Where Cultures Clash: Between Respect, Worship and Disaster.

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Culture Clash

Statistically, there have been more plane crashes in countries of high power distance culture than those of low power distance index (PDI). Why? because teamwork and communication flow are difficult where the leader is like a king of the jungle! Such is the case between captain and co-pilot heading for a crash.

Evidently so, if you take a look into the history of plane crash around the world. Brazil, South Korea, Morocco, Mexico, Philippines and the likes are of high PDI. United States, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the likes are of low PDI.

Power Distance refers to the acceptable attitude of a people towards hierarchy. It is concerned with the extent to which a particular culture respects authority. In high power distance culture, authority must be revered. Such reference is marked by attitudes of bowing, kneeling, and addressing hierarchies with passive tenses. In those quarters, it is quite important to maintain a remarkable gap between leadership and followers.

If I may ask, is it because of the saying that, proximity breeds contempt? Not really! Most of the times, its rooted in insecurity. Subordinates can’t point out area where their leaders need to make adjustment or correction. And of course, such cultures have had to sacrifice teamwork and collaboration, thus perpetuating underdevelopment. In fact, several airplanes have crashed!

Why Arman Got Offended in Mordecai: Culture Clash?

Privileges due to Arman’s level of hierarchy include that people make respectful gestures while saluting him. Normal in his cultural point of view, but where Mordecai came from, such obeisance is paid only to God. Unbridled desire for ego massage landed Arman in disaster.

Where your demand/supply of cultural ego service clashes with reason, you need to upgrade your quality of thinking and act appropriately. Especially, in the worship of God, or where there is a need for teamwork and flow of communication.

One great way to start is to understand different dimensions of culture and be able to adapt accordingly. Social configuration gets more interesting as we plunge further in the century. We geared towards more and more individualism while it is obvious that development answers to collaboration. So, collectivism is no longer homogeneous. You have to be able to collaborate with diverse people and culture to achieve a far-reaching aim.

What if an Israeli is your interviewer?

You’ve passed through a series of aptitude test and come to the final stage where you’ll be interviewed by your direct boss, who happens to be an Israeli. On entering his office, you greeted him with a bow which is a means of respect in your culture. The only reason why you’ll be given that job is if the person on the other side has taken time to understand other people’s culture. Otherwise, the Israeli boss would not employ a staff who makes him incur the wrath of God by been worshipped.

We now live in a world where you need to understand the culture of your customers, coworkers, partners, students, and so on. Culture clash need not cost anyone the achievement of their aim as long as your mind is open and you have an adaptation plan.

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