Understanding Cross-Cultural Business Dr.Nigel Paterson People Management Breakfast at Dutton Gregory Solicitors, Winchester 15th May 2012
Introduction• Various models of culture exist. This presentation explores concepts within the Lewis model, which has the advantage of being highly visual.• The main concept is that many important cultural differences can be described within a triangle bounded by three categories of culture.• Various other concepts have been developed within this model, of which this presentation gives a taster.
Stereotyping (1)“The Japanese are ultra-polite.” assumptions:1. This is a stereotypical sentence.2. Therefore it is not true.3. The truth lies somewhere else.
Stereotyping (2) )BUT (defence) does not based on 2. A stereotype2.A Is it true? 3. stereotype does not come fromnowhere.3.Therefore it comes from somewhere.4.What is that somewhere based on?5.Is it true?
The Lewis model Linear- A culture whose people are task-oriented, highly- active organized planners, preferring to do one thing at a culture time in the sequence shown in their diary.Multi-active An extrovert, people-oriented culture whose members tend to do many things at once, often in an unplanned culture order. An introvert, respect-oriented culture whose people are Reactive reluctant to initiate firm action or opinionated discussion, preferring to listen to and establish the culture other’s position, then react to it and formulate their own.
Golden rules for interacting with linear-active people (1)• Talk and listen in equal proportions.• Do one thing at a time.• Be polite but direct.• Partly conceal your feelings.• Use logic and rationality.• Interrupt anyone only rarely.• Stick to the facts.• Concentrate on the deal.• Prioritise truth over diplomacy.• Follow rules, regulations and laws.• Speech is for information.
Golden rules for interacting with linear-active people (2)• Maintain close word-deed correlation.• Stay results-oriented.• Stick to the agenda.• Compromise to achieve a deal.• Respect officialdom.• Respect contracts and the written word.• Reply quickly to written communication or emails.• Restrain your body language.• Look for short-term profit.• Be punctual.
Golden rules for interacting with multi-active people (1)• Let them talk at length.• Reply fully.• Be prepared to do several things at once.• Be prepared for several people talking at once.• Display feelings and emotion.• People and feelings are more important than facts.• Interrupt when you like.• Truth is flexible and situational.• Be diplomatic rather than direct.• Speech is for sharing opinions.• Be gregarious and sociable.
Golden rules for interacting with multi-active people (2)• Think aloud.• Digress from the agenda and explore interesting ideas.• Seek and give favours with key people.• Remain relationship-oriented.• The spoken word is important.• Contracts may often be renegotiated later.• Reputation is as important as profit.• Expect and use overt body language and tactility.• Accept their unpunctuality.
Golden rules for interacting with reactive people (1)• Good listening is important.• Do not interrupt.• Do not confront.• Do not cause anyone to lose face.• Do not disagree openly.• Suggestions, especially criticism, must be indirect.• Be ambiguous, so as to leave options open.• Statements are promises.• Prioritise diplomacy over truth.• Follow rules but interpret them flexibly.• Speech is to promote harmony.
Golden rules for interacting with reactive people (2)• Share as much as you can.• Utilise networks.• Talk slowly.• Do things at appropriate times.• Do not rush or pressure them.• Observe fixed power distances and hierarchy.• Show exaggerated respect for older people.• Go over things several times.• Face-to-face contact is important.• Work hard at building trust.• Long term profit is preferable.• Be punctual.
Conclusion• A grasp of cultural differences can make it possible to alter one’s own behaviour and be much better prepared for differences of cultural behaviour shown by others.• This is not about make judgements but about understanding and respecting others better.• This provides a useful model, not a law or a formula.
References• Lewis, R. (2006). When cultures collide: Leading across cultures (3rd ed.). London: Nicholas Brealey.• Lewis, R. (2008). Cross-cultural communication: A visual approach (2nd ed.) Warnford, Hampshire: Transcreen.• Lewis, R. (2011). Cross-culture: The Lewis model (2nd ed.). Warnford, Hampshire: Richard Lewis Communications. (booklet)