In 2003, Claude Michaud, who was CEDEP Director, wrote in his prologue to the book Doing Business Internationally, by Walker, Walker & Schmitz:
"All too often, companies behave ethnocentrically, showing a strong belief in the superiority of their original culture and using certain stereotypes, but forgetting that others also behave rationally, but in relation to different systems of values. There are considerable differences in the ways in which individuals approach the key dimensions of existence."
He adds some examples:
"Such differences can be observed in the approach to nature itself, depending upon whether the individual wishes to dominate or to live in harmony with nature; in the approach to time, depending on whether the individual considers time to be of a fixed, chronological nature or a fluid nature; and in the approach to success, which can be perceived as an individual or a collective phenomenon."
This behavior can be found also at other kinds of organizations and some individuals. I strongly believe that for a person, organization or company, being in close contact with counterparts from other cultures, or being immersed in them, is a unique opportunity to engage in a deep learning process about himself or herself, first. This learning journey can take us not only to "discover the others", but also to discover parts of us that we don't easily see reflected in the mirrors where we usually look at ourselves.
My work aims at assisting in learning not about differences, from a certain distance, but from ourselves being immersed in the differences, beginning with our own.
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