Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Purpose for Educating a Globalized Negotiation Model

Social cognition is the mental state upon which our biology and mental abilities combine to create who we are. The development of this concept begins at birth and continues throughout the social environment of our lives.  Recently I was able to see firsthand how the different concept of individualism versus collectivism has an impact on the belief system of people. This difference in beliefs allies with our abilities to negotiate; and the expected outcome of the negotiation.  

Upon entering a cruise ship guests are greeted by people (cruise ship employees) who have given up their normal state of being and are working in a consistent state of flux. Using this example, I mean to say that these people are working on a rotating schedule, and are in different countries, cultures and environments on an everyday perspective. The working people also deal with thousands of different personalities each and every day, and then over a short period of time, have to reset and do this once again. For the majority of westernized people, this idea would be awful and something that we cannot live with.  When taking the time to talk with people who work on a cruise ship, you learn very quickly that it takes a lot of sacrifice in order to maintain employment. My recent excursion taught me that all of the people on this particular boat were on there for 6 months, and were only able to call home when they were in a port. Further, most of the people I spoke to had been part of the company for many years, had children and a husband/wife at home and were comfortable living in a 135sq foot room. Further, all of these people are only guaranteed the contract they currently have, and if they receive too many negative surveys or complaints from customers who are on the cruise ship, then at the end of their cruise, their contract is not renewed. With that in mind, the majority of the people I spoke with was very friendly, and was constantly aware to make me happy in worry of offending me, rather than being honest with me and stating that I am just being ridiculous.

The culture of people on a cruise ship is certainly an interesting study. The part that made me most open my eyes to the different lifestyle was that most of the people working are not Caucasian. The majority of the people working seemed to be from countries that are considered developing. So I put together a small list of questions and began to build a profile of the type of person working on a cruise ship. To begin with I asked the educational level of all the workers I met with, followed by asking of their family life, socioeconomic situation before being on the cruise ship and also since. I also asked if these people had children and if they did what they did with them. The answers would shock many of the people living in a western culture which shows so much of an individualistic mindset. One would think that the western culture would like the cruise ship life due to the ability to see much of the world, yet, in further investigation, the life on board a cruise ship does not delve into the western ideals at all.

When I ask people in the western culture research based questions, I usually get people questioning me, asking what I am going to do with this information and for some of the people, I am asked to go away. It was the opposite through this very short study. The people I asked questions to were only too willing to share, and for some, I think they were offended I only had 6 questions to ask. It was evident that I was supposed to spend more time talking and building a friendship. This is not the same behavior I witness when speaking with people from a more western background, which is part of the reason cultural negotiation, is so difficult.

 In talking about all of the above, one of the areas that I found to have a distinct difference in culture was the aspect of hours worked for monies paid. The people on the cruise ship are not paid a lot of money. The person who cleaned my room began to work at 6am each day and did not end his day until the last person on his section of rooms had given him access to their room to turn down the bed and offer a towel animal. The room steward shared with me that most nights he gets to eat dinner around 8pm and then is in bed himself by 11pm. Although this may seem like a good opportunity, the time between 6am and 11pm is all work. He is given two, 30 minute breaks to eat and redress before he is back on the floor. In the western culture we would state that we deserve overtime, and for that many hours per week we deserve more than an hour break throughout the day. This is a primary reason that you don’t see many western cultured people in positions such as cruise ship steward. With that in mind, I was able to find out that the same hours and work intensity exists for all of the lower classed ship workers. To clarify, even on a cruise ship there is a hierarchy.

For Further Reading, please visit the rest at the following link:  http://tinyurl.com/7lo35mo

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