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CUC107 Applying Cultural Capabilities

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CUC107 Applying Cultural Capabilities

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CUC107 Applying Cultural Capabilities

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Course Code: CUC107
University: Charles Darwin University

MyAssignmentHelp.com is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: Australia

Question:
Write a formal report to observe and analyse whether characters in a video scenario (from the choices given below) are showing effective cultural capabilities and maintaining a culturally safe space. Also, recommend how effective cultural capabilities of the characters in the video could be improved.

Task details
The report should:

Summarise and describe observations of the interactions related to aspects of cultural capabilities in the video clip.
Analyse (with formal references) the safe and unsafe aspects of the scenario,  including the physical location and interactions between actors.
Provide recommendations for creating or sustaining this video scenario as a culturally safe space.

Answer:

1.Introduction
The report aims to provide an elaborate discussion and analysis of the culturally safe workplace environment with the help of a video clip, entitled ‘Fawlty Towers, Communication Problems, Handling Complaints, Season 2 Episode 1′.
Background
In order toensure that the workplace is culturally safe for people to work, it is important to have cultural capability. Cultural capability refers to the knowledge, behaviors, skills and systems that are needed to support, improve, plan and deliver services in a manner that is culturally appropriate and respectful(Ang, Rockstuhl& Tan, 2015). Cultural capability requires cultural awareness and intelligence to create safe spaces for the employees. Safe spaces are established when everyone in that specific setting engages positively with each other. In the context of a workplace, safe spaces are created from a process of workers from different cultural background being treated equally and also valued (Holley & Steiner, 2005). [An unsafe workplace is one where there is either a lack of safety and security of the workers or lack of mutual respect and understanding about each other. As far as the clip in this video clip is concerned, it is being shown that there are some problems in the organizational culture. The receptionist Polly was not able to handle two customers at the same time (YouTube.com. 2018). So, it was very difficult for her to cater to the need of Mrs. Richardson while she was busy dealing with another gentleman.
It is also seen that Mrs. Richardson was also having some problem in hearing. Same was the case with Manuel. Manuel is portrayed as a very funny character from Barcelona who has some problem in hearing (Young, Haffejee & Corsun, 2017). So there is stereotyping which is actually damaging the overall work culture of the place. There is the stereotyping of employees who are some disabilities like impaired hearing. Manuel was of Spanish culture and so he had problems in understanding the English language. Instead of supporting him, his co-workers or superiors were trying to portray as a smiling stock.  So, this is not a healthy or a safe place for the employees to work peacefully.  On the other hand, the customers will also be dissatisfied with an unwelcoming or a rough behavior from the
These kinds of unfair work culture are likely to have many harmful effects on the minds of customers and the employees as well. This will create many misunderstandings among the employees and this will harm their morale and their zeal to work. The customers might also have negative notions about the place and switch over to other suitable alternatives. So, it is really important for the managers to make sure that they are providing a friendly, safe, healthy and amicable environment for their employees and their customers as well (Wu & Bodigerel-Koehler, 2013). They must have both customer-centric and employee-centric approaches. So, it is on the part of the organization to make sure that they are ensuring a proper culture within the workplace. They must train all the workers to be respecting each other. It has to be made sure that no worker is getting bullied for their culture, sex, linguistic pattern or any kinds of physical disabilities. It is the right of the employees of an organization and the customers to get a safe, friendly and healthy environment. ]
Aim
The report will provide thorough explanation of safe and unsafe spaces invarious workplaces and will recommend ways to improve cultural capability. The report will present a description, summary and analysis of an instance that demonstrates an unsafe place.
Scope
The report will present a comprehensive summary, account and analysis of a video clip from the 1979 TV program Fawlty Towers telecast on BBC. In the specific video clip, scenes that demonstrate culturally unsafe place will be analyzed(YouTube.com, 2018).
2.Summary and observations
Summary of the video clip
The chosen video clip is from the popular 1979 TV Program, a sitcom broadcast on BBC titled Fawlty Towers. The video clip is from the Season 2, Episode 1 broadcast on February 19, 1979 “Communication problems” wherePolly (played by Connie Booth) attends to the customers one by one when one Mrs. Richards interrupts her work(YouTube.com, 2018).
The setting is a reception desk at a hotel named Fawlty Towers where the workers are seen busy attending customers and addressing their issues. Even for the customers, they do not have any place to sit while they await their turn. Polly works as a receptionist at Fawlty Towers, which is owned by Basil Fawlty (played by John Cleese) and Sybil Fawlty (played by Prunella Scales). While she attends to other customers, Mrs. Richards (played by Joan Sanderson) whomis a deaf and shortsighted rush towards her asking for a change(Imdb.com, 2018). When Polly fails to make her understand that she is attending another man who had come before her, she finds a mischievous way to deal with her. Polly asks Manuel (played by Andrew Sachs), a Spanish waiter who has difficulty speaking and understanding English, to attend to Mrs. Richards.
Observations
Many observations have been made from the particular videoclip that demonstrates the culturally unsafe characteristics of the workplace.
Table1. Observations made from the video

First scene
Run time

Physical factors

Communication factors

Signs of inclusion/exclusion

Cultural intelligence and awareness

00.26-00.52
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

– One worker is seen coming down the stairs with a heavy luggage on his back. The space is very narrow and that might be risky for customers and other workers
– Layout of the reception desk is congested and poses a risk for workers
The workers further are positioned in such a way that they might collide with others if slightly less careful

– The woman on phone displays a calm body language while she addresses the customer’s queries over the phone. She is polite and explains the situation in clear words
– After the woman leaves the desk, it is only Polly who has to attend to the customers while at the start of the scene, three receptionists were there
 
 

– Signs of inclusion is visible from Polly’s way of attending to the gentleman who was there before Mrs. Richards interrupted, the man felt included because he was being given importance

– The situation did not require the characters to demonstrate any cultural intelligence

2.01-3.10

– Mrs. Richards’ position towards Polly and her facial expression shows that she is not happy with the services, which she also expresses loudly
– The gentleman whom Polly attends is being made to stand longer than he would have expected due to the interruption and the place has no arrangement for the customers to sit and relax

– The conversation between Mrs. Richards and Manuel becomes confusing for both as one is a non-English speaker and the other is deaf.
– Later, Mrs. Richards complains to Polly about the confusion where she thinks that the manager of the hotel is aged forty as Manuel said whereas he uttered “Fawlty” and not “forty”
 

– In the scene, Polly allocates Manuel to assist Mrs. Richards knowing that Manuel has difficulty speaking and understanding English and Mrs. Richards was deaf. This is a sign of exclusion because it would have made Mrs. Richards feel unimportant and excluded.

– Here, cultural awareness and intelligence are glaringly missing it can be seen from the stereotyping of Spanish speaking people.
– The maker of the show had no cultural capability or awareness about other cultures, which is remarkable visible from the portrayal of Manuel who has been made a mere caricature

3.Analysis
Cultural intelligence
The ability to relate to different cultures other than one’s own in a business environment relates to cultural intelligence, which is popularly termed as cultural quotient (CQ). Ott and Michailova (2018) view cultural intelligence as “an individual’s capability to function and manage effectively in culturally diverse situations and settings”. The authors are right in their description of cultural intelligence as an ability to understand diverse cultures because without understanding the diversity, they cannot make intelligent decisions needed to succeed(Spencer-Oatey& Franklin, 2012). An individual running an organization without cultural intelligence might face culture shock when confronted with some from different culture. Culture shock occurs when an individual feelsfrustrated when he or she struggles to understand the different culture(Flanja, 2009). It is therefore important for the individuals especially those running multinational companies to possess cultural intelligence so as not to hurt others’ sentiments and experience loss.
In the chosen video clip from Fawlty Towers, the makers clearly demonstrate an absence of cultural intelligence as they stereotype the Spanish people through the depiction of Manuel. They depict him as Spanish with poor hold in English, pronouncing words like “forty” for “fawlty” or “managar” (g pronounced as in God) for “manager” and so on. This is a sign of ethnocentrism where the people evaluate other cultures as per their preconceptions. In a study conducted byYoung, Haffejee andCorsun (2017)it was found that a low CQ resulted in increased ethnocentrism. As the British makers of Fawlty Towers have demonstrated with their depiction of the Spanish person, they lack CQ due to ethnocentrism.
Cultural capabilities
As it has been mentioned in the previous sections, cultural capabilities mean the skills and knowledge, behaviors and systems that support and plan the deliverance of services that ensure respect for different cultures. Ang,Rockstuhl and Tan (2015) identify three overlapping competencies that contribute towards improving cultural capabilities. These include:

Language proficiency
Regional or culture specific knowledge and
Cross-cultural competence

Those who possess these competencies will have the least issue in handling intercultural matters and will acknowledge and respect other cultures. Wu and Bodigerel-Koehler (2013) further emphasize on a person’s ability to be efficient throughout a range of contexts that have intercultural backgrounds. The authors demarcate between cultural intelligence and cultural capabilities stating, “Cultural intelligence reflects a set of general capabilities that facilitate one’s effectiveness across different cultural environments”. The authors are true in stating this because possessing cultural intelligence shows the capability of an individual to communicate effectively across cultures. Brislin, Worthley and Macnab (2006) have further identified several cultural capabilities including intercultural personality traits, intercultural attitudes and worldviews amongst others. While intercultural personality traits refer to the activities of an individual in different cultural environment, worldviews and intercultural attitudes refer to the person’s perception and evaluation of experience with other cultures. Cultural empathy or tolerance for ambiguity constitutes examples of intercultural personality traits. On the other hand, ethnocentrism or ethno relativism makes up examples of intercultural attitudes and worldviews(Quappe&Cantatore, 2005).
In the chosen video clip, there is ample evidence that the makers of the show had no tolerance for ambiguity and their perception about other culture is distorted. It can be seen from the depiction of the Spanish man, who is unable to communicate clearly with the English woman, Mrs. Richards. Smith-Augustine et al., (2014), have identified this stereotyping of the Spanish people in their study, on the changed perception of under graduates in an American classroom. The scholars have found that stereotyping the Hispanic people of Spain changes radically when students undertake Spanish language courses. The authors’ findings reveal, “The more Spanish language education one has, the more one realizes that appearances can be deceiving”(Smith-Augustine et al., 2014).
Recommendations
In the analysis of the video clip, it has been revealed that the workplace is culturally unsafe because it encourages stereotyping of a different culture. The scenes in the clip discourage anything different, even stereotyping a deaf person.
It is thus important to alter the space to make it more welcoming and appreciating of different cultures. Manuel is from Barcelona and has difficulty speaking or understanding English. This could be changed by allowing him to work not as a waiter but as someone who could handle customers coming from Spain.
Further, instead of stereotyping Manuel as a dumb and funny character from Barcelona, he should have been portrayed as an educated and well-behaved man from Spain with fluency in English.
In addition, instead of showing Polly using Manuel to her advantage to deal with Mrs. Richards, the scene should have Polly asking Manuel to deal with Mrs. Richards in a competent manner.
Lastly, even if the makers portray Manuel as a waiter hailing from Barcelona, they should portray him as speaking fluent English, behaving in a decent way rather than showing him as a caricature on the show just for making people laugh.
Summary and Conclusion
Therefore, in conclusion it can be stated that it is not difficult to incorporate culturally safe spaces in workplaces if one has cultural capabilities such as CQ. The chosen video clip of the 1979 British sitcom Fawlty Towers depicted an unsafe space for culturally different people. It demonstrated a Spanish waiter as a funny character and his inability to speak English clearly. The report has provided a few recommendations like giving the Spanish character a better role after a thorough analysis of the video.
References:
Ang, S., Rockstuhl, T., & Tan, M. L. (2015). Cultural intelligence and competencies. International encyclopedia of social and behavioral sciences, 2, 433-439.
Brislin, R., Worthley, R., & Macnab, B. (2006). Cultural intelligence: Understanding behaviors that serve people’s goals. Group & Organization Management, 31(1), 40-55.
Flanja, D. (2009). Culture shock in intercultural communication. Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai. StudiaEuropaea, 54(4), 107.
Holley, L. C., & Steiner, S. (2005). Safe space: Student perspectives on classroom environment. Journal of Social Work Education, 41(1), 49-64.
Imdb.com. (2018). Fawlty Towers (TV Series 1975–1979). Retrieved from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072500/
Ott, D. L., &Michailova, S. (2018). Cultural intelligence: A review and new research avenues. International Journal of Management Reviews, 20(1), 99-119.
Quappe, S., &Cantatore, G. (2005). What is Cultural Awareness, anyway? How do I build it. Retrieved July, 17, 2008.
Smith-Augustine, S., Dowden, A., Wiggins, A., & Hall, L. (2014). International immersion in Belize: Fostering counseling students’ cultural self-awareness. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 36(4), 468-484.
Spencer-Oatey, H., & Franklin, P. (2012). What is culture. A compilation of quotations. GlobalPAD Core Concepts, 1-22.
Wu, W. Y., &Bodigerel-Koehler, M. (2013). The mediating effects of cross-cultural dynamic competencies on the relationship between multicultural personality and cross-cultural adjustment. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24(21), 4026-4045.
Young, C. A., Haffejee, B., &Corsun, D. L. (2017). The relationship between ethnocentrism and cultural intelligence. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 58, 31-41.
YouTube.com. (2018). Handling complaints 2. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_cDmwlbVkg (YouTube.com, 2018)

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