cccchapter 91 cross cultural communication chapter 9 how we manage time

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  • Cross Cultural CommunicationChapter 9How We Manage Time

    Chapter 9

  • Learning Outcomes

    How we manage timeShared expectations about timeSequential Vs SynchronicRelative importance cultures give to Past, Present, and Future

    Chapter 9

  • The Concept of TimePrimitive societies see the time in the context of before or after moons, seasons, sunrises and sunsets.For educated societies, two contrasting notions:Time as a line of discreet events : minutes, hours, days, months, years, each passing in a never ending succession.Time as a circle : revolving so that the minutes of the hour repeat, as do the hours of the day, the days of the week and so on.

    Chapter 9

  • The Concept of TimeTime is viewed as a factor that organizations must manageTime and motion studiesJust-in-timeTime-to-marketProduct life cycle (PLC)Time is considered universally in the categories of past, present and future but not equal importance is given to each of these.Conception of time is strongly influenced by cultureTime is interwoven with how we plan, strategize and coordinate our activities with othersIt is an important dimension how we organize experience and activities

    Chapter 9

  • The Concept of TimeKluckhohn and Strodtbeck identified three types of culture :Present-oriented : relatively timeless, tradition-less and ignores the futurePast-oriented : mainly concerned to maintain and restore traditions in the presentFuture-oriented : envisaging a more desirable future and setting out to realize it.

    Chapter 9

  • The Concept of TimeTime has meaning not only to individuals but to whole groups or cultures.Time is a social construct enabling members of a culture to co-ordinate their activities Emile Durkheim, French Sociologist This has an important implications in a business context:Time agreed for a meeting may be approximate or precise.There may be an expectation of mutual accommodation as to the exact time of delivery of product or there may be a penalty clause imposed by one party on anotherOrganizations may look ahead a long way, or get obsessed by the monthly reporting period.

    Chapter 9

  • Sequential Vs Synchronic CulturesSequentialLine of sequential events passing at regular intervalsTime is considered as a dotted line with regular spacingsEvents are organized by the number of intervals before or after their occurrenceCritical path is worked out in advance with times for the completion of each stage. People hate to be thrown off the schedule because of unanticipated events.SynchronicPeople track several activities in parallel : Multi-taskersPut emphasis on the number of activities run in parallelThere is final, established goal but there are numerous and possibly interchangeable stepping stones to reach it.A person can skip between stoneson the way to final target.

    Chapter 9

  • Sequential Vs Synchronic CulturesSequentialSequential people tend to schedule very tightly, within thin divisions between time slots.Major influence on the conduct of business in N-W Europe and North America Straight lines may not be always the best way of doing something. It is blind to the effectiveness of shared activities and cross-connections.SynchronicPassage of time important but several others cultural values vie with punctualityNecessary to give time to important or higher status people.Meeting times may be approximate : most of the people involved may be involved in parallel activities, any waiting involved may not be problematic.

    Chapter 9

  • Sequential Vs Synchronic CulturesSequentialPeople do only one thing at a timeEverything has its time and place for sequential thinker Any change in this sequence make the sequential person uncertainSynchronicSynchronic / polychronic cultures less insistent upon punctualityPassage of time important but several others cultural values vie with punctualityNecessary to give time to important people to show value to relationships. Meeting time may be approximate

    Chapter 9

  • Sequential Vs Synchronic CulturesSequentialEffort towards going from A to B in a straight line with a minimal effort and maximum effect ( efficiency)

    People who do only one thing at a time may unknowingly insult those who are used to doing several things.

    In sequential / punctual cultures, exactly the right quantity of food will be prepared, may get spoiled or cold if guests not in time.SynchronicEffort towards developing closer relationships ( long-term)

    People who do more than one thing at a time may unknowingly insult those who are used to do only one thing

    Lot of adjustments in terms of time, receiving guests, cooking more food, etc.

    More than enough food in case more guests drop in unexpectedly.

    Chapter 9

  • Measuring Cultural Differences in relation to timeMethodology to measure approaches to time provided by Tom Cottle Circle Test

    Think of the past, present and future as being in the shape of circles. Please draw three circles on the sp[ace available, representing past, present and future. Arrange these circles in any way you want that best shows how you feel about the relationship of the past, present and future. You may use different size circles. When you have finished, label each circle to show which one is the past, which one the present and which one the future.

    Chapter 9

  • Measuring Cultural Differences in relation to timeFindings shown in Fig. 9.1: four possible configurations

    Absence of zone relatedness : typical Russian approach to time , no connection between past, present and future, though in Russian view, future is much more important than present and more important than the past

    Temporal integration : French and Malaysians : all three overlap considerably

    Partial overlap of zones

    Touching but not overlapping : hence not sharing regions of time between them.Characteristics of Belgians & British : small overlapBritish : strong overlap with the past

    Chapter 9

  • Time HorizonWith reference to sharing short-term and long-term horizon, Cottles Test with Duration Inventory Technique, key findings suggested that :Longest horizon found in Hong Kong and shortest in Philippines ( see Fig. 9.2)Japanese long term vision is in sharp contrast with quarterly thinking of Americans.

    Chapter 9

  • Time orientations and managementBusiness organizations are structured in accordance with how they conceive of time.American view of the future that the individual can direct it by personal achievement and inner-directed effort.Individual achiever can not do very much about distant future, too many events can occur USAs idea of future is short term, controllable from present.going for quick buck & great importance to quarterly figures

    In French Culture , the past looms far larger and is used as context in which to understand present. Past, present and future overlap synchronically so that the past informs the present and both informs the future.

    Chapter 9

  • Time orientations and managementHuman relations and and orientations to timeAny lasting relationship combines past, present and future with ties of affection and memorySynchronic cultures are more weoriented ( collectivistic) and usually more particularist in valuing people known to be special.Sequential cultures tend to see relationships as more instrumentalHigher pay is the means towards still higher performance and customers purchase is a means to receive higher bonus.Durable, synchronic relationships in which the past, present and future of the partners are bound together in co-evolution may be becoming more effective way to manage.

    Chapter 9

  • Time orientation and managementTime orientation and authorityIn nations in which past looms large and where time orientations overlap, status is more likely to be legitimized by ascription based on durable characteristics such as age, class, gender, ethnicity and professional qualifications.

    In sequential culture countries the future is a sequence of episodes of relative successes and failuresPeople unburden themselves of relationships and dependencies not useful in the next stage of their career.Authority of individual depends upon the latest achievement; those on the up today may be gone tomorrow.

    Chapter 9

  • Time orientation and managementPolicies of Promotion and assessmentSequential and synchronic cultures, and those concerned with the past or the future, may also assess and promote differently.In sequential cultures, the more that employee can be held responsible for a rise or fall in fortune the better, and the supervisor tempt to minimize their own roles, or that of the relationship with the employee, since it does not help the employee to see his or her own recent achievement separated out as an increment of gain or loss.

    In more synchronic organizations employee may be favorably assessed and promoted for the positive relationship established with the supervisors, who see that the relationship developing over time and accumulating knowledge and mutualitySupervisors acknowledge their role in making the subordinates career.

    Chapter 9

  • Time orientation and managementManaging change in a past-oriented culture

    Synchronic cultures carry their pasts through the present into the future and will refuse to consider changing unless convinced that their heritage is safe.

    All change must include continuity, that is, staying the same in some respects so as to preserve identity.

    Tight sequential agenda might backfire in synchronic cultures

    In synchronic cultures, important thing is what they get to the end, not the particular path or sequence by which that end is reached.

    Chapter 9

  • Time orientation and