If you’re angry or frustrated at work, would you say so? How would you express these feelings? Depending on whether your culture is Affective or Neutral, your answer will be very different.
Affective or Neutral describes how overtly a culture expresses emotions. Knowing whether a culture is emotional or neutral is especially helpful in preparing for cross cultural negotiation, as well as managing a multicultural workforce.
Neutral cultures, such as Anglo-Saxon and Asian:
- Do not openly or directly show emotions and opinions and consider it inappropriate to exhibit emotions in certain situations.
- Value self-control, being calm and rational, and not going to emotional extremes.
- Can be viewed as cold or aloof.
- Discourage touching or excessive gestures and body language.
- May speak in monotone in formal conversations.
- Separate their emotions from the decision making process, and prefer to focus on logic.
Affective cultures, such as Latin and Middle Eastern:
- Express emotions more immediately, openly and passionately.
- Can be seen as being out of control and inconsistent.
- Have a wider range of facial expressions and physical gestures during conversation.
- Talk loudly when excited, and love the art of arguing and debate.
- Are more enthusiastic and spontaneous.
- Consider their emotions (intuitions) in their decision making process.
In his book Riding the Waves of Culture, interculturalist Fons Trompenaars lists which cultures are willing to show negative emotions in the workplace on spectrum from Neutral to Affective:
|Hong Kong||Czech Republic||Ireland|