Tag Archives: Social Sciences

Beware the Very Real Effect of Negative Social Connections

See on Scoop.itEducation For The Future

There’s a growing body of evidence supporting the idea that your friends’ friends wield tremendous power over you without you even knowing it.

Social networks are the groups of real friends that we all share and interact with.

Anne Egros‘s insight:

“Birds of a feather really DO flock together”

In the article, the negative effect of social networks is shown with obese people who tend to connect with other fat people on many levels of connection.

Emotions are the tools people use to connect with social network friends usually faster than in the real world where people tend to be more inhibited to expose themselves in person.

The phone works two ways though and the positive effects of your online friends may outweigh the negative impacts.

For example you can join people who have common goals and interests such as losing weight, staying fit and healthy, aging, raising kids or living abroad etc. Social networks can sometimes help you get extra motivated and less isolated.

What do you think ?

See on networkedblogs.com

Bilingualism and biculturalism are related, but they are not the same thing.

See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Anne Egros‘s insight:

A very much-needed explanation on the distinction of bilingualism and biculturalism.

For example, too often managers are chosen for their abilities to speak the local language but someone can have a better cultural sensitivity and be  more successful without speaking the local language.

Here more about empirical evidences that languages can shape behaviours but cannot make you multicultural :

Related articles:

See on bilingualkidsrock.com

Increasing Stress, Decreasing Empathy: Need Emotional Intelligence

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Research shows stress is increasing: health problems & business costs. Empathy is decreasing to damage collaboration: The case for emotional intelligence

Anne Egros‘s insight:

Very true ! That is why coaching is an holistic process to understand yourself. Stress at home impacts performance at work and stress at work damages your health and personal relationships.

See on www.6seconds.org

You Are What You Speak: How Language Influences Behaviors

Montage of languages. Prototype header for the...

Montage of languages. Prototype header for the language portal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If our language shapes the way we think, it also impacts the way we behave.

In its presentation, Keith Chen ask the question: Could your language affect your ability to save money ? The author gives various examples on how same information is delivered very differently from one language to another. For example in English, the following sentences:  “it has rained”, “it is raining” or “it will rain” are translated in Chinese in only one sentence because the information about time in the verb is never mentioned.

He called  “futured languages,” those like English that  distinguish between the past, present and future, and “futureless languages,” those like Chinese that use the same phrasing to describe the events of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Chen found that huge economic differences accompany this linguistic discrepancy. Futureless language speakers are 30 percent more likely to report having saved in any given year than futured language speakers

Unlike English, many languages have a grammatical gender system. For example French, Spanish, Russian or German languages use genders for inanimate objects. Cross-linguistic differences in thought can be produced just by grammatical differences even when the person speaks English.

Different languages divide color space differently. Some colors like “Yellow and “Orange” for example don’t have different names in certain languages but it does not mean that people don’t see the differences. Unlike English, Russian makes a distinction between lighter blues (“goluboy”) and darker blues (“siniy”). These differences have a direct impact on the way meaning is attributed to colors.

Language, cultural rules, norms, personal experience etc., all influence the way we interpret what we see,hear or feel in a very complex manner. Words are interpreted as thoughts and thoughts trigger behaviors.

In doing business in different countries, global companies need to deliver messages to consumers or employees that can be interpreted in the right way. Corporate culture and employee training programs for example should be adapted to local culture and delivered in local language. For global executives and expatriates, intercultural training can be done in English but should be highly personalized and designed based on the culture and experience of the recipients. Looking at differences and similarities between languages can give many clues on what is appropriate or inappropriate behaviors.

 Related articles: 

Cultural Map of the World: Using Values To Explain Cross-national Differences

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Click here to edit the title

Anne Egros‘s insight:

The World Values Surveys were designed to provide a comprehensive measurement of all major areas of human concern, from religion to politics to economic and social life.

Two dimensions dominate the picture: (1) Traditional/ Secular-rational and (2) Survival/Self-expression values.

These two dimensions explain more than 70 percent of the cross-national variance in a factor analysis of ten indicators-and each of these dimensions is strongly correlated with scores of other important orientations.

The results of this type of surveys must be used with caution as people behaviors are changing pretty fast based on economic development, new technologies, globalization and communication tools such as internet or mobile phones.

Other theories of cross-cultural communication are drew from the fields of anthropology, sociology, communication and psychology and are based on value differences among cultures. Edward T. HallGeert Hofstede, Fons TrompenaarsShalom Schwartz and Clifford Geertz are some of the major contributors in this field.

My Favorite tool is the Five  Hofstede’s Intercultural Dimensions 

See on www.worldvaluessurvey.org


Cross-cultural Variation in People‘s Prevailing Value Orientations (Powerpoint Presentation)

Geography Girl

See on Scoop.itInternational Career

A Human Development View on Value Change Trends (1981-2006)

Powerpoint presentation, Author : Christian Welzel Professor of Political Science ? International University Bremen (IUB) c.welzel@iu-bremen.deIstanbul, November 03, 200

Summary : Cross-Cultural variation in people‘s prevailing value orientations can be boiled down to just two dimensions :

(1) Weak vs. strong SECULAR-RATIONAL Values: with secular-rational values getting weaker one approaches the mythical ideal of a sacred community, with these values getting stronger one approaches the rational ideal of a secular community. This polarity is about ideals of the COMMUNITY.

(2) Weak vs. strong SELF-EXPRESSION Values: with self-expression values getting weaker one approaches the conformist ideal of a restrained individual, with these values getting stronger one approaches the ideal of an expressive individual. This polarity is about ideals of the INDIVIDUAL.

Using only two dimensions,  each country is positioned according to its people’s values and not its geographical location.

Thus, Australia, Canada, the U.S. and Great Britain are cultural neighbors, reflecting their relatively similar values, despite their geographical dispersion.

seee on : fr.slideshare.net

The Power of Negative Thinking and Cultural Preferences

See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Both ancient philosophy and modern psychology suggest that darker thoughts can make us happier, writes Oliver Burkeman.

The way we are thinking affects what we do and this article is interesting because it explores alternatives and it challenges the positive thinking principle that if we can dream it we can do it.

“The Three Little Pigs” story gives us a good metaphor on poor evaluation of risks. The two pigs who wanted to play built their houses quickly overlooking quality and danger of the situation. When the wolf came, down went the houses! The lesson is that laziness and too much optimistic thinking are undesirable characteristics to possess, while hard work and careful planning are very positive characteristics.

Positive thinking in American culture is deeply anchored in the education system and workplace cultures.

On May 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced the dramatic and ambitious goal of sending an American safely to the Moon before the end of the decade. Without this type of thinking would it have been possible for Armstrong to land on the moon in 1969?

On the other hand we can probably credit an overly positive thinking for the disasters like the “Titanic” or the space shuttle Discovery  (see details in a previous post:  The Titanic Failure, Technical or Leadership Flaws ? )

You can have big dreams but connect expectations with facts and evidences. Good leaders make decisions based on good judgment considering positive outcomes and costs of failure and evaluating the risks of doing something or avoiding it.

How much risk we can tolerate is also greatly depending on culture according to Geert Hofstede. Among the 5 main cultural dimensions there is one called : Uncertainty avoidance: The dimension Uncertainty Avoidance has to do with the way that a society deals with the fact that the future can never be known: should we try to control the future or just let it happen?

The US scores 46 on this dimension and therefore, American society is what one would describe as “uncertainty accepting.” Consequently, there is a larger degree of acceptance for new ideas, innovative products and a willingness to try something new or different, whether it pertains to technology, business practices, or foodstuffs.

People from coun­tries with high uncer­tainty avoid­ance, such as Rus­sia who scores 95 and many of the former soviet states will typ­ic­ally expect expli­cit instruc­tions and dir­ec­tion for many tasks and will need very detailed and formal responses to requests and ques­tions, these indi­vidu­als feel at their most com­fort­able and pro­duct­ive in a world of struc­ture and rules.

Conclusion:In multicultural environments it is important to understand how people from different cultural backgrounds evaluate risks and project negative or positive outcomes. Avoiding ethnocentric decisions is key in intercultural project management but at the same time high  risk-avoidance should not paralyze action.

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