Asian American Values, Cross-Cultural Communication and the Work Place


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Training about Asian American values, cross-cultural communication and the work place in the context of a faith-based non-profit organization.

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  • Fill in 1-10. This is a quick and dirty measure of how one views his or her identity. Individualistic or collective/communal. Who in the room is in 8-10 C or I? Who in the room is in 6-7 C or I? Who in the room is in 4-5 C or I? Who in the room is in 1-3 C or I? Any patterns?
  • Asian American Values, Cross-Cultural Communication and the Work Place

    1. 1. Self Examination: I am…
    3. 3. Agenda <ul><li>Self Examination: I am… </li></ul><ul><li>Why is Ethnicity Important? </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t Stereotype </li></ul><ul><li>Asian American vs. Mainstream (Western) Values </li></ul><ul><li>What Colleagues May Say About Asian Americans </li></ul><ul><li>Asian American Behaviors and Mainstream Perceptions </li></ul><ul><li>Good Organizations for Asian Americans </li></ul><ul><li>Why This is Important in This Context (Jesus, Justice) </li></ul><ul><li>Reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Questions // For Possible Future Discussion or Training </li></ul><ul><li>Self Examination: Ethnic Identity Questionnaire </li></ul>
    4. 4. Why is Ethnicity Important? 1 <ul><li>A Good Summary Statement from Paul </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For though I am free from all, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more. And to the Jews I become as a Jew, that I might win the Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law, though not being myself under the Law, that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. (1 Cor.9:19-22) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lesson : God communicates spiritual truths through human languages and cultures. Hence if we are to better understand God, we must understand ethnicity and culture. And if we are to better let God love others through us, we must understand ethnicity and culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Self Examination: Ethnic Identity Questionnaire: Take home: Take 20-30 minutes to answer the following questions on your own. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Don’t Stereotype 2 <ul><li>These are generalities and there are always exceptions. These can simply be helpful categories to reflect upon. </li></ul><ul><li>As generalizations, may not totally reflect the values of specific Asian Americans or specific Asian groups. While organizations reward those who hold the dominant cultural values at the managerial level, values of both groups are important </li></ul><ul><li>For those in minority groups, if brought up in primarily mainstream environments, will have had to learn at least some Mainstream (Western) values to survive. </li></ul><ul><li>Those who have lived several generations in the US may find themselves holding values from both cultures. </li></ul>
    6. 6. What Colleagues May Say About Asian Americans 2 <ul><li>From a workshop survey of 40 young professionals, ages 23-35, Asian and non-Asian </li></ul><ul><li>General description: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>quiet, don’t speak up </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Submissive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good at math/science </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good producers/hardworking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Smart </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Well educated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t ask a lot of questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not involved with the community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cliquish with other Asians </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not fluent in English/perceived as foreigners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Loyal/don’t do a lot of job-hopping </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. What Colleagues May Say About Asian Americans 2 <ul><li>From a workshop survey of 40 young professionals, ages 23-35, Asian and non-Asian </li></ul><ul><li>Perceived behaviors: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They tend to not speak up in meetings or wait their turns in meetings. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They rarely complain about policies or work initiatives. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They form Asian cliques. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They are soft-spoken and don’t make much eye contact. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They’re not good at self-promotion and marketing themselves. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They tend to be risk averse. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They are always busy working and never have time to socialize after hours. </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Asian American Behaviors and Mainstream Perceptions 3 Asian American Behavior Possible Interpretation by Person from Mainstream Culture <ul><li>Quiet, doesn’t speak up </li></ul><ul><li>Isn’t interested, doesn’t understand or knows it all </li></ul><ul><li>Not assertive (according to the dominant value) </li></ul><ul><li>Lacks leadership, could not be authoritative when necessary </li></ul><ul><li>Limited facial expression, demonstrative behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Has no investment in the matter at hand, no feeling; therefore seems to have no vulnerability, which could be a threat </li></ul>
    9. 9. Asian American Behaviors and Mainstream Perceptions 3 Asian American Behavior Possible Interpretation by Person from Mainstream Culture <ul><li>Doesn’t complain, good worker </li></ul><ul><li>Not interested, lacks knowledge or information, unwilling to share, secretive, lacks confidence </li></ul><ul><li>Doesn’t socialize after work </li></ul><ul><li>Lacks respect, shows no interest, no confidence, is unable to read nonverbal cues of those he or she is talking to, shifty, untrustworthy </li></ul>
    10. 10. Asian American Behaviors and Mainstream Perceptions 3 Asian American Behavior Possible Interpretation by Person from Mainstream Culture <ul><li>Unwilling to take chances </li></ul><ul><li>Lacks leadership skills to manage a group </li></ul><ul><li>Speaks with an accent </li></ul><ul><li>Is not credible; doesn’t know much; can’t speak, read, write or understand English </li></ul><ul><li>Physically short, small </li></ul><ul><li>Lacks maturity, has limited ability to influence, organize, motivate others </li></ul>
    11. 11. Asian American Behaviors and Mainstream Perceptions 2 Behavior Perceived Liability Positive Attributes Respect for authority <ul><li>Perceived as a yes-man </li></ul><ul><li>Does not push back or speak up about issues </li></ul><ul><li>Exploitable </li></ul><ul><li>Genuine loyalty to employer </li></ul><ul><li>Has desire to learn from others; is “teachable” </li></ul>Collectivist <ul><li>May not make decisions quickly </li></ul><ul><li>Not considered innovative or out-of-box thinker </li></ul><ul><li>Afraid to stand out from the pack </li></ul><ul><li>May avoid conflict to save face with the group </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative decision maker </li></ul><ul><li>Inclusive leader </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to work with </li></ul>
    12. 12. Asian American Behaviors and Mainstream Perceptions 2 Behavior Perceived Liability Positive Attributes Controlled/emotionally restrained <ul><li>Unemotional, lacks enthusiasm and drive </li></ul><ul><li>Lacks passion about organization’s mission </li></ul><ul><li>Arrogant, not interested in work product </li></ul><ul><li>Has internal strength to tolerate crisis situations; does not “lose it” </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrates a resilience to changes in organizational structure </li></ul>Modest/humble about accomplishments <ul><li>Work efforts go unrecognized </li></ul><ul><li>May be overlooked during promotion season </li></ul><ul><li>May not get assigned high-visibility projects or to special task forces </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages team members to receive credit for their work </li></ul><ul><li>Team player </li></ul>
    13. 13. Asian American vs. Mainstream (Western) Values 3 Asian American Values Mainstream (Western) Values <ul><li>Self control/discipline </li></ul><ul><li>Speaks only when spoken to </li></ul><ul><li>Inner stamina/strength to tolerate crisis </li></ul><ul><li>Solid performer </li></ul><ul><li>Doesn’t show emotions </li></ul><ul><li>Spontaneity/casualness </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of social skills, informal relationships, small talk </li></ul><ul><li>All right to show all kinds of emotion </li></ul><ul><li>Promote flexibility </li></ul><ul><li>Fatalism </li></ul><ul><li>Acceptance of ambiguity and uncertainty </li></ul><ul><li>More patient, more ready to accept things as they are </li></ul><ul><li>Respect for change/control over one’s environment/belief in self-determination </li></ul><ul><li>More risk-taking </li></ul><ul><li>More aggressive </li></ul><ul><li>Concrete/strive for explicitness </li></ul><ul><li>Initiates </li></ul>
    14. 14. Asian American vs. Mainstream (Western) Values 3 Asian American Values Mainstream (Western) Values <ul><li>Obedient to authority/ Respect for elders </li></ul><ul><li>Respect those who lead </li></ul><ul><li>Loyal </li></ul><ul><li>Trustworthy </li></ul><ul><li>Follow through on assignments </li></ul><ul><li>All right to question authority </li></ul><ul><li>Anticipates problem areas, opportunities and initiates appropriate actions </li></ul><ul><li>No fear of challenging or opposing authority; ability to push the envelope with parents, professors, bosses, clients </li></ul><ul><li>Humbleness </li></ul><ul><li>Low individual visibility </li></ul><ul><li>Power is shared with others </li></ul><ul><li>Cites Accomplishments </li></ul><ul><li>Visibility (individual) is all right </li></ul><ul><li>Rewards individual for outstanding actions </li></ul><ul><li>Power is perceived as individual power </li></ul>
    15. 15. Asian American vs. Mainstream (Western) Values 2 Asian American Values Mainstream (Western) Values <ul><li>Collective decision-making and Community over individualist thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Proving the sources </li></ul><ul><li>Collective responsibility and ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Interdependence </li></ul><ul><li>Strong sense of teamwork </li></ul><ul><li>Tough, individualistic and authoritative leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Individual leadership </li></ul><ul><li>Individual responsibility </li></ul><ul><li>Independence </li></ul><ul><li>“ pioneer spirit” </li></ul>
    16. 16. Characteristics of Organizations That May Be Helpful for Asian American Leaders 3 <ul><li>Are self-aware about different leadership styles (ie direct-indirect, male-female, loud-quiet, assertive-deferential) </li></ul><ul><li>Value and openly discuss different styles </li></ul><ul><li>Value “processing” as much as making the decision </li></ul><ul><li>Develop minority viewpoints and styles of expression </li></ul><ul><li>Have a corporate ethos that encourages diversity and multiethnicity throughout the entire organization, no just for those who are “into it”; it’s a place where ethnicity and ethnic identity issues are affirmed </li></ul><ul><li>Have top leaders who have an awareness of institutional and systemic injustice within their organization and are doing something about it </li></ul><ul><li>Are willing to fund training opportunities and cross-pollination for Asian American leaders with other Asian American or minority leaders – inside and outside the organization </li></ul><ul><li>Recognize Asian Americans as Americans, don’t refer to Asian Americans as “Orientals” or Asians </li></ul>
    17. 17. Group Discussions: Possible Challenges for Asian Americans <ul><ul><li>Finding Space, Finding Voice: A challenge because: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>allowing space for everyone else to speak, less likely to interrupt or risk interrupting or “jump in” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>responds to the collective group: tracks/stays on topic, less likely to jump topics, likely to listen to what everyone in the group says and then formulate a thought based on that and then respond </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes only speak if feel have something ‘valuable” to contribute to the group – sensitive to audience, responsive to what others have said, may not repeat what someone else has already said or if the thought is not new </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Being able to speak w. conviction vs. uncertainty (group consensus) 2 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>May back down too easily when challenged/difficult to disagree publicly or defend work (obedience, authority) 2 </li></ul></ul></ul>
    18. 18. Suggestions for Group or Classroom Discussion Leaders <ul><ul><li>Value both listening and speaking as engagement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be aware that cultural values may affect presentation and behavior, but not substance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One to one meetings may get more thoughts from person </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Try different styles: If soliciting feedback: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Go around the group, taking turns so that everyone has an opportunity to speak </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Give people time to think or prepare ahead of time </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Allow space for silence </li></ul></ul></ul>
    19. 19. Why is this important in this context (Jesus, Justice) <ul><li>Historical and present oppression: immigration laws & labor, model minority stereotype, perpetual foreigner stereotype, male and female stereotypes </li></ul><ul><li>Church participates in these systems: ethnocentric (demands acculturation or assimilation) </li></ul><ul><li>Response: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need for dominant culture/ culture of power to learn about itself (and also learn about injustice) and submit or include in cross-cultural contexts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need for non-dominant groups to learn about own culture and history </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Affirmation and honoring of cultural values in the image of God (ex: friend re: thoughtfulness/selflessness of Asian Americans) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Validation of group specific ministry for non-dominant groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build bridges in the body </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Both dominant and non-dominant groups model inclusive leadership </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. Reflection <ul><li>Your culture or ethnic identity: Take a few minutes to jot down some observations and responses– </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Candlestick: light or insights </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>?: questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Arrows: ouch or conviction </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What are some areas of growth for you and possible next steps to grow in those areas? </li></ul>
    21. 21. Questions // For Possible Future Discussion or Training <ul><li>What was helpful? What would you like to know more about? What bugged you? What are things you would like to discuss more in the future? </li></ul>
    22. 22. Appendix
    23. 23. How Do Non-Asians View Asian America? (survey May 2001) 3 <ul><li>46% believe that Chinese Americans passing on secret information to the Chinese government is a problem </li></ul><ul><li>34% feel Chinese Americans have too much influence in the U.S. technology sector </li></ul><ul><li>32% feel Chinese Americans always like to be at the head of things </li></ul><ul><li>32% feel Chinese Americans don’t care what happens to anyone but their own kind </li></ul><ul><li>19% see the increase of the Asian population as being bad for the United States </li></ul><ul><li>25% of all surveyed had very negative attitudes and stereotypes of Chinese Americans. </li></ul><ul><li>Most non-Asian Americans couldn’t tell the difference between Chinese Americans and other Asian Americans and registered similar percentages about other Asian Americans. </li></ul>
    24. 24. “ Asian American unfriendly” organizations will likely have… 3 <ul><li>No Asian Americans in at least middle management positions </li></ul><ul><li>No Asian American board members </li></ul><ul><li>No possible advocates or mentors who have a good understanding of Asian Americans </li></ul><ul><li>Poor funding for training and development of Asian Americans in leadership roles </li></ul><ul><li>Nothing or very little in the long-range plan for recruitment and development of Asian American leaders </li></ul><ul><li>Senior leaders who call Asian Americans “Orientals” or Asians, and don’t recognize them as Americans </li></ul><ul><li>A majority culture ethos with little hope or interest in changing; ethnicity and ethnic identity issues are ignored or bad-mouthed </li></ul><ul><li>Poor track record of retaining Asian American personnel </li></ul>
    25. 25. Some Statistics 2 <ul><li>1995: of the top 1,000 industrial firms and 500 largest businesses in the U.S., only 3% of senior managers were professionals of color </li></ul><ul><li>2003: women and minorities make up 2/3 of new labor force entrance annually </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In the silicon valley, where Asian Americans comprise 30% of technology professionals, 1993: white people hold 80% of managerial positions, vs. 12.5% for Asian Ams . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2003: Asian women make up less than 0.5% of corporate officers at the 429 Fortune 500 companies that provided these data: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Out of 10,092 Fortune 500 corporate officers in 2002, only 30 (0.29%) were Asian women </li></ul></ul>
    26. 26. Definitions 2 <ul><li>Acculturation is adapting to new cultural patterns of the dominant culture while continuing to maintain values, perspectives, and features of one’s native culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Assimilation is adopting the dominant culture’s behaviors, values perspectives, and characteristics at the expense of one’s own cultural characteristics. </li></ul>
    27. 27. Sources <ul><li>Mako Nagasawa// InterVarsity Training </li></ul><ul><li>Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling , Jane Hyun </li></ul><ul><li>Invitation to Lead , Paul Tokunaga </li></ul>