Global Ecology

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Rebecca
December 2, 2010
FCS 3150
Thursday 4:00-6:20 pm

Interview Paper: Cultural Competency

Living in a country that has more than on nationality definitely has both its challenges and rewards. For this assignment I interviewed an employee for a German company, in the automobile industry. During this interview I asked many questions about his job and responsibilities and the different types of cultures he works with, what are the rewards and challenges working with such a culturally diverse company, how he overcomes those challenges and what he does to prepare himself for his career, what he suggests to people who plan or already do work with people from different countries, and key components of cultural competency.

The person I interviewed for this assignment is named Marcus (General Motors Buyer, November 23, 2010) clarified that he works in the purchasing department for a German company in the automobile industry. He buys parts for programs that his company gets awarded from bit car manufacturers. He actually graduated from Western Michigan University with an integrated supply chain degree, which is a mixture of engineering and business courses. He worked for General Motors for three different positions before accepting a full time one directly out of college. He has many reasons why he chose to start working for a German automobile company, but one of his reasons was passion for cars and the influence from his father to follow in his footsteps at General Motors. Working with a German automobile company you will definitely find many people from different cultures working with you. In his company there are six different cultures in his department; France, German, China, Japan, Russia, and England. When working for a company that works with many different types of countries you will be sure to find many differences but as you really get to know the people you work with you realize that there are more similarities than there are differences. “The cognitive domain includes cultural awareness and cultural knowledge. First, cultural awareness is a cognitive recognition of a need for cultural competence, which stems from the appreciation of cultural diversity. Cultural awareness is described as becoming “appreciative and sensitive to the values, beliefs, lifestyles, practices, and problem solving strategies of clients’ cultures.” (Eunyoung, 2004, pg. 97) Before Marcus started he just thought he had to know a select few details about each of the cultures he works with, but as he progressed with his job he realized that just knowing their politics, history, and little bits and pieces of their language does not compare to having cultural awareness and appreciating the values and beliefs each of the families have.

With working with people from different cultures and background you will definitely have many types of challenges but you will also have many rewards as well. When asking him about the rewards of working with people who are from different cultures, his biggest reward was learning about all the different cultures and the holidays and traditions they celebrate.. “They pointed out that, often, professionals, acting on strongly supported beliefs from their professional knowledge, may neither recognize a puzzlement when it occurs nor attribute it to culture. In other words, professionals may be "culturally blind" without being aware of it, which argues the need to examine and identify the cultural underpinnings of one's professional practice towards building truly collaborative relationships with culturally diverse families.” (Kalyanpur, 1998, pg. 318), as its explained in the example many people in the workforce are culturally unaware of all the different ethnicities, they may though the different types but they have not really taken the time to really understand their culture, hence “culturally blind”. When Marcus first started his job he was unaware of all the different cultures he would encounter and...
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