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Published by:
University of St Gallen (2014)
Length:
9 pages
Data source:
Field research
Abstract:
The case portrays the real story of a young American who takes an educational job in South East Asia. The story narrates the cross-cultural challenges associated with the interaction of foreign teachers with the local administration of the public school in Thailand. Shane, despite having lived for two years in Thailand and being fluent in the language, is surprised by the local management practices: he was often asked to conduct a number of extra-curricular activities which were not outlined in his work contract, such as organising trips for the students, setting up an English club or supervising students who were preparing for a singing competition. Shane feels overwhelmed by the collateral activities, and frustrated when he is often interrupted during class for what he considered trivial reasons. A critical incident evolves when all teachers are asked to participate in decorating the school for the upcoming conference of local schools. The major argument between Shane (as the spokesperson of the foreign teachers) and the Thai administrators, helps to shed light on the causes of the mutual misunderstandings. These episodes help learners gain insights into cross-cultural management, different leadership models across cultures, and intercultural communication challenges which persist beyond language issues and knowledge of the local culture. Through the case, the readers can learn about typical sources of cross-cultural misunderstanding when Westerners and Asians collaborate, with particular focus on the public education sector. By analysing the case, readers should identify the major critical incidents occurred, explain their underlying causes making reference to theories of cross-cultural communication and management, and propose best practices and strategies for conflict resolution.
Learning objectives:
1. Identify, analyse and discuss typical sources of cross-cultural misunderstanding when Westerners and Asians work together. 2. Identify intercultural communication challenges, beyond language issues. 3. Apply theories of cross-cultural communication and management to solve a real organisational case. 4. Analyse cross-cultural differences in leadership and management (Organisational Behaviour). 5. Gain insights on intercultural differences in the educational sector.
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