16 Mayıs 2010 Pazar

Cross Cultural Communication Vol.3- Inner Directed Vs. Outer Directed

.control over your life
.not afraid of conflict
.focus on the self
.preference for stability

.not enough control over your life
.need for harmony
.focus on other
.moving with the environment

The last topic of our cross-cultural assignment will treat the differences in Turkish and Belgian culture focused on the way the community is directed. There are two opposite models we can handle. On the one hand there is the inner-directed model which is defined by control, dominance and stability in life. On the other hand there is the outer-directed model that logically comes down to an opposite vision based on little control, flexibility and harmony.

The word ‘inner’ points out that there is no or little group feeling present. Just as in the individualist model, there is a strong focus on oneself. Belgian culture definitely leans more towards this model. Once again followed by most of western Europe and with the United States as a role model. A lot of the collectivist examples can therefore be cited here. With the fact that people are self-oriented comes a certain degree of aggressiveness. When personal desires cannot be attained for a certain reason, people tend to turn aggressive in various ways. In nature, this aggression is demonstrated by the fact that it totally exploited in order to answer the mass consumption needs. Being able to satisfy and maintain a stable relationship with the client is the number one priority, whatever nature’s casualties may be. In the short term this kind of doing business is very profitable, but severe consequences on the long term are often regretfully neglected. Deforestation and oil refinery are poignant examples.

Summarised, the Belgian and western civilisation put the stress on individual needs and will take control over everything they can to maximise personal benefit. Life can be controlled. Medicine is continuously developing and redeveloping tools and practises. Man can cure cancer for decades now. Human clones have probably already been conceived and average lifespan has doubled in only a century. What will future bring?

As we said before, because of the affects of globalization, collectivistic approach and its derivatives such as outer-directed model are felt less. Therefore, there aren’t reasonable differences between Belgium and Turkey, when we compare these two. I meant that Turkey is no completely outer-directed model, but less inner-directed in comparison to Belgium and Western countries. Traditions and customs are a key role in the process of forming this model in Turkey. The inner-directed person listens to their own heart. The outer-directed person follows advice and instructions from outside sources. İn this sense, Turkish people always listen their relative’s or older person’s advice. The other example is making change. The outer-directed person is afraid of to be different. They are afraid of to stand out and will fear to take a stand on important issues. They fallows the crowd and fears being alone. Their desire is to be a team player and to therefore belong to a group. There's a certain amount of safety in numbers. Tradition is also important. What was good enough for my ancestors is good enough for me. When we considere all of these psychological attributes, the conservatives sense is easily understood in Tukey. In Turkey the conservative party that holds the majority of votes is obvious example of these. But, i think this understanding is a great obstacle for the modernization period because plurality, different ideas and view are important in order to reach knowledge and civilization. People should be a little bit rebel. People shold not take thoughts directly. As everyone knows skepticism is the first step of scince. Unlike outer-directed persons, the inner directed person is the rebel. They remains true to himself despite the personal cost. They are not afraid of going against the grain or the crowd. They believes in himself first and foremost.

To sum up, due to the fact that there is strong traditions and customs in Turkey, outer-directed model is felt stronger than inner-directed model. The relations with nature is key part of this undertanding. But Libralism and globalization makes people more inner-directed day by day.

Kadir Can Türkoğlu
Maxime Dewalhens

26 Nisan 2010 Pazartesi

Cross Cultural Communication Vol.2- Collectivsim Vs. Individualism

.Loyalty to the group's interest
.Strong, cohesive groups

.Pursuit of own interest
.Looser ties between individuals

A typical feature of collectivist societies is for example the strong cohesive feeling between people in whatever they do. Generally spoken, these communities act like one block, moving forth and backwards all together. On the other hand, loyalty is a keyword as well. Loyalty towards the interests of the group more specifically. There are a lot of common interests which can be or be caused by race, religion, a strong bond with the land, common history, etc. The most obvious of those interests in today’s world is probably religion. It bounds people in a very spiritual way and causes people to have faith in one another or even only have faith in people with the same religious convictions. You just have to turn on the tube at home and you will hear about all kinds of religious conflicts.

The model that stands opposite to collectivism is individualism. The word clearly puts the individual, the identity of one person in the spotlights. Selfishness is a word that directly popped into my mind in relation to the word and actually that is not a bad comparison at all. Individualist societies put the stress firmly on each individual himself. Decision-making happens for the benefit of oneself. Of course both models are extremes and would never fully dominate a culture but what can definitely be said is that most countries clearly lean to one of both models. Western culture and lifestyle are mainly individualist oriented. As Elvis put it: “one for the money, two for the show”.

Belgians follow this western pattern and stress the importance of the individual. As cited before, religion plays a big role to the extent people feel connected with each other. Since less than 10% of the Belgian population still considers itself religious, this important factor falls out for the greater part. Apart from this, individual oriented thoughts are required to really be able to participate in western life. If not, you are probably going to drop out anyway because other people just are not there to help you in the same way as collectivist societies do. To be successful, you need a job. To get a job, you have to prove yourself better than other candidates. It is like survival of the fittest.

There are strong relations between the country’s regime and social behaviors. In order to find out social behaviors related to individualism-collectivism that are exhibited in Turkey, firstly status quo must be determined. In the 21st century, there are a few exceptions though. Most of the countries are affected by liberal economic movement because of the globalization process. As a direct result, people are shifted from a collectivist to an individualist approach inevitably. In other words, liberalism which is relying on self-interest understanding affects social relations. Turkey is a typical example of this situation. In early Turkish history, collectivism was stronger than individualism because of Turkish culture, custom and tradition. For example, moving house, planting and harvesting the field are collectivist activities. Relations are in general tighter in all the different neighborhoods. Even cooking and having dinner is usually a shared activity altogether with the neighbors. Nowadays, these activities are less frequent though. Because of the fact that modernization period and liberalism, individualist approach is mainly stressed all around world. People aim to maximize their interest and pleasure. Money, time, power and nutrition become the most important matters for each and every person. None of these issues are shared. And undoubted, status quo (liberal economy) is main deterministic factor for this change from collectivism to individualism. People only gather when interests and purposes are common. The east part of Turkey, where traditions and customs are still intensively practiced, is more collectivist in comparison to the west because factors such as money and self-interest, all liberalism-related subjects, are less important in the east. Consequently, in the modern world the individualist approach is an unavoidable characteristic surrounded by globalization and liberalism. A lot of countries, mainly western states are largely individualist but Turkey is less individualist in comparison to those countries due to the different religion, tradition and custom.

Kadir Can Türkoğlu
Maxime Dewalhens

1 Nisan 2010 Perşembe

Cross Cultural Communication-Monochronic Societies Vs. Synchronic Societies

.time needs to be controlled
.punctuality is important: TİME is MONEY
.the porject is
.deadlines, schedules and plans can be relied on
.emphasis on past and future
.one thing done at a time
.link with specific culture

.everything takes its own time
.punctuality is less important: you GİVE people TIME
.people and relations are important
.deadlines, schedules and plans are frequently changed
.emphasis on here and now
.many things done simultaneously
.link with diffuse culture

In this part of the blog we will talk about the experience of time of Turkish culture compared to Belgium’s. Monochronic cultures prefer doing just one thing at a time but thoroughly. They value a certain orderliness and presence of an appropriate time and place for everything. Synchronic perception of time is exactly the opposite. A culture leaning more towards this model prefers doing multiple things at the same time. A manager's office in a Synchronic culture typically has an open door, a ringing phone and a meeting all going on at the same time.

If we are to describe the differences in the experience of time between Turkish and Belgian culture we could say that in Turkey time is perceived in a more flexible way than in Belgium.

By comparing university policies for instance, schools in Turkey are rather loose when it comes to deadlines, appearance in class, punctuality, etc. If you are not able to reach class in time, or you are just late due to circumstances, teachers will still more easily admit you to attend the class. In Belgium repeated absence will definitely not be taken in gratitude and is often even considered rude behavior. Punishment measures can sometimes be taken.

Another example of a more flexible lifestyle in Turkish culture is the frequent postponing of appointments with the doctor, the dentist, a business meeting...
Cancelling an appointment up to three times is no exception. One can definitely say that this is “not done” in Belgium. Doctors have the authority to charge you a fine for doing so.

When talking about transportation, we can make a very similar comparison. The time schedules of buses, trains, ferries and many other mediums in Turkey are more of a guide of around what time something is departing or arriving. Departure and arrival times are the only times displayed and they are only available in the main and final station or on the internet. None of the stops in between are equipped with time schedules.

By comparing these two different cultures in sense of importance of time, the discrepancies can easily be noticed. In Turkey, when people apply to the courthouse for the necessary documents and letters you need in order to register a new job for example, they will respond to you too late because of the excessive bureaucracy. Because of this and the absence of necessary documents people often don’t get the job. This example only occurs in a culture where flexible time understanding exists. In other words, people are not aware of the preciousness of time and consider it less important

Kadir Can Türkoğlu
Maxime Dewalhens