Search
  • OWCA

About culture difference and intercultural cooperation

(chinese below)

I didn't know any foreigners personally before high school. I thought all the people were the same, if you knew their words and grammar, you naturally understood them.

In university I took a lot of class about culture, communication, training etc., and got some foreign friends. I felt the theory I read in books like cultural standard, stereotype, cultural dimension, culture shock were proved again and again in life. There were really differences in almost every aspect between "us" and "them".

After graduation I had the opportunity to work with people from all over the world. I also traveled to many foreign countries for business or for holiday. Gradually I feel: Cultural differences do exist widely, and not only between natives and foreigners, but also among people from different regions of the same country. But these differences are often superficial. The deep needs of the two sides are still consistent.

If we are entangled in the differences, we will magnify our subjective emotions, get the feeling I'm right, he/she is unreasonable, and deviate from the main line of wanting to cooperate. If we pay more attention to people, be willing to learn and accept the differences and understand their deep needs, we can effectively communicate and cooperate, and enrich our own understanding about the world.

An example: A key equipment was running out of spare parts. Communication with the foreign supplier didn’t go well. If something happened, the whole workshop would be shut down. The foreign leader A asked the engineer B to go over. B was terrified and prepared all the email exchange with the supplier to prove it wasn’t his fault. A didn’t question if B was lazy, just asked about the status and advice, contacted the supplier's leader personally. Three weeks later the parts arrived. B didn’t go to A earlier, because in the beginning the problem was small, he didn’t dare to bother the boss. Later the problem became big, he was afraid of being blamed. He planned to solve it quietly, but with no result. A believed there was no bother, the boss was a resource for employees to solve problems. He also had his boss, if his boss asked, he didn’t solve the problem or even know about it, he would also be blamed.

In the culture of B, the power distance is big. The boss is a mysterious existence and beyond his reach. In the culture of A, the power distance is small. The boss is just a little bigger than the employees. This difference results in no report in the beginning and the tension of B in this meeting. But they had the same goal: get the spare parts asap to avoid stopping the line.


关于文化差异和跨文化合作

高中以前我不认识外国人,理所当然的觉得人都是一样的,会词汇和语法,就能互相理解。


大学时我上了很多关于文化、交流和培训的课,结识了一些外国朋友。感觉书本上的理论在生活中一再被证实:文化标准、刻板印象、文化维度、文化冲击。“我们”和“他们”方方面面都不一样。


毕业后有机会和来自世界各地的人一同工作,也去了很多国家出差或旅游。渐渐的,我觉得:文化差异确实广泛存在,而且不仅是国内国外,也包括同一国家的不同区域。但那些差异往往只是表象,双方的深层需求仍有一致性。

如果纠结于差异,就会放大主观情绪,觉得我是对的,对方不可理喻,就偏离了想要合作的主线。如果更多的关注人本身,愿意去理解和接受差异,愿意去了解深层需求,就可以有效沟通和合作,还能丰富自己对世界的认知


分享一个例子:车间一个关键设备的备件快用完了,和外国供应商的沟通进展缓慢,如果设备出现问题,将导致整个车间停线。外方领导叫工程师过去。工程师非常害怕,准备了和供应商的邮件往来,证明不是自己的问题。外方领导没有质疑工程师偷懒,只是询问了现状和建议,然后亲自联系了供应商的领导,三周后备件到货。

工程师不早点去找领导,因为刚发现问题时,他不敢用这个小事去打扰领导;后来问题大了,他又怕领导骂,想自己悄悄解决,但迟迟不见效果。外方领导觉得领导就是员工解决问题的一种资源,无所谓打扰;而且他也有领导,如果被问起,他没解决问题,甚至不知道问题存在,他也会被责怪。

工程师的文化中,权力距离更大,领导高高在上,是一个神秘的存在;外方领导的文化中,权力距离更小,领导只比员工稍大一点。这种区别导致了前期缺少沟通以及本次面谈工程师的紧张。但两人都想尽快拿到备件,避免停线,这一点是完全一致的。



This post was written by Qi Feng (GM)



16 views

©2020 OWC-Association