How come different languages appropriate a same object to different cultures? Why is a tight high braid named in English a French Braid, in Hebrew a Chinese Braid and in Spanish an African Braid?
Cross-Cultural conclusions. You might be in this moment when you are about to meet a new team member, a boss, and project manager or a friend from a culture different then your own. Knowing before meeting that specific person that he or she are from an Other culture automatically leads you, and most humans, to Cross-Cultural Conclusions. These subjective conclusions are an important part of the psychologic cultural biases that become highly active later in conflicts. Cross-Cultural Conclusions derive from stigmas, stereotypes, knowledge and past experience.
The moment in which two or more cultures meet is extremely dramatic. The default result of Cross-Cultural encounters unfortunately is that a conflict will stem out of this Cross-Cultural moment. Conflicts famously tend to leave both parties discouraged, frustrated and full of negative thoughts and feelings. Despite this personal or collective sense of failure that may be familiar to you there are a few steps you can take a second before another conflict with a dominant cultural component is about to occur.
When you are about to meet the Other cultural party, bear in mind that Defining Otherness and appropriating ideas and behaviors to a certain culture is tricky. There might and often are gaps between the conclusions you have about that cultural party and between their own identity, narratives and reality.
What you can do about the moment before a Chinese will tell you this braid you mentioned has nothing to do Chinese cultures (despite you Cultural Truths and terms in your language) and a cloud of awkwardness will hang in mid air?
Ask. Add a question mark to your conclusion. Phrase your conclusion as a question.
The benefits are that you convey both interest and curiosity and actively reach out to mediate cultural gaps. These gaps begin in braids and end in international marketing campaigns and global projects. If you even manage sharing a good laugh at the funny differences and Cross-Cultural conclusions create that is an excellent and effective result.
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