CHALLENGES FOR LEADERSHIP IN A MULTICULTURAL, GLOBAL SOCIETY Dr. Gary R. Weaver American University
WHY IS DIVERSITY IMPORTANT? Changing demographics Not just in urban areas “Globalization”
The American CultureToday • Not a Cultural Cookie Cutter or Melting Pot • Patchwork Quilt • Salad Bowl • Mosaic
Minorities in USA Today 12% African American 13% Hispanic 4% Asian and Pacific Islanders 1% American Indian
TO MORE EFFECTIVELY SERVE YOUR CLIENTS Conveying information Developing skills Overcoming barriers caused by differences Using differences to create synergy
TRAINING DOES IMPROVE EFFECTIVENESS Drop-out rates overseas Decreased culture-shock Critical incidents
TRAITS THAT CORRELATE WITH FAILURE IN CROSS-CULTURAL INTERACTIONS Low tolerance to ambiguity or high uncertainty avoidance Overly task-oriented or high need for individual achievement Overly closed-minded and inflexible
What is “Culture?” • culture - the way of life (values, beliefs and behaviors) of a people passed down from one generation to the next through learning
Cultural Generalization Never applies to everyone in every situation Only a first “guess” Discard it when no longer accurate or useful Cultural Stereotype Applies to everyone in every situation – no exceptions Retained even when no longer accurate or useful Generalization vs. Stereotype
Culture is like an Iceberg. 6/7th’s of it is UNDER the water.
BEHAVIOR BELIEFS VALUES AND THOUGHT PATTERNS
Erroneous Assumptions • Just get the right “cookbook.” • By emphasizing differences, you’re just stirring things up. • As we interact, differences will become LESS important. • It’s just a matter of communication. • It’s just a matter of applying basic management principles. • Conflict is the same in all cultures.
As we interact, differences will become LESS important. • Leon Festinger • Theory of Cognitive Dissonance • Muzafir Sherif • Development of a “Superordinate Goal”
Nature of Early Immigrants Religiously Persecuted - Fanatics Avoided Wars - “Draft Dodgers” “Criminals”
BASIC BELIEFS Extreme individualism Distrust of strong centralized authority
Dominant or Mainstream American Culture “Middle Class” Protestant Psychology of Abundance
Earned Status Individual Achievement Individual Action Equality Immediate family Self Reliance Independence Individual Competition Individualism Guilt Future Class Mobility Ascribed Status Affiliation Stability Inequality Extended Family Reliance on Others Interdependence Cooperation Collectivism Shame Past or Heritage Caste Rigidity CULTURAL CONTINUUMSTo Do To Be
What Doesn’t Fit? Nice weather we’re having! Sunny, high in the 70s. Haven’t we met before?
What Doesn’t Fit? • Nice weather we’re having! • Haven’t we met before? • High-Context - Relational - Associative • To Be - Poets • Sunny, high in the 70s. • Low Context - Abstractive - Analytical • To Do - Memo Writers/Lawyers
Project Timeline Stage One 0 - 6 Months Stage Two 6 - 12 months Stage Three 12 - 18 Months Stage Four 18 - 24 months
Project Timeline Stage One 0 - 12 Months Stage Two 12 - 18 Months Stage Three 18 - 22 Months Stage Four 22 -24 Months
NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION We send messages, not meaning To Do people tend to be verbally-oriented To Do people trust vision
QUESTIONS: How do you know if it’s a conflict? Is it escalating or de-escalating? When do you resolve it? When it is beyond resolution? How do you resolve the conflict?
Other Resources • Hall, Edward. Beyond Culture. • Weaver, Gary R., ed. Culture, Communication and Conflict, 2nd edition. Boston, MA:Pearson Publishing, 2000. • www.interculturalpress.com • www.imi.american.edu