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Time and Space
BarbaraPirie,PirieAssociates
Honolulu,Hawaii,USA,andLautoka,Fiji
Purposeandlearningobjectives
To enable learners to use available resources to develop a mental map of global time zones and
the relative location of different countries around the world in which they are doing business.
This core knowledge and awareness enables the whole organization to work positively and
effectively as an international business.
With a high percentage of business communication now being done via e-mail, it is often
assumed that we do not need to be as aware and sensitive to time and space distances as we were
when we relied on telephone conversations. Yet this knowledge and awareness is still critically
important. For example, when I am working in Hawaii, I sometimes work on Sunday afternoons
since it is either Monday or will soon be Monday around the globe. When I am working in Fiji, I
sometimes work on Saturdays, since it is still Friday in many countries.
Targetaudience
People working in organizations involved in international business. This activity works
equally well as a self-directed learning activity or as an exercise in training workshops. The
process is written for self-directed learners, with workshop adaptations at the end.
Time
60 to 90 minutes for individual learners. More time will be needed if there are multiple
learners, according to the size of the group.
Materials
Time zone map or chart (from a telephone book or an atlas)
Airline global route map or world map (from an airline magazine or an atlas)
Procedure
This activity has four parts, with the third and fourth parts designed to present opportunities
for learners to integrate the knowledge and insights gained from the first two parts.
50ActivitiesforAchievingCulturalCompetency
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Part1:Time
The world has been divided into 24 time zones based on Greenwich Mean Time. Some time
zones are irregular in shape in order to accommodate national borders, while other time
zones include half-hour intervals.
Resource: Time zone map or chart from a telephone book or an atlas
Activity questions
1. List the names of several countries that are divided into four or more time zones.
2. What large country has only one time zone?
3. List the names of countries with time zones incorporating half-hour intervals (internally
or with a neighboring country).
4. List the names of countries located near the International Date Line.
5. Daylight savings time is used in some countries. Describe how this affects the time differ-
ence between two specific locations, one of which is on daylight savings time.
6. Plan a business phone call to a colleague located at least six time zones east of where you
are based. This call should be timed so that your colleague receives it during office hours.
Write details concerning your location, your colleague’s location, and the day and time at
both sites.
7. Plan a business phone call to a colleague located at least six time zones west of where you
are based. This call should be timed so that your colleague receives it during office hours.
Write details concerning your location, your colleague’s location, and the day and time at
both sites.
Debrief or reflection questions
What new information or insight did you gain from this activity?
How will a mental time-zone map help you in your work?
Part2:Space
Our world is a large round ball with different cities and countries located on its surface. We
often use flat maps when we look for information about the location of a country. However,
airlines fly 44 “great circle routes” based on the globe. This means that distances and travel
time by air are different from time and distance for surface travel. The equator forms a criti-
cal marker, since crossing it involves seasonal changes.
Resource: Airline global route map, or world map from an airline magazine or an atlas

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