A lot can happen in just 24 hours! April 12 I received an email from Dr. Sergio Matviuk, Executive Director of Global Affairs at Regent University with an opportunity to instruct a 12-hour module on “Managing and leading a small business” in Bogota Colombia. The focus of this course would be to facilitate the teaching of entrepreneurs in the basics of management and leadership.
The email itself was not a surprise as I had already been selected as a member of a team to travel to South America. I realized as I responded to the email that this opportunity would be fluid and fast moving. Curriculum would have to be presented by April 21st; translated into Spanish and I would have to travel May 16th through May 21st. Within 24 hours it was confirmed that I would be on my way to Bogota in about a month.
Having grown up in Southern Florida I was accustomed to the Latin culture, but what did I know about Colombia and its culture? I had many assumptions, but I had to be sure before I ventured into another country. I needed to research the culture of Colombia and began with Geert Hofstede Analysis. The Hofstede Analysis included a review of the Power Distance, Individualism, Masculinity, and Uncertainty Avoidance.
Colombia is a considered a hierarchical society. Individuals earn respect based on age and position. In my case, I am seen as an authority and will be addressed as Professor.
Considering Geert Hofstedes analysis for Colombia we find a country that is very strong in uncertainty avoidance, large power distance, and low individualism. They hold a high concern for rules, regulations, are slow to accept changes and are risk averse. Colombia has a high level of masculinity and therefore male dominance is significant in the society and their power structures.
These cultural attributes are all important to how one develops a curriculum and presentation. I took these attributes into consideration when selecting graphics as well as text for the PowerPoint slides. These attributes were also considered when developing group activities and team building exercises.
I am very excited about my trip to Colombia and look forward to sharing my adventure and possibly even some pictures with you. There is certainly more to come.
Hofstede, Geert (n.d.). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind: Intercultural Cooperation and Its Importance for Survival New York, McGraw-Hil. 1996 retrieved on May 2, 2012 from: http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/hofstede.htm.
Hofstede, Geert (n.d.) “Geert Hofstede – Colombia” retrieved on May 2, 2012 from: http://geert-hofstede.com/colombia.html
Philip A Foster, MA is a 3rd year doctoral student at Regent University and is the Founder of Maximum Change, Inc. To contact Philip or for more information, visit http://www.maximumchange.com
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