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Time scenarios

These two scenarios demonstrate different ways that individuals value time, especially within a workplace environment.
The following scenarios illustrate how different attitudes towards time, can influence the way the people interact together. In the first scenario, Thomas has called a meeting for 9 am.
One of his colleagues arrives at 9.05 am and two others at 9:10 am.
Thomas feels very annoyed about their late arrival and thinks: Why can’t they be on time for this meeting like the others? Can’t they see that it’s very disrespectful to make others wait, that they’re wasting other people’s time? In this second scenario, Ayu’s meeting is scheduled for 10 am, but she expects that some of the members of her team won’t be there on time. The traffic in Jakarta is terrible. I experience it every day, but that’s okay. I can work on other tasks in the meantime. We’ll start the meeting when everybody who is supposed to be here will have arrived. Now, considering the difference between managed time and flexible time, let’s look at the two scenarios again, to illustrate the difference.
In this first scenario, Thomas values colleagues being on time for meetings and considers the late arrival of some of his colleagues as being impolite. Time is a valuable commodity for him. He feels that time is money and not to be wasted in this situation. Time schedules how he managed his day and tasks. He likes to think that gives him control over time that way. In this second scenario, Ayu, the Indonesian manager views and values time very differently. She reasons based on the local cultural norm of ‘jam karet’, translated as rubber time. Her expectation is that the meeting will not start at 10 am, yet she does not feel disrespected.
There are always potential external circumstances which could lead to a late arrival and she can use the time for other tasks. It is likely that persons who tend to value time as ‘manageable’, demonstrate the same attitude, whether in professional or private situations. But this is not necessarily so. The same is valid for persons who view time as flexible or relative.

These two scenarios demonstrate different ways that individuals value time, especially within a workplace environment.

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Introduction to Cultural Intelligence

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