Context and Culture: How context affects the impact of culture, Part 1

Part 1 of a three-part series.
When people think of culture and its impact, their minds often turn to national differences and ask questions like “How do I deal with people from X country?” or “Why are people from X country so loud (or so quiet)?” In this series of GPC Insight pieces, I’ll be focusing on how such questions fail to consider the role of context.

US employers’ top ‘wants’ in communication skills – some surprises!

If you are an employer or an employee and are seeking to recruit someone new, what would you list as the top 10 types of communication skill you’d be looking for? Would you include people skills? Or integrity? Why/why not? This ‘GPC Latest Research Insight’ considers these issues in relation to a study that stimulated these questions.

Current and future skills for work: Where are the needs and gaps?

As organisations seek to recover from the multiple stresses of the last few years, and as many face problems recruiting qualified staff, it is important for all concerned to understand the needs and gaps in the skills required in the workplace, now and in the future.  This is the rationale for a research-based policy report published by the UK Department of Education in May 2022. The aim of the research was to identify areas where, both in the economy as a whole and in a small number of priority areas, there are both skills shortages and future growth is expected. Here I summarise some of the report’s key findings and reflect critically on them.

Building rapport across cultures

Rapport concerns the relationships or connections we have with others and affects our level of satisfaction with them. When rapport is positive, our connections are fruitful and we feel the goals we have for the relationships are being fulfilled. However, rapport is not always easy to achieve, especially in culturally diverse contexts. Here are three particularly helpful mindsets and strategies to adopt.

How important is ‘unity’ for group/team effectiveness?

any studies have examined the factors affecting group or teamworking effectiveness. One factor that has frequently emerged is ‘group cohesion’. But what does ‘cohesion’ mean and what helps enhance it? A recent article by Donelson Forsyth considers these questions by analysing relevant research over the last 25 years. He draws out some interesting findings which I summarise here.