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  • 20 Mar 2020 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    SIETAR USA seems to be running like clockwork, that is, it’s going well. I thought you might like to know a bit about how that happens. My favorite Russian-aphorism, resource says that when things get done, people tend not to pay attention to how they got done so the Russians say, “tea comes in a cup.” When people ask for tea and someone brings them a cup of tea, it’s there. They don’t think about what went into getting it there. To some extent I think that is true for SIETAR USA—the conference, the newsletter, the webinars are all currently there. And to some extent, that is the way it should be. On the other hand, learning more about what we do as a working Board will give you some insight into what goes on behind the scenes.

    Peggy Pusch realized many years ago that the Board needed to meet face-to-face more than one day before the conference. So she instituted an annual retreat meeting. The 2020 SIETAR USA Board of Directors held our annual Retreat early in March and this year we were at the Hilton Omaha to discuss the state of the association and to scout out the hotel and the city (both terrific venues for us). In addition to dealing with business issues such as the conference, the financial picture, membership levels, and vacancies on the Board, the retreat is a time for reflection, visioning, and tackling tough questions together.

    Two items on our agenda were:

    1. How can we make SIETAR USA relevant to People of Color, the new generation of interculturalists, and old timers? Those questions pushed some of the Board out of their comfort zones; not because we weren’t all supportive of increasingly integrating each of those groups into the association but because the ways to do it will likely change the SIETAR USA of the future.

    2. What do we want SIETAR USA to be known for? What do we want it to be? What are we capable of becoming? As we planned for our future, we needed a reality check. We are a working Board, which means that for the work of SIETAR USA to get done, Board members have to do it.  So we asked how the concept of the working board is working for us. The question then became how does our list of things we want SIETAR USA to do, get done with our limited resources? Professionalize and outsource? Increase our dependence on our Administrative Officer? How do we afford any of that?

    We also spent an afternoon reviewing plans for the 2020 conference. We want to bring Omaha into the conference by creating an opportunity for our conference participants to get to know some DEI and intercultural issues that are important in Omaha. This will be a conference to remember.

    We are monitoring the COVID-19 issues carefully as we go forward with conference plans. We are sensitive to everyone’s concerns, and we want those who attend the SIETAR USA conference in October to feel welcome and comfortable. For that reason, I will keep you updated on our thinking regarding decisions about the conference relative to the virus epidemic. I noticed that a major professional conference has re-scheduled for October, which is encouraging. We are confident that the situation will change and hopefully in a direction such that our October conference can take place. A good conference is a great antidote for a stressful year.

    It’s time to begin thinking ahead to the 2022 conference, which will be in the western region of the United States. Our conference location rotates from the Eastern region to the Midwest to the Western region. The Board is exploring possibilities so if you have a favorite city in the West that you’d like us to look into for the 2022 conference, please let Karen Fouts (info@sietarusa.org) know and she will pass it on for our consideration.

  • 20 Mar 2020 3:50 PM | Anonymous

    Global Dexterity: How to Adapt Your Behavior across Cultures without Losing Yourself in the Process, by Andy Molinsky, Harvard Business Review Press, 2013, 198 pages. Reviewed by Craig Storti.

    I’m not aware of how well known this book is, but however well it is known, it deserves the widest possible readership, inside the intercultural field, to be sure, but even more so outside the field (the lay audience to whom it is in fact addressed). As its subtitle suggests, it tees up one of the central challenges of being an effective culture crosser: When professional success requires changing your behavior to adapt to cultural differences, how do you make those changes and still stay true to your self?

    “I wrote this book,” Molinsky observes, “because I believe there is a serious gap between what has been written and communicated about cross-cultural management and what people actually struggle with on the ground. Until now the vast majority of writing about culture in business has focused on educating people about differences across cultures…. The logic is that if people can learn about cultural differences, they can adapt their behaviors successfully. And for some people that’s true…. For [many] of us, however…cultural adaptation isn’t always so seamless. We might possess knowledge of cultural differences, but we can struggle as we attempt to put this knowledge into practice.”

    The forms that struggle often takes are at least threefold:

    • people feel anxious and embarrassed about not knowing exactly how to behave.
    • people are embarrassed and frustrated by how unnatural and awkward their behavior feels.
    • people resent having to make these changes to their behavior.

    Unless these altogether natural reactions can somehow be avoided or at least greatly mitigated, then you’re either going to be reluctant to engage across cultures or, if your circumstances require such engagement, then you’re not going to be very good at it. Either way, you will pay a steep price in an era when business has gone global.

    Molinksy says that at first he thought this was a problem without a real solution, a lesser-of-two-evils kind of choice—either grin and bear it or walk away—but after more than ten years of research and interviews, he has changed his mind and come up with a realistic and practical framework for how you can “have your cake and eat it too when adapting behavior in a foreign setting.”

    His framework has four steps:

    STEP I: Diagnose the new cultural code. Molinsky identifies six dimensions of engagement/interaction that differ across cultures: directness, enthusiasm, formality, assertiveness, self-promotion, and personal disclosure. In Step I you identify what the norms are for these six dimensions in the foreign setting you are operating in.

    STEP II: Identify your own challenges with the new cultural code. In this step, you first identify the “zone of appropriateness,” the range of acceptable behaviors, for the six dimensions in the new setting, and then you identify “your personal comfort zone” for those dimensions/the expected behaviors. In some cases your comfort zone may overlap with the zone of appropriateness, and you’re good to go; in others, there will be a gap between the two zones, and the size of the gap represents the degree of the challenge you’ll face with any particular dimension/necessary behavior change.

    STEP III: Overcome challenges by customizing your cultural behavior. Now we are into the solution part of this model. Here Molinsky makes several suggestions which add up to start with small adaptations which while they may not put you squarely inside the zone of appropriateness, they do begin to move you outside your personal comfort zone. One of the things that can make doing this more palatable is to remind yourself of the rewards that await you once you get closer to the local norms. You may also be able to find a personal value, such as openness or tolerance, that is served or even strengthened by engaging in the uncomfortable new behavior. It may still feel inauthentic (a favorite Molinsky word), but at least it reflects a part of you.

    STEP IV: Integrate what you have learned through rehearsal and evaluation. The trick is how to make these new behaviors stick, to become second nature. Here Molinksy describes three phases: (1) familiarization (observing the behaviors in other people and then trying them in non-threatening circumstances, such as role-playing with a friend; (2) rehearsal which is more serious role-playing but not yet where there are real consequences; (3) dress rehearsal or more or less the real thing. (These three phases could be better distinguished.) The important point about this entire integration step is to be sure to get feedback about how you came across when you tried on the new behavior (and also to ponder how the behavior felt to you).

    For this reader the key take-aways from Global Dexterity are to start with small changes that are challenging but not intimidating or threatening, and especially to find genuine, legitimate justifications for the changes—a personal value, a personal goal, a cultural value, a business imperative—that puts the discomfort into a broader perspective that can very often take away some of the sting.

    I hasten to add here at the end that I fear I have done Global Dexterity a big disservice by implying it’s all dry theory and process. Far from it; the great strength of the book, apart from its practicality and non-academic prose, is in its many stories of real people facing real challenges you will immediately be able to relate to. It’s not a text book; it’s an action plan.

  • 20 Mar 2020 3:48 PM | Anonymous

    1. Why did you write this book?

    When I was doing my PhD, so much of the academic research I was reading was of the “cultural comparison” variety – about how cultures were different from each other.  But that wasn’t the main problem I saw out in the world when I was working with companies or coaching people to adapt behaviour across cultures. It wasn’t simply understanding differences that people were struggling with. Instead, it was being able to adapt and adjust their behaviour across cultures without losing themselves in the process.  This core insight inspired my academic research, which ultimately became the basis for Global Dexterity.

    2. What is the most important thing you want readers to take away from this book?

    Two main things:  First, that we’re not prisoners of culture or passive recipients of culture, but, instead, can be active, creative users of culture.  And second, that you can adapt and adjust your behaviour successfully across cultures without losing yourself in the process.

    3. Name one or two books in our field that influenced you the most, that you think all interculturalists should be familiar with? Why?

    I love Edward T Hall and his anthropological take on culture and cultural differences.  I remember reading his books in graduate school and being really inspired.  I also have to mention the book Lost in Translation by Eva Hoffman, that interculturalists may not know about, but which is a wonderful story of cultural adaptation.  Finally, in the pure academic realm, I was always very influenced by the sociologist Ann Swidler and her concept of culture as a toolkit.

    4. What is one of the most significant, most memorable cross-cultural experiences you have had?

    As a college student in the late 1980’s, I lived and studied in Spain and it was my very first experience abroad.  And this was the pre-internet era, so I didn’t have easy access to photos and videos and information about the experience I was about to have.  I have to admit that at the time I was terrified to step on that plane.  But the experience really changed my life.

    5. If you could pass on only one insight/one lesson learned to others about crossing cultures, what would you say?

    To think about cultural similarities in addition to cultural differences.  I think we’re almost programmed to think about differences when crossing cultures. But the key to being successful across cultures isn’t just focusing on differences. It’s to also focus on similarities- what you might have in common with someone else, which is essential for building trust and the building blocks of a potential relationship.

    6. This newsletter goes to nearly 1,000 readers, folks who are either in or interested in the field of intercultural communications. If you’d like to say something else to these folks, something we have not asked about in this questionnaire, feel free to add your brief comments here.

    Yes! If you are an experienced cross-cultural coach or trainer and are interested in becoming certified as a practitioner of the Global Dexterity method, please contact me directly at andy@andymolinsky.com to be placed on an information list to learn more.  I will be opening up the first certification cohort later in 2020.   You can find out more about me and my work at www.andymolinsky.com.  Thanks!



  • 20 Mar 2020 3:42 PM | Anonymous

    The future of work has been a hot topic for several years now, but what exactly is it, and what does it mean for you and your organization?

    The future of work can mean different things to different people, but most agree the focal point is technology’s impact on the way we work. New technologies have led to an increase in hiring remote talent from around the world, creating a rise in multicultural teams and organizations. An estimated 258 million people are living and working outside of their home country, and that number will continue to grow year after year. As the world becomes more and more interconnected, we must include culture in the future of work conversations. In addition, if you are a consultant working with organizations that have clients, suppliers, and colleagues from around the globe, you need to prepare their workforce with the appropriate intercultural skills for success.

    As companies expand their reach into other markets, more often than not they find themselves working with emerging market countries (EMCs). The term emerging markets was coined in the 1980s by then World Bank economist Antoine van Agtmael and is used to describe countries that are in a transitional phase between developing and developed status. The Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI), FTSE Group, and the Economist each slightly differ in their EMC lists, and, as you might imagine, these lists are constantly changing. For my purposes here, I chose the countries that all three sources have in common, resulting in a total of 31 emerging market countries. These countries are: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China (mainland), Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, and Vietnam.

    When preparing individuals and teams to work internationally, most companies still concentrate on the dos and don’ts of working across borders without ever mentioning cultural values. While some programs advise their learners to respect other cultures and be open to differences, few offer in-depth intercultural information which would enable people to fully understand the cultures they are dealing with, and in turn, help them be more successful.

    There is a great need to understand EMCs and their values as an increasing number of Western companies expand into countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China (also known as the BRIC countries). Although there are studies on value dimensions of individual emerging market countries, few, if any studies exist that look at cultural values of emerging markets as a group in order to see what correlations and patterns may exist. I’ve drawn from the research of Hall, Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck, Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, and most notably, Hofstede, all of whom conducted research on values and cultural value dimensions to examine the ways in which values underlie behavior and culture.

    When looking at cultural value dimensions and their relationship to EMCs, strong patterns and correlations emerged. It becomes evident that EMCs have similar values across several dimensions, meaning that one can generalize that many, and in some cases, most EMCs share similar values. Here are the patterns that emerge when examining all 31 countries:

    • 70% of EMCs are polychronic (as opposed to monochronic) - they see time as flexible and fluid

    • 78% of EMCs are high-context (as opposed to low-context) - they prefer a more indirect, nuanced communication style
    • 70% of EMCs are relationship-oriented (as opposed to transactional cultures) - they need trust to be established before accomplishing tasks
    • 70.9% of EMCs are harmony-oriented (as opposed to confrontational cultures) - they prefer to keep the peace and avoid uncomfortable situations for themselves and others
    • 67.7% of EMC are situational (as opposed to rule-based cultures) - they believe circumstances determine action and tend to bend the rules when needed
    • 58.06% of EMCs are hierarchical (as opposed to egalitarian cultures) - they respect authority and are less likely to challenge higher-ups

    The value preferences for the United States and other Western countries (England, Germany, Canada) are generally the exact opposite of the values of the EMCs. For example, when the EMC countries score high for collectivism, the US scores high for individualism; when the EMC countries score high for hierarchy, Sweden scores high for egalitarianism.

    So what do these differences mean for Westerners working with EMCs? Foremost, the findings above demonstrate that cultural value dimensions clearly do play an important role in doing business with EMCs. Going a step further, learning about cultural values are central to conducting business internationally. The focus needs to be on why people behave the way they do in preparation for working across cultures. EMCs share common value preferences in almost every category, and an understanding of these similarities, and their differences to the West, will help researchers and businesspeople alike succeed in the global arena.

  • 20 Mar 2020 3:35 PM | Anonymous

    We are excited to announce two of our invited speakers to you at this time.  Our Opening Keynote Speaker is Shannon Murphy Robinson, M.A., CEO of BrainSkills@Work.  Robinson is a highly sought-after organizational consultant, trainer and speaker as well as a long-time member of SIETAR USA.  Robinson is a leader in the field of neuroscience and especially in how it relates to intercultural competence and development.

    Dr Mai Nguyen Phuong, Associate Professor and Lecturer at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences will present the Plenary address for the Mind Track.  With a background in journalism, cross-cultural management and leadership and change, Nguyen’s recent work bring a sharp focus on how the workings of the Mind affect our effectiveness in global contexts.

    In recent interviews with Shannon Murphy Robinson and Dr. Mai Nyugen, Board Member Karen Lokkesmoe had an opportunity to learn more about their work and what they will be highlighting in their respective talks at the conference in October.

    Our Opening Keynote Speaker is Shannon Murphy Robinson, M.A., CEO of BrainSkills@Work.  Murphy Robinson is a highly sought-after organizational consultant, trainer and speaker as well as a long-time member of SIETAR USA.  Murphy Robinson is a leader in the field of neuroscience and especially in how it relates to intercultural competence and development.

    Meet Shannon Murphy Robinson, Opening Keynote Speaker at the 2020 National SIETAR Conference, Mind, Culture, Society.


    It started with a lifelong love of other cultures.  Additionally, I’ve always been interested in and explored the Mind/Body/Spirit connections, and how the mind impacts our perceptions and how we react to others.  Then, when my daughter was born with Down syndrome, I did a deep dive into the neuroscience. Her first year of life was a crash course, reading anything and everything I could, knowing there had to be a better path than the old stereotypes based on lack and limitation. The deeper I went into the neuroscience, and particularly neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to change), the more excited I got. I discovered good news not only for my child, but for others as well. Having already been engaged in the intercultural arena, I saw connections between what I was learning and human behavior when encountering difference. I realized there is a lot of hope, than we can influence and consciously shape the brain to engage more effectively across differences and extend care, compassion and create greater understanding.


    I will focus on two main points.  First, from research in cultural neuroscience, there is now a much greater understanding of how deeply culture is wired in the brain. It helps shed light on how culture shapes cognition, our lenses, and even what the brain deems important or not.  This understanding can help people bridge cultural differences more effectively. Secondly, we need to engage in self-directed neuroplasticity to re-pattern the brain’s base responses to differences. Cooperation developed in the brain within groups, not between groups, and differences, particularly if they are unfamiliar or cause discomfort, can trigger a threat response in the brain. Knowing how the brain works allows us to develop strategies to reprogram our responses to be more effective when working across differences. Part of the exciting news in brain science is that our brains build new neuropathways our entire lives. We don’t quit learning as we grow older. We can now consciously direct how these new neuropathways get laid down. This offers great promise for building greater collaboration across cultures.


    For me personally, it’s the people, the community - it’s home.  It’s my professional home, one where I don’t ever have to try to explain intercultural and inclusion work  - they know.  It’s also a great place to learn, share the latest trends or research, and get feedback on new ideas and approaches to see what works, what resonates with people and is helpful. If you are someone who works across any aspects of difference, who wants to learn how to be more effective, how to help your teams or your company be more successful in the global marketplace - SIETAR’s conference is right for you. Whether you work in education, the corporate sector or the public sector - you’ll find information, knowledge and resources to use.

    Final Note: Murphy Robinson is an accomplished and engaging speaker and as a leader in brain science and intercultural work is sure to provide both Ah-ha moments as well as openings for questions and greater learning. 

    For more, please see the March edition of the SIETAR Europa Journal which features Murphy Robinson and her work:https://www.sietareu.org/seu-journal-march-2020/

    Meet Dr Mai Nguyen Phuong, Plenary Speaker in the Mind Track and Guest Speaker for the April SIETAR USA Webinar: Change Management with Insight from Brain Science.


    It was a combination of life circumstances and a happy accident.  I have lived in three countries. and can honestly say that I feel at home in all three.  Recently, a customs agent in Australia welcomed me back home as I went through security—I really feel more a citizen of the world. This led to a natural interest in multiple cultures.  My early work was in global leadership and change management, but I kept asking myself how and why? How do we know what we know? Why do certain strategies work while others fail? Then, the happy accident—my partner gave me a book, Wired for Culture by Mark Pagel where I started to find some answers, and many more questions.  The exploration of these questions led to a great deal of research and ultimately to the pursuit of a Masters of Applied Neuroscience.


    My main message is about Hope and Hype.  I will debunk some of the misconceptions or hype about neuroscience and interculturalism.  In some cases, there are those who are misappropriating the research to excuse biases and intolerance. However, we must always be seeking, asking questions, challenging our current knowledge and understandings.  This is how we grow and develop as interculturalists and as effective global leaders. We must continue to embrace ambiguity. I will also outline how what we are learning through the intersection of intercultural and diversity, equity, and inclusion work with neuroscience provides a widening knowledge base to better understand behaviors and challenges and to develop more effective strategies for success. An interdisciplinary approach gives us great hope for the future.


    SIETAR is special to me because it is inherently interdisciplinary.  It draws on academia from a range of fields (communications, leadership, management, etc.) as well as from practitioners. It brings together people who work in domestic diversity and social justice and equity as well as those working internationally.  We make each other stronger. I feel like I can have a great conversation with anyone at the conference and learn something valuable.  

    As far as who should attend, really anyone who works with diverse populations.  Sharing and learning from each other in research and practice provides answers and questions to keep us growing.

    FINAL NOTE:  Mai is an engaging, energetic, and inspiring professional with a solid grounding in research and science as well as application in the field as a consultant.  You won’t want to miss either of these opportunities to hear her speak.  

  • 20 Mar 2020 3:34 PM | Anonymous

    It’s ok, you can admit your first reaction to hearing the 2020 SIETAR Conference was being held in Omaha Nebraska was, “What? OMAHA? Why?” Well, over the next few months we’ll be answering those very questions. 

    Omaha is more than a “fly over” city, as the posters in the airport tell us. With a population of a bit over 400,000, five Fortune 500 companies call Omaha their home: ConAgra Foods; Union Pacific Corporation which is the largest operator of trains in the US; Mutual of Omaha; construction giant Kiewit Corporation; and of course, mega-conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, which is owned by none other than billionaire Warren Buffett. Other companies such as TD Ameritrade, Godfather Pizzas and American Gramaphone Records also hail from Omaha.

    I’m sure one of the reasons so many companies proudly live in Omaha is because of what Nebraskans call “Nebraska nice.”  People in Omaha are truly nice.  I come from Detroit via Buffalo and I’ve always thought those of us from these two Great Lakes cities are pretty darn friendly but we have nothing on Nebraskans.  People say hi to you in the streets. Clerks, managers and wait staff seem genuinely interested in your welfare without being intrusive. Doors are held, apologizes (and sometimes refunds) are given and if you’re perceived as being from out-of-town, locals insist you go ahead of them.

    Or maybe it’s because of the food.  You might know about the delicious Omaha steaks but they are by no means the only food to savor in Omaha.  Although thousands of miles from the sea, I’ve had some of the best fish and chips, and salmon, that I’ve eaten anywhere, in Omaha. There seem to be a plethora of Irish pubs and bars in general, especially in the Old Market neighborhood but great food can be found almost anywhere. Not feeling Irish?  That’s ok because Mexican, American, Indian, Chinese, and other foods are easily found. 

    We all know that Nebraska is in the middle of the country and can be windy, snowy and cold.  So maybe that’s why Omaha has so many great places to be outside.  Go to Turner Part which hosts jazz concerts, or the Heartland of America Park with their spectacular fountain which you can see close-up by taking a gondola ride!  31-acres isn’t enough for you?  Well then you can head to Lauritzen Gardens which is 100 acres of outdoor gardens including a rose garden, Victorian garden, children’s garden and arboretum. It also hosts a 20,000-square foot conservatory which contains unusual and rare plants. In central downtown Omaha is the Lewis and Clark landing with a Riverwalk along the Missouri, Lewis and Clark interpretive exhibits and the second largest monument, dedicated to the Labor Movement, in the U.S.

    The Omaha Hilton, our home for the conference, is strategically located so these gems are within walking or a short Lyft ride away.  With Fall just emerging in early October, the weather should be wonderful for enjoying the food and outdoor activities that Omaha offers. Still not convinced you should join us?  Stay tuned for our next newsletter which will present more Omaha Nebraska facts that may surprise you.

    Deborah Orlowski, 2020 SIETAR Conference Chair

  • 20 Mar 2020 3:28 PM | Anonymous

    In the modern era of international business, the ability that individuals and corporates can adjust and change is critical. But we can’t turn away from a fact that change has a low rate of success. Only 25% of corporate change initiatives are successful over the long term. Old habits die hard. This presentation discusses the neurobiology of change and the challenges we face in change management. It uses insights from neuroscience to shed light into the reasons why change is so challenging and introduces a change management framework called STREAP-Be. This framework provides concrete strategies that can help individuals and organizations to face the challenges of cultural adaptation and creation, reaping benefit from being in sync with the dynamics of culture. A collective such as a company is not different from humans as a species or individual persons in the sense that its culture is both persistent and evolving. Humans may find it difficult to change, but we are built to adapt. And we are the only the species that can do so deliberately. 

    About the Presenter

    Dr. Mai Nguyen-Phuong-Mai is Associate Professor at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. Together with her study at King's College London in a Master program on Applied Neuroscience, she has been recognized as a bridging figure between interculturalism and cultural neuroscience. Her latest book Cross-Cultural Management with Insights from Brain Science adopts the notion that culture is dynamic, context is the software of the mind, opposing values coexist, change is constant, and individuals can develop a multicultural mind. Since the release of her book, she has been invited to keynote at multiple conferences.

    When: Tuesday 14 April 2020. 11:00AM-12:30PM EDT

    Location: Zoom Webinar Eastern Time Zone

    Registration: Free to SIETAR USA Members only;

     $25 for non-members.

    REGISTER HERE: Change Management Webinar

  • 20 Mar 2020 3:27 PM | Anonymous

    SIETAR-DC kicked off 2020 with a members’ social at the home of one of its members, which welcomed new and returning folks. The hostess, who has lived around the world, had an engaging ice-breaker activity where guests had to guess the origin country of different cultural artifacts. Even those who were well traveled or have lived overseas were stumped with a few! The local group is planning more events this spring. SIETAR DC is currently looking to increase membership and has a call out for new volunteers as well as for a communications intern. If interested, please send an email to SIETARDC@gmail.com.

    SIETAR Florida had a virtual call with members on February 10th 2020 to discuss about different exciting projects for 2020. We are planning webinars and discussions on different themes such as Global Leadership, the future of our work due to automatization, the challenges of multicultural families and the accompanying spouse, cultural intelligence. Stay tuned for more information on our dates and facilitators!

    SIETAR-MN is off to a great start for the 2019-20 year, beginning with an eye-opening panel of international leaders who spoke about the concept of interculturalism and the role of the interculturalist in their countries. Other meetings have included a session on icebreakers and energizer activities, a highlight by an interculturalist in the field of global mobility and HR contexts, and how to broach different perspectives within the family during the holidays in an era of polarization. Local group members also participated in its annual service experience in January by packing meals at the Feed My Starving Children organization. They also learned about the role of the interculturalist within the diversity, equity and inclusion space. The March meeting will feature a talk by an economist and immigrant entrepreneur who will present on immigrant contributions to the local economy.

    The Tri-state SIETAR NY - NJ - CT had its first face-to-face meeting of 2020 on Jan. 23rd, in NYC. Over food from different cultures that each participant brought to the meeting, we had a conversation on the intersection of intercultural skills and inclusion. Sean Dubberke from RW3 was the speaker and talked about their newly released global inclusion course. The conversation was informal and in addition to networking, we discussed some ideas and expectations regarding the group’s next steps.

  • 20 Mar 2020 3:25 PM | Anonymous

    By Deanna Shoss for Executive Diversity Services, Inc.

    The first Women’s Rights Convention in the US took place in 1848. 75 years later, in 1923, women began the fight for an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The ERA finally passed the House of Representatives and the Senate in 1971 and ‘72 respectively. It then went out for ratification by the states, where it has languished ever since. It needed three quarters (38) states approval to be added as the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    While women’s issues continue to be at the forefront in the news, the ERA only recently resurfaced when Virginia became the 38th State to pass it in January 2020. But it’s future is still not secured. The statute of limitations is long gone—even the extension expired in 1982. And in the meantime, five states have rescinded their approval. Following Virginia’s passage last month, three state attorneys general sued to waive the previously set expiration date and enact the amendment.

    Over the years, many other laws have passed that aim to protect women’s (and other protected classes) rights under the law and in the workplace. Six to be specific:

    The Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 1974; The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (yes, that’s been a law since 1963); The Fair Housing Act, 1968; The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, which amended Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

    So it’s all fixed, right?

    In terms of protection, until there is a national ERA, states still have the ability to interpret laws differently, which can lead to different outcomes for women depending on where they live.   

    As relates to women in the work force, according to Catalyst, a global nonprofit that helps organizations accelerate progress for women at work, in 2018, women made up 44.7 % of all employees at S&P500 companies. But they only accounted for 21.2% of board seats, 11% of highest earners and 5% of CEO’s. 29% of senior management roles were held by women in 2019, the highest number ever on record.

    Many know the term “glass ceiling”, referring to an invisible barrier against promoting women to high positions in corporations. A newer term is the glass cliff, the phenomenon of women in leadership roles being likelier than men to achieve those roles during periods of crisis or downturn, when the chance of failure is highest. Clearly there is more to understand and more work to do.

    In the meantime, there’s plenty that individuals and companies can do to keep the momentum moving forward.

    Three Ideas for Promoting Equity for Women in the Workplace

    Go Beyond the Law

    Samantha Bee, host of the late-night show Full Frontal on TBS announced in January, 20 Weeks of Paid Leave for 'Full Frontal' Staff. And she challenged other late-night hosts to do the same. Full Frontal is now offering our employees the best-paid family leave policy in all of late night,” Samantha said in a video posted to Twitter and Instagram. “This kind of policy isn’t mandated by the government, but it should be! Having a baby without going broke should be possible for all workers.”

    Flexible schedules that value work completed, as opposed to specific hours at a desk, can also boost employee morale and expand your talent pool. And it’s not just for parents. In a global market, employees might use flexible schedules to drop off or pick up children. Or they may use it to schedule a 9 pm call with the team in China, where it’s morning.

    What policies can you adopt that recognize the value that your employees bring to your company while acknowledging and respecting their desire for work-life balance?

    Expand Reward Bands

    According to a 2005 study of the US workplace, perceptions of women’s leadership are influenced by common stereotypes held by both men AND women. This is despite analytical reviews of over 40 studies on gender differences which indicate there are more similarities than difference in women and men leaders in an organizational setting. According to the Catalyst study “Women ‘Take Care,’ Men ‘Take Charge:’ Stereotyping of U.S. Business Leaders Exposed,” women are associated with feminine, less-essential, skills such as supporting, rewarding, team-building, and consulting; where as men are associated with more masculine skills such as problem solving, influencing upward, and delegating.

    Many company’s reward bands, how they reward employees with raises, bonuses or other recognition favor the “male-associated” skills. Studies, however, show that EQ, Emotional Intelligence which sounds a lot like the “less-essential” skills above, is exactly what is needed to for the most effective leaders (Korn Ferry, 2016). Rather than providing rewards only for output and task achievements, companies can be more inclusive by measuring things like how managers include mentoring and professional development in their management plans.


    Be Transparent: Know Your Company

    Equal pay has been the law since 1963. And yet in 2019 woman made 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. Events like Equal Pay Day, started in 1996 (and coming up again on March 31) as well as state laws that add to the federal mandate, are making a difference. Note that Glassdoor cites that after applying statistical controls for worker and job characteristics to ensure an apples-to-apples comparison, the difference drops to 95 cents, or women earning 5% less for comparable jobs in the US (Glassdoor, 2019).

    How is your company doing? Salary audits can reveal any unintended inequality in pay. It’s also important to do an audit of job titles. Different job titles, if they entail similar responsibilities, cannot be compensated at different levels.    

    When employees feel valued, they can perform at their fullest potential and highest productivity.

    The US workplace was designed by men, for men, in a different era. Today women account for more than 50% of the US population, and nearly that for the workforce. This is not about how to fit women into the mold as it exists. It’s about creating a new work model that engages and promotes men and women, on an equal playing field. For true change to happen it must start at the top, with the leadership team, and with a new vision and design of what a truly inclusive workplace can look like.

    Help is here.

    And, if you need help, please contact us about our training, including “Men and Women Working Together” and “Building Highly Effective Diverse Teams” and coaching for leaders.

    Reprinted with permission from ExecutiveDiversity.com https://www.executivediversity.com/2020/02/03/the-era-and-women-in-the-workplace-2020/

  • 20 Mar 2020 3:23 PM | Anonymous

    The intercultural field has lost another pioneer. Over the decades of my connection with SIETAR International and now USA, I have been writing the obituaries for leading interculturalists such as Peggy Pusch, Edward T. Hall, David Hoopes, Robert Kohls, and Paul Pedersen, as well as less well known interculturalists such as Helen McNulty, Don Henderson, Judee Blohm, and Robert Brown. Paying tribute to people who have enriched our field and our lives has been important to me to do. It reminds us that we are not in this business alone, we have had solid support from the research, writings, teachings, and personal example of many. Each death leaves a hole in the fabric of SIETAR. Fortunately, SIETAR is made of strong cloth and we go on without them, while remembering them in an obituary, which means they may be lost but not forgotten. I know that is a cliché but it’s also the best way to describe what I am trying to do. I try to capture the person’s worth and contributions to the intercultural field, and to give it a personal touch as much as possible. Mostly the people are known to me but sometimes as in the case of Geert Hofstede, I didn’t know him as a friend but mostly by reputation. When you hear of the death of an interculturalist, please let me know and if you knew the person, add your personal touch to the message. We can create a tribute together.  (Sandra Fowler)


    A very kind man, generous with his time and ideas, Geert Hofstede died at age 91 on 12 February 2020. His son Gert Jan Hofstede reported that he was ready to go and surrounded by family. Hofstede’s research that formed the foundation of his book Culture’s Consequences, inspired much more exploration and inspection of cultural dimensions. Hofstede was trained as an electrical engineer but found that he preferred understanding people to understanding machinery. He joined the Personnel Research department of IBM international where he embarked on his seminal research. 

    Geert’s son writes: Under Geert's impulse, IBM collected opinion survey data from across over 50 countries. They were about mundane matters such as salary, tenure, working relationships. What Geert discovered is that it did not matter much whether a respondent was white- or blue- collar, male or female, new or ancient. What did matter was from which country they came. e got a job at a management school in Lausanne and repeated his surveys on the international MBA students there. It yielded the same cross-national patterns. He then put in almost ten years of study. At their end, he offered his fat manuscript to sixteen publishers, who all refused it. Then he tried Sage, and got another refusal letter, followed from an acceptance letter from the highest boss – a woman. She came up with the catchy title “Culture’s Consequences” (1980).

    On the IAIR blog Gary Fontaine reminisced about a time when Geert visited his graduate course "INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION AT HOME AND ABROAD" in the School of Communications at the University of Hawaii.  “The topic for that day was a continuation of our look at dimensions of cultural difference, particularly focused on "Dr. Hofstede's" famous "power distance," "uncertainty avoidance," "individualism" and "MASCULINITY."  And my opening intro, as planned, to my students was that that dimension that Geert labelled "masculinity/femininity" was--in less “sexist” terms--"work centrality."  And with that critical statement, Geert exploded, I exploded, and most of my students said later it was the most thrilling, live, academic experience in their young lives.  He and I later hugged ... as we do in Hawaii.”

    Pawel Boski also wrote: “To me, and to my students whom I teach about Hofstede's contributions, Geert has a solid place in history, as the pioneer of measuring cultural dimensions. I think this is beyond doubt and discussion. And this is much. It does not matter, in my opinion, that with time these dimensions turned out to be conceptually questionable and empirically not valid. This happens often and this is what science means: always in pursuit of improvement and correcting its own shortcomings and limitations. I truly believe, this approach has more virtue than quoting and using Hofstede (1980-2001) without sufficient reflexivity to the fact that the world has changed dramatically since his studies were initiated over 50 years ago…We often say, it is important to differentiate the Person and keeping Him in Good Memory, from the Deed, which may be looking Great at a time, and then may receive criticism, without The Person losing His stature. We are Humans (great and limited at the same time), not saints.”

    Gert Jan concludes his memories of his Father: “All in all, Geert’s story is one of remarkable perseverance, acuity of vision, cross-disciplinary endeavour and serendipity. Fortunately, many others have thought to extend or build upon his work. This is how it should be. We need to move on in our 21th century – but Geert’s messages should be in our backpacks.”

    Gert Jan and his father, Geert Hofstede (1928-2020)

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