Today, I had the first time experience to go live on the air as a radio talk guest! At our campus radio station Ram Nation Radio, we got to discuss the significance for students to participate New York State Business Plan Competition (NYSBPC) and entrepreneurship activities. It was a truly fun experience. Watch and listen to our radiocast at RAM National Radio!
As part of Asian American Heritage Celebration & relevant Conversation at PSEG Long Island, I had a great honor to participate the panel discussion: Combating Cultural Clashes. Together with other two speakers, Ms. Liz Bell-Carroll and Ms. Carrier Dunican from PSEG, we discussed how to use emotional intelligence (EQ) and intercultural Competence (CQ) as tools to address the intercultural clashes within the organization.
As my research focusing on intercultural management, I introduced the concept of culture and CQ, and explained how CQ can help to minimize culture clashes.
Culture is a very broad concept and is defined as characteristic way of behaving and believing that a group of people have developed over time and share in common (Tarique et al., 2016). There are also different types of cultures, broadly, as visible and invisible. The visible cultures are those you can see, such as food, arts, dresses, musics, communication styles, or even behavior patterns. Another type of culture is invisible, including values, philosophies, believes, and universal truth. It is the invisible culture often causing misunderstanding, miscommunication, and intercultural clashes.
I also emphasize that, very often, people tends to think that culture differences come from ethnicity or different countries. However, the different gender, age, language, occupation, and organization are all sources of culture differences in an organization. Organizations today are formed with peoples with diversified background and different ideas, which make our working environment more culturally diversified than ever.
Related to EQ, CQ emphasizes on the critical professional skill for dealing with ambiguity, stress, frustration, and problem solving in an unfamiliar environment. When employees interact with colleagues from different functions, ages, and organizations, they may observe unfamiliar behaviors, values, and believes causing frustration and clash. CQ can help employees managing the thoughts and emotions in intercultural situations, keep them open-minded and nonjudgmental about new ideas and behaviors. Most importantly, employees with high CQ are more accepting of different behaviors and not resorting to negative stereotypes about other cultures or people. As a result, employees with CQ can establish better interpersonal relationship with their colleagues and achieve higher level of collaboration.
Research has shown CQ an essential ability for effective leadership, collaborative teamworks, and high level of performance in any organization. However, developing CQ is not an easy task and can take a long time and effort for development. In the panel, we discussed the importance of motivation for any employees to develop CQ. Fortunately, PSEG offers a lot of learning resources for motivated employees to explore new knowledge. A dozen of cultural groups in the company provided tremendous opportunities for employees to interact with their familiar or unfamiliar colleagues from all backgrounds. For example, ASPIRE (Asian American group), the sponsor of the event, organized such great social event, to enable interaction and conversation among employees.
During the interactive discussion, the challenge of intercultural communication was raised. Very true, verbal and non-verbal communication styles can be very different among cultures. Intercultural miscommunication is one of main sources to result in ambiguity and misunderstanding. A higher level of CQ can help individual to feel less stressful during intercultural communication, however, it also requires additional learning for anyone to enhance their intercultural communication skills.
One hour of discussion was over quickly. I feel grateful to be offered such opportunity to share my passion of intercultural interaction research with partitioners. It is always my goal being an engaged scholar to bridge the knowledge gap between the research and practice. I wish I brought some insights for my audience to cope with cultural clashes and motivated them to explore further.
P.S. Thanks for the invitation from PSEGLI ASPIRE President Linda Zhang to engage me in such great conversation!
Various patterns of verbal and non-verbal communication styles in different culture is a major source of intercultural misunderstanding and intercultural conflicts. In any intercultural interaction, such as business partnership, contract negotiation, or daily transaction, intercultural communication effectiveness is essential to enhance personal relationship and to achieve desired organizational outcome.
The workshop is designed to help participants understand the impact of intercultural communication and develop cultural agility to connect and communicate with others in the intercultural interaction setting. The participant will achieve the following:
The ability to innovate determines the performance and growth of any organizations, however, to drive innovation through cross-functional teams is not easy: different mindset and knowledge can often cause more conflicts than delivery of innovative solutions.
Based on the framework of design thinking, this workshop is designed to enhance the collaboration in the cross-functional teams to drive innovate thinking in an organization. Through a series of activities, the participants will be able to discover synergies and leverage diversity to achieve the goal of co-innovation through cross-functional teams.
An effective leader can identify values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that affect organizational performance, health and well-being of culturally diverse workplace. The workshop is designed to develop leadership skill of managers and individual contributors in a diversified workplace.
By the end of the workshop, the participants will be able to achieve the following main objectives:
Intercultural Competence (CQ) is an underlying characteristic of an individual or team that can be shown to predict effective or superior performance in a job or situation (McClelland, 1973). It is an essential professional skill that “exists in a person that leads to behaviors that meet the job demands within the parameters of the organizational environment (Boyatzis, 1982). It emphasizes the critical professional skill for dealing with ambiguity, stress, frustration, and problem solving in an unfamiliar environment. Therefore, CQ is a critical element of successful interaction and collaboration in the growing diversified workplace.
The workshop is designed for today’s organizations to gain the benefits to the diversified workplace and to achieve the following objectives.
I’m more than thrilled! It is a complete surprise for me to receive the award at 26th Annual CIMaR conference – Consortium for International Marketing Research. Together with my co-authors Dr. Song and Dr. Donthu, we worked on this project since my PhD. I’m so glad the research is recognized by the conference as the best paper.
The first author Dr. Jing Song did a wonderful presentation to discuss the motivation, theoretical background, and findings of the study.
However, Jing missed the award ceremony the next day and I got all of fame to receive the award on behalf of my co-authors. I really wish Jing were there.
Other than all of excitement of receiving the award, I had a great time at CIMaR and Italy. I got to see Dr. Cavusgil, who is my mentor and my dissertation committee member. I got to catch up with Jing, whom I haven’t seen more than three years. In addition, with my family, I got to tour around Italy to learn about its culture, history, and life. Love to learn more about Italy and visit again! Here is a short video clip about our trip to Italy.
I am definitely not the type of people who like to draw a lot of public attention. However, it is time for me to share what I know about about international trade and to explain why trade is more than an opportunity than a tread for our country and the world.
My interview with Long Island Business News was printed in the article on Feb 3rd. titled Heated US-Mexico talks fuel tensions for LI businesses. It is a mixed feeling to see my picture printed in the newspaper, especially side by side with the two Presidents. In this interview, I mainly discussed the wrong perception for international trade, especially the relationship between trading and unemployment. The followings are my quotes in the article:
” ‘Protectionism never worked for trading.’ She said, referring to the process of restraining trade between countries through such methods as tariffs and other means. Earlier tariffs, she pointed out, on steel and even the sneaker industry did not keep manufacturing jobs in the United States.”
“What we need is not a trade war, we need an open discussion to see how both countries can benefit.”
“Countries should trade on their strength. The U.S. strength is to produce financial services, innovative high-tech products, green energy products, etc. On Long Island, we export a lot of for the aviation and biotech industry. That should be out focus- not labor-intensive manufacturing job.”
“One outcome of NAFTA is that it helps improve the economy of Mexico, that enables Mexicans to afford to buy U.S. products. Nations’s improved economy boosts its standard of living, and reduces the number of Mexicans coming to the United States to find work.”
“As for jobs that were relocated abroad, don’t focus on brining those job back. Instead, provide training to those workers so that they have news skills and place then in other industries. We have unfilled manufacturing jobs, and we don’t have the skilled workers.”
“The focus should be on technology and innovative industries. How can we continue to be the leader of the world economy without those new industries? There is a perception that job loss from trade. But 80 percent of job loss today is from technology changes, automation, and computerization.”
Thanks to the newspaper of Long Island Business News, especially the reporter Adina Genn, to allow me sharing my thoughts with the local community.
Dear all students:
It is the end of the semester for the class of International Business. I hope you have learned plenty of knowledge and practices about conducting business internationally: You have learned the opportunities and challenges brought by international trade and globalization; you have understood why and how companies internationalize their business to remain their competitiveness; acting as as small businesses and non-profit organizations, you have exercised the process to export many wonderful products or service from the USA to the global markets; and you also have read many current news articles to be aware of the changing world today with the trend of anti-trading and anti-globalization which I believe to be a temporary setback for our society. At the end of the course, I hope you have developed an objective view about international business and may even expand your career into the global scale. Although the course is over, I hope you can continue to search for an answer for this important question for yourself: how can I remain competitive in today’s changing world?
First all, we should be all clear based on we discussed in the semester: job lost today is mainly due to automation, not international trade. “The US did indeed lose about 5.6m manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2010. But according to a study by the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University, 85 per cent of these jobs losses are actually attributable to technological change — largely automation — rather than international trade”.
Let’s remember the story of Kodak: In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within just three years, they went bankrupt because the emergence of digital cameras. What happened to thousands Kodak employees in the past will happen to many other industries in the near future, because we are living in the 3rd and going toward 4th Industrial Revolution, driven by the growth of computation, artificial intelligence, and automation, “a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres”.
Even in the service industries, we see a tremendous shift of using technology, software, and artificial technology to replace human workers. McDonald’s and restaurant chains are using computer tablets as a solution for rising labor costs. IBM Watson artificial intelligence can provide diagnosis for patients and offer legal advice for clients, faster and more accurate than doctors and lawyers.
In short, we are not competing with other people around the world, but competing with robots and computers. It is what face us today and nothing can prevent us from the use of technology to advance the world. It sounds scary in a way because the job market today requires us having a lot more knowledge to be a competitive individual. I could not advice you what career you should go for a long-term job security, but I can say what you should do to become competent and ride the wave of technological innovation: You must be a creative and critical thinker, be flexible to adapt to changes, sharpen your skills and knowledge through continuous learning, and keep yourself informed with reliable information sources. And last, respect and collaborate with others. I hope that my suggestion will help you to identify a career which you are passionate about and become successful in. When you are prepared for the changes and equipped with innovative ideas, what globalization presenting to you would be more opportunities than challenges.
For those who graduate in December: My best wishes for your new endeavor and stay in touch with your college and your professors.
For those who come back in the Spring: Enjoy the winter break and see you around in the Spring!
As a scholar, the best recognition is to receive Best Paper award. It is always my goal to receive such award so you can imagine how I jumped up and down when my pedagogical paper received the inaugural CUIBE award for Best Paper on “Teaching International Business” at 2016 annual conference of Academy of International Business (AIB2016). As an educator, I also feel proud that my instructional approach is recognized as innovative and valuable for the education of international business.
The conference paper has been improved and published at Journal of Teaching in International Business, titled Improving Intercultural Competence in the Classroom: A Reflective Development Model. In this paper, I propose a four-stage reflective development model to enhance intercultural competence for undergraduate students and implemented in my class of International Management. The model provides a pedagogical approach for motivating students to engage in intercultural interactions, for helping them learn to make sense of their environment, and for advancing their learning about intercultural interactions.
Last, thanks to the funding from the Students First Grant at Farmingdale State College in 2015 to support me conducting this pedagogical research successfully.