Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the Coventry University's online course, Business Management: National and Organisational Cultures. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds My name is Simon Haslam. I’m a strategy consultant working internationally and I’m part of an organisation called the ICMCI which is the International Council for Management Consulting Institutes and within the ICMCI I’m the chair of the group of academic fellows, which are people around the world who are researching and teaching management consulting. When I was studying for my PhD two of my colleagues who were doing a similar course of study, one came from Norway, guy called Lars, and the guy called Christos who came from Greece, and conversation drifted one day to the presence of on-street begging in my home city of Glasgow and on-street begging is relatively muted so it’s there but it’s not too obtrusive.

Skip to 0 minutes and 54 seconds Lars coming from Norway he moved to Glasgow for his PhD and he’s horrified by the amount of on street begging he sees because he comes from a country with a very well-developed social structure infrastructure where most people are very well looked after by the state if they need to be. Christos, coming from Athens, had a completely different perspective because he saw on street begging as a complete racket, he saw it as organised crime. Now he’s not a hostile person at all but the type of language he’ll be using to refer to what he saw in streets of Glasgow was incredibly risque should I say.

Skip to 1 minute and 30 seconds The point I wish to emphasise here is that I’d been privy to on street begging in Glasgow very many years, I saw it for what it was, it was there, I know had not a great deal of opinion. Christos and Lars come from different cultures had completely different perspectives of the very same thing so just as an illumination of cultural vantage points, the culture we grew up with tends to be the culture we believe is the superior is the way of doing things, it’s not until we travel and we meet other people that we then can reflect on different societal norms from our upbringing and I have to say if one approaches the cultural challenges with a degree of humility and openness and positive intention and one does one’s homework first, you’re probably going to make a pretty effective job of working away from cultures which are our own.

How does culture affect our behaviour and how we interpret the behaviour of others?

In the previous step, we identified that culture can be used to explain people’s behaviour. How then does culture affect people’s behaviour?

Your task

Watch the video of strategy consultant Simon Haslam sharing his story about different interpretations of on-street begging. Then, share your thoughts on the following questions and discuss the differences in perception as a result of socialisation patterns:

  • In your own cultural background, what is the dominant opinion about on-street begging? Do you share that opinion?

  • What happens when people from different cultural backgrounds interpret the same situation?

Share your thoughts with your fellow learners in the comments below. Don’t forget to like comments that you agree with or add your own opinions to those where your views differ.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Business Management: National and Organisational Cultures

Coventry University