Anglia Ruskin Research Online (ARRO)
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Being aware of cultural differences and preparing oneself to learn

posted on 2023-08-30, 18:46 authored by Nicholas Wilkinson
The research was initiated to provide me with valuable knowledge as I expanded my company into a new market, that of the Far East. The thesis commences with the background rationale for investigating the area of culture. It builds upon existing ‘difference’ research to help provide a better understanding of overseas culture focusing upon Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam. At an early stage in the research it became apparent I was moving my methodological shift towards self-ethnography, using my own experiences to reflect upon and use the knowledge gained to refine my way of operating when communicating with business colleagues located in the Far Eastern countries. The writings of Hall, Trompenaars, Hampden-Turner and Hofstede, produced information which enabled me to compare my empirical research with existing research and help me make sense of my findings. Learning models promulgated by Honey and Mumford and Kolb are explored, together with sense-making. The thesis takes a qualitative stance with the author at the core of the project. The research, completed in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the UK produced valuable data which is presented in the vignettes. Individual acculturation using reflection via incidences is recorded in the vignettes and used to expand cultural intelligence. The acquiring of Cultural intelligence (CQ) is explored via ‘The Conscious Competence Learning Model’, which explains the stages by which we learn and ultimately acquire a new skill and was used to help the author as he moved through the learning stages of the matrix. This longitudinal research of over six years reflected on the findings reported in the vignettes, and introduced new knowledge and new ideas to the author, which was useful as he developed his business and contributed to the general and his knowledge bank. During this longitudinal, self-ethnographic research, it must be acknowledged that there is a difficulty in producing knowledge through writing about the self, but during the exercise this was constantly monitored as I reflected upon events. It produced some rich text that supported me as a way to introduce cultural nuances into myself which would help me develop closer relations with my overseas business associates. Finally, a conceptual framework is developed that centres the self-reflective learning on sensemaking around cultural difference incidents, intercultural communication/ acculturation and learning theory (to develop this sensemaking ability) and ultimately the gaining of cultural intelligence (CQ) through an ongoing mixing of these three theory sets. In this way this thesis contributes to the literature by Hall, Trompenaars, Hampden- Turner, Hofstede, and other eminent researchers.



Anglia Ruskin University

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