2. Communication: Communication is a critical element of working effectively across cul-
tures. These activities allow participants to examine their own communication styles and
learn about others. The underlying assumption of these activities is that there is no right or
wrong style of communication; rather, it is important to understand the impact of commu-
nication differences in the work setting and learn how to bridge those differences.
3. Time: In today’s environment of instant e-mail messages, shared applications, and video
and teleconferencing, it becomes even more important that we understand the impact of
time on our business interactions. Too often, technology can create the illusion of a uni-
fied world-view of time. In many cultures, however, technology is not successful unless it
takes into account the importance of building relationships and slowing down the pace.
Activities in this section allow participants to examine their assumptions regarding time—
schedules, pace of work, deadlines—and to increase their understanding of the variety of
interpretations of time across cultures.
Part III—Culture-Specific Activities
When it comes to culture-specific activities, our contributors offer a number of approaches to
learning the details of other cultural patterns, paradigms, and practices. While the variety of cul-
tures and cultural practices is virtually endless, the editors have discovered that the tools and
approaches to learning these are in short supply. We have provided you with a few of them and
hope that you will find them useful not only as they stand, but also to trigger your imaginations
to create other ideas and applications. Culture-specific activities selected for this book touch on
the cultures of the United States, Japan, Saudi Arabia, China, India, Western and Eastern Europe,
and Latin America. These activities fit primarily into culture- and region-specific training pro-
grams. Such activities can also be used effectively in culture-general programs to provide par-
ticipants with specific examples of cultural differences that may illustrate culture-general
Part IV—Language and Interpretation
Activities in this section allow the participants to experience the disorientation and struggle of
communicating in another language. In a multicultural group, these activities will increase
awareness of the challenges of working in another language and create a discussion about ways
to make sure that everyone understands and is understood. With minor alterations, the activities
can also be used in multilingual situations where a language other than English is dominant. The
section also provides understanding of the interpretation process and how to use interpreters.
Part V—Leadership and Team Development
Improved leadership and team formation are critical because so many of us must now regularly
work as part of a team, local or distributed across the globe with direct reports and teammates of
various cultures. We make culturally based assumptions about what we believe to be the quali-
ties of an effective leader and the roles of team members. The activities in this section explore
participants' own preferred style of teamwork and provide insights and information into other
styles through the sharing of the cultural assumptions of the group. These activities are especially

Get 50 Activities for Achieving Cultural Competence now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.