4.8: Definition of Time

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Time

A culture’s use of time can communicate differences more profoundly than words.

1. Definition

a) Single-focused
High concentration on one task or issue at a time; committed to schedules.

Multi-focused
Greater emphasis on multiple tasks, with a priority on relationship building rather than on meeting deadlines.

b) Past
High value placed on continuance of traditions.
Present
Short-term orientation aimed at quick results.
Future
Willingness to trade short-term gains for long-term results.

2. Implications at work

a) Past
– Changes and plans judged according to their fit with history and customs.
Present
– Changes and plans judged on fast pay-off.
Future
– Changes and plans judged on expected future benefit.

3. Time Line Differences

Activity
Where would you position your culture on each of these two spectra? Do you know where to position other cultures? How could you find out where other cultures are positioned? (Keep in mind that these determinations are generalizations, there is significant variations within cultures based on subcultures, countercultures and individual preferences.)

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Definition of Control
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Definition of Action