Silent language is responsible for raising barriers between individuals of different nationalities and causes what is known as “cultural shock”
Doctor in Philosophy and anthropologist Edward T. Hall has dedicated his life to research in cultural perception of space, intercultural communication techniques (which he will then expand to business world) and proxemics, this branch of knowledge which studies the physical distance between people during an interaction.
In 1959 he introduced the concept of silent language in his book The silent language. He observed that culture is a non-verbal communication and it is culture which builds a silent link between individuals, but also that this same silent language is responsible for raising barriers between individuals of different nationalities.
Hall then dissect intercultural communication via its concept of "major triad". According to him, this is the backbone of all cultures:
- The formal is what is lived daily by the individual, known and perfectly mastered,
- The informal is linked to a specific practice, specific to rare, sometimes unknown and uncontrolled situations
- The technique is the scientific approach of a theme, acquired through the explicit communication
What Hall did for us in 1959 is to study the roots of what we today call a "cultural shock": the feeling that permeates us when faced with a different culture. This feeling where it seems that people around behave in a completely irrational and often frustrating way; ultimately unpleasant, and sometimes without even a single word exchanged.
Source and inspiration :
Edward T. Hall, The Silent Language, Doubleday & company, New York, 1959
Christine Geoffroey, Management interculturel, Recherche & Formation, 2000
The Brook's law states that when a person is added to a project team, and the project is already late, the project time is longer, rather than shorter. Brooks’ law is recognized as applicable to any complex endeavor involving lots of people interacting together, not just software engineering.
We need to think about failure differently.
I’m not the first to say that failure, when approached properly, can be an opportunity for growth. But the way most people interpret this assertion is that mistakes are a necessary evil. Mistakes aren’t a necessary evil. They aren’t evil at all.
They are an inevitable consequence of doing something new (and, as such, should be seen as valuable; without them, we’d have no originality). And yet, even as I say that embracing failure is an important part of learning, I also acknowledge that acknowledging this truth is not enough.
That’s because failure is painful, and our feelings about this pain tend to screw up our understanding of its worth. To disentangle the good and the bad parts of failure, we have to recognize both the reality of the pain and the benefit of the resulting growth.
According to Edward T. Hall, the environment becomes a dimension of culture, it incorporates manifestations related to the concept of body, space and sensation. The researcher defines this concept by the notion of proxemics, a scientific discipline studying the signifying organization of space and the study of the relative positions of interlocutors. The space of each individual is composed of four spheres revolving around the individual:
1 ° The intimate sphere is 45 cm in diameter around the individual: it implies physical involvement;
2 ° The personal sphere is measured between 45 cm and 1m35 around the individual: this distance is to be found during a particular conversation;
3 ° The social sphere is measured between 1.20m and 3.70m around the individual: it is the distance observed during friendly and professional interactions;
4 ° The public sphere is measured at a distance equal to or greater than 3,70m around the individual: it is the sphere dedicated to exchanges with a group.
The closest surface to the individual is an emotionally strong area that is usually referred to as the individual security perimeter. The size of this space varies according to the cultures. The social status of the interlocutor is also to be considered: one is closer to a peer than a superior or a subordinate. There is therefore a link between spatial distance and social distance.
If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something better.