Is your business culture monochronic or polychronic? Traditional culture experts have divided people into these 2 types: monochronic are people who do one thing at a time and polychronic are people that do many things at a time. That was until Richard D. Lewis came along and found that there was a whole culture missing.
Richard Lewis, one of Britain’s foremost linguists and founder of CrossCulture, says that when doing business people should consider the type of business culture they are entering to better communicate, adapt, and respond.
For example, Australians prefer a more frank conversational style while the Swiss prefer a minimal bargaining method, and are interested in maintaining a friendly professional relationship at the end of negotiations.
These ideas stemmed from Lewis’ research on cross cultural communication patterns by businesses across 23 countries. He found the traditional model had a major flaw.
In response he developed the Lewis Model which breaks down cross-cultural business styles into 3 types.
- Linear Active – These people do one thing at a time, are definite with their decisions, plan ahead and are job oriented. He states that the Germans and American fit this category.
- Multi-Active – These are people who are people oriented, does many things at once, are emotional, and get excited easily. He states that Italians fit this category.
- Reactive – Finally this category was added to include the Asian cultures which didn’t fit in the older model. Reactive people try to get others to establish what their intentions are which allows them to best modify their responses in order to create a more harmonious relationship.
In today’s society communication has become instant where no matter the time of day we can still contact each other anywhere in the world. Understanding the various cultural styles is key to successful communication and lasting professional relationships.
Learn to better communicate with people around the globe and check out these communication styles from 23 different countries.