Truth and lying in organizations-advanced short case studies

Morris (US)  has just finished supper and said to Jean-Marie, his visiting colleague from France, “you should come over next time”. Jean-Marie wonders how Morris can be so dishonest.

Art (US) asked Wang (China) “what does this quarter look like” on a concall with 6 other participants . Wang said “looks good”. After the concall, Wang called Art and told him that the quarter looked bad. Art told himself that Wang cannot be trusted as he is a pathological fibber.

Oya (Japan) call Max in Detroit and told him emotionally, “Max-san, if you do not fly over 3 engineers now to Japan, the customer will throw us out”. Max thought to himself, “Oya always bs’s to get me to act with a false sense of urgency because he thinks we so not care about his Japanese customer”.

Peter (UK) told Moshe (Israel) that “that’s a good idea which needs more work”. Moshe wrote off Peter as a sweet-talking phony.

Stan (US)  told Miyamoto (Japan) that the product was “commercially deployable”. When 4000 bugs were discovered, Miyamoto thought he had been stung because Stan claimed the bugs were not “revenue impacting”.

Bill (US) corrected Zhang (China) in front of Zhang” subordinates on a minor factual issue.  Zhang believes Bill’s “vulgar correction” means than he has lost Bill’s trust, because face to Zhang is a more important truth than stupid facts.

So, when working globally, leave your personal judgement about truth at home. Understand the cultural context which basically says, truths are  often culturally defined artifacts.

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5 errors inexperienced Israelis make with their US management counterparts

1-They blend discussion, arguing and negotiation at the same time. Americans appear to resent the constant negotiation and the elephant (intuition as per Haidt) leading the driver (ratio).

2-Israeli organizations often tell  clients what they really need which upsets their ‘satisfying clients’ American counterparts.

3-They misinterpret American unwillingness to be blunt as a weakness. They do not often understand cultural clues, forcing the Americans to be “overly” direct.

4-They reopen oral decisions, not understanding that this is a trust buster for Americans, although not for Israelis.

5-Israelis are far less politically correct that their American counterparts. And even when the Israelis adopt the PC lingo, it’s more fake than real. The Americans smell it from a mile.

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