МЕЖКУЛЬТУРНАЯ КОММУНИКАЦИЯ: ВОСПРИЯТИЕ ВРЕМЕНИ
Томский политехнический университет, Томск Российская Федерация
INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION: PERCEPTION OF TIME
Tomsk Polytechnic University, Tomsk
The need for intercultural communication is as old as human kind. From wandering tribes to travelling traders and religious missionaries, people have encountered others different from themselves. Although intercultural contact has a long history, today’s intercultural encounters are far more numerous and of greater importance than in any previous time in human history. But in spite of the new technologies and the accelerated intercultural contact, some aspects of the diverse human societies have remained unchanged and can lead to misunderstandings and building walls in our increasingly global world. These are different ways of time perception traditionally accepted in different cultures and deeply rooted into the national characters. This article will present a quick overview of the peculiarities of the monochronic and polychronic cultures and present some tips on successful project management in the mixed international teams.
Modern technological advances have made the world a much smaller place, promoting increased interactions between people of different nations and cultures. The most critical aspect of the burgeoning transnational intercourse is communication – the ability to understand and to be understood is central to successful cross-cultural activities. All human interaction, either monocultural or cross-cultural, takes place within a social setting or context that affects the communication event. Whether you are in a classroom, dance hall, or business meeting, the context or social environment influences how you communicate. One of the constituents of social context is time. Complex societies organize it in at least two different ways: events scheduled as separate items, one thing at a time – as in North Europe (also the USA and Canada), or following the Mediterranean model of involvement in several things at once (also Latin America, the Arab part of the Middle East, sub-Sahara Africa). The two systems are logically and empirically quite distinct; each has its strengths as well as its weaknesses. Monochronic time means doing one thing at a time. It assumes careful planning and scheduling and is a familiar Western approach that appears in disciplines such as “time management”. Monochronic people tend also to be low context. In polychronic cultures, human interaction is valued over time and material things, leading to a lesser concern for “getting things done” – they do get done, but more in their own time. Aboriginal and Native Americans have typical polychronic cultures, where “talking stick” meetings can go on for as long as somebody has something to say. Polychronic people tend also to be high context. Monochronic time cultures emphasize schedules, a precise reckoning of time, and promptness. Time is viewed as a discrete commodity. People with this cultural orientation tend to do one thing after another, finishing each activity before starting the next. On the other hand, in polychronic cultures, people tend to handle multiple things concurrently (or intermittently during a time period) and to emphasize the number of completed transactions and the number of people involved, rather than the adherence to time schedule. Being on time is less important in polychronic cultures than in monochronic cultures (3). Monochronic people (M-people) tend to view activities and time in discreet segments...