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Asian American Values, Cross-Cultural Communication and the Work Place

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Training about Asian American values, cross-cultural communication and the work place in the context of a faith-based non-profit organization.

Text of Asian American Values, Cross-Cultural Communication and the Work Place

  • Self Examination: I am
  • ASIAN AMERICAN VALUES, CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION AND THE WORK PLACE TechMission, April 2008
  • Agenda
    • Self Examination: I am
    • Why is Ethnicity Important?
    • Dont Stereotype
    • Asian American vs. Mainstream (Western) Values
    • What Colleagues May Say About Asian Americans
    • Asian American Behaviors and Mainstream Perceptions
    • Good Organizations for Asian Americans
    • Why This is Important in This Context (Jesus, Justice)
    • Reflection
    • Questions // For Possible Future Discussion or Training
    • Self Examination: Ethnic Identity Questionnaire
  • Why is Ethnicity Important? 1
    • A Good Summary Statement from Paul
      • For though I am free from all, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more. And to the Jews I become as a Jew, that I might win the Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law, though not being myself under the Law, that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. (1 Cor.9:19-22)
    • Lesson : God communicates spiritual truths through human languages and cultures. Hence if we are to better understand God, we must understand ethnicity and culture. And if we are to better let God love others through us, we must understand ethnicity and culture.
    • Self Examination: Ethnic Identity Questionnaire: Take home: Take 20-30 minutes to answer the following questions on your own.
  • Dont Stereotype 2
    • These are generalities and there are always exceptions. These can simply be helpful categories to reflect upon.
    • As generalizations, may not totally reflect the values of specific Asian Americans or specific Asian groups. While organizations reward those who hold the dominant cultural values at the managerial level, values of both groups are important
    • For those in minority groups, if brought up in primarily mainstream environments, will have had to learn at least some Mainstream (Western) values to survive.
    • Those who have lived several generations in the US may find themselves holding values from both cultures.
  • What Colleagues May Say About Asian Americans 2
    • From a workshop survey of 40 young professionals, ages 23-35, Asian and non-Asian
    • General description:
      • quiet, dont speak up
      • Submissive
      • Good at math/science
      • Good producers/hardworking
      • Smart
      • Well educated
      • Dont ask a lot of questions
      • Not involved with the community
      • Cliquish with other Asians
      • Not fluent in English/perceived as foreigners
      • Loyal/dont do a lot of job-hopping
  • What Colleagues May Say About Asian Americans 2
    • From a workshop survey of 40 young professionals, ages 23-35, Asian and non-Asian
    • Perceived behaviors:
      • They tend to not speak up in meetings or wait their turns in meetings.
      • They rarely complain about policies or work initiatives.
      • They form Asian cliques.
      • They are soft-spoken and dont make much eye contact.
      • Theyre not good at self-promotion and marketing themselves.
      • They tend to be risk averse.
      • They are always busy working and never have time to socialize after hours.
  • Asian American Behaviors and Mainstream Perceptions 3 Asian American Behavior Possible Interpretation by Person from Mainstream Culture
    • Quiet, doesnt speak up
    • Isnt interested, doesnt understand or knows it all
    • Not assertive (according to the dominant value)
    • Lacks leadership, could not be authoritative when necessary
    • Limited facial expression, demonstrative behavior
    • Has no investment in the matter at hand, no feeling; therefore seems to have no vulnerability, which could be a threat
  • Asian American Behaviors and Mainstream Perceptions 3 Asian American Behavior Possible Interpretation by Person from Mainstream Culture
    • Doesnt complain, good worker
    • Not interested, lacks knowledge or information, unwilling to share, secretive, lacks confidence
    • Doesnt socialize after work
    • Lacks respect, shows no interest, no confidence, is unable to read nonverbal cues of those he or she is talking to, shifty, untrustworthy
  • Asian American Behaviors and Mainstream Perceptions 3 Asian American Behavior Possible Interpretation by Person from Mainstream Culture
    • Unwilling to take chances
    • Lacks leadership skills to manage a group
    • Speaks with an accent
    • Is not credible; doesnt know much; cant speak, read, write or understand English
    • Physically short, small
    • Lacks maturity, has limited ability to influence, organize, motivate others
  • Asian American Behaviors and Mainstream Perceptions 2 Behavior Perceived Liability Positive Attributes Respect for authority
    • Perceived as a yes-man
    • Does not push back or speak up about issues
    • Exploitable
    • Genuine loyalty to employer
    • Has desire to learn from others; is teachable
    Collectivist
    • May not make decisions quickly
    • Not considered innovative or out-of-box thinker
    • Afraid to stand out from the pack
    • May avoid conflict to save face with the group
    • Collaborative decision maker
    • Inclusive leader
    • Easy to work with
  • Asian American Behaviors and Mainstream Perceptions 2 Behavior Perceived Liability Positive Attributes Controlled/emotionally restrained
    • Unemotional, lacks enthusiasm and drive
    • Lacks passion about organizations mission
    • Arrogant, not interested in work product
    • Has internal strength to tolerate crisis situations; does not lose it
    • Demonstrates a resilience to changes in organizational structure
    Modest/humble about accomplishments
    • Work efforts go unrecognized
    • May be overlooked during promotion season
    • May not get assigned high-visibility projects or to special task forces
    • Encourages team members to receive credit for their work
    • Team player
  • Asian American vs. Mainstream (Western) Values 3 Asian American Values Mainstream (Western) Values
    • Self control/discipline
    • Speaks only when spoken to
    • Inner stamina/strength to tolerate crisis
    • Solid performer
    • Doesnt show emotions
    • Spontaneity/casualness
    • Importance of social skills, informal relationships, small talk
    • All right to show all kinds of emotion
    • Promote flexibility
    • Fatalism
    • Acceptance of ambiguity and uncertainty
    • More patient, more ready to accept things as they are
    • Respect for change/control over ones environment/belief in self-determination
    • More risk-taking
    • More aggressive
    • Concrete/strive for explicitness
    • Initiates
  • Asian American vs. Mainstream (Western) Values 3 Asian American Values Mainstream (Western) Values
    • Obedient to authority/ Respect for elders
    • Respect those who lead
    • Loyal
    • Trustworthy
    • Follow through on assignments
    • All right to question authority
    • Anticipates problem areas, opportunities and initiates appropriate actions
    • No fear of challenging or opposing authority; ability to push the envelope with parents, professors, bosses, clients
    • Humbleness
    • Low individual visibility
    • Power is shared with others
    • Cites Accomplishments
    • Visibility (individual) is all right
    • Rewards individual for outstanding actions
    • Power is perceived as individual power

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