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Образование Understanding Americans
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Control Freaks

To be in control, it helps to have nature on your side. Some cultures live in harmony with their environment. Americans like to wrestle it to the ground and harness its power for their own personal use. Wind, sun, and ocean waves are transformed into valuable energy sources. State-of-the-art heating and air-conditioning systems allow Alaskans and Floridians to enjoy the same room temperatures all year round.

Fatalistic cultures believe that bad luck is inevitable and destiny is determined by the fickle finger of fate. To Americans, that is superstitious claptrap. Rather than passively reacting to events, Americans proactively take control. In her book The Yin and Yang of American Culture, interculturalist Dr. Eun Kim observes that: “Americans are obsessed with controlling their destiny, from health to happiness.”

Americans have perfected the art of predicting, diagnosing, and controlling every aspect of life. Is ill health unavoidable? Not if you exercise, take dietary supplements, and engage in preventative medical checks. Do skyscrapers have to topple in earthquakes? Not if you build them on special rollers. And if all else fails and the randomness of nature prevails? As Kim notes: That’s what insurance policies are for.

What really matters to Americans? It might seem impossible to generalize across vast distances and a population of nearly 300 million who are renowned for being highly individualistic. Yet the special character and unique experiences of the early settlers and successive waves of immigrants have indeed shaped a set of “all-American” values. Here's a brief recap of the values Americans generally share.

§ Direct: “Say what you mean, and mean what you say." People who are able to speak their minds are respected. Likewise, it is expected that when people speak, they are communicating their true opinions and not merely expressing platitudes.

§ Informal: Individuals call their co-workers and superiors by their first names. Business can be discussed anytime, anywhere. Lines of reporting are not strictly adhered to. New ideas can go from the bottom of an organization up, as well as from the top-down.

§ Optimistic: People who look at things from the positive point of view are highly valued. There is a “can-do” attitude in this culture that says: "If one tries hard enough, no matter what the difficulties, he or she can succeed."

§ Short-term oriented: Managers historically have had a short-term approach to business planning. This is attributable to the quarterly demands of shareholders and to the pressure on each manager to “perform”. In general, businesses work within a one- to five-year plan, ten years being “long-term planning."

§ Action oriented: Individuals who are able to think and respond quickly to the business environment and “make things happen” are considered good business people, though operating by this philosophy may be at the cost of gathering and carefully processing comprehensive information.

§ Independent: People prefer to work independently and recognition is given to individual efforts, even when a group of people has been working together. It is not comfortable for people to be dependent on, or beholden to others. People are more loyal to their own interests than to those of the company.

§ Competitive: The drive to be better than others or to improve previous performance is a major motivation. This drive will often override other interests including long-term relationship building and loyalty. People take great pride in the position the U.S. holds globally in politics, business and defense.

§ Vocal: A great weight is placed on an individual’s verbal abilities as well as the ability to “think on one’s feet”. Oratory skills are often the most important factor in other’s evaluations of the individual. Participation – “making one’s mark” – is also critical. If one does not speak up at a meeting, it is assumed that one does not have something worthwhile to say.

§ Analytical: Analytical skills are evaluated on the basis of speed and delivery as much as they are on the individual’s ability to synthesize information accurately and formulate solutions.

§ Confrontational: It is not considered a personal offense to challenge an individual or organization’s ideas openly and present contradictory opinions. Rather, it is believed to show an individual’s independence, analytical thinking, and strength of character.

§ Equality-minded: In business dealings, it is important to never discriminate based on gender, racial background, religious affiliation or sexual orientation. Inappropriate behavior could lead to legal action by the offended party. Most companies have official policies prohibiting such behavior in the workplace.


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  • - Understanding Americans

    Control Freaks To be in control, it helps to have nature on your side. Some cultures live in harmony with their environment. Americans like to wrestle it to the ground and harness its power for their own personal use. Wind, sun, and ocean waves are transformed into valuable energy sources. State-of-the-art heating and air-conditioning systems allow Alaskans and Floridians to enjoy the same room temperatures all year round. Fatalistic cultures believe that bad luck is inevitable and... [читать подробенее]