3. Areas I’ve developed the most
Attending numerous 8CQ classes made me more open minded due to the relevance of the concepts taught, and refined my attitude towards people who are different from me. It made me realise that I previously had stereotypes about other culture and people, namely foreign students from Beijing, China.
Previously, I believe that my classmates from Beijing are too heavily invested in their academics and it’s absurd for them to measure success with exam scores and ranking as their main criteria, rather than qualities of life such as family life, health and safety, and happiness.
Under the Hofstede Dimensions taught, I learned that China is a more masculine society than Singapore (Masculinity score: 66 vs. 48), which is more success oriented and driven. I now understand why friends and classmates from Beijing will sacrifice family and leisure priorities for grades, and leisure time is not as important to them. Presently, I fully fathom that every culture has different emphasis on success and priorities of life, and it’s absolutely not a blunder if students from Beijing has a higher regard on a different aspect of life from me, and other fellow Singaporeans.
I am now interacting more with people of distinct cultures because I realise that my assumptions are incorrect, and is now more accepting and appreciative of differing opinions.
4. What will I do to become more effective cross-culturally?
In an event when I’m working in an international firm of a diverse workforce participating in the economy, I must hone my cross-cultural skills to get along with fellow employees of varying ethnic setting and cultural orientation to maximise work efficiency.
For instance, I must be able to recognise co-workers’ communication context and understand the difference between Western and Eastern communication context (Low vs. High context). With this knowledge, I can expect meanings to be direct and clear, explicitly provided in the message itself when doing business with people in a low-context culture such as the United States and Germany, and minimise misunderstanding when exchanging information. This enables me to adapt my communication style and build stronger working relationships.
If I’m assigned to work overseas, the knowledge obtained from 8CQ classes, namely Edward T. Hall’s chronemics and the cross-cultural concept of time is vital. Working in polychronic cultures such as Italy, I must be more mindful of the differences from monochronic Singapore and should be prioritising relationship over tasks and be less considerate of time commitments and not regarding time to be binding, which are uncommon business practices in Singapore.
Overall, these practices will allow me to quickly understand and effectively act in a culture different from my own.