Intercultural skills

Is it easy to negotiate or work with Poles?

Is it easy to negotiate or work with Poles?

Polish behavioural style as a carousel – once still and another time very dynamic   The question is not easy to answer as… Poland is situated geographically between Berlin and Moscow, and mentally between West and East. Our geopolitical location has always influenced Polish way of thinking and behaviour. In a number of publications on cross-cultural communication and management, Polish character is described as „Polish duality of thinking and behaviour”. That is why, for foreigners working in Poland or negotiating with Poles is not easy for first glance to get an idea how are Poles: You can ask yourself questions – are they? Friendly or indifferent? Open or intolerant? Easy going or stubborn? Direct or indirect in communication? Egalitarian or hierarchical? Formal or informal? Prefer working individually or in a team The answer on above questions is – “both” or “it depends on the situation”.   In Richard Lewis cultural model of 3 types of cultures – presented as a triangle of 3 types of cultures: 1/ Linear  – represented by Germanic cultures, 2/ Reactive – represented be Confucian cultures and 3/ Multiactive  – represented by Latin America, Arab and African countries, Poland lies in the middle between Linear and Multiactive cultures. (R.Lewis’ model at crossculture.com).   This means that Poles express behaviours typical for those two types of cultures – yet we can switch easily from one type of behaviour to another up to a situation and express behaviour, which is more convenient for us. This capability is called flexibility and it is welcomed in work environment, but for foreigners may cause a difficulty to decode us.   Lack of knowledge of Polish pattern of thinking and behaving may be especially confusing and misleading in negotiation, when knowing a counterpart may be a precondition of a success or a failure.   Negotiating with Poles   Poles regarding behavioural patterns of negotiation in following aspects: –    risk taking:  from one side they take a high risk  but from another one they seeking certainty  and like negotiating all in small details disagreeing: they avoid direct and explicit communication but when situation develop in their disadvantage they make be very confrontational in an emotional manner trusting: they build trust to others...

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What have POLAND and India in common?

What have POLAND and India in common?

This year there is a 60 anniversary of diplomatic and trade relations between Poland and India. The Polish Indian Forum discussing relations between both countries was held on the 20th of January in Warsaw at the Polish Chamber of Commerce. Representatives of Chambers of both countries have confirmed low level of trade and investments up to now. The Polish Ministry of Economy announces every year the „priority countries” in their promotion activities. This year India is among other 10 countries on the priority list, so there is a hope that the situation will change for better. Why is India a good trade partner? Indian market is huge and its potential is growing – population of 1,3 billion of people, 26 million of children born every year and Indian society getting richer and possessing large disposable income along with a third largest economic by GDP, there are good preconditions for economic development and power. If is so good, why the trade exchange between both countries are at such low level? In was quite funny, when during the session with Polish entrepreneurs investing in India and Indian entrepreneurs investing in POLAND, the answers for the question: which barriers and problems do you experience in cooperation with the host country, the same arguments were quoted. So Poles complain about infrastructure in India (low quality of roads, electricity not available all time, visa problems, burocracy and bribery. What do Indian entrepreneurs complain about investing and working in Poland? Low quality of roads (they compere Polish roads with those of Western Europe, visa problems, burocracy and bribery. And that Polish clerks do not speak English. So the list of barriers looks very similar, but on the Polish side is additionaly low level of knowledge of English. There is only one advantage of the fact that on the list are the same factors – when they are common for both countries, we know how to cope with them, we are more resilient for them and can find creative solutions. When Polish companies chose India to invest and not for example China, it is because of the fact that Indian are speaking English and there is no problem to communicate. The Forum’s headline was India –...

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Chinese cultural orientation: collectivism

Chinese cultural orientation: collectivism

Chinese cultural orientations You can recognize the cultural Chinese values even from poster and billboards. In an advert (no idea of what) my attention has been drawn by a sentence of „No skills, no dreams” (see photo). When I would formulate a sentence about a dream, it would be like this „When You have dreams, You can achieve them” or „Dreams are seeds of achievements”, just in an opposite way to this on the advert. A different way of thinking determines a different ways of acting. In order to understand the people’s behaviors, it is worth to know and understand the way the people from the given culture are thinking. Collectivism versus Individualism Another example of different way of thinking and behaving is a sentence on the billboard (see photo) as follow: „Love is work together. Love is never let go”. In Poland such a sentence would probably sound like „Love is a romance, love is an affection” as Polish people are very affective and emotional. In China, with collective orientation, where a wellbeing and a harmony of the group not the individuals is valued, such sentence is an exemplification of this cultural orientation. In Yangshuo I have spotted another billboard with a motto „Fire attached you and me, peace and happinness depend on all” being an example of such collectivism orientation and harmony. The different role of a group and an individual person in society reflect the notion of Individualism and Collectivism worked out by Geert Hofstede. Due to him „the fundamental issue addressed by this dimension is the degree of interdependence a society maintains among its members. It has to do with whether people´s self-image is defined in terms of “I” or “We” (from www.geert-hofstede.com). In Individualist societies people are supposed to look after themselves and their direct family only. In Collectivist societies people belong to ‘in groups’ that take care of them in exchange for loyalty. With a score of 20 of Individualism (IDV) China is a highly collectivist culture where people act in the interests of the group and not necessarily of themselves. Poland with IDS of 60 (in scale of 100) is quite in the middle, with much higher individualistic attitude than China, but...

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What about POLAND?

What about POLAND?

Intercultural Poland First Sunday in January Polish people celebrate the day of three Kings, a new  religious holyday introduced since some years. On this day a ceremony commemorating the trip of three kings to Bethlehem is performed on the street of Polish cities. In organized walk of people there are actors playing the scenes form life of Jesus and historical figures from Polish history. This year I have spotted a figure of  Chinese dragon which sourly  has not been at the time of Jesus present in the area of his  living. I find it as very nice exemplification of intercultural approach of polish society (dragon in a catholic ceremony) and good direction in culturally and religious very homogeneous country. European Union has quoted latest statistic about the percentage of foreigners living in different countries of EU. Poland is on the last position in ranking with 0,01 % of population with not being a native. This is about 40 000 foreigners, so much as the number of football funs who arrived  at one time during Euro 2012 to Warsaw  for Championship. This number confirms  the claim about Polish society being culturally very homogenous. When we take into consideration the situation –low expose of Polish people to contacts with other cultures in everyday life and “cultural” heritage of years of cultural isolation during communism (from 1945 till 1989). I welcome every sign of Polish openness for different cultures. So my WOW for dragon in a catholic ceremony. This situation confirms also the high level of Hofsede index of  uncertainty avoidance, which in case of Poland is very high – and is at the level of 92 (the higest level is 112 for Greece). Due to Hofstede „countries exhibiting strong Uncertainty avoidance Index or UAI, maintain rigid codes of belief and behavior and are intolerant of unorthodox behavior and ideas. Weak UAI societies maintain a more relaxed attitude in which practice counts more than principles” (from Wiki English). High level of UAI means that the society tends to regard strangers more as a enemy than a friend, and this set of mind is represented in a approach to others – distrust, lack of openness, exclusion of others. Poland together with Greece being on...

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China

China

China „Time is time, money are money”– with this sentence a speaker at the Expo China Poland 2012 has ended her presentation on the differences in approach to business in China. China is the second large economy in the world, so it is worth to take closer look to the ways of communications and building relations with Chine from perspective of Polish culture. To understand another culture you should be are of the differences and commonalities between your culture and this of counterpart. Only when you are aware of differences and you know what is the background of them you can understand the behaviour of another person and respect them. When you know what have you common with another person, you can easy build on these commonalities the relations. The differences are huge, this visible, which you can recognise at first glimpse and these invisible –in values, beliefs which are shown off in behaviour. Knowing the differences you can start understanding Chinese culture. China New Year New Year –in January, different date in every year Be aware of this when planning business trip and sending New Year greetings Poland New Year Always on 1st January China Chinese sign of Zodiac – all represents animals Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig, Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep   Poland Sign of Zodiac – represents people and animal Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces.  China Cuisine A lot of rice, noodles, no milk products, no potatoes, no bread, a lot of spices (hot).  Poland A lof of bread, potatoes, Polish spices used are mild, no eating of snakes. China Alphabet Chinese characters are logograms. In Chinese orthography, the characters are largely morph syllabic, each corresponding to a spoken syllable with a distinct meaning. However, the majority of Chinese words today consist of two or more character (會意字, huìyìzì). Examples: „Woman and child” 好   – good „Woman under the roof” 安 – peace, harmony, quiet „Pig under the roof” 家  – home, family „Field and heart” 思  – thought thinking; „Field and plough” 男  – man source: Wikipedia New characters are still invented, the alphabet is living. They write top down. This system of Chinese characters...

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Cross-culture communication and management at the workplace

Cross-culture communication and management at the workplace

 When working in international environment conventional managerial skills are not enough!  Intercultural competencies are the clue! Poland is becoming more and more attractive place to work for international managers. The growing numbers of expatriates on managerial positions are working in Poland, as the country’s economy offers a range of opportunities to grow the business and to enhance their managerial career. Working in another country is challenging for managers, as they have to cope with different national culture and work in unfamiliar organizational culture of the company. When the manager’s culture greatly varies from the host’s country one, they can experience the cultural shock and find it difficult to adjust to given organizational culture. Be prepared to live and work in another country! When managing people in another country you should be prepared for it. Competencies of managing people of different cultures are called intercultural competencies. You have such competencies when you have the knowledge of: v Cultural profile of the country you are working in. People from different countries have different cultural profiles. This is expressed in different communication styles, different values and their meaning. People vary with their approaches to time, space and solving problems. They have different habits, taboos and symbols. When communicating with people from another culture you should be aware of these differences. This is the first step on the way to acquire intercultural competencies. v Your cultural profile A person who was born and brought up in a certain country represents the core values and beliefs that are typical for the culture of the country. You too have your core values and beliefs which you transmit and express (mostly unconsciously) in your behavior, way of thinking, concept of time and space, your communication and negotiation style, approach to solving problems, the context of communication you are using (high or low), and in many other aspects. Knowing yourself (your cultural profile) is the second step on the way to acquire intercultural competencies. v The organizational culture of the company you are working in As a manager you should have the ability to recognize the organizational culture of the company – its leadership style, managerial tools used when motivating people, way of making decisions, solving problems, etc....

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