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Interview for a Thai

Autor:   •  November 30, 2017  •  3,136 Words (13 Pages)  •  475 Views

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Cross culture working isuue

Q4:Were there things that surprised you about the way people thought or worked?

A4: “yeah, this is cultural difference. I actually spent two years in Europe before, But I realized that the ways of thinking are different between Asian and European. The way they think is that they [European] focus what they want to do. But we [Asian] focus on …actually…everything we could do. For example, like today, you asked me for an interview, if you would ask a Dutch, they will never wait for you at this time [The interview was held in the office, and was postponed once, for about 30 minutes after the working time.] This is the different way of thinking, Dutch focus on their work. But Asian people focus what we can do, what we can help normally. And other thing is they like to discuss, negotiation. Talking plays a big part in the team assignament. Sometimes, I felt it too inefficient.”


Q16:What advice would you give to a friend who was on his or her way to a foreign assignment?

A16: “You don't say in one place. If she or he is going to somewhere else, go, why not, I mean these days, we are an internet world. You have to know more people.” “Just be prepared, it will not be like what you expected. Some people think living abroad is easy, but it’s not. You should prepare to face something difficult. But it’s worth. You will get something back. Meanwhile, Never be afraid to ask questions instead of taking everything as granted.”

According the interviewee’s suggestion, working in the international team or aboard is a worthgoing, but people should perpare first, not only psychological adjustment but also sociocultural adjustment. The other thing is that if they have some questions, do not afraid to ask others.


Dr. Chen had a rich work experience in different countries and international teams before, but it is obvious that he still faces challenges. When he first arrived in Netherlands, he found difficulties to rent a house and cook by himself, and took time to adapt the boss’ working style and the colleagues commnunication styles. From this interview, I can learn follow three point:

- Language may be a major problem in cross-culture communication. In the teamwork, Dr.Chen has some inaccurate understanding with his collegues at work.

- Westerners and Asians have different ways of communication. Westerners like to express their ideas directly. They tend to directly say NO if they really want to refuse requests, while Asians are more likely to say YES or I will try.

- Multiculture Communication ability depends on different characters. Dr.Chen is a eat-and-work person, and works mostly by myself. His character at some extent narrows his social circle, and consequently brings difficulties to learn local culture.

Personally, I think the above problems are common to many people who go to work abroad. Through talking with Dr.Chen, I understand that he has worked in many countries, and was psychologically prepared for those problem. Within some months, he managed to solve these problems, and eventually adapted to the local life and working style. From my experience, I had a similar experience with Dr.Chen. I had been working in an Argentine company, with colleagues mainly from China and Argentina. During the first team work with my Argentina college, I said yes to all the tasks that were intended to assign to me without considering my abilities and limited working hours. When it turned out that I could not complete my tasks by deadline, I discussed this problem with my Argentinian colleague. She was so surprised why I did not say no when I do not have enough time. Since then, I know how to communicate with my Argentinian colleagues. Furthermore, like Dr. Chen’s international team, language in our team is also a challenge. Argentinian mainly speak Spanish. When they need to talk with Chinese colleagues, they speak English or speak via a interpretator. We also meet some misunderstandings. In order to break the langauge barriers, Chinese colleagues join Spanish training, and Argentinian colleagues join Chinese training. Language training helped us built better communication.


Language Management

Global organizations are multilingual and language is often the first immediate barrier to collaboration across cultures. English is the most used language in business and international communication across the globe. Researchers call English as a Lingua Franca (ELF)- a term used to define communications between people who have different first languages(L1s), and where it is acceptable to retain features of one’s L1.(B. Gherke and M.T Claes, 2014). For instance, Dr. Chen works in an international team, and they use English to communicate with each other. Therefore, Dr.Chen and his colleguges are ELF users. ELF “enables its user to express themselves more freely without having to conform to norms which represent the sociocultural identity of other people”(Howatt and Widdowson,2004) . Dr. Chen and his colleagues has the misunderstandings of words with each other, because they are non-native speakers.

High-Context VS Low-Context

High context culture and the contrasting low context culture are terms presented by the anthropologist Edward T. Hall in his 1976 book Beyond Culture. It refers to a culture's tendency to use high context messages over low context messages in routine communication. This choice of communication styles translates into a culture that will cater towards in-groups, an in-group being a group that has similar experiences and expectations, from which inferences are drawn. In a high context culture, many things are left unsaid, letting the culture explain. Words and word choice become very important in higher context communication, since a few words can communicate a complex message very effectively to an in-group (but less effectively outside that group), while in a lower context culture, the communicator needs to be much more explicit and the value of a single word is less important. We can see traits of High Context & Low Context in the Figure 1:

High Context culture

Low Context culture


- Information interiorised

- Nonverbal cues

- Intuition


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