Cultural norms and relationship building

cultural norms and relationship building

Culture is, basically, a set of shared values that a group [. for the importance of building and maintaining personal relationships when dealing. Learn how to understand cultures and build relationships with people from other cultures. Ask people questions about their cultures, customs, and views. how we go about creating relationships. Values and beliefs are learnt in a national culture, and they may be unconscious. You may not be.

Go to meetings and celebrations of groups whose members you want to get to know. Or hang out in restaurants and other gathering places that different cultural groups go. You may feel embarrassed or shy at first, but your efforts will pay off.

People of a cultural group will notice if you take the risk of coming to one of their events. If it is difficult for you to be the only person like yourself attending, you can bring a buddy with you and support each other in making friends. We all carry misinformation and stereotypes about people in different cultures. Especially, when we are young, we acquire this information in bits and pieces from TV, from listening to people talk, and from the culture at large.

We are not bad people because we acquired this; no one requested to be misinformed. But in order to build relationships with people of different cultures, we have to become aware of the misinformation we acquired.

An excellent way to become aware of your own stereotypes is to pick groups that you generalize about and write down your opinions. Once you have, examine the thoughts that came to your mind and where you acquired them. Another way to become aware of stereotypes is to talk about them with people who have similar cultures to your own.

In such settings you can talk about the misinformation you acquired without being offensive to people from a particular group. You can get together with a friend or two and talk about how you acquired stereotypes or fears of other different people. You can answer these kinds of questions: How did your parents feel about different ethnic, racial, or religious groups?

What did your parents communicate to you with their actions and words? Were your parents friends with people from many different groups?

What did you learn in school about a particular group? Was there a lack of information about some people? Are there some people you shy away from? Ask people questions about their cultures, customs, and views People, for the most part, want to be asked questions about their lives and their cultures. Many of us were told that asking questions was nosy; but if we are thoughtful, asking questions can help you learn about people of different cultures and help build relationships.

People are usually pleasantly surprised when others show interest in their cultures. If you are sincere and you can listen, people will tell you a lot. Read about other people's cultures and histories It helps to read about and learn about people's cultures and histories.

If you know something about the reality of someone's life and history, it shows that you care enough to take the time to find out about it. It also gives you background information that will make it easier to ask questions that make sense. However, you don't have to be an expert on someone's culture to get to know them or to ask questions.

People who are, themselves, from a culture are usually the best experts, anyway. Don't forget to care and show caring It is easy to forget that the basis of any relationship is caring. Everyone wants to care and be cared about.

Caring about people is what makes a relationship real. Don't let your awkwardness around cultural differences get in the way of caring about people. Listen to people tell their stories If you get an opportunity to hear someone tell you her life story first hand, you can learn a lot--and build a strong relationship at the same time. Every person has an important story to tell.

Cross-Cultural Business Relationships

Each person's story tells something about their culture. Listening to people's stories, we can get a fuller picture of what people's lives are like--their feelings, their nuances, and the richness of their lives.

Listening to people also helps us get through our numbness-- there is a real person before us, not someone who is reduced to stereotypes in the media. Additionally, listening to members of groups that have been discriminated against can give us a better understanding of what that experience is like. Listening gives us a picture of discrimination that is more real than what we can get from reading an article or listening to the radio.

You can informally ask people in your neighborhood or organization to tell you a part of their life stories as a member of a particular group.

You can also incorporate this activity into a workshop or retreat for your group or organization. Have people each take five or ten minutes to talk about one piece of their life stories. If the group is large, you will probably have to divide into small groups, so everyone gets a chance to speak.

Cross-Cultural Business Relationships

Notice differences in communication styles and values; don't assume that the majority's way is the right way. We all have a tendency to assume that the way that most people do things is the acceptable, normal, or right way. As community workers, we need to learn about cultural differences in values and communication styles, and not assume that the majority way is the right way to think or behave.

You are in a group discussion. Some group members don't speak up, while others dominate, filling all the silences. The more vocal members of the group become exasperated that others don't talk. It also seems that the more vocal people are those that are members of the more mainstream culture, while those who are less vocal are from minority cultures.

How do we understand this? How can this be resolved? In some cultures, people feel uncomfortable with silence, so they speak to fill the silences.

cultural norms and relationship building

In other cultures, it is customary to wait for a period of silence before speaking. If there aren't any silences, people from those cultures may not ever speak. Also, members of some groups women, people of low income, some racial and ethnic minorities, and others don't speak up because they have received messages from society at large that their contribution is not as important as others; they have gotten into the habit of deferring their thinking to the thinking of others.

When some people don't share their thinking, we all lose out. We all need the opinions and voices of those people who have traditionally been discouraged from contributing. In situations like the one described above, becoming impatient with people for not speaking is usually counter-productive.

However, you can structure a meeting to encourage the quieter people to speak. For example, you can: Have people break into pairs before discussing a topic in the larger group. Seek out the locals and learn from them. See the sights and explore places of interest. At the same time, I would advise that if someone is a guest in your country, you should be sensitive and courteous and not expect them to understand how things work in your society straight away. Always assume that people want to learn, and be patient and kind as they do.

When you enter an international, multi-cultural work environment, apply the same strategies in order to establish and develop the best possible working relationships. Just as traditions and values differ between countries, so do the practices of running businesses and organisations. When I was very young and at the beginning of my career working for the United Nations, I had a Japanese colleague who really illustrated to me how different we all are.

Whenever I passed Hisato in the corridor outside my office, he would apologise and smile vaguely whilst looking at the floor and pressing himself against the wall, making himself as small and invisible as he possibly could, in order to allow me to pass — even though the corridor was probably at least 4 metres wide.

I remember thinking how unnecessary it was for him to do that, with only a vague appreciation of how polite he was being.

Cross cultural communication - Pellegrino Riccardi - TEDxBergen

I remember wondering why he kept distributing pictures if he felt that he always needed to apologise for doing so. Again, Hisato was only being polite. Hisato and his wife Suki once invited me and some colleagues for dinner at their house. In the Middle East where I had lived for several years prior, it is customary to leave a little bit of food on your plate to indicate that you are full otherwise your host will assume you are still hungry and will keep filling up your empty plate.

I left some rice and a tiny bits of vegetable on my plate, and thanked my hosts for the lovely dinner. They looked a little surprised and uncomfortable, as if they did not believe I had enjoyed the food. Only after a bit of discussion about Japanese customs and traditions did it become apparent to us all how we had misunderstood each other.

cultural norms and relationship building

I learned so much from Hisato. He, and many other colleagues at the UN, helped me to embrace and appreciate cultural diversity in the workplace.

cultural norms and relationship building

Here are some reflections and advice around working alongside colleagues from a different culture, based on what I have learned over the years. Thoughtfulness and respect go a long way. Celebrating diversity rather than judging people who are different is rewarding and fun. And remember, others will see you in a kind light, and will be more likely to reciprocate, if you make an effort to be open with them.

Learn about work culture too.

Building relationships across cultures and nationalities

Work culture varies greatly from organisation to organisation, from country to country. Be flexible and open to new ways of working, in order to move the business forward with efficiency and effectiveness.

cultural norms and relationship building

Working for the United Nations has taught me that sweeping generalisations about nationalities are not helpful or even true. Although some general national characteristics and stereotypes may be prevalent, not all people of the same nationalities are the same.

In an increasingly global work setting, people change and adapt and often create their own, personal mixture of characteristics, rather than living up to their traditional, national ones. In some cultures, being on time is not necessary, whilst in others it is considered rude if you are not.

Culture, Values and the Impact at Work | Diversity Journal

I would suggest playing it safe and respecting set times. Do not be surprised or offended, however, if you are the only one who arrives on time for meetings.

How you express yourself varies across cultures.