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IF A LION COULD SPEAK, WE COULD NOT UNDERSTAND HIM

over 3 years ago by Tamara Kreis
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Wittgenstein’s well-known statement makes a great subject for debate and further analysis. It is one of the most perplexing and intriguing of sentences. Students, professors and philosophers often use this quote for their studies and work. However how does it apply to the world of business?

Every organization shares different values, views, philosophies, structures as well as strategies for developing their products and services across the world. In order to operate effectively in the global environment organisations need to understand the cultural nuances of their human resources.

The relentless march of globalization has meant international businesses are aware of the benefits team members from multicultural backgrounds can bring to their respective organisations. This translates into different management styles and methods of work performance, which can strongly impact the future   success path of their employer.  

Referring to the quote by Wittgenstein; hypothetically speaking the lion can be inferred as an individual in any organisation with their own language (verbal and non-verbal) and created culture. How can this lion react and interact in a cross-cultural environment? Cultural awareness as well as understanding the cultural diversity can strengthen the communication between lions and their audience. After all, different behaviour styles can arise during meetings, conferences, work performance, team building and phone calls or even during lunch time. The cultural differences occur when “speaking”-lion uses different letters than the “listening” lion.

Frankly speaking, humans – our lions – build their view and perception based on what they have learnt and what language they have used in their cultural circumstances since their (lion cub) childhood. It is unlikely that the grown up lion will change his values when joining other intercultural teams – they would rather stick to their own embedded means of communication and engaging.

Would it make you think that interacting with others, given their differing cultural background, would result in you not understanding their meaning? How important is cultural awareness at work to you and more importantly, have you ever tried to interpret the lions words and sentences into your own pride language? 

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