在不喪失自我的情況下跨文化交流

Reaching Across Cultures Without Losing Yourself
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你是否會與不同文化的人做生意,或者當他們的部屬或主管?如果是這樣,請找出這種文化與你的文化有何不同。然後根據這些差異來調整自己的行為,但要採用你覺得展現真實自我的方式來調整。

莎拉.葛林:嗨,我是莎拉.葛林,今天我要訪談的是安迪.莫林斯基,他是布蘭戴斯大學國際商學院副教授,著有《全球技能》(Global Dexterity)。安迪,謝謝你今天撥冗前來。

安迪.莫林斯基:謝謝你邀請我,莎拉。

莎拉.葛林:大多數以全球領導力為主題的商業書籍,通常要我們關注自己的文化,與我們即將置身的文化之間有何差異,可能還要記住一些如何不冒犯他人的訣竅。有沒有更好的方法?

安迪.莫林斯基:我認為這是很好的第一步。我覺得很重要的是,應該要了解自己要面臨的任何文化差異,特別是當你預料將面臨以下情況時:如果你要提供回饋意見,如果你想激勵員工,如果你試圖推銷想法。但我認為,了解差異只是第一步。接下來你必須學會如何根據這些差異,來調整自己的行為。你必須要能改變自己的行為。這常常是知易行難。

莎拉.葛林:如果人們嘗試以這種方式調整行為,而感到不自在,或感覺沒有展現真實自我,那該如何?

安迪.莫林斯基:是的,總是會出現這種情況。這就是全球技能(global dexterity)的概念。全球技能的概念,是指學會調整自己的行為,以便在新文化中顯得有效且恰當,但又不會在這個過程中失去自我,不會感到不真實。有時我稱之為「適應而非屈從」。你可以做自己,也可以在新文化中發揮成效。

莎拉.葛林:我知道你寫了一整本書來談這個主題。但能否簡單概述一下其中的幾種方法?

安迪.莫林斯基:沒問題。要學會展現真實自我,又要能適應新的文化,關鍵就在於我所謂的學會客製化自己的行為,把你的行為個人化。我想,買西裝的比喻很有用。試想你上一次買西裝的時候,或任何人上一次買西裝時,你可能不是把那套西裝從衣架拿下來,然後直接穿上。有些人也許會這樣做。但很多人不會這樣做。你必須先摺一下這裡,調整一下那裡。你必須客製化。

你必須讓它為你量身訂製。你也可以對文化行為這麼做。我認為,人們常犯的錯誤是,把適應外國文化看成要命中靶心。但事實並非如此。它是有一個範圍的。在新文化中,通常有一個我所謂的「適當區」。關鍵是要在那個區域內找到一個地方,可以讓你顯得行為恰當,也讓你感到自在。而感到自在的那部分,可能就像裁縫一樣,要能調整和客製化自己的行為。

莎拉.葛林:能否舉例說明,某個人可能原本覺得自己不真實,之後學會客製化自己的行為,解決這種緊張狀況?

安迪.莫林斯基:這本書裡有很多這樣的例子。例如,有位美國高階主管去了印度,他是從基層做起的。他非常喜歡讓大家參與決策,給予員工權力。但他發現,他嘗試這麼做時,完全無法展現成效,因為他給予印度員工權力的做法,實際上被員工視為軟弱的象徵。於是員工不再尊重他。所以他必須調整,他必須適應,他必須比平常更專斷,這讓他感到不自在。但他覺得這麼做很困難。讓他覺得不是真實的自己。他必須弄清楚該怎麼做。

莎拉.葛林:這引發了一個有趣的觀點,就是在這種情況下,你首先要如何診斷出自己做的事情沒有成效?

安迪.莫林斯基:第一步,你必須能夠診斷和理解我所說的「文化準則」。在新的文化中,在這種特殊情況下,你在行動時應該展現多大程度的果斷,該多麼直接、果斷?個人資訊揭露到什麼程度?也就是你該透露多少個人資訊?你應該表現出多少熱誠?其中有很多不同的面向,你必須學習新文化的適當區,也就是在那個情況下,每個面向中的適當行為是什麼。基本上,就是要了解規則。了解自己必須做什麼。

第二步是了解你自己的個人舒適區。在每個面向中的哪個位置,你會感到自在?溝通時,什麼樣的直接程度會讓你感到自在?多大程度的熱誠,讓你個人感覺自在?有時候,你的個人舒適區反映了你的出身,也就是你原本的文化。有時它是混合的。有時它的關鍵在於你原本的文化,但也包括你的個性和成長經歷。其中牽涉到很多因素。

但如果你可以把個人的舒適區(讓你感到行為自然且自在的地方),與新文化的適當區配合,你就會發現,你感到自在的地方,與你必須採取的行為之間,是否有重疊之處?

如果是這樣,就是最理想的,因為你既可以做自己,又能在新文化中有效行動。或者在許多情況下,這兩者有落差。也就是在你自然、真實、自在地採取行動,與你必須如何行動才能有成效,這兩者之間有落差。如果有落差,你就必須做些事情,來改善你的全球技能。這麼做可能變得複雜,因此我認為這必須視情況而定。

莎拉.葛林:安迪,這個主題很複雜,非常感謝你今天來和我們討論這個主題。

安迪.莫林斯基:這是我的榮幸。

(劉純佑譯)


Sarah Green: Hi. I'm Sarah Green. I'm talking today with Andy Molinsky, associate professor at Brandeis University International Business School. He's the author of “Global Dexterity.” Andy, thanks for talking with us.

Andy Molinsky: Thanks for having me, Sarah.

Sarah Green: Now, most business books on the topic of leading globally generally tell us to focus on what the differences are between our culture and the culture we're going into, and maybe to memorize some tips on how not to offend people. Is there a better approach?

Andy molinsky: Well, I think that's a good step one. I think it's really important that you understand the differences in any culture you're going into, especially in any situation you're going to find yourself in--if you're giving feedback, if you're trying to motivate your employees, if you're trying to pitch an idea. But understanding the differences, in my view, is only step one. You have to be able to then actually learn to accommodate your behavior in light of those differences. You need to be able to change your behavior. And oftentimes, that's easier said than done.

Sarah Green: What about some of that discomfort people may feel, or feeling inauthentic if they're trying to adapt their behavior that way?

Andy Molinsky: Yeah. That happens all the time. That's the idea of global dexterity. Global dexterity is the idea learning to adapt your behavior to be effective and appropriate in a new culture, but without losing yourself in the process -- without feeling inauthentic. Sometimes I call it “fitting in without giving in.” So you can be yourself, and you can be effective in a new culture.

Sarah Green: Well, I know you wrote a whole book about it. But briefly, can you just maybe outline what a few of those ways might be?

Andy Molinsky: Sure. The key way to be able to learn to be authentic, and at the same time adapt to a new culture, is what I call to learn to customize your behavior, personalize your behavior. I guess the analogy that works for me is the idea of buying a suit. So, think about the last time you bought a suit, or anyone, think about the last time you bought a suit. You probably didn't take that suit off the rack and just put it right on. For some of us, maybe. But for a lot of us, no. You have to get it tucked in here, adjusted out there. You have to customize it.

You have to personalize it to you. And that's the same thing that you can do with cultural behavior. Oftentimes, people, I think, make the mistake that fitting into a foreign culture is like hitting that dead-on bull's eye of an archery target. But it's not. There's a range. There's usually what I call a “zone of appropriateness” in the new culture. And the key is to find somewhere within that zone where you can be appropriate but you can also feel comfortable. And part of feeling comfortable might be, just like with a tailor, being able to adjust and customize your behavior.

Sarah Green: So what's an example of someone who maybe felt inauthentic and then learned to customize their behavior and resolve that tension?

Andy Molinsky: The book is chock-full of examples of this. So, just for example, an American executive going to India, and he's a very sort of bottom-up type of guy. Very participative, wants to empower his employees. But he finds out that when he tries to do that, he's completely ineffective, because his attempts at empowering his Indian employees actually are being seen by the employees themselves as a sign of weakness. And they stop respecting him. So he needs to adjust. He needs to adapt, and he needs to be more authoritarian than he would comfortably naturally be. But for him, that feels very difficult. It feels very inauthentic. So he has to figure out what to do.

Sarah Green: And that raises an interesting point, which is that in kind of situation, how do you first diagnose that what you're doing isn't effective?

Andy Molinsky: The first step is, you need to be able to diagnose and understand what I call the “cultural code.” How assertively you're supposed to act in the new culture -- in this particular situation -- how directly, how assertively? With how much personal disclosure –how much should you disclose about yourself personally? How much enthusiasm are you expected to show? There's a range of different dimensions, and what you need to do is you need to learn that new culture's zone of appropriateness -- what's appropriate in terms of each of these dimensions in that situation. So basically, understand the rules of the road. Understand what you need to do.

And the second step is understanding your own personal comfort zone. Where in each of these dimensions do you feel comfortable? How directly do you feel comfortable communicating? With how much enthusiasm do you personally feel comfortable? And sometimes, your personal comfort zone is a reflection of where you come from -- your native culture. Sometimes it's a mix. Sometimes it's your native culture, but also your personality, your upbringing. There's a lot of factors that go into that.

But if you can match your personal comfort zone -- where you feel natural and comfortable behaving -- against the new culture's zone of appropriateness, you can find, is there an overlap between where you feel comfortable and how you have to behave?

If that's the case, you're golden, because you can just be yourself and act effectively in the new culture. Or, in many cases, there's a gap. So, a gap between how you would naturally, authentically, comfortably act and how you need to act to be effective. And in those cases where there's a gap, that's where you have some work to do to improve your global dexterily. It can get complicated, and that's why I think it's very situation-specific.

Sarah Green: Well, Andy, it is complicated topic. Thanks so much for talking about it with us today.

Andy Molinsky: It was great to be here.



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