Comments: Euromail - Slate's Eric Weiner asks a question?

Interestingly enough, this came up the week before at a talk by Stanford's organization specialist Pamela J. Hinds on international collaboration. She commented that Americans felt that their Euro colleagues were too curt and that the Europeans in the case study (unspecified country, unfortunately) were annoyed that the Americans didn't just come out and say the purpose of the message. She noted that both of these situations re-enforced ethnocentrism in other aspects of team behavior.

Posted by allan friedman at March 28, 2005 04:43 PM

Let's face it: there are more separating factors between the US and Europe than there are common ones, despite the superficial similarity of thinking ("Western World"). To expect someone from the other part to behave like someone from one's own part is simply silly and stupid.

Posted by Axel at March 29, 2005 03:34 AM

There is a lot of soul searching going on about how collaboration works across different cultures. Email was supposed to make things easier, and I for one supported the notion that two countries connected by email would never go to war.

Being neither an American nor a European, but with familiarily from both, the article certainly resonates. The reason the Europeans hate the American way of waffling on is that they know at the end of the day, the American is posturing and dancing around some deeply hidden agenda that is going to come out and surface sometime.

The way I see it, the reason why Americans hate the European way of simply saying the facts is that they know that the Europeans won't budge once they know the agenda. Europeans won't negotiate, is the way Americans see it.

Americans together are happy to continue dancing around their agendas, whereas Europeans are happy together not budging. Their happy Nash equilibrium breaks when the two tribes get together.

Posted by Iang at March 29, 2005 11:43 AM
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