Managing and Valuing Diversity

April 30, 2009 whitneychilds

In my PRCA 2330 class my professor talked about diversity and gave us a handout titled “Intercultural Nonverbal Communication: Gestures. This handout included a list of nine gestures and compares the way Americans view gestures vs. others other countries.

1. Shaking hands- Americans see that as a way to say “Hello, nice to meet you.” Some cultures can’t use a hand because they consider it dirty, and in some parts of Europe it is rude to shake hands with one hand in your pocket.

2. Eye contact- Americans use a lot of eye contact when talking to someone, but in India and China it is actually rude to look elders in the eye.

3. “Come here”- we simply motion our hand towards our body, in Australia that is how you call animals.

4. “OK”- Americans make the sign where your thumb meets your index finger and the other three fingers are pointed up, well in Spain that is a sign your wife is an adulteress.

5. Thumbs up- Americans think that means good job, in Austrailia that means up yours.

6. Touching- Americans don’t get in each others personal space, while some European countries kiss each other on the cheek as a greeting.

7. Spatial relationships (personal comfort zones)- Americans expect an imaginary bubble around them as the distance you should stand near them but in China they stand extremely close to you and think nothing of it.

8. “You have a phone call”- Americans motion this by placing their hand up to their ear like a phone, in Argentina they would look at you like you are crazy.

9. Entering a crowded aisle of seated people- Americans try to sit in the most convenient place so they do not disturb others around them.

In class we also watched a video on clowns titled “Diversity”, and it used clowns in real world settings (doctors-Dr. Blinky, hobos, etc.)

They found there were negative conitations associated with clowns, no one took them seriously so they were looked at differently, this represented minorities. 

“I wish they would only take me as I am”, said Dr. Blinky.  Dr. Blinky isn’t accepted because he’s a clown so they feel he isn’t qualified for the position.

This was wrong because they were judging based on appearance and not qualifications.

Accepting everyone “as they are” means accepting how they are different and also accepting their varied talents and abilities and this is very important in business today because you deal with many different people who are from many different backgrounds and each person vital information and knowledge about a subject you would never obtain if you don’t give them the opportunity.


Entry Filed under: Class Discussions

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