Research and Write
Interview someone or several people from another culture - Contact a person or persons from another culture and ask if you can interview him/her/them for this assignment about their culture including the business culture. They may not be able to discuss all of the business areas on our list and that’s ok.
The person(s) can be from another country, area, ethnicity, religion. The person(s) must clearly be a part of that culture. For example, he or she grew up and lives – or lived most of their life - in that culture.
Prepare your interview using the skills in our reading about interviewing techniques.
Set up a time to meet with the person. If the person is out of town, you can conduct your interview by Skype or some other video conferencing software. Be sure to have a backup plan if the person does not show up or the video technology fails.
Follow-up is often needed to complete your analysis so meeting/speaking again after your initial conversation is recommended.
Your goal is to learn about the culture with an emphasis on the business culture. Look for topics in the chapter in the reading above. Here are some suggestions to talk about. You don’t have to talk about all of them and you can include others.
Culture in general:
• Body language
• Time – monochronic or polychronic
• High context and low context
• Non-verbal differences
• Social class
• Respect for family and elders
• How do you define privacy? Is it ‘normal’ to talk about your salary and relationship status with strangers?
• Importance of work in their lives
• Superior/subordinate relationship
• Role of women in the workplace
• How they address one another in the workplace
• Communicating messages by email, social media, speaking in person
• Disagreements in the workplace
• How you break bad news to a superior, underling, or peer
• Asking for help
• Humor in the workplace
• Commenting on personal matters, such as someone’s weight or appearance.
• Saving face. Is it easy to say no to superiors, teachers, peers, etc.
With the exception of the first section of your report (“Biographical Profiles”), you should consider having subsections (with subheadings) for each section. Remember, your goal is to make your report easy to read and easy to follow. Headings and subheadings are guides for the reader.
Your report must be double-spaced and five to six pages in length. If you have supporting information, for example, a chart or a picture, put it in an Appendix in the back of the report. If you cite some information, create a citation and reference list at the end of the report. Your report must be free from grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors.
Gather your notes and write an analysis of the interviews. To be successful, your report must contain the following sections and information and be divided into these four sections, with a bolded title for each:
A biographical profile of person(s) you interviewed. That should include name, gender, professional experience and aspirations, and a brief summary of his/her/their personal background. Explain how you interviewed the person: face-to-face, by Skype, telephone, email, etc. Also state why you chose this culture for your report. (This should be shortest section of your report.)
Present your analysis of the culture of the person(s) you interviewed. Include how your interviewees’ personal communication style may differ from the norms of his/her culture. This should be the largest and most thorough section of your report.
Comparison to My Culture
Compare the culture you have analyzed in the section above to your own culture. This should include areas of commonality, difference, and ambiguity between the communication styles of your respective cultures. Provide examples to support your analysis.
Write a summary of what you learned from this experience, what preconceptions you had before the interview and how those preconceptions changed after the interview. Include an assessment of how well you and your interviewees communicated and, in hindsight, what you should have done differently. Include any problems you had in the communication process. Provide examples to support your analysis.
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