupationor sport. The true entrepreneur has vision and an ability to get things done. Because weare an individualistic society we like to play by the rules, as this gives everyone an equalchance to win.When it comes to doing business we like to work within firm guidelines and knowexactly where we stand. Anything unclear is to be cleared up and documented in sufficientdetail to ensure both parties understand exactly each others responsibilities. Beingprofessional when dealing with others is a key Western business skill, where personalconsiderations are not supposed to enter into the equation.This is an ideal practiced religiously in the West and evaluations based on objectivefactors are regarded as being the most credible. When dealing with others at the businesslevel we prefer not to be drawn into discussions about our private lives, as these issuesshouldnt influence the business relationship. Because we tend to compartmentalise things,we do the same with people, assuming someones home and work life as being twocompletely separate areas. We jealously guard OUR privacy and believe that personal choicein matters aside from the business at hand is not the other persons business.Thus while we may not agree with an individuals lifestyle, this becomes an issue onlyif it effects their job. We have legislated for political correctness, gender equality andindividual rights. When we disagree we prefer to find a third party arbitrator who is able todecide right from wrong, win or lose, based on the objective facts contained in contracts anddocuments. The independent umpires decision is what we regard as being the most fair.We regard any deviation from these practices in business to be detrimental tobusiness, as it can lead to favouritism and nepotism. We stick to the written word andexpect others to do the same. However we regard verbal communication as beingsomewhat less important in business unless it is in the presence of a third person. Businessis now and our interaction with business colleagues should reflect this urgency.Eastern Approach: Traditional values and hierarchiesBusiness in the East is much more traditional and based on the reality that we dontoperate on a level playing field. Thus, one of the key business skills any individual canposses is the ability to develop a strong network of personal business relationships.Eastern business is more a community structure, where elders (government) arerespected members of society who determine the principles of business (policies) and ensurethat beneficiaries (businesspersons) are rewarded for their efforts. This business
  • 25. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 25environment is governed more by decree and interpretation of policies than directlyenforcing regulations.This system works surprisingly well where community leaders practice a high level ofhonesty, because people accept that certain benefits are derived from being at the top of aparticular society. Problems arise when leaders are corrupt or nepotistic to the extreme.This has been the case in Indonesia, where ‘small’ people, who rely on the leaders forpersonal rights, are not treated according to recognised cultural values. However, most ofus prefer business to remain an integral part of daily life and that it is governed by the sametraditional principles and values that govern other aspects of our lives.Eastern Business PracticesIn the East business skills revolve around relationships. Thus, an individual isadmired for their ability to do business rather than their specific skill or profession inbusiness. Special interest groups dominate Eastern society and individuals align themselveswith groups they believe will assist them to succeed in business. Making and maintainingcontacts is the key, since it is only through these relationships that a firm picture of the truesituation is gained. While written guidelines and contracts are important to the actualundertaking of business, they have little effect on the overall business relationship.When dealing with others we like to take all factors into account, especially at aninterpersonal level, as this will affect the outcome. We accept that decisions will includesubjective elements such as the closeness of our relationship, and we tend to apply objectiveanalysis only to things, not people. This means that everything about a person is part ofbusiness, and we discuss family, religious and political beliefs as part and parcel ofdeveloping an understanding of the business activity. In fact, we see relationships in workand play as being fairly homogenous, as we want to be sure the person being adopted willbe compatible with the group. Personal privacy is respected, but our personal choices doaffect the way we live and work—and that affects business practices.An individuals personal beliefs, race and lifestyle will all affect their acceptance intothe group and sacrificing their individual rights is not an issue where group harmony isinvolved. This is the way it should be. While there are regulations that must be observed, itis our status within the group which often determines how we interpret those rules. Whenwe disagree, our disputes are dealt with in the group by the group. If they need to be takento an arbitrator, far better it be a group elder who makes a decision based on the bestinterests of the group. Favouritism and nepotism are regarded as being part of groupdynamics, provided that it does not damage the overall cohesion of the group. We respectthe written word as a concrete record of the developing relationship.However, verbal communication is the seal of business approval. Business is a long-term venture between friends, requiring trust and perseverance.When East meets WestIt is at the point of exchange, where we actually start to do business together, thatthe outworking of cultural differences becomes most pronounced. The stakes are high, youwant to get the best deal for yourself or gain more benefits for your group.Because of the risk and uncertainty, we quickly return to the safe ground of OURCULTURAL WAY of thinking and doing things. Establishing trust in business is the key todeveloping a long term mutually beneficial business relationship.For Westerners unwilling to approach business development from this angle, it will bealmost impossible to progress business further, unless it is purely a trading arrangement.First we will look at the expectations of Eastern and Western businesspersons when they
  • 26. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 26conduct business and compare the different approaches used in developing businessrelationships and achieving business outcomes.Business PrinciplesWEST EAST1. Business is often agreed upon prior to forminga personal relationship. A personalrelationship usually occurs following theagreement to do business and the relationshipis classed as a business relationship.1. Personal relationships are usually formed priorto commencing business. Business usuallyfollows on from the development of apersonal relationship and is regarded as thebasis for business.2. Business is a key aspect of life, but still aseparate compartment to our personal life.The fairly strong dividing lines between workand play mean that family is usually notdirectly included in business.2. Business is a life skill and there is no realdividing line between the two. Family andfriends are an integral part of business life andare directly included in decision-making andbusiness activities.3. Showing initiative and being decisive areprimary indicators of business acumen andaggressive promotion of your firms capabilitiesis the key to coming across well. People aretaken at face value.3. Appearing to be humble, self-effacing andnon-confrontational are key business skills,with an in-depth knowledge of your opponentsand their business. People are judged by theirstatus in the firm.4. Developing business intelligence is the keyissue and finding out the financial status of thefirm, its track record, management system andproposed business is the best way to assessrisks and opportunities.4. Developing strong interpersonal intelligence isvital and finding out who key leaders are inthe organisation, their beliefs, principles andmanagement style is the best way to assess aventures potential.Business development is based on the principles used to seek business opportunities.The methods Westerners and Easterners use to develop business can also be very different,though the aim and eventual outcome is often quite similar.Here are some issues to consider:Business Development MethodsWEST EAST1. The key objective is to win the business andthis means putting forward a competitive,detailed and accurate tender, by:1. The key objective is to bring about a victoryfor all parties by discussing the issues whichwill ensure mutual cooperation, by:(a) Preparing proposal letters and directlycontacting clients based on the potentialbusiness and defining how the job will be done.(b) Negotiating directly or indirectly with clients on(a) Preparing personal letters and direct personalcontact by using the relationship to seekconsensus on how work and business is shared.(b) Meeting directly with clients to discuss the
  • 27. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 27issues proposed and seeking to establish anagreement.(c) Basing an agreement on a contractualarrangement which details how the job will bedone and who is responsible for what.(d) Writing contracts based on agreements andnegotiations and ensuring all elements of theproject are considered within the contract.(e) Beginning work based on a contractualagreement with terms and conditions for eachactivity.(f) Ensuring issues are dealt with based oncontracts and the law.nature and scope of the proposed businessrelationship.(c) Using an agreement to develop a memorandumof understanding stating the responsibilities andrelationship of the parties.(d) Commencing activities based on broadguidelines with specific contracts for activitiesdirectly relating to a particular project.(e) Beginning work based on broad guidelines andnegotiating terms and conditions as a projectunfolds.(f) Ensuring issues are dealt with internally viapersonal relationships.Critical pointsThere are certain critical points of contention when attempting to develop businessopportunities that need to be factored into the equation. Primarily these points will be wherethere are significant differences in the way we do things. The balance will not always bewith the one who has the power, but primarily with the one who wants the business most.Cross-culturally this may be quite difficult to assess and you will need to base yourassumptions on the other parties expectations. Here are some situations:1. Negotiations - are usually the starting point of a business or personal exchange andoften determine the relationship thereafter. Western businesspersons see thesemeetings as an opportunity to put forward their proposed model for the venture, a fairlycut-and-dried program that forms the basis for discussions. Westerners assume that thejob at hand will define the relationship. They are often surprised that the Easternersappear to have no formal proposal on the table and instead wish to discuss issuesoutside the scope of the job. Easterners define the job at hand by the relationshipsbeing developed. Westerners need to ask more questions to get a feel for the situation.Easterners need to be more willing to put forward their point of view. Neither side willunderstand the other unless they have a close personal rapport.2. Status - is the basis for strong business relationships and is vital to the decision-makingprocess. Thus the person chosen to represent the organisation should be as senior aspossible and represent the overall interests of the organisation. In the East anindividuals business skills and bargaining power is initially the key to respect rather thantechnical or professional capacity. In the West we tend to regard personal ability andproven technical skills as being superior. Sending the right person for the job is acommon business practice in the West. In the East sending the person with the rightstatus for the relationship is the general rule of thumb. Easterners prefer ascribedstatus, where a person is appointed to a position because of their influence in a group.In the West we favour achieved status, where ones position is determined by theirpersonal effort. It is important to respect people both for their position and personalabilities.3. Agreements - are usually in the form of contracts or memorandums of understandingbetween groups that have agreed to work together. In the West it is generally regardedthat an agreement has been reached once the job at hand has been discussed andcontracts have been signed. Contracts should cover all aspects of the project to ensurethere are no grey areas. Until then, nothing is concrete. In the East agreements
  • 28. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 28usually begin and end with a handshake. Wordy, legalistic contracts are regarded withsuspicion (Townshend, 1995:14). What contracts dont say are part of the businessrelationship and are dealt with in due course. Every single contingency cannot be metand is dealt with as it comes. The over-emphasis of the written word in Westernbusiness concerns those who believe that it diminishes the strength of personalrelationships. The under-emphasis of the written word in Eastern business causesuncertainty in those who are not comfortable with relying on personal relationships inbusiness matters.4. Time - is relative to our expectations of it, and in the West we expect individuals to beorganised and punctual. In the East time is more cyclical and subject to outside forcesbeyond individual control. Where Westerners seek to manipulate time, Easterners seekto work within its constraints. Life generally appears less hurried in the East, withleaders, because of their status, excused from being punctual. In the West life appearsmore hurried, because work is activity and leaders should be the most active of all.Westerners are expected to be punctual and Easterners are expected to be less pedanticabout time.5. Transfer - is the process and delivery of on-going business where ideas, technology andskills are applied to new business environments. Traditionally, the West has beenregarded as the provider of technical skills, while the East has regarded its way ofmanaging human relationships as being superior. Because both areas are the keys toachieving measurable business outcomes and benefits, it is vitally important that eachside is comfortable with the role of the other. Whether it be in the East or West,understanding each other enough to transfer knowledge comes down to strong personalrelationships and a well managed process—our complementary strengths.6. Conflicts - inevitably arise and are the most sensitive of all areas to deal with, as theyimpact most strongly on our cultural values. Because of the importance of harmony andpersonal relationships to Easterners, interpersonal skills in managing and resolvingconflicts are regarded as being definitive of a good manager. Personal skills andknowledge without the ability to perceive and defuse conflicts are not highly regarded byEasterners. Western managers are more often judged on performance, sometimes tothe detriment of their ability to resolve conflicts, as they prefer to solve them when theybecome a problem. This usually involves confronting the problem head-on, andpersonally dealing with the individuals involved. These very different ways of dealingwith conflict makes it a most sensitive area for cross-cultural managers, as decisionswhich are seen to cut across cultural boundaries can spell the untimely end of a businessventure.When East meets WestTo succeed in business where there is a significant cross-cultural element, we need tounderstand what motivates us to do what we do and why others react in certain ways. Ofequal importance is the recognition of our own cultural values and those of others. Are wewilling to live and work in an environment which is significantly different to our own? Do therisks involved outweigh the benefits? Only you can answer that, but it helps to know thecultural dynamics that influence the ‘other’ person. In the next section we will beendeavouring to look at Eastern and Western outworkings of culture in management. Thefive key characteristics of a competent cross-cultural manager, according to Fish and Wood(1996:40), is their ability to:1. Build strategic networks and form long term business alliances2. Develop strong interpersonal skills apart from technical competence
  • 29. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 293. Know and be comfortable with their role in a new market and culture4. Understand the new business culture, language and work environment5. Competently transfer skills and technology in-market and manage them3. IN MANAGEMENTWestern ApproachManagement—the successful handling, control and direction of an organisation—is avery Western concept, implying strategies, processes, objectives and outcomes. We aspireto be good managers of our households, businesses and lives. For the purpose of thisexercise I have confined management to its outworking in business. Management isfundamentally a cultural process of finding ways to reach objectives within an existing socio-cultural system (Hofstede, 1983:7). Eastern and Western business and managementpractices make up the sum total of the issues we have studied in the previous sections ofthis book.Personal initiative and enterprise form the basis of Western management, with thesuccessful business tycoon, professional or sportsperson admired for their ability to succeedand make it. It is said that anything is forgiven in our culture except failure and this is verymuch the case with management. The pressure to successfully complete or progress aprogram to its realisation is at the core of Western business. If you dont succeed, thensomeone is always waiting to take your place. This highly competitive environment leads toa strong desire to "get on with things" and only talk about what is relevant to the job athand.We are prepared to negotiate, but only to gauge where we stand. Clear definitions,written contracts and signed agreements are what make us feel comfortable. It must be inwriting. Planning ahead and goal setting can then follow, based on a written proposal.Logical thinking makes us look at cause and effect—how to bring about the cause that willlead to the result we want. This reliance on a system to achieve outcomes assumes thatmost spheres of business (and life) can be controlled by a similar process. It also leads to aninnate confidence in our ability to solve problems—even if we expend all our currentresources, science will come up with new ones to exploit.In the West, management is active, determined primarily by the business relationshipbetween employer and employee, and is based on mutual advantage. Either party canterminate the relationship if it can be exchanged for a more beneficial deal elsewhere. Theclassic rule of supply and demand is also strongly adhered to in Western management. Assuch, lifetime employment in most organisations in the West has become a thing of the past.Being adaptable and showing initiative is the key.Therefore, we tend to view equality as being based on merit. If you are a highachiever and make a lot of money for the company, or if you are able to manage people welland motivate them as individuals in a group to work together and be productive, you are asuccessful manager and will be accorded status based on that merit.While the concept of merit is not always practiced in the West, it is a principle westrongly adhere to, believing that individuals should have the right to equal opportunities.Thus a strongly competitive vein runs through most business activities, especiallymanagement, as our individual expertise, skills and knowledge determine seniority. "To bejudged on our personal merits", is an important philosophy, even though ‘who you know andnot what you know’ often still determines the final outcome.
  • 30. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 30Eastern ApproachIn the East management is essentially about relationships between people—theirsuccessful combination makes for good business. We aspire to have good relationships witheach other, because we know that these ties are more important than just being good atdoing our job. Group initiatives and cohesion are the hallmarks of Eastern management,while strong leaders able to represent their groups interests are most admired. The abilityto manage group interests lies at the core of Eastern business practices and filial duty formsthe basis of these relationships.Family ties, which may be direct, tribal, religious or based on an agreed statusbetween an individual and a group all form the basis for this type of business culture. Theserelationships are vital if you want to get ahead and patronage extends to all areas ofmanagement. What it means is that we dont necessarily judge people on their individualskills and knowledge, but on their status within the group. We often use terms of respect forpeople such as father or mother, ‘brother’ or ‘sister’, when in fact, they are not bloodrelations. This parent-child relationship defines Eastern management practices, and duty toeach other and the group rates above personal merit.Interpersonal trust is such an integral aspect of management, that we place humanrelationships at the pinnacle of the organisation, far above systems and processes, preferringin many instances to modify a process or system for a person, in order to not jeopardisegood work relations. A good manager is one who is able to maintain harmoniousrelationships internally and develop good business networks externally. This may notnecessarily mean being the highest achiever in financial terms, or the most technicallyqualified, but rather the most respected representative of the firm—one who knows how todo business in the widest possible sense.Competition is far less marked or obvious in the East and this means that knowinghow the organisation works is far more important in many cases than actually beingproductive. This does not mean that being productive is not regarded as being important orthat there isnt much competition in business, but how good your personal relationship iswith key decision-makers will often determine how far you can go in an organisation.Ultimately, management in the East is about developing trust with all those who matter tothe organisation.This means that external contacts and friendships are as vital to managing a businessas internal ones, since these political, social and cultural factors often determine the longterm success or failure of a venture. Developing mutual trust by fostering close relationshipswith patrons of senior status and rank within and without our organisation, and throughthem enhancing our own status, rank and face, are key characteristics of Easternmanagement. To be respected and trusted by our peers and seniors in fulfilling our duties isthe underlying aim of this management philosophy.When East meets WestAs East and West is brought closer together by global trade, management techniquesbecome extremely important. We are interacting with each other more and more, yet inmany ways do not understand the fundamentals of that exchange. As one of my businesscolleagues said to me recently, "We may speak the same language, but we are saying verydifferent things." In Eastern cultures people think in terms of we (our family, ourorganisation) and they (others). In business, relatives and friends are given preferabletreatment to strangers and this is the norm. It is expected. This sort of managementculture is termed particularist.
  • 31. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 31An individualist culture on the other hand looks at me and you, with the norm beingthat everyone should be treated equally (even though in practice this is not always the case).This sort of management culture is termed universalist. These two distinct managementcultures influence all manner of business. Outlined below is a summary of the keydifferences:Management PrinciplesWESTERN EASTERN1. Relationship based on equality, meritand individual ability1. Relationship based on mutual benefit,duty and group dynamics2. Personal and professional contacts areput in different categories2. Contacts are regarded as being friendsonce accepted in group3. Be firm, stick to principles and dealwith problems immediately3. Save face, seek harmony and avoidconflicts at all costs4. Opinions determined by debate,individual thinking and input4. Opinions predetermined by leadersrepresenting individuals in groups5. Individual skills and knowledge definestatus with personal rewards5. Status and patronage where benefitsare shared with groupAs more and more Easterners and Westerners work together, the negatives andpositives of each others management approach comes to the fore. In the West there is atendency to place systems and processes before people, and apply rules and regulationswithout fear or favour. Easterners on the other hand, often mould systems and processes tosuit certain individuals and view rules and regulations in a similar light. Neither is right orwrong, for both have inherent weaknesses. The key is to know how these issues effectmanagement and use them to your advantage.4. IN POLITICSThis section attempts to avoid political models and ideologies and insteadconcentrates on politics as they are in East and West. We will mainly be looking at peoplesattitudes and how and why certain political systems seem to suit particular worldviews. Thecontention will be that the outworking of politics is primarily socio-cultural, since ideologiesand philosophies stem from similar roots.Western ApproachIndividual belief and persuasion characterises Western politics, with the freedom ofthe individual to vote for whomever they believe best represents their view. Western politicsare by-and-large about debate under a tight constitutional rule of law. This means thatdecision-making is based on constitutional guidelines. Where agreement cannot be reached,law-making bodies, such as the Supreme Court, decide the constitutionality of a decision.Some friction exists between these bodies and this is regarded as an appropriate system ofchecks and balances. Government is viewed as directly representing the people and publicservants and the bureaucracy as administrators of government policy, are servants of the
  • 32. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 32people. While there is much cynicism in the West about this relationship, public servants andgovernment members are usually held accountable for their actions and receive noextraordinary privileges from the judicial system.In the West, the media is heralded as the champion of the people, bringing waywardpoliticians and bureaucrats to account through investigative journalism. Journalists, like allof us, hold to certain views and beliefs and media owners often seek government patronageto gain more influence, so like all watchdog organisations, have their own agendas.The key issue dictating the practice of Western politics is the freedom of theindividual to say almost anything they want to—whether positive or negative—and get awaywith it. Attempts by governments to impose regulations on freedom of speech via politicalcorrectness campaigns have mainly been ineffective. We believe that freedom of speechhelps guarantee other individual rights.While inequality exists, we are provided avenues and opportunities to pursue justicevia legal aid, lawyers, government representatives and advocacy groups. The aim ofgovernment in the West is that it be for the people and by the people, and even though thisis not always how it works in reality, individual rights, equality and the rule of law arehallmarks of the Western political system. Even though we would class ourselves as havingmore freedom than societies in the East, we are governed by far more rules, regulations andguidelines that maintain our so-called freedom. However, the tradition of separationbetween church and state has continued to be a buffer against the inclusion of class,religious and racial issues as dominant factors in the political process.Eastern ApproachGroup interests dominate Eastern politics, as do religious, racial, cultural andhistorical views. Cohesion defines Eastern politics and functional groups representing peoplegroups in society often determine the way individuals vote. Decision-making is characterisedby negotiating outcomes that are seen to be the best way forward in a particular situation,within a broad interpretation of a nations constitution. The final decision is made by theleader of the day, with little recourse to the courts or religious bodies. Friction and conflict isavoided and the system of checks and balances lies in the leaders skill of interpreting whatis best for the group.We view government as leaders of the people and accept that bureaucrats andgovernment members have positional privileges that individuals outside of this process donot have. They are not servants of the people, but rather respected members of the elite,and gaining favour with them is a good thing. Politics are determined by power, status, rankand class in society, thus political leaders and their minions are given much leeway in theiractions. Respect, trust and loyalty underpin this system, and when abused, leaders can beremoved, as they are seen to lack honour.The issue of face and honour influences the practice of politics in the East and thereporting of it by the media. Freedom of the press is recognised within certain boundaries.Namely, the good name of senior leaders and officials in society is not to be dishonoured byinvestigative journalists, who are after all of inferior status to government leaders. Reportingcan be critical, provided it does not focus on individuals who are highly respected in society.Avoiding overt criticism of those with status in society is the key factor in Easternpolitics. Negotiating change requires the right timing, forum and people to express ourviews. Student demonstrators may force change, but it is the senior representatives insociety who have earned honour and respect that will decide the changes. The maintenance
  • 33. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 33of harmony underpins Eastern politics. Therefore, individual freedoms which threaten groupcohesion are avoided, since we believe that these freedoms often promote disharmony,resulting in a loss of freedom for all.When East meets WestThese differing views of freedom in the political process mean that our interpretationof each other’s political systems is often quite mistaken. On the one hand many Easternersview Western politics as being crass, churlish and divisive, with all views being acceptable inthe political arena, even if they are not within the national interest.Westerners often view Eastern politics as being a facade of democracy underpinnedby absolute rulers, corrupt practices and suppression of individual rights—all under thebanner of maintaining national security and harmony.While there is a certain truth to these mutually shared views (we all think themsometimes), it is important to remember that democracy, politics and ideologies are all socialphenomena, defining what is common and what is alien to a society (Macridis, 1980:6-7). Ifwe can accept that worldviews and personal experiences define politics, it will help us tounderstand why some societies accept certain political models. This factor does not detractfrom the need to guard against the abuse of human rights, for that is a fundamental andGod-given responsibility of us all. Understanding why Easterners and Westerns view rightsfrom a different angle—the former from a group perspective, the latter from an individualperspective—will help alleviate misunderstandings and the hubris so often associated withpolitics.
  • 34. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 34CHAPTER 4Working out Cultural DifferencesAs we can see from the previous chapters of this book, differences in worldview andcultural values have a significant effect on the way we live our lives. Now that we have abetter understanding of the outworking of culture in a number of familiar environments wemove on to the key objective of this book—attempting to bridge the cultural divide. In thischapter we will be looking at some of the most likely areas of cultural contention and seekingpractical solutions to them.1. IN FEELINGS AND EMOTIONSThe most likely area of contention in any society is the human element, and even insimilar cultures, interpersonal relations are the most difficult to foster and maintain. Thefurther apart our cultural roots, the more chance for disagreement. For those who haveworked across Eastern and Western cultures, this fact will have been reinforced many timesover.Western ExpressionDue to our emphasis on the individual, personal expression is encouraged, as itdefines who we are. While there are certainly strong social taboos that control anti-socialbehaviour, displaying emotions such as anger, sadness and hostility are acceptable in certainsituations—even justifiable. Where our rights have been maligned or suppressed in someway, displaying the emotions associated with our displeasure are fine. As adults we learnstrong social taboos, such as not crying in public, especially for males, and not appearing tooaggressive, if you are female. By-and-large at the interpersonal level it is considered normalfor us to have strong disagreements. Resolving disagreements requires each of us to haveour say. Being firm with each other and not backing down on matters of principle is alsoimportant, as is being honest with our feelings.(I can remember my Dayak friends saying to me, "Why are your parents fighting?" Iwould explain to them that they werent fighting, just having a disagreement and discussingit.) This also gets down to the disciplining of children, where parents show strongdispleasure towards children in public and even spank them. We believe that it is far betterto allow personal conflicts to be resolved by confrontation before they get out of hand andfester into an even worse situation. However there has been a move in the West to absolveindividuals of personal responsibility by blaming their upbringing and attributing this to theiranti-social behaviour.The high level of stress and heart disease in the West cannot merely be attributed todiet, but also to the emphasis on individual effort and achievement. In the large urbanisedareas of the West, the cult of individualism has caused many to become socially isolated.This isolation of the individual from the wider societys values makes us act inaccordance with how we feel, rather than what others expect of us, contributing to the highnumber of divorces, family breakdowns and homicides. Yet freedom of expression continuesto provide a forum for overall social stability. There is an increasing realisation in the Westthat our high levels of stress and the emphasis on the individual to cope and go it alone hasbeen unhealthy, both physically and socially.
  • 35. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 35A return to traditional values has been touted as a panacea for our woes and theincreasing interest in Eastern (and traditional Western) values of family and community arebecoming ever more popular. Nevertheless, if anything threatens our personal choice andfreedom, then we regard it as being bad and so remaining true to ones self in expressingfeelings is paramount.Eastern ExpressionFeelings are displayed through our emotions and because of the difference in the waywe express them, Easterners and Westerners often misunderstand the intentions of theother. Easterners are the first to admit that they have difficulty expressing their emotions.Eastern culture dictates that adults should be serenely composed and in harmony with thosearound them. This means any strong display of emotion is a sign of ones inability to be inharmony with their environment.Certain positive emotions are acceptable, such as laughter and occasionally tears,but negative emotions such as anger or hostility are not acceptable. We are easily offendedand extremely sensitive to criticism, preferring to avoid any sort of confrontation. To achievethis we use face to its full extent, admiring those able to hide their emotions behind asmiling face. We even smile when we are angry. We prefer to negotiate, often with the useof a trusted go-between, and in this way avoid direct contact with someone with whom wedisagree.Because harmony within the group is a key element in life, those who are not inharmony with the group risk being ostracised. Children are not often physically punished,except in anger. Rather, they are excluded from the group. This fear of exclusion is thestrongest motivator not to deviate from the values of the group. To do this we internaliseour emotions, burying them behind a facade of goodwill, which often hides deep-seatedresentment and anger. An unwillingness to forgive and forget leads to revenge beingcommonplace. "Asians never forget wrongdoing," was the comment of a Chinese friend.Yet we are surprisingly pragmatic, realising that in some instances it is best to do nothing atall. One does not fight to win if personal victory damages group stability.According to Doctor Leslie Lyall, a doctor who served many years in China andAnnette Rattray, a medical nurse and mid-wife, who has over 20 years medical experience inIndonesia, a common ailment amongst Asians, resulting from internalised emotions, is ulcersand associated stomach disorders. Allowing emotions to simmer without release gives rise toviolent and destructive behaviour when we are no longer able to suppress our feelings. TheIndonesian word amuk, from which the English term "to run amok" comes, aptly describesthis state of mind.Amongst the young, educated upper-class, individual values have been embracedstrongly, as have the demands for more freedom of expression, but respect for elders andseniority has by-and-large remained the strongest force in Eastern culture. The importanceof family in the widest possible sense has meant that Easterners regard preserving goodface and unity as being more important than expressing feelings. Personal feelings andemotions are subservient to group interests.When East meets WestThe outworking of emotions at the interpersonal level are the most likely area ofconflict between Easterners and Westerners, and because of associated cultural sensitivities,are the most difficult to resolve. Because of the potential for emotional conflicts toirreparably damage relationships, it is advisable that this area be handled with extreme care.
  • 36. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 36When Westerners and Easterners interact, the cultural dynamics of relationships mustbe uppermost in our minds. How we express ourselves should take into account the culturalissues discussed. Especially for Westerners, understanding the cultural sensitivities whichdictate emotional etiquette, is vital. This requires the development of a personal friendshipwith an Eastern counterpart who is able to mentor you through the rocky road ofrelationships with people who, from the Western perspective, are thin skinned.Easterners on the other hand recognise they are easily offended and shouldendeavour to be more open, and they are, but only once a significant amount of trust hasdeveloped in the relationship to warrant it. Thus the initial phase of contact is the mostimportant in bridging the cultural divide, and will determine the future of any joint activity.The right attitude is the key and even though difficult to define, most of us know andunderstand what it means.2. IN RELIGION AND BELIEFWestern approach: Personal ChoiceIn the West, religion is something intensely personal. We dont talk about it muchand probing into another persons beliefs is usually seen to be interfering. Religion andpolitics are regarded as being contentious subjects and are thus not discussed in politeconversation. The only time we bring up religion and personal beliefs is at funerals andwhen weve had a few drinks! Individual choice makes religion personal: "Its my business!"This factor contributes to our desire to encourage others to believe in what we believe. Ifthey choose to believe in something or nothing then thats okay, provided that they believethat to be true. Freedom of choice means that everyone has the right to believe whateverthey want.There is not a great diversity of religions in the West—Catholic or Protestant beingthe most common—however the diversity of beliefs is quite astonishing. Most Westerners donot practice a religion, but simply adhere to its general belief system. In fact people aresuspicious of those who believe strongly in personal truth and revelation, as this implies truthis absolute and that other points of view are wrong. The strong emphasis on rationalism andtolerance tends to discount God as actually existing. Rather, God as a concept is an optionfor explaining the meaning of life.Scientific thought dominates the Western concept of the origins of life and thespiritual element or noumenon has largely been discounted by the scientific method becauseit is not devisable by these rules. Thus evolutionary thought dominates current Westernbelief systems. To the agnostic Westerner (one who believes only in what can be sensedand investigated in the laboratory), our similar physical composition to animals, presupposesthat we are simply a more developed animal. By studying the origins of life we believe weare better able to control our destinies. We are always looking to control our lives, to findmeaning and self-fulfilment.Largely discounting an after-life, our purpose in life is to make the most of it becausewe are not going to get a second chance. Value judgements are our own choice. Thismeans being largely true to oneself and deciding on our own set of alternative values. Whatone chooses the other may not. Each of us must find our own path in life. Belief in thesupernatural is a difficult concept for most Westerners, as it isnt real. Spirits, demons andangels arose out of our primitive past as attempts to explain any phenomena we dontunderstand. Modern science will come up with an answer, and if it doesnt then it isnt worthworrying about. The predominant view in the West is that life ends when we die.
  • 37. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 37Eastern approach: Group conformanceReligion in the East is an integral part of the culture of the people. Families follow areligion and individuals as members of a community follow the beliefs of the group. Religionis part and parcel of life—determining our behaviours—so we are always interested indiscussing other religions as this opens our thinking to the way others live their lives. It alsohelps paint a picture of the person against the background of their beliefs. People areencouraged to change their religion if they are entering a different people group throughmarriage or if it enhances their status in society. Tolerance of other religions is part of ourculture, but for individuals who change their religion it can be a different story. We see anindividuals choice to change their religion as rejecting their current group. This can meanbeing ostracised from family, friends and community.There is a great diversity of religions in Asia—Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism,Christianity, Animism and Spiritualism—all with their different belief systems. Most Asianspractice religion based on a pantheistic model, which recognises God as being inseparablefrom his creation. God is the universe. The origins of man hold little fascination for us. It isliving in the world and being in harmony with it that really matters. This means learning torelate to the spiritual and material forces which make up the world, as this is the key tobeing in tune with the universe. We look to find meaningto both the natural andsupernatural world to find meaning .All religions hold the promise of an after-life: heaven or hell, nirvana, sebayan iswhere individuals go after physical death. Spirits, demons, angels and nature itself influenceour daily lives, and in turn can be influenced by us. Thus we seek the wisdom of respectedmembers of our religious community to advise us on these matters. What our elders tell usis extremely important in relation to spiritual matters and we respect their views becausethey are our link to the past. We accept things that happen to us as being fate—it wasmeant to be. Life is a cycle of good and bad, we have to experience both to attainenlightenment.Respect for our ancestors is another strong Eastern tradition. It is to a certain extenta religious belief based on the Confucian tradition. We dont just think of ourselves, but ofour children and families when we work, not of just personal fulfilment but of long termprosperity for them as well. We want to be looked after by our group and family, thus wemust provide for their future. If we break this chain of dependence on one another this mayaffect universal harmony. The way we treat others will directly affect not only our treatmentin the after-life but our luck here and now. Respecting our elders and ancestors is a vitalreligious belief.When East meets WestPersonal response as opposed to group conformity in religious belief has its roots inWestern history. Individual rights have been severely curtailed by religious persecution, andin the West, separation of church and state is deeply ingrained in our psyche. By avoidingreligion in everyday life it is believed that we are able to minimise the potential fordiscrimination. We can believe whatever we like.Easterners view religion as part of their culture. It defines them as individuals andaligns them with a particular community. Religious affiliations can and do influence status insociety, and this is an accepted part of life. In collective Eastern societies what we do is thekey and religious practice is important to our place in the group. Rituals, worship and almsgiving are all part of maintaining group identity and universal harmony. Almost allindividuals know the tenets of their religion, but few understand the doctrines whichunderpin them.
  • 38. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 38Most Malay will tell you they are Muslim because they are Malay. If asked why theyare Muslim they will tell you it is because their family is Muslim. Many Westerners view withsuspicion blind adherence to religion. You must know what you believe. We always wantto know why. Because many Westerners believe that nothing is absolute, we prefer to besceptics, rather than to be religious.One of the first questions you will be asked by an Easterner is, "What is yourreligion?" There are various shades to this question, but the most important one is to findout your religion and ensure that they do not offend you in what they say. Westerners viewthese questions as being personal and often resent them. If we are not religious we oftensay we do not have a religion. This attitude surprises Asians, as they cannot understandwhy you would not have a religion and be proud it.When in Asia it is best to have at least a nominal religion, rather than none at all.Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that there is a little bit of eternity in all of us. Materialism and wealthcan be empty treasures without family, friends and community. An exclusive belief shouldnot be "fundamentalist", just due to it being different from our own. Respect for eachothers beliefs is the key to harmony in relationships, but we need to believe in something tobe respected. We should at least be prepared to discuss these issues.3. IN ETHICS AND PRINCIPLESWestern Approach: Separation of powerWhile religion has taken a back seat in modern Western life and thinking, ethics andprinciples get top billing. Ethics and principles are the contextualisation of religious beliefsand philosophy into a less exclusive package. We believe that by practicing recognisedethics and principles in business and public life that individuals will be more likely to receiveequal treatment. The basis of ethics and principles in the West is to seek equality. Thestrength of them is in the rule of law, where (in most cases) they are applied across theboard irrespective of a persons social position.Current Western thinking views personal morality as separate from public ethics.Thus what one does in private has no bearing on their public life unless it directly affectstheir job performance or the people to whom they are responsible. This strong separation ofpersonal and public life affects the way we do business, handle finances and deal withothers. We can do whatever we want with our personal property, but we are not to misusepublic office, influence or money. Separation of power is the underlying principle of ethics inthe West.To successfully separate power, different responsibilities must be stated and policed.Western political institutions, business organisations and private bodies are required by lawto institute checks and balances to ensure transparency. Other groups are also able to checkwhether we are following the rules. To do this, guidelines must be written in clear andconcise texts that allow for minimal deviation. Following the letter of the law and duediligence are vital to this system. Great credence is placed on the written word, as itprovides proof of what we have committed verbally to do.We admire those in society who can successfully separate their personal and publiclives. "I dont care what someone does in private as long as they do their job well," is an oftheard comment in the West. Because we are all individuals, we believe that its wrong touse someones personal morality against them publicly. What you believe to be true is allthat matters, as long as you stick to what society regards as being right and wrong. Politicalcorrectness, a current by-product of this thinking, attempts to determine equality throughrestraint of gender specific words.
  • 39. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 39Eastern Approach: Concentration of powerThe practice of religion is part and parcel of Eastern life, as it defines differentcommunities and reinforces the harmony of the group. Ethics, principles, personal moralityand philosophy are seen in a much more holistic light and are based on our religious beliefs.What is expected of us in public and private life will be dependant on our religion, and aboveall else, our status in society. Ethics and principles in the East are based on group interestswithin the context of a strong hierarchy of moral and religious practices.In the East we do not separate personal and public morality, as they are one and thesame. What one does in private does have an affect on public life, since a disruption ofharmony, no matter where it occurs, is bad. It is expected that those with senior status insociety will gain extra benefits, since they are the custodians of the group. Concentratingpublic and private power affects the way we do business, deal with others and handlemoney. Leaders, at any level, are expected to use their status to help others, thus the linebetween private and public property can be very fine indeed. Because of these factors,leaders are given a lot of leeway in decision-making, even though they are ultimatelyexpected to make decisions that are in the best interests of the group.Eastern political institutions, business organisations and private bodies are required toreach a consensus to institute checks and balances. The principle of musyawarah asmentioned in the Pancasila or five key principles of the Indonesian state runs: "Democracywisely led by deliberations between representatives." These representatives interpret thespirit of the law and these agreements can be more binding than the law.We admire leaders for their ability to lead the group and express our intereststhrough their own. It is expected that leaders will show favouritism and take some libertiesbecause of their position. What is important is that they practice the majority religion (orbelief) of the group and reflect these values in their lives. Inequality is part of life, so thereis no point blaming our leaders. Instead we hope that our leaders will determine "right"from "wrong" according to the traditions and religious values that control our destinies andharmony with the universe.When East meets WestWhile almost everyone agrees that we need ethics and principles to survive as acohesive society, determining what is right and wrong is much more difficult. Incrediblechanges in the East and West due to urbanisation and technology have changed many of theprinciples once believed to be absolute. Absolute truth is truth that is objective, universaland constant (McDowall & Hostetler, 1994:17). These values are usually found in religion.Westerners follow Judaeo-Christian ethics and principles. Easterners usually follow Muslim,Hindu or Buddhist ethics. These religions have very different values, though many of theethics and principles are similar.However, where truth is no longer regarded as absolute and becomes a personaldecision, problems can arise. We see many horrific crimes in the West where individualsjustify their deeds as being right because they believe them to be so. Gays, feminists,capitalists and environmentalists all believe that they have the right to choose their ownmorality. These competing interests are usually best served by trying to keep everyone onan equal footing through rules and regulations.When leaders in the East make choices for other individuals they do it because theybelieve they are serving the best interests of the group. These choices are influenced bythose who are owed favours or deserve loyalty, such as family and friends. Problems arisewhen private and public resources are not kept separate and influence decisions.
  • 40. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 40In this sort of environment transparency in government, bureaucracy and business isminimal and corruption and bribery can become commonplace.Many Easterners look to the West and see us as being immoral, while Westernersoften perceive Easterners to be dishonest. Neither is absolutely true. The need to followabsolutes in morality and honesty are difficult, but should be pursued if we are to havestrong ethics and principles. As Singapores elder statesman Lee Kuan Yew says, "All durablecultures must uphold honesty." (McCarthy, 1998:42) To do that requires strong moralvalues. In this case it is important for us to know our ethical boundaries and find out thoseof our counterparts. Then we need to decide whether we are willing to work within theirmoral parameters.4. IN LANGUAGE AND CUSTOMSWestern Language: Literal, informal, facts-drivenLanguage is communicated culture and the primary means of interacting with others.The language we speak defines us culturally and transfers our knowledge and learning viaparticular media. In the West the written word is of paramount importance, as it can beused as a reference on which to build and pass on knowledge.It is also more scientific, able to be checked against other documents to verify itsauthenticity. Thus especially in English, the dominant Western language, language comes inall sorts of genre or styles, which we understand relate to specific uses, such as academic,journalistic, legal and political writing styles. We are primarily concerned with facts.English is a literal, matter-of-fact language, "what I say I mean". We use innuendoand humour very successfully to circumvent and expand the boundaries imposed on ourlanguage by its rather tight structure. Depending on which English-speaking country we hailfrom will influence somewhat our presentation of it. The British are generally quite formaland reserved and follow more protocols in expressing their language. Americans, despitetheir Hollywood image of being loud-mouthed Yanks, also follow certain protocols and useforms of address such as, "Sir" and "Madam" when addressing others. Australians on theother hand prefer direct informality: trying to rid themselves of the plum in the mouthBritish-ness of their former colonial masters and avoid the cultural imperialism of the UnitedStates.Another category of English is found in the former British colonies of the East, wherethere is Singapore English, Malaysian English and Indian English, each with their variousEastern customs melded into the language. While we may have trouble understanding eachother, it but serves to show the versatility of English, and its dominance as the language ofbusiness, finance, academia, media and the arts. The dominance of English has causedmany English-speakers to assume that others should learn English if they want tocommunicate with us, as if the language itself is the medium on which learning, knowledgeand business is based. This often [subconscious] view is termed linguistic (or intellectual)arrogance.Western Customs: Informal, direct and individualisticTo a certain extent our customs reflect our language, or maybe it’s the other wayaround. Either way, Westerners generally admire informality in relationships, as thisunderlines the equality of the exchange. We dont particularly like long-winded greetings orinordinate protocols, as this signifies hot air and possibly a lack of sincerity, rather thanbeing direct. What we consider rhetorical, especially the variety used by many of ourpoliticians is not considered proper outside of fairly limited contexts.
  • 41. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 41Usually we like to get to the point and stick to it. This cultural trait manifests itselfwhen meeting: a strong handshake, firm gaze and direct greeting best serve to get acrossour individual nature. We keep our greetings short and to the point and dont see thepurpose of pretending that we really like someone when we dont or if we dont know themvery well. If we show too much familiarity with someone they may think we want somethingfrom them or that we are trying to gain favour in their eyes. This could serve to make arelationship unequal. Thus especially in the workplace, these protocols are observedreligiously. We consider it demeaning to: "Suck up to the boss" or "Kiss butt", as this implieswe are no longer being accepted in our own right but based on our relationship with asuperior.Guarding our own personal space is another strong Western cultural trait, where wetend to avoid close physical contact with members of the same sex [in public] and like tokeep our distance from people we dont know well. In conversation we like keeping to safesubjects not too close to the heart and not likely to expose too much of our individual selves.We are not particularly reflective (especially males) and like to stick to the facts and to whatis obvious.Now and the future are more important, rather than our immediate past and that ofour families. The primary emphasis of Western culture is individualism. Avoiding situationswhere that individualism is threatened is vital. We dislike customs which identify us racially,historically or religiously. Westerners form friendships with those they like or who havesimilar interests. Our customs reflect that. We like to be taken on the "what you see is whatyou get" basis, preferring to be seen as separate and distinct individuals.Eastern Languages: Oral, formal, rhetoric-drivenThere are so many languages in the East that I will not attempt to approach themlinguistically, but rather from their overall manifestation in culture. I will use Indonesian andMalay, my cultural background, as a basis for some conclusions. In the East the oraltradition is strong, as it allows elders and seniors to pass on important information to thegroup.We learn what we are told and believe it to be true. It is not our role to questionwhat we are told but to use it and put it into practice to the best of our ability. Rhetoric,especially in speaking, is vital, as style, presentation and persona are most important.Most Asian languages are contextual, poetic languages, allowing us to engage eachother in conversation without needing to be direct or offensive, by leaving the underlyingmeaning unsaid, but perfectly understood. In writing, this becomes even more subtle, as itis the art of the words true meaning that we are conveying. It is the skill of the reader orlistener in understanding what is really being said that is most admired. Our humour is thusmore slapstick, relying on situations to explain the humour of our words.Because of our innate desire not to offend, all Eastern cultures have strong protocolswhich are observed when meeting. We recognise status at all times, and accord those ofhigher status special terms, such as the Indonesian "Bapak" or "Ibu" (Father or Mother) toindicate our respect for those senior in age or status.Even though Asian cultures are quite different, the rhetoric of respect permeates allthese languages and their forms of address are similar. This means that important people atfunctions and meetings must be addressed according to their status—no one can be left out,otherwise we will have offended someones honour. Honour is very important and it is mostoften expressed through language. Those who have honour are those who know the rightprotocols to observe in a particular language.
  • 42. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 42Even though English is the medium of communication between many Easterners, andis recognised as the means of gaining Western knowledge, thats where it ends. Ourlinguistic history is long and glorious and our cultural values and emphasis on relationshipssurpass Western values. Sometimes this is termed cultural arrogance.Eastern Customs: Formal, indirect and collectiveThe strong emphasis on hierarchy in relationships colours Eastern customs, requiringus to take into account the formality of the exchange according to the persons status. Welike long-windedness and rhetoric, because it gives us time to assess the relationship basedon a mutual trust in each others status. If we hurry an initial meeting we maymisunderstand the degree of respect needing to be accorded the other person, or give themtoo much face. Either way we belittle them.The key skill is getting to the point without appearing to force the issue. Whenmeeting others these cultural traits come to the fore: a soft handshake, an inclining orbowing of the head and an indirect greeting according to each other’s status. When theinformal greeting is over we defer to the person of higher status, allowing them to determinethe rules of engagement. We always appear to like someone, even if we dont and aftermeeting someone once will always remember them as a friend. We accept inequality inrelationships and thus expect people of lower rank to seek favours from those of higherstatus. In return they demand our loyalty and get it. There is nothing wrong with that.Because we have grown up in large extended families we feel uncomfortable withpersonal space and prefer to be in close (often physical) contact with people of the samesex, whereas we avoid close [public] contact with those of the opposite sex. Even withthose we dont know well, we are quick to seek their inclusion into our group by asking themquestions about their families, marrital status, work and income. The key is to establish amutual trust on which to build a relationship. We like to be reflective and discuss history andour familys place within it. Talking about shared pasts and the here an now help determineinclusion in the group.The primary emphasis of Eastern culture is its collectiveness. We avoid situationswhere we must act as individuals without a group identity. Thus we are happy when we aredefined by our race, history and religion. It allows us to develop relationships with thosewho recognise our group identity and are willing to fit into it. We like to be taken as weappear and accorded the status fitting our place in society. This can only be achieved if asan individual I align myself with a particular social group.When East meets WestWhile a language can be learned separate from its culture and the learner may cometo know the language quite well, it is understanding language within its cultural context thatdefines a real communicator. Because Eastern and Western cultures are so different, this isno easy task. We may become quite fluent in each others languages, but never really workout the actual dynamics of one anothers culture. What becomes fundamentally important toworking out cultural differences in language and customs is to understand their meaning.Our languages and customs are really a social buffer, allowing us to hide behind words andpractices with which we are comfortable.In Eastern cultures where bonds between people count for so much, it is notprimarily law which channels and corrects human behaviour. Rather it is the relatedconcepts of honour and shame. Eastern languages and customs faithfully reflect this view intheir expression. The aim is to avoid shame at all costs and seek honour.
  • 43. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 43This may mean saying something we dont really mean, or taking on a responsibilitywe cant possibly accomplish simply to save face. There are, for example, numerous shadesto the word "yes" in Eastern languages. It may mean yes I hear you, yes, no, maybe, ordefinitely not.The Western perspective of language is that it be the tool of the individual, thus for itto have numerous nuances is to make it an inefficient means of communication. Because weare individuals and like to be taken as such we uphold honesty to mean saying things asthey are. Lying is not telling truth as it is. If someone has done the wrong thing, it is not upto us to save their face, let them take the blame for it. Right and wrong relates to a law orrule. Yes usually means yes and no means no.While we know that these mores are not always practiced, they remain ideals of oursociety and those who practice them still receive admiration. We know we have differentvalues, yet these values can become a bone of contention or a beneficial tool to expand ourway of thinking and doing things. Overcoming cultural differences, the topic of our finalchapter, will attempt to give some helpful hints and methods of building and maintainingstrong cross-cultural relationships.
  • 44. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 44CHAPTER 5Overcoming Cultural DifferencesIn this section we will recap some of the key issues that influence our cultures andlook at ways to overcome them. After studying some of these principles it would then behelpful to study your target culture more carefully. That culture may be in another country,state or right here where you work or live. Of one thing you can be sure, as the worldbecomes a more multicultural place, being able to overcome cultural differences will paydividends for you personally and professionally. Business and management today is aboutpeople and people are about culture.1. IN LEARNING CULTUREThe first thing we need to do is recognise that there is a strong cultural dividebetween East and West. Hopefully this book has convinced you beyond a shadow of a doubtthat this is the case. If it has, read on, for this final chapter contains some positive advice onhow we can bridge this cultural divide together. Learning to enjoy the often treacherouswaters of cross-cultural differences and develop long-standing friendships is daunting, butwith the right attitude and understanding quite achievable.Getting togetherThe initial meeting and greeting lays the foundation of the ensuing relationship, so ifyou want it to work out you better try and get it right the first time. We need to rememberhere how Easterners and Westerners express themselves when greeting. Easterners tend tobe more formal and project a calm, friendly and polite manner. Westerners are usually moreinformal, and project a relaxed and personable manner. Easterners are status conscious andwant to know what group you belong to, your marital status, education and job position.The Westerner is more interested in the individual—their job, skills, hobbies and abilities.In this book I have not attempted to go into a vast amount of detail about the dosand donts of Eastern and Western cultural etiquette, as much of the information provided inthese awareness type books is cultural overkill, which seems to assume the reader lackscommon sense. There are however a few common points of cultural etiquette to beobserved when meeting Easterners. I cover this more extensively in my cultural profileUnderstanding Indonesians (Rattray, 1998:41):Shaking hands is a common practice when meeting and this must always be done with the righthand. When giving or receiving money or any other small items the right hand should always beused. Even with larger items where both hands are required it is recommended that the right handbe the first hand to grasp the object being handed to you. The left hand “tangan” in Indonesianculture is considered tangan kotor, haram or sial. This concept has a number of culturalconnotations. Tangan means hand and kotor dirty; the understanding being that the left hand isused for cleaning oneself after being to the toilet. Haram is an Arabic word which means forbiddenor unclean and has a similar connotation to kotor, while sial or misfortune represents a wide beliefthat touching certain parts of the body can bring bad luck. It is also considered bad manners totouch someone on the head or to show overt affection in public.This practice applies pretty much throughout Southeast Asia and the Middle East andto a lesser extent in North Asia. Showing familiarity with anyone is considered rude, thoughaffection amongst members of the same sex is quite common.
  • 45. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 45It is hard to get used to other guys trying to hold your hand or put their arm aroundyou even though there is nothing being suggested by the display other than friendship.Easterners will always smile and often banter with each other, but tend to be more reservedthan Westerners. Westerners can appear to be fairly abrupt, but this is mainly because theyare uncomfortable with close physical contact.Safe environments for Westerners are usually those outside of the home, family andpersonal life—in locations where neither person has the advantage. We prefer to be at workif we are relying on our technical or professional expertise to impress. For the Easterner asafe environment is where their group values are reinforced in favourite eating places, thefamily home or on special religious and social occasions. We usually work at work and dobusiness away from it. Important decisions are made with family and friends around. Forthe Easterner the key is to see us acting and reacting in the social setting before theybecome interested in our professional skills. Westerners, on the other hand, like to see anindividuals performance in narrower terms, relating to the specific abilities they bring to therelationship. Remember: Being willing to extend ourselves in relationships to allow themutual building of trust requires a great deal of patience.Building relationshipsAfter an initial bond has begun to develop it is vitally important to continue to fosterthe friendship, and this applies in business or otherwise. Easterners view a relationshipworth pursuing as a potentially life-long one and like to take their time. One of the ways toreinforce family bonds is through the written word and Easterners are prolific writers. Thiscan be a problem if neither speaks the others language. In either case, an on-goingcorrespondence is necessary, usually via an intermediary.As has been previously mentioned, the written word is used by Easterners asWesterners speak verbally. Therefore, even in a business relationship Easterners like to hearhow you and your family are fairing, not just of the more impersonal business needing to beattended to. Westerners will find it difficult to escape the inclusive nature of relationshipswhen dealing with Easterners and this applies even more if you are doing business in theEast.Easterners in the West must accept that Western business is mostly confined tobusiness hours and requires getting down to business. Westerners like to follow a fairlystrict timetable and expect it to be followed. In the West sticking to timetables is a keyelement in developing respect in relationships and tardiness is not appreciated. Beingorganised is a highly prized commodity in the West.For Westerners building friendships in the East, respect is gained by being flexibleand not putting your cards down on the table too fast. Otherwise you will be regarded asunwise. Disclosing deadlines is also unwise as it gives your counterpart a line in the sand onwhich to bargain, and Easterners are masters in the art of bargaining. Remember: Easterncontacts will want to consider they are able to trust you socially before entering into abusiness deal. That is the level of trust being sought. In the West, punctuality and precisionare more highly regarded.Making decisionsThe decision-making process can be long and drawn out, especially when there aretwo completely different cultures involved, as both sides have to determine trust from theirrespective views of it. Easterners dont necessarily take a long time to make decisions, just afair while to make up their minds. There is a difference.
  • 46. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 46A venture is considered from all sides and angles, not just those relating, forexample, to a particular project. Once a decision is made, the speed with which a venturetakes off can be a real surprise to Westerners. Westerners consider a project started once ithas been agreed to, whereas Easterners consider a venture begun when it has strated. Justbecause an agreement has been reached doesnt necessarily mean that everything followingit is a sure thing.A yes in the East is simply an affirmative, a verbal sign of intent, and a contract isseen to be the written version of it. Westerners on the other hand view the contract as atangible sign that everything has been agreed to, and if no objections are made at thecontract stage, we should be able to move on to the next stage reasonably sure that it willgo ahead. Here is where many East-West business relationships become unstuck. To theWesterner a contract is a legally binding document of law. To the Easterner it is a workingdocument of principles to be negotiated. Because relationships are based on personalfriendships, Easterners feel that agreements can be renegotiated if they are no longermutually beneficial. Once a deal has been struck in the West and a contract entered into it isunlikely that it will be renegotiated except in extreme circumstances.Once again we get back to slightly differing versions of trust. A sign of trust in theWest is sticking to your word and the letter of the law. If you didnt get the advantage youwanted this time, better luck next time. A sign of trust in the East is being flexible enough tochange if your colleague is at an obvious disadvantage or the conditions of an agreementchange. Bartering is something that all Easterners enjoy doing, so it is inconceivable thatsuch a tight margin or timeline is being followed that there is little room for negotiation.Remember: In the East it is better to go in high and be flexible, as you can be assured of abargaining process. In the West there is less flexibility in margin and scope, so keep it tight.Getting agreementThis aspect of negotiations can be very interesting, especially when the expectationsof both sides may be poles apart. Because Westerners like to be organised they prefer to laythings out in a fairly detailed strategy, then check and countercheck to make sure everythingis right. Easterners prefer to build trust at the personal level before developing moredetailed plans. For them it is faith in the people and the overall project, not the details thatreally count. If the big picture appeals to their sense of mutual benefit, the rest can benegotiated in due course.Bartering and bargaining is one way this personal profile of individuals is developed.Negotiating and renegotiating business is a game of brinkmanship, but not necessarily in anegative sense. Those with honour bargain, those without it dont. Westerners find thisinterminable bargaining tedious. In fact, appearing too flexible in terms and conditionsseems to be a lack of efficiency and organisation. This of course can be the case, but theEastern facade can often be deceiving. Appearing to have all the time in the world is ameans of getting the best deal. The one who loses their cool’ first is the one who loses thebest deal.I have had Chinese friends casually agree over dinner to things we had been hagglingabout for days or weeks. Pushing for a deal is the Western way. In the East there is a righttime for everything. An example cited by Dennis Lane (1995:37) in One World Two Minds ofan American businessman in Japan probably best sums it up:Visiting his Japanese counterpart one evening, he carried in his pocket a contract for signing.Being culturally sensitive, he said nothing during the evening, which passed pleasantly with socialchitchat. As he reached the doorway on leaving, his friend said, "By the way, I think you brought acontract with you tonight. May I please have it?"
  • 47. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 47When the American handed him the document the Japanese businessman went straight to the endof the document, signed it and handed it back. Astonished that he had not even read the contract,the American asked him, "Are you not going to read it?" "No," said the Japanese, "You are the kindof man I like to do business with."Remember: To the Westerner an agreement is followed to the letter. To an Easterner it isa declaration of trust and the starting point for further negotiation.Maintaining agreementsAgainst the backdrop of the previous section getting the green light is a little moredifficult than signing a contract and getting a qualified yes. When is the yes qualified? Willit be honoured? Does it include a bribe? What constitutes a bribe? These thoughts flyaround in our heads when we consider options in these situations. First of all it must be saidthat if you do business with Easterners in the East you must be prepared to negotiate. Ifyou are an Easterner doing business in the West, dont expect your Western counterparts tobe nearly as flexible as they were prior to a signed agreement.Mocthar Lubis (1988:9) in his treatise on Indonesian society laments that corruptionin its various forms has become part of the social fabric of the nation. I am sure that anyonewho watches the news and keeps an eye on current affairs in the West is less than happywith public and private accountability in our nations, though strong fiscal management is akey Western strongpoint. In this case regards to corruption, I can only speak from personalexperience and that of my business colleagues. While a problem in the East, if strongpersonal relationships are developed prior to major financial exposure and a good level oftrust is established, bribery in its purest forms can and should be avoided.Where payments for services rendered come into play, then these issues will have tocome down to your own view of right and wrong. Here is a personal example:My father was asked to negotiate some disputed land we had acquired for the building of anairfield. According to the land titles, our organisation had land tenure. Dad met with the mostsenior local Agrarian official who agreed that we definitely were in the right. Even though wehad won, after some discussion amongst ourselves, we decided to officially hand over a relativelylarge sum of “good-will” money to the complainant for the sake of good on-going relations withthe locals. He received the money with gratitude, appreciating our respect for him.Was this a bribe? It certainly was not perceived to be so by the locals, officials or us.It was seen as a tangible show of good-will. Remember: Maintaining agreements shouldnot be about winning or losing—that can spell real trouble in the East. Flexibility helpsovercome these issues, even in the West, and is vital to long-term agreements.Mutual respectTo learn about others and to keep relationships going requires a good dose of mutualrespect. When East and West come together this factor becomes imperative. BecauseEasterners are so good at hiding their feelings and Westerners tend to show their emotionsmore openly, this area can be a minefield. The right attitude is the key.For a Westerner it is much harder to pretend. Easterners are able to feigncontentment most of the time. Deciding on what level of respect to accord someone in theEast depends on many mitigating factors—age, status, seniority, religion, to name a few. Inthe West it is primarily based on our skills, ability and professionalism.Learning to show respect is critical and more important to Easterners than beingefficient or professional. When Westerners come across in their business-like manner itimmediately gets Easterners backs up. Westerners on the other hand are often surprisedand disappointed by the lack of professionalism displayed by Easterners.
  • 48. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 48Mutual respect effects agreements, causing parties that feel disrespected to renegeon deals. An example quoted in the AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW Thursday, February26, 1998 is a case in point:"The moment when Michel Camdesus stood, arms folded, over President Soeharto as he signedthe IMF deal was for many Indonesians, an intolerable sign of colonialism."In defence of Mr Camdesus, according to French custom, folding of the arms is a signof deference to a more senior figure, however even in the West this type of body language isregarded negatively. For Asians it is almost as condescending as standing with ones handson hips. Standing above or over someone of senior status is definitely not showing respect.Easterners have a perception of Westerners as being arrogant and this type of disrespect hasits roots in the colonial era. We may not like it, but Westerners must understand that theseunderlying feelings remain.Some Eastern traits also annoy us: the tendency to not stand in line, but to push in isone often-heard comment. Expecting special treatment because of status is another one.Easterners need to keep in mind that Westerners are more egalitarian. Remember:Easterners are very easily offended and take it personally, whereas Westerners tend to beless thin skinned. Be humble and win or offend at your own peril.2. TALKING CULTURETo be able to learn culture properly we need to speak it. Some of the hints in theprevious sections are helpful starting points, but to speak culture requires you to becomemore active. Dont be daunted by the difficulties. Be prepared to learn how to speak theirlanguage, and not just the linguistic variety. Appreciate their culture. This advice isespecially pertinent for those who work and live with people of other cultures.Living side-by-sideUnfortunately we dont do enough of this, mainly because of certain preconceptionson both sides. Westerners living in the East often move into the local expatriate communitywhere they have almost no contact with the local people. Sometimes this is necessary forsecurity reasons, but more often than not it is a form of cultural exclusion seen to emanatefrom the West. We like our personal space and others who respect these values.When Easterners come to live in the West they often form their own communities,mainly due to the [perceived] lack of community of their Western counterparts. In someinstances these ghettos have a negative connotation. Easterners like to feel comfortablewith their neighbours and have their friends around them. In urban areas community spiritis vanishing, especially in the West, where we often dont know our immediate neighboursmore than in passing.Usually Easterners will send a child around with a small dish of food to welcomestrangers. This is not a gift expecting a favour in return. Rather, one brings back the emptybowl and forms a relationship from that initial contact. In the East people are inclined tocome around at all hours, often without an appointment. To the time conscious Westernerthis requires you to nominate specific times when you are not available. (Family matters arealways acceptable.) In the West, Easterners should expect visiting hours to bepredetermined and it is uncommon and rather unacceptable to just drop by for a visit.Remember: The quality of relationships developed at the social level will reap dividends forbusiness and provide numerous contacts able to protect you from cultural faux pas.
  • 49. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 49Working togetherThis is the most likely point of cross-cultural interaction and one where we can oftennot avoid its consequences. Having a good working relationship is the key in any culture,but absolutely vital when East meets West. Due to Easterners being status conscious, thereare certain instances where work ethics will come into conflict. If you are of superior status,then it is above you to do manual labour. Your subordinates would not allow you to do itanyway, as this signifies disrespect for their status and yours. Eastern men often grow longfingernails to signify that they arent manual workers.Westerners consider it a point of pride to get in there and get their hands dirty. It isa sign that our professional abilities do not get in the way of us showing equality when a jobneeds to be done. We expect everyone to lend a hand, as this will lighten the load for theindividual. This is also an Eastern concept, but applied within a hierarchical context.Often work groups join together in some collective activity, but even in theseinstances those with higher status will not join those with lower status in manual labour.The concept of gotong-royong, where the group gets together for a particular purpose canbe applied, but like the barn-raising tradition in the West, it is understood that this activitymust serve the entire group or be reciprocated accordingly to each individual in the group.Working within hierarchical or egalitarian constraints reflects back to our concept ofrespect. In the West we give respect and accord status to those who are able to roll uptheir sleeves and get the job done. In the East people are respected for their position andare expected to maintain that level of authority. When working together it will depend onwhether the predominant culture is Eastern or Western. We may then have to modify ourbehaviours accordingly, either by getting in there and doing the job with everyone else or byhanging back and allowing others to do the job for us. In many instances your work ethicswill be respected if you are able to explain why they are important to you. Remember: Inall cultures it is vital to retain the respect of your peers. You must be comfortable andfamiliar with how things are done in the predominant culture and be prepared to work withinits constraints.Being hospitableWhile many Westerners would consider hospitality as separate from work, in theEast, social and business ties are almost inseparable. In the East you will find thatinvitations to weddings, birthdays and funerals are commonplace, whereas in the West wewould reserve these occasions for close family and friends. Learning to read into invitationsis important, as not being present may be regarded as a dishonour to the family or beingpresent may embarrass those who did not intend for the invitation to be taken literally. Afterspending many years in another culture, it is relatively easy to distinguish a genuineinvitation.For newcomers it is much more difficult and requires close ties to a cultural mentorwho understands the local customs well enough to assist. Westerners like their personal andprivate space. This requires Easterners to be sensitive to that need and give them breathingroom. Over time this can be achieved as mutual trust and respect builds betweencolleagues. Easterners on the other hand prefer not to be alone and like someone to bearound. In fact the greatest fear for an Easterner is to be abandoned by their group. ForWesterners it is more the fear of having nothing.When Westerners invite someone to a function or celebration, the offer is current andwe intend the person to take it up or decline it. Dont be surprised if Easterners seekclarification as to the strength of the invitation.
  • 50. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 50Once you have been invited to a function it is considered bad face in most culturesto cancel an invitation unless there is a family or work crisis. Sending a representative inyour stead is one way of overcoming this. However, they will need to be someone of similarstatus who is known to the hosts.Easterners place much greater emphasis on being hospitable than Westerners andthere is an expectation of reciprocation, not so much as a payback, but more to revealdetails about your group values. Social affairs reveal much about our colleagues and arehelpful in understanding the culture, for this is the time when we are most candid.Remember: Most business in the East is done outside of the workplace in restaurants,homes and clubs. Westerners tend to avoid talking shop outside of work, apart from inmore traditional meeting places such as country clubs.Entertaining customsEasterners are proud of their cultural differences, especially when it comes toentertaining, as the idea is to try and outdo each other. Being interested in anothersculture will get you a long way. Easterners dont usually ask why certain customs arefollowed. Rather they are interested in its history and exact procedural steps. Westernersare more concerned with why a custom is followed and its significance. Often Easterners willsimply say, "Because thats the way it has always been done". Traditions are constantlychanging, but we stick to certain customs because we feel comfortable with how they defineus.For example, Singaporeans seldom entertain at home, preferring to eat out. This is apredominantly Chinese tradition. Chinese tend to be less likely to invite you to family homesthan Malay. Chinese are however renowned for their lavish hospitality to guests, especiallywhen it comes to food. Malays like to entertain at home, as their homes are the centre oftheir existence and using the home brings good luck.Customs of course can be notoriously fickle. I was surprised at the difference indining etiquette between neighbouring Dayak tribes. Sebaru Dayak provide hospitality viathe family with which you are staying. You stay in their bilek (section) of the longhouse andeat exclusively with them. On first visiting Desa Dayak, traditional enemies of the Sebaru, Iexpected similar treatment. After finishing the evening meal with my host family, I wasinvited to eat at the next bilek. I declined, thinking it to be gesture of politeness. Theyindicated that this was their custom and that I was expected to eat in each bilek that wishedto honour me. After some 20 different fares I learnt an interesting lesson on a very fullstomach.Three Korean friends commented at how offended they were that after some threemonths in Australia they had not yet been invited to their friends home for a meal. Beinginvited out was fine, but what this group regarded as real hospitality was to be invited homefor a meal. Remember: Easterners place great emphasis on mutual entertaining to cementtrust, so you should expect a full itinerary when visiting the East. When Easterners come tothe West, expect to be entertained less, as Westerners often assume that you prefer ‘doingyour own thing.Mutual trustThe previous cultural activities all point toward the development of trust. Getting toknow one another on a variety of different fronts helps us to build levels of trust. Easternerspay particular attention to how we deal with them and their families, friends and colleagues.Westerners focus more exclusively on how we work and perform.
  • 51. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 51Work relationships are sufficient grounds for doing business and personalrelationships are okay for personal interests. The two dont have to mix, as Westerners dontneed to know the whole person, just what is necessary for the task at hand. Easterners arenot satisfied with a personal profile. They want to know how you fit into the big picture.Trust is very important to Easterners, though it is not always seen in the same light byWesterners. In the East trust is more about shame and honour. In the West it tends to veertowards concepts of right and wrong. Westerners usually take people at their literal word.To Easterners the right intention is more important.Easterners see time and circumstances as being flexible, whereas Westerners see itas being more constant. Misunderstandings arise in this context, as Westerners seetomorrow as being in 24 hours time or less. Easterners construe time to be the next day orsome time in the future. I can recall discussing my previous visit to a small town as being afew months ago, whereas my Indonesian friend kept referring to it as yesterday.Westerners see it as wrong to not keep your word or to a timetable, as thisinconveniences another person. Easterners see it as wrong to not be flexible enough toallow for hold-ups rather than shame someone by being a stickler for time. Thus Easternerswill often say yes to save face now even though they may not be able to keep theirpromise. Westerners are less extravagant with their word in order to save face later. Ofcourse lying is not accepted in the East or West. It is more the view of true and false.Westerners tend to be more precise. Easterners are more flexible. As we work togetherclosely the practicality and efficiency of being on time has been largely accepted.Remember: Where important processes and systems require precise timetables, Easternersneed to understand the consequences of not following procedures. Where people areinvolved, especially those of senior status, Westerners will need to be more flexible.Working things outWhen differences inevitably arise, resolving them can be quite a balancing act,especially when we know that a wrong decision can have serious repercussions forprofessional and personal relationships. Because Easterners tend to avoid conflicts at allcosts or attempt to ignore them and Westerners prefer to resolve them before they becomeserious problems, decisions are often made on a knife-edge of conflicting interests.Understanding the tendencies our cultures have predisposed upon us is the first step inworking things out.Easterners are very easily offended, even though they dont always show it. Themost important thing is to ensure that a situation does not get to the stage where we havecaused major offence. But when we work and live together offences inevitably occur. WhenWesterners perceive theres a problem, their natural inclination is to attempt to resolve it assoon as possible, usually by a direct and personal approach. However even in the Westpeople will not always tell us to our faces if we have offended them. Our next move isusually to stop worrying, since it obviously wasnt that big a deal if the person involved saidthere was no problem.That type of approach may be okay in the West, but applied in the East is a sure-fireway of making enemies. Once you have made an enemy in the East, you may have one forlife. One way of guarding against this occurring is to form a close group of confidants whosupport you and will advise you if you have overstepped the line. This is also advisable foran Easterner in the West. Easterners like to form close bonds with a wider range people, soas to ensure they have their finger on the relationship pulse. Westerners favour a tightercircle of contacts, preferring to rely on those with whom they have a close personal orprofessional rapport.
  • 52. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 52In many cases the best way to find out about personal disputes is to keep your earclose to the ground. If a dispute arises, determine the level of support for your way ofdealing with it. This requires consultation, and if the majority view is that it needs to beresolved, then it needs to be done so in the most culturally appropriate manner.Remember: Failing to work things out in a culturally appropriate way—via a go-between inthe East or face-to-face in the West—may spell disaster for your relationship.Winning and losingThe way we look at this topic determines our perspective of whether we have wonor lost in a particular situation. Our view of winning and losing is primarily cultural. Rivalryis a key factor in Eastern relationships, where individuals, families, people groups andnations are constantly assessing and reassessing their options. Who you know is far moreimportant than what you know, thus the emphasis is to cultivate and to be indebted to thosewho can change situations for us.To the more egalitarian Western mind the process of advancement is competitive andopen, with the emphasis being on our personal ability to succeed. Most Westernersunderstand that to some degree "who you know politics" still determine how far we getahead in life. But the most admirable quality of a Western winner is to start with nothingand make it to the top. How you made it is important, so those who have made it fairly bytheir own efforts are most admired. Competition is usually tough, open and played by therules. Easterners are rampant manipulators as well as humble submitters. It will dependvery much on the situation. There is no point trying to win if it destroys you in the process.Then again, one has to be persistent to win. An Eastern winner is someone at the top whois able to stay there despite attempts to undermine and topple them.While Westerners rely on personal ability, education and experience to win, theEasterner tends to regard these aspects as only part of the continuum. Though rarelyspoken about outside of group circles, supernatural powers are commonly incurred to seekadvancement or good luck. Muslims may use excerpts from the Koran (baca-baca) to wardoff curses or to curse someone. Chinese appease their ancestors to bring prosperity andinvoke their powers to gain wisdom. Dayak often place charms over their doorways toprotect their houses from theft. Few Easterners totally discount the role of supernaturalpowers in their lives.Westerners will continue to strive while it is humanly possible, whereas Easternersare in some ways more fatalistic, appearing to often be resigned to losing, even whileseeking other avenues. Remember: These two different ways of looking at winning andlosing often means that Easterners and Westerners view the same outcome from oppositesides.Talking the talkUp till now we have looked at communication as consisting of various cultural issuesinfluencing relationships. The best way to become fluent in another culture is by learning itslanguage. When we actually want to transfer something from one culture to another itbecomes even more difficult if we are unable to communicate in the local lingo. Indeed itcan be argued that relying only on English in China, for example, will severely limit yourability to get a feel for the place. Likewise, Chinese who come to Australia and cant speakEnglish will suffer major disadvantages. If you are attempting to communicate managementor technical know-how, knowledge of the local language is indispensable.
  • 53. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 53Knowledge of local tongues is the true precursor to understanding the culture of thepeople and being able to deal with them on an equal footing. Interestingly, linguisticarrogance plays a strong part in the reason why many Westerners fail to learn a secondlanguage. We simply assume that if anyone requires knowledge all they need to do is learnEnglish and the Western way of doing things. Easterners respect Western education andthe scientific method, wanting to not only learn our secrets, but better them. We believethat by combining our cultural values with Western learning, we can not only be equal, butsuperior.Few Eastern companies would send someone to the West who doesnt speak Englishand if they dont know it when they arrive, they are expected to learn it as soon as possible.The results of a Price Waterhouse survey of Jakarta expatriates (1995:14-15) makesinteresting reading. Westerners do pick up the local language to a basic degree, howeverthose who can speak it at a vocational level is a low 24%. While 80 percent of thosesurveyed indicated that they felt knowledge of Indonesian was important, only 70 percenthad actually undertaken a course.Learning a second language is a major commitment that should begin long beforeyou decide to work in another country. Being conversant in the language and culture is thekey to the next section of this book. Remember: The effort that we have taken to learn aforeign language and culture will speak volumes to those who are watching and waiting forus to display our negative cultural traits. It will help you to be a cultural winner.3. IN TRANSFERRING CULTUREOne of the most advanced forms of cross-cultural interaction is at the transfer level,where you will need to assess needs, develop strategies and deliver measurable outcomesbased on the environment at hand. If you think transferring knowledge, skills and expertisedoes not include culture, then you may not agree with some of the conclusions drawn at theend of this book. However, my contention is that understanding the culture andenvironment of the learner is the key to transferring knowledge and skills to them. That willbe the premise of this section.Learning environmentFirst of all, knowing how we learn is vitally important. If we are to trade views, ideasand experiences, or transfer knowledge, technology and skills we need to understand howwe learn. The most likely point of interaction between East and West is when we arelearning from each other. Most collective cultures place a strong emphasis on informallearning because this is where we learn as children to behave as adults. In Eastern societieswhere oral traditions are still strong, people know many of the same stories, traditions andhistory pertaining to their nation and particular ethnic group. This knowledge gives them asense of personal identity, which is directly linked to their kinship with the group.Formal learning takes on a similar pattern. As learners respect their elders in thegroup, so they respect their teachers. Whatever they are told to learn they believe to betrue and successful duplication of this knowledge in practice is regarded as being a sign ofsuccess. If learners attempt to move too far outside of these boundaries they risk beingbranded as troublemakers. Western cultures individualistic streak comes through strongly inlearning and children are encouraged to think and act independently within broad culturalguidelines. Textual traditions are strong in the West and most information is provided in avariety of media, which gives learners a choice of what they want to learn.
  • 54. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 54Personal selection means that informal learning can be more controlled by theindividual, and this style carries over into formal education where information is presented insuch a way as to prompt learners to determine their own approach to thinking. A learner isregarded as being successful when able to practically apply knowledge in a variety ofcontexts. What this means is that Eastern and Western learning expectations are quitedifferent, even though our capacity to learn is similar.A further influence on learning comes from the resources used to learn. Textbooksand workbooks have been commonly used in Western learning to personalise the learningexperience for each learner and to give them the freedom to pick and choose their material.In the East, resources like textbooks are often shared and copying information intonotebooks from predetermined material is a common way of studying. In the East teacherslead you towards knowledge. In the West teachers guide you towards it. These so-calledenvironmental considerations are recognised as key learning factors in similar cultures andeven more so in dissimilar ones.Much of the technical transfer today is still from West to East, thus it is vital forWesterners to understand the learning environments of Easterners if they are to transferknowledge effectively. Likewise it becomes important for Easterners to understand wherethe Westerner is coming from in relation to their presentation of information. Here is wherea fundamental difference in skills transfer often occurs, and, it is primarily cultural. ManyWesterners assume that because their knowledge (and language) is accepted as beingsuperior in a particular field, that the Western way of doing things (culture) will also beaccepted. Easterners may accept Western knowledge as being more advanced, and Englishas its medium, but still believe their way of doing things to be (culturally) superior. Formany Easterners knowledge is subservient to cultural values.There is an increasing recognition in the West that many of the cultural values held inhigh esteem by Easterners are beneficial and applicable in the West. The strong interest inthe New Age (of which Eastern religions play an integral part) and Eastern philosophies, suchas martial arts, are examples. Easterners admire us for our knowledge if not our culture, butthe stigma of colonisation has certainly not yet worn off. Sometimes this can display itself inan inferiority complex. Remember: Cultural and linguistic arrogance in all its forms canplay havoc on skills and knowledge transfer, and will only be overcome by mutual trust.Motivating othersThe next step is to find out the perceived benefit of the transfer to the learner andtheir organisation. When motivating others to learn the reward approach is used to assessthe individuals motivation. In the East, motivating people to learn is primarily rooted in thestatus and seniority obtained through learning itself. Westerners are usually motivated bythe job satisfaction gained in being able to do a job better, and the increased remunerationand associated responsibility. Based on the above stated perceptions, Easterners view theformality of the training, the assessment, grading or certification (status) as being the mostimportant factor. This factor is important in the West also, but its practicality andapplicability to the individual learner being able to do it (performance) that is the key.As I am sure you are working out, motivating someone primarily relies on his or hercultural values and social system, rather than actual technical expertise. Of course, theultimate objective is the same—that the learner is able to produce a product or supply aservice that combines technical expertise with their principle cultural values. This requiresyou, the one who is transferring skills, knowledge or expertise, to understand the people youwill be training.
  • 55. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 55Thus, the best way to motivate people in the East is through the organisationalhierarchy. If someone of senior status trains you, then you will listen to what they have tosay. In the West it is more likely that those who are the best performers or are the mosthighly skilled will provide the training.One of the problems often encountered in the East is that those of senior status donot like to learn new skills, as they have relied on their knowledge, connections andeducational qualifications to get to where they are, rather than their actual hands-onperformance. For the Westerner attempting to transfer skills into this organisationalenvironment lie many pitfalls, but the most common one is that of inadequate explanationand consultation with those in authority. Ensuring that those with the status see the benefitsof the transfer to them personally will facilitate these skills being passed on to those whoactually perform them. Remember: Giving the opportunity for those in authority to furtherdevelop ownership of the transfer will make it much more culturally acceptable.Managing peopleWhen attempting to seek mutual agreement on a particular course of action it is bestto begin at the management level. Beginning with management means starting with thepeople who make the decisions and who determine the values of an organisation. In mostcases these people will be locals who have a direct stake in the organisation. They will alsobe the best people to sound out about how and to whom the skills transfer applies. Even ifyou are called upon to carry out this initial needs analysis you will have to work closely withmanagement to bring about change in an organisation. In the East, management is carriedout within a values system, which is determined by cultural expectations (Hofstede, 1983:7).In the West managing people is a highly technical field, where management has becomealmost synonymous with rational thinking, systems and processes.While we recognise the human element within it and the need for stronginterpersonal relationships to make it work, Western society is much more used to managingprocesses and systems into which people must fit. If they dont fit they may becomeredundant. An important factor to consider when transferring Western managementconcepts to the East is the dual or multiple natures of Eastern societies, whereby theWestern economic system being applied to the workforce due to their occupation(s), may beat odds with the underlying social system and community culture in which they live (Yamada,1980:57-62).Getting skills transfer right means working closely with the change agents in anorganisation—those who are socially accepted and respected as being appropriate to bringabout change. Convincing them that change is necessary needs to be jointly consideredwithin the context of current social values and be based on these expressions in practice.Being able to integrate these factors into a mutually agreed system will help in the transferprocess and result in cohesive and effective understanding.Once these cultural issues are determined, a time frame can be developed in whichthe transfer can actually take place. Remember: In the East getting those with status toagree is all important to effective transfer, whereas in the West a more personal approach toindividuals may be applicable.
  • 56. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 56Mentoring rolesBefore actually designing or delivering a training program the relationship side reallyneeds to be taken one step further and cemented into place. If you are able to motivatesomeone to learn you are already halfway there. Its no problem motivating Easternstudents to learn, since any sort of formal knowledge is highly regarded, especially if theyknow that they will be more respected for it. Western learners may be more difficult tomotivate since they are often somewhat sceptical of a teachers motives. However, if theysee the personal benefits of learning for them as individuals they will participate.One of the most beneficial ways to foster this sort of environment in an organisationis to promote and ascribe mentoring roles to those with more senior status or with higherskill levels or experience. Field and Ford (1995:105) claim that mentoring is one of the keyways in which those who have learned particular skills transfer them to others in less formalways. This model of transferring knowledge has recently been rediscovered in the West,though traditionally it has been an integral aspect of both Eastern and Western learning.Western apprenticeship schemes are a more formalised example of the mentor-studentrelationship, where an apprentice learns a trade through observing one more experienced.Increasingly though mentoring is being used by companies to transfer managementskills to a multinational or cultural workforce. Lend Lease is one large Australian firm whichhas taken mentoring on board as a primary means of transferring management skills. In thisinstance mentoring is really a method of teaching. The mentor leads by example andprovides an opportunity for experiences, so that the mentee can learn from them. A mentorshouldnt provide answers and solutions, but help the learner think through to their ownsolutions. The mentoring approach can quite neatly combine Western processes andsystems with Eastern social and cultural values, and is an effective transfer model.Remember: To establish an effective transfer model you will need to know the culture sothat you can transfer skills or technology to local participants, then you will need to rely onthem to transfer and apply these skills further down the organisation.Teaching skillsWhile mentoring is more of an organisational matter, since it primarily deals withmanagement issues, it also influences teaching even if it is in technical areas. The mainreason for this is that all people work in organisations, thus they will work under some sortof management system. Teaching others is both cultural and personal, since it directlyapplies to those being trained and how they learn.One main teaching criterion is the learning environment, which can be further brokendown into contexts of learning. Put more simply, the environment relates to the wholesituation affecting the learner. Context relates to each situation effecting learning. Onceyou know culture—at national, community and organisational level—youve basically coveredenvironment. How we learn and what we consider worth learning is contextual.Cross-culturally this means that if you do not convince the learner of both thetechnical and cultural necessity for doing something, then it is most likely that they will learnthe technique, but not put it into practice. This is especially pertinent when you are teachingskills that require thinking that is above and beyond process-based motor skills. Thelearner(s) must be convinced of the benefit."Washing hands", is a good example. If you simply teach someone that they shouldwash their hands, then they will probably do it while you are around or practice it in theparticular instance in which it was taught.
  • 57. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 57But if they do not see the intrinsic benefit behind it, namely that germs causedisease, then they will not apply it across the board in every situation where washing ofones hands is necessary. This is a simple example, but one to which we all can relate.In more complex situations similar dynamics are at work. Painting the big picturewhen teaching Easterners helps them to understand the holistic reason for this learning.Westerners take a narrower approach which focuses more on understanding what is beinglearned. Remember: Eastern learners may accept the benefit of what they are beingtaught and learn it, but they will need to understand its applicability to their culture beforethey will put it into practice. Western learners on the other hand accept certain practicesbecause of their grounding in processes, but may have difficulty learning and rememberinginformation not seen pertinent to a particular system.Training MethodsOnce the previous considerations in this section have been put into place, the actualtraining can begin. The way learners are trained, evaluated and reviewed depends on yourunderstanding of the previous conditions and their effect on the learning outcome. Whetherin the West or the East the learning outcome should be the successful transfer of theinformation, skills or technology to the trainees by them actually applying it practically totheir [work] environment. This means that they will not just have to learn the process, butwill also have to consider it worth putting into practice.Here is where training methods become so important. If you dont adequatelyexplain the context of why something is being done, then the learner will not know why itshould be done. When Easterners are being trained they will often not ask questions, feelinga lack of knowledge is a loss of face. In general, Eastern students will learn things (facts andfigures) far more quickly than Western students, who will concentrate more on how it works(systems and processes). Here is an example:a) Eastern Training Methodb) Western Training MethodMeasuring outcomesThe final proof of the pudding comes in the eating and this is definitely the casewhen measuring the effectiveness of a training outcome. While I have applied aneducational method to skills transfer, due to this being my academic discipline, I firmlybelieve that if you are transferring technical or organisational skills cross-culturally, thenthese elements will play a pivotal role.1. Context1. Rationale 2. Context 3. Task 4. Outcome3. Rationale2. Task 4. OutcomeFor Eastern students training needs to be likethe links in a chain, where each link is closedoff before continuing on to the next stage. Thishelps learners recognise systems andprocesses in their widest possible context, andenables them to understand how thesesystems and processes can be put intopractice as principles rather than just beingretained as learned knowledge.Systems and processes come easily to Western learners, but this makes themsusceptible to always wanting to know why, rather than spending the timeneeded to appreciate learning for its intrinsic value. The aim is to help them putfacts and figures to more holistic use, by understanding the underlying nuancesand subtleties that come from learned knowledge.
  • 58. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 58Outcomes, like almost everything else we have studied, are benchmarked by culturalvalues and the perceived benefit this knowledge and skills transfer brings to the learner andtheir organisation. When East meets West, perceived benefits to learning outcomes may bequite different, and will need to be measured across the whole cultural spectrum. Thismeans that from the Western perspective a measured outcome is based on the ability of thelearner to put what they have learned into practice.Usually, this includes applying these skills in different contexts. The measuredoutcome is that they understand what they have learned by doing it. For Easterners learningis not just about the task at hand, but the experience and whether they feel that they haveachieved status within the group by gaining this knowledge. A measured outcome for anEasterner is to know how to put what they have learned into practice within the context thatthey learned the skill.To get Easterners to understand that what they have learned may be applied as aprinciple in various similar situations, as well as being retained as knowledge, may take moretime. Likewise, it can be difficult getting Westerners to appreciate that some contextualknowledge, even if it lies outside of the scope of a method or process, may in actual fact bevery important to the final result.Being able to measure outcomes against these two differing cultural views will go along way in follow-up activities. Because learning values are not the same, a good trainerwill ensure that outcomes focus on the culture within and without an organisation, then thetechnical aspects of the transfer can be presented to the learner based on their needs.Remember: Recognising learning differences as being cultural rather than intellectual willhelp you to concentrate on the skill areas that Eastern and Western trainers and learnersneed to modify for the transfer process to be beneficial in its new environment.4. IN APPLYING CULTUREIn any writings on culture one is at risk of either generalising to the detriment of themany contradictions and complexities intrinsic to cultural themes or narrowly pointing outindividual attributes and behaviours as characterising certain cultural values. Culture isabout finding your place in the world and being comfortable with it. My intention in writingthis book is to offer suggestions, not impose a diagnosis. If youve found some helpful ideas,it is my sincere hope that you will be able to put them into practice and help bridge thecultural divide near you.Cultural analysisSo, now that weve been through all this information, lets look back at theIntroduction and see what Mr John Scott and Pak Suhardi can do to bridge the cultural divideseparating them. First you need to look at the positive and negative aspects of the situation:POSITIVE1. They both know each other through work and also socially2. They are prepared to talk about and recognise there is a problem3. Both men realise that the relationship has been damaged4. They are relatively equal in status and both know it5. Their personal friendship may save their business relationship
  • 59. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 59NEGATIVE1. Pak Suhardi has lost face with his workers, peers and with the visitors2. Neither side can see the problem from the others perspective3. Pak Suhardi feels he has lost out in the status stakes to John4. John feels disappointed that that Pak Suhardi seems so petty5. Their lack of cultural understanding may yet sink the business ventureSYNOPSIS: Only time will tell whether this business venture survives, but if it does it willhave been primarily because of the personal relationship between Pak Suhardi and Mr JohnScott. (Note: This venture did survive, primarily because of their personal relationship anddue to both parties being willing to admit mistakes and compromise.)Eastern and Western themesIt is fitting that as this study comes to a close, we summarise some of the keythemes from our investigation of Eastern and Western culture. There is no particular orderof priority to these themes, rather it is usually at these points of reference that Eastern andWestern assumptions about reality come to the fore and are exhibited as reactions. In eachinstance, what is the case gives rise to what should be our normal response. Theseemerging assumptions in turn determine our surface customs. What we see actually comesfrom within the individual. Lets look at some of these themes again.Key Themes in Western Culture Key Themes in Eastern Culture- reality-centred worldview - value-centred worldview- primacy of the individual - primacy of the social group- liberty to develop independently - responsibility in relationships- equality of the sexes and roles - differentiation of the sexes and roles- task orientated leadership - status orientated leadership- achievement based on self-effort - achievement based on group effort- guilt results from breaking the law - shame results from failing others- current and future orientated - past and present orientated- emphasis on youth and ability - emphasis on age and seniority- scepticism of the supernatural - acceptance of the supernatural- public and private worlds separated - public and private worlds integrated- written relationships important - verbal relationships important- personal preference and choice - conventional appearance primary- right of each individual paramount - duty and responsibility towards group- competition on an individual basis - advancement based on who you know- education is to apply skills practically - education is to know more about life- hospitality to close family and friends - hospitality on demand for in-group- sympathy for individuals in need - less generosity outside of group
  • 60. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 60Getting relationships rightWhen all is said and done, even after an in-depth study of particular people groups,cultures and societies, all the head knowledge in the world will not make you a good cross-cultural manager or communicator. We have all experienced the expert who knows a lotbut understands very little. This can especially be the case in such a subjective area asculture.Cross-cultural understanding must first come from the heart and be reinforced bygood human resources. I have known both Easterners and Westerners who have liveddecades in foreign countries, become fluent in the national language and know ‘the system,but never become a part of it. They arent really accepted into the community because theyhave not shown the right attitude when dealing with others.Being willing to learn from others and taking their advice is vital, as is appreciatingthe differences that cross-cultural issues throw up on an almost daily basis. For theWesterner working with the Easterner, the most important skill you will learn is that ofdeveloping good interpersonal relationships. If you are working in the East then learning thisskill is imperative and you will not get very far without it. Get a trusted cultural mentor,someone who is able to guide you through the often treacherous waters of relationshipbuilding in all its various contexts and environments. Form a wide range of friendships andbe prepared to extend yourself socially far beyond what you would in the West. Rememberthat these acquaintances may save you from serious mistakes, advise you as to the bestcourse of action in a given situation and will help protect you from its repercussions.Easterners in the West need to learn to compete strongly for their positions and havea good understanding of the conditions in which they are operating, for if they do stuff upand contravene certain guidelines, they can expect little sympathy from their Westerncounterparts. The idea of a level playing field is very strong, as is the equality of individuals,so special treatment is not usually offered. Ultimately, successful cross-cultural managementis about trust and relying on those who understand the local culture to advise you on thebest course of action. Taking this advice, putting it into practice and learning to smile at theinevitable hiccups along the way will help you develop the right kind of relationships.People skillsOnce you have a trusted cultural mentor who understands what you want to achieve,you will need to decide how to approach the most important phase of the cross-culturalexchange—the transfer process. This is where you are applying a skill, technology, productand/or system that have worked well in your cultural environment to a new culturalenvironment. So often this is where the process breaks down. The reason for this is thatwhile Easterners may accept that Western know-how is what they need to advance, the wayWesterners go about transferring their knowledge turns out to be culturally or sociallyunacceptable, unsuitable or difficult to apply.Westerners often perceive Easterners to be lazy, ignorant and uncooperative, whilstEasterners sometimes feel Westerners are arrogant, uncultured and boorish. When thesefeelings begin to surface it is difficult to get the cooperation needed to pass on informationand technology and develop the skills and systems needed to manage these processes. Yetmany people working in cross-cultural environments are facing these problems daily andwondering why productivity is down, an undercurrent of hostility is felt, expenses are notkept in check…the list goes on.
  • 61. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 61Many of these problems stem from not getting the relationship right in the first place.Most other issues arise from not transferring experience and skills in a culturally appropriatemanner. A competent cross-cultural manager must first and foremost be a goodcommunicator, have strong people skills and have flexible systems and procedures.There are five key factors that are integral to applying cultural expertise:1. Cultural Mentors - able to pass on cultural and business intelligence2. High-level Support - to ensure cooperation from within and without3. Mutual Benefits - used to bring shared ownership to skill development4. Targeted Training - modified for specific learning needs and cultures5. Appropriate Outcomes - designed to appeal to specific cultural valuesIf the above factors are put into practice then the management and transfer processhas the potential of going much more smoothly and the desired project outcomes becomemore achievable.Cultural analysisApart from your firms product, service or technical expertise, the most importantbusiness skill you will need is cross-cultural expertise. It is this dynamic that bridges the gapbetween you and your potential market. While this book has a management focus, it isdesigned for all who are interested cross-cultural expertise and desire to learn its valuablesecrets.Information is one of the most sought after commodities today and technology is itsmedium. The ability to combine and apply the two anywhere it is needed in the worldrequires individuals with an ability to culturally analyse the best methods to transferinformation. This is a step-by-step process which develops a framework for understandingcultural reactions and strategies for applying new skills.Cultural analysis is not really about cultural awareness. It is about using the culturalenvironment to your advantage and developing a winning formula for your business.Cultural analysis is a key component in realising your ability to transfer useful information.These skills are vital for developing partnerships, building networks and transferring yourproduct, service or technology to a specific market in a cost effective and efficient manner.This is especially true when you are dealing with people from different cultures. Cultureaffects people, and thus determines systems and strategies.Skilled managers are those able to harness their energies and the skills of others totransfer information. This means developing the strategies and systems that are mostsuitable to a particular culture and to your most important asset—people. An effectivemanager is first a learner then a teacher able to understand the cultural context and how topresent content using the most suitable process.The future of business is global and where people are involved, cultural issues willmost surely follow. Cultural analysis is about recognising these needs and designing anddeveloping an appropriate response to particular needs. Whether you are sure or unsure ofthe benefits of these cultural principles at least try them. I am certain you will be surprisedat their effectiveness. Practise these principles and you will find they work!
  • 62. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 62EPILOGUEIn researching this book I have tried to avoid some of the cultural complexitiesassociated with specific disciplines. Rather I have written about culture as my colleaguesand I have experienced it. I was blessed with the opportunity of growing up in not only amulticultural Eastern society, but also lived amongst a full representation of Western groups.Many of the topics in this book were part and parcel of daily conversation as East met Weston a daily basis. As children we were often asked by our parents to be cultural go-betweens,answering questions that seemed (to us) quite simple and obvious, yet were of considerableconsternation to the adults.Comparing cultural views and values was and is an integral way of life for me. Iconsider it most enjoyable to look at different ways of solving a similar problem. ForEasterners and Westerners to begin understanding each other better and working togethermore efficiently and effectively requires a strong dose of cross-cultural expertise. As theworld becomes more closely linked by technology and communications, the last frontier ishuman thinking and culture. People measure change against their cultural values and whenin doubt fall back on them. Work in the new millennium will require more multiculturalexchanges and transfers of information and technology. Those who understand how to dealin this complex, rewarding and exciting area have a ticket to the box seat.Cross-cultural expertise is only achieved when we trust each other enough to bereflective and sit down together to discuss our cultural differences because of a mutualinterest in and respect for each other. If I have been able to pique your interest, or evenbetter, convinced you of the benefits of the methods shared, then I will have achieved theprimary objective of this book. Taking the time to find out about yourself and others ischallenging, especially when you are dealing with someone from another culture. But thebenefits of this exchange far outweigh the risk. Attempting to bridge a cultural divide can bea most exhilarating or stultifying experience. Ultimately, it all depends how you look at it.
  • 63. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 63Key Cultural Skills• Being willing to mutually build trust requires great patience• Consider social trust to be equal with professionalism in business• A preparedness to bargain develops friendships and business• Agreements are declarations of trust not contracts cast in stone• Maintaining agreements is about flexibility and perseverance• Be humble and win in business, offend others at your own peril• Social relationships provide contacts and protection from faux pas• Work with the predominant culture and within its constraints• Most business is done within the social and cultural environment• Building mutual trust requires social as well as business acumen• Processes may be less flexible, but people require more flexibility• Failure to culturally work things out with others may spell disaster• Different views of winning and losing mean differing outcomes• A personal effort to learn language and culture speaks volumes• Cultural and linguistic arrogance can play havoc with skills transfer• Change agents need to work with both managers and operators• Give those with cultural status the opportunity develop ownership• Cross cultural expertise assists skills transfer and application• Learners need to understand the cultural applicability of new skills• Recognise differences as being cultural rather than intellectual
  • 64. © Paul Rattray Eastern and Western Worldviews in focusBridging cultural divides 27.1.05 Page 64ReferencesChu, Chin-Ning (1992) Thick Face Black Heart. Allen & Unwinn.Evans, Hans-Dieter Ed. (1980) Sociology of South-East Asia, Readings onsocial change and development. Oxford University Press.Field, L. and Ford B. (1995) Managing Organisational Learning, Fromrhetoric to reality. Longman Australia.Fish, A and Wood, J (1997) Cross-cultural Management Competence inAustralian Business Enterprises. Asia Pacific Journal of HumanResources 35 (1).Hofstede, Geert (1983) Cultural pitfalls for Dutch expatriates in Indonesia.2nd Edition, TG International Management Consultants, Deventer Jakarta.Lane, Dennis, (1995) One World Two Minds, Eastern and WesternOutlooks in a Changing World. OMF International.Lubis, M. (1988) Transformasi Budaya. Jakarta: Inti Idayu Press.Macridis, R. (1980) Contemporary Political Ideologies, Winthrop,Cambridge, Mass.Mead, Richard (1990) Cross-cultural Management Communication.John Wiley and Sons.McCarthy, T. (1998) In Defense of Asian Values. Time Magazine, March 16TIME Magazine Australia.McDowell, J. and Hostetler, B. (1994) Right From Wrong. Word Publishing.Peters, R. S. (1981) Essays on Educators. George, Allen & Unwin, London.Rattray, P. S. (1998) Understanding Indonesians, Indonesian Business andCulture Handbook. Brisbane: ETC.Townshend, D. (1995) Harnessing Harmony. The Qantas Club, March 96.oo0oo