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The American Dream and l’Art de Vivre: The French and the Americans at work.

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Introduction

The American Dream and l'Art de Vivre: The French and the Americans at work. American Behavior in the Workplace Mr. John Brown, an American executive arrives at his office just before 8:00 am. At 1:00 pm, he has scheduled a business lunch with another American corporate executive and they return to their respective offices before 2:15 pm. That afternoon at 3:00 pm in Mr. Brown's company, an executive meeting is being held. Mr. Brown takes advantage of this three quarters of an hour to review the issues that need to be discussed and problems that need to be solved. By 3:00 pm, everyone is seated around the table ready to begin the meeting. Everything runs smoothly; all the problems and issues are dealt with and by 4:00 pm everyone returns to their offices to finish up the days work and go home. Mr. Brown is always on time and all communications are short and to the point leaving no room for negotiation or interpretation. Mr. Brown expects his staff to come to him with any concerns so that he may personally address them. It is a team effort that makes this company successful and everyone is expected to act as such. French Behavior in the Workplace Across the ocean, his French counterpart, Mme. ...read more.

Middle

My problems were always handled at the departmental level. I would go directly to my manager and she would take care of any of my concerns in her low-context, everything is ok, way. My experience in the store meetings was minimal. I was low on the pole and received the mass pep rally for productivity increase type meetings. Other main points of the meetings including shortage, procedural changes, and holiday promotions were made in a straightforward and itemized fashion. We were on the clock and no time was wasted. We went back to work feeling good. Then there are some who decide the life of clocking in and out, of being told when to take a lunch, of following a rigid daily schedule is not for them. This does not mean that they do not believe in the American Dream or even that they do not work hard and/or want to buy 2 TVs, a VCR, and a DVD player. It means that somewhere, different factors may be at work in determining the quality of life. Maybe one extra freedom per day has more value than its monetary equivalent. Though, of course, there need not always be a tradeoff between a job with more flexibility and autonomy and money, quite to the contrary in some cases. ...read more.

Conclusion

You don't make a lot of decisions.vii *In a general manner, for a Frenchman, to strictly respect a procedure is to not be free. *The French lie instead of admitting mistakes.viii What about the French entrepreneurs? Are the small businesses run like the big businesses? Are the same cultural work behaviors observable? We have all seen the family run shops close down for an hour to run an errand. We see the bakers and the butchers that take such pride in their work. My friend Sanaa worked at a local bar in Paris. The stories about dealing with her French boss makes all the stereotypes sound true: difficult, bossy, prideful and underhanded. Life is a craft and the French do it well. Conclusion The formulation of national stereotypes can translate into questions of culture but also into games of power. Cultural diversity in the workplace can be a difficult challenge. The issue must not be avoided and labeled irrelevant and cultural groups must be careful not to assume that their way is the correct way. We all do the same thing differently. We all have something to learn. i Platt. P51. ii Chevrier. P148. iii Chevrier. P147. iv Chevrier. P. 179. v Chevrier. P. 180. vi Chevrier. P.180. vii Chevrier. P.180. viii Platt. P. 84. ?? ?? ?? ?? 2 ...read more.

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