With the world embracing globalisation at a breakneck pace, there is increasing need for cross-cultural communication and sensitivity. After 45 minutes of roleplaying, I think that I managed to experience first-hand complications surrounding the idea of cross-cultural communications.
Right off the bat, many cultural differences came into contention. Country folk versus City dweller, Forward thinking versus Protecting traditions and culture, Path of Certainty versus Risk Taking, just to name a few. These various mind-sets spawned from the cultural differences determined the priorities of the involved parties and determined the outcomes they were looking for.
Everyone’s priorities came first and foremost in their minds, manifesting itself in very hard-headed, straightforward demands with no semblance of wanting to budge. Due to these differing priorities, everyone felt that they were right and other parties should change to suit their preferences. The governors drove strongly about how the EuroMouse project would be a bane to their society and felt that they should be heavily compensated for the trouble they’ve endured. The government official sought to win the support of the people behind the government’s choice of action. The Mouse representative wanted to secure a smooth and hassle free period of construction and setup while acquiring good public relations with the French. Having no idea what the other party considers important, everyone operates on the understanding that their way is the right way.
One more subtle element I learnt is to address the issue of pre-conceived notion. Role playing as the governor of Magny, my character had felt extremely disrespected in a prior run in with Mouse employees who addressed him by his first name, a taboo in the French culture. Due to this, it made the governor of Magny increasingly ill-disposed to the entire idea of EuroMouse setting up an amusement park in France and more committed to ensuring that his reparations are met. As a result, I passionately fought them every step of the way.
However, cultural differences need not be only between parties from different countries. There were difference between individuals from the same culture as well. The governors focused on how their villages are being harmed now, the government, represented by the official, focuses on future benefit that EuroMouse brings to the nation. Though hailing from the same culture, there are significant differences between them as well, most likely as a result of the environment growing up and age. There was need to address this disparity between them during the discussion. This may be even tougher to resolve seeing that there is greater chance for misunderstandings as both parties might think that the belief they subscribe to is common across the board for that entire culture, resulting in the critical difference being glossed over.
All these tie in with Hofstede’s Cultural Framework. One can clearly see the different attributes of the cultures and how it equates to the disparity between the opinion and behaviour of the involved parties. If one were to highlight an example, it would be the discussion on the financial compensation that the various governors requested for. Specifically, they wanted it in the form of annual payments as opposed to payroll tax, which is in stark contrast to the entire backdrop that this case is based on, that the Mouse Company would be willing to take such a risk to invest so heavily into an unchartered market in hopes of a pay off. This properly demonstrates the Uncertainty Avoidance (UA) facet of the theory, the extent to which a certain culture is comfortable with ambiguity. The French having a low UA, manifested a desire to seek out something definite and reliable in a situation as uncertain as this. Having no idea whether EuroMouse will be successful and whether all the troubles that they have gone through will ultimately pay off, the...
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