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© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available for any Publisher wishing to consider it for publication in English and other languages except for Italian and Arab whose rights are already sold and published. If you are interested in publishing the book in English, or any other language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

Uncertainty Avoidance

This dimension has given rise to much controversy, because it is considered sexist and discriminatory. Hofstede’s will, on the other hand, was simply to analyze a gendered behavior as a cultural category, such as “caring” (taking care of children), deriving from the biological history of the female human race, vs. the prototypical male role in archaic societies linked to defense, competition, hunting and fighting.

By identifying phenomena related to gender, we can see nations such as Japan where there are strong expectations of roles, men are expected to differ from the behavior of women, an “in-charge” role. countries like Norway, or Sweden, the dimension is more feminized, which means that the roles between men and women are much more fluid and interchangeable in social organizations.

Tab. 7 – Differences between high masculinity and high femininity cultures

Femininity Masculinity
The roles between genres are interchangeable The roles between the sexes are very distinct
Nutrition, care Assertiveness, aggression
Equality, solidarity, quality of life, quality of work Competition, performance, success, money
Managers use intuition and seek consensus Managers are authoritarian and assertive
Humility and modesty are important in both sexes The man must be tough, the woman tender
Conflict resolution occurs through compromise and negotiation Conflict resolution occurs through disputes, fights and fighting (also figuratively)

The vision of the role of women is certainly a still strong variable that differentiates some cultures (where, for example, women are prevented from appearing in public with their faces uncovered) from others where a woman is encouraged to assume roles of visibility and responsibility on the social scale. As social roles become less distinct, the masculinity-femininity scale is increasingly independent of genetic sexuality, and becomes above all a “way of being”, an existential condition, a way of living and being, which can be adopted or modified without changing one’s sexual identity.

The avoidance of uncertainty, the tolerance of ambiguity. Distinguishes the need for clear rules, procedures, well-identified work responsibilities (high degree of avoidance of uncertainty), from the ability / condition to act in conditions of uncertain or imprecise rules, without well-identified responsibilities or in climates of organizational chaos , or in poorly structured environments (low degree of uncertainty avoidance). This variable is related to the “need for structuring” and the “tolerance for ambiguity” which varies greatly in cultures, or between social classes, and even between families, and therefore also between negotiators of different cultures.

Tab. 8 – Differences between cultures with high and low uncertainty avoidance

Acceptance of uncertainty Avoidance of uncertainty
Uncertainty is a normal feature of life The uncertainty present in life is a constant threat that must be fought
Low consciousness of time, fluid time High awareness of time, programmed time
The day is accepted as it is The day must be structured
People appear calm, relaxed, calm, sometimes sluggish or lazy People appear active, busy, emotional, aggressive
Low stress, well-being High level of stress, subjective experience of anxiety
What is different is curious What is different is dangerous
Ambiguous situations are experienced without problems Fear of what is unknown
Risk acceptance Fear of risk
The rules must be kept to a minimum Strong emotional need for detailed rules
What is new is sought and deviations from the norm are accepted Innovation is resisted, new or deviant ideas encounter strong obstacles
If the rules are not followed, they must be changed If the rules are not respected, guilt arises
The rules are few and generic The rules are many and precise
Citizens can protest Protests must be suppressed
Tolerance and moderation Conservation, extremism, law and discipline
Nobody can be blamed for their ideologies and ideas. Tolerance Different ideas (religious, political, social) are pursued. Fundamentalism and intolerance
Students feel comfortable in open-ended learning situations Students feel comfortable in structured learning situations, they look for the “right answer”

As can also be seen from the last difference (high or low structuring of a training or school intervention), interculturality can also occur in the same country, between a trainer who uses experiential and active techniques, in the face of a traditionalist culture and structured mindset. Or again, in the didactic and training situations carried out between different countries and cultures. Interculturality also opens the way to the existence of other “ways of being”, of new ways of living life, and can be very therapeutic.

The real problem of cultural psychology is to recognize how much cultural absorption has affected one’s personality, and to regain possession of a different way of being, be it less “anxious” or “more dynamic”, with the awareness that it is not possible to “have everything ”, Be busy and relaxed at the same time. Intercultural communication, seen in the ALM method, poses the challenge of “internal multi-existentiality” – the new ability to live in different states of the personality by absorbing the best of different cultures – eg: knowing how to be lively and dynamic in certain moments, relaxed in others, and includes the ability to avoid existential and cultural drag, eg: living a vacation with anxiety and over-planning stress, or on the contrary not knowing how to live in a system that requires deadlines and planning, when necessary.

It can be said that the intercultural dimension opens the doors to new frontiers of the human being, who (at least in Western societies) for the first time in history can choose to adhere to a culture or not, can change their way of being and of to live.

Intercultural Negotiation Arab Edition

© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available for any Publisher wishing to consider it for publication in English and other languages except for Italian and Arab whose rights are already sold and published. If you are interested in publishing the book in English, or any other language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

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