1.3.3 - Sharing the Rewards


Sharing the Rewards


As you can see from the preceding exercise, even a rather simple act can have profoundly different interpretations and provoke virtually opposite reactions among people from different cultures. And each of these would seem perfectly understandable and reasonable to people from their respective cultures. How is this possible? And what do you need to know about culture in order to make sense of what you will see while abroad?

There are some broad fundamentals which underlie all cultural systems and if you can understand these concepts it will help you to understand how cultures differ from one another in important ways. Further, once you figure out how people in other cultures see themselves and what motivates them to do things the way they do, you can begin to figure out appropriate ways to interact with them.

Two core cultural concepts introduced here are:

a. the concept of the self

b. the concept of personal versus societal obligations  


First, answer the questions on Sharing the Rewards...


For six weeks, you and the three other people in your division have been working on an important special project. Now the work is done and the four of you have been awarded a cash prize of $20,000. How should this money be distributed? In answering this question, you may find the following information useful:  


1. Person A did 25% of the work.

2. Person B did 40% of the work.

3. Person C did 25% of the work.

4. Person D did 10% of the work.


In the underlined blank spaces below, write the cash prize you think each person should receive:  

Person A $  

Person B $

Person C $

Person D $  


How did you reach your decision?

Now click on discussion to see how the same team would often be rewarded in a collectivist culture, and why.