Friday, July 13, 2012

COLLABORATION ACROSS CULTURES



By: Michael Blanding

Published: June 25, 2012; Harvard Business School Working Knowledge; http://hbswk.hbs.edu

Level of difficulty: ***

Acknowledgement: This text was contributed by a subscriber to this blog, Celal Yerli. He also tells me that the day of publication was his birthday. I would like to wish Celal many happy returns of the day and thank him for a truly interesting text.

Suggestion: It is suggested that you check out tedtalks and/or YouTube for a related video before starting. The notes you take while listening and later while reading will help with the writing task.

BEFORE YOU START

1.       Why is collaboration across cultures so very important in the modern world?

2.       What sorts of problems occur when communication breaks down?

3.       Why do you think misunderstandings and bad feelings occur?

QUESTIONS

Read the account of the making of the film about the Tang Dynasty

1.       How did Franzoni decide to present the story? Why?

2.       What was the problem as far as the Chinese were concerned?

3.       What conclusion can be drawn from this account?

Read “Vital Skills”

4.       Learning to collaborate creatively with people from different cultural backgrounds can be very advantageous as ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

5.       The reason for the above is the fact that ………………………………………………………………………………

6.       Benefitting from cross cultural cooperation and preventing any friction in the process can be made possible by a new concept. It is ……………………………………………………………………………………

Read “Testing Cultural Metacognition”.

7.       What does “such a result” in the phrase “While such a result may be expected” refer to?

8.       Affective trust becomes critical if the generation of innovative ideas is at issue. The reason is the fact that …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

9.       Refer to the account of the 60 managers. Cultural metacognition seems to have an effect on ……………………………………………………… in the case of people from different cultures. What was the consequence of this relationship?

10.   Refer to the account of the chicken recipe. Which of the pairs were the most creative? Those in which ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

11.   The above situation was found to be a direct result of the fact that ……………………………………….

Read “A Learnable Habit”

12.   The fact that cultural metacognition can be learnt is supported by the fact that …………………….

13.   What practical advice does the writer give to those who don’t interact with people from different cultural backgrounds?

WRITING TASK

Write an essay discussing why it is important to improve cultural metacognition. In your introduction, introduce cultural metacognition as a concept; in your development, discuss the reasons using the notes you made while reading the text and your own views; in your conclusion, suggest common sense, courtesy and really slowing down and listening to what others are saying and what you yourself are saying. In short, suggest that we should put ourselves in other’s shoes.



COLLABORATING ACROSS CULTURES KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES

This highly topical and very interesting text was sent in by a subscriber to the blog and a former student. I found it very interesting and it did lend itself to some good questions and a writing task. The questions have an added advantage of providing practice with paraphrasing and summary skills.

1.       Through the eyes of a foreign born general.

2.       The treatment was too sympathetic towards the general portrayed ….

3.       Cultural misunderstandings and different ways of operating …

4.       It can create opportunities for innovation.

5.       Combining ideas that haven’t been connected before creates the potential to produce something good and useful.

6.       Cultural metacognition.

7.       Managers with higher metacognition scores on the questionnaires garnered higher ratings from their colleagues as well.

8.       New ideas are risky to share.

9.       Affective trust; they were willing to share new ideas with them.

10.   One of the individuals has high cultural m√∂etacognition.

11.   The partners had a personal conversation to build affective trust.

12.   People who have a culturally diverse social network tend to have higher cultural metacognition.

13.   Keeping a journal and writing down thoughts after each cultural interaction with someone from a different culture.


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