Intercultural Communication, Italian Style
Please read the following case study and follow the assignment instructions carefully as you prepare your paper.
The Indesit Company
In today?s globalized economy, many companies are seeking to expand their markets into new countries and regions of the world. One of Italy?s well-known large corporations is the Indesit Company, headquartered in the city of Fabriano in central Italy. The company?s website (Indesit, 2012) explains:
Indesit Company is one of the European leading manufacturers and distributors of major domestic appliances (washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, fridges, freezers, cookers, hoods, ovens and hobs [range tops]). It is the undisputed leader in major markets such as Italy, the UK and Russia. Founded in 1975 and listed on the Milan stock exchange since 1987, the Group posted sales of ?2.8 billion [? = euros] in 2011. Indesit Company has 14 production facilities (in Italy, Poland, the UK, Russia and Turkey) and 16,000 employees. The Group?s main brands are Indesit, Hotpoint and Scholt?s. (Indesit, 2012)
At present, Indesit has no presence in the North American market and no production facilities in the United States. But with their experience in designing and manufacturing high-efficiency home appliances, Indesit would seem to be ideally equipped to take advantage of the growing demand in the U.S. market for energy-efficient appliances. And now that the U.S. presidential elections are over, Indesit?s financial forecasters are optimistic that the U.S. economy will continue recovering from recession.
Consequently, at its most recent meeting, Indesit?s Board of Directors decided to initiate sales of Indesit appliances in North America. In order to avoid any problems with current or future U.S. trade tariffs, it was decided that the best way to do this would be to establish a regional headquarters for North America and open a production facility in the United States.
A Challenging Opportunity
In order to open its new North American regional offices and its U.S. production facility, Indesit will need to relocate hundreds of executives, engineers, and support staff to the United States. As a multinational corporation, Indesit is well aware of the need for good intercultural communication. They have several full-time trainers who teach their employees how to communicate, work, and live successfully in other European countries. However, they do not have any specialists in American culture or in intercultural business communications with U.S. companies. So, Indesit?s corporate training division is searching for someone to head up a new
CASE STUDY: INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION, ITALIAN STYLE 2
training program to prepare their personnel for new positions and life in the United States. As
part of their search they placed ads on numerous Internet job sites.
This is where you come in: You are an American intercultural communication expert
who specializes in training executives from other countries to live and to work in the United
States. You saw Indesit?s ad online and applied for the job; you were interviewed, and have been
selected as one of three finalists competing for the position! In order to decide who will get the
job, Indesit?s own trainers have asked you to come to their corporate headquarters in Fabriano
and present a two-day seminar to 12 of their executives to train them in the essential intercultural
communication concepts and the basic cultural information they will need in order to work
effectively with American executives, sales representatives, and government bureaucrats, and to
?survive and thrive? in America.
Using information from class lectures, our textbook, the additional readings, terms from your
?Concepts of Intercultural Study? list, and other credible sources:Write an 2,750?3,000 word (8 ? ?
10 page) paper in which you provide Indesit?s corporate trainers with a detailed overview of the twoday
seminar you will present to their executives.
You must include at least the following in your paper:
1. The general concepts and information about intercultural communication and the communication
process you will present in your seminar.
2. The key pieces of information you will need to know about Italians, Italian culture, and doing
business in Italy to make sure you understand your audience and do not make any serious crosscultural
mistakes as you present your seminar.
3. Specific cultural information and practices you think Italian businessmen would need to know in
order to be able to communicate effectively with American executives, sales representatives, and
government bureaucrats. You should address stereotypes Italians might have about themselves
and Italian culture on the one hand, and stereotypes they might have about people from the United
States and American culture on the other. Besides the stereotypes, you should include other items
of information about American and/or Italian culture that would be useful to Italians who have
come to live in the United States for the first time.
4. List and explain in detail at least four different training activities (such as a group discussions, a
role-playing game, an off-site field trip, viewing a specific video, etc.) you would have seminar
participants undertake to help them get a feel for actually communicating interculturally. Be sure
to give a detailed description and step-by-step walkthrough of each training activity, including
what you and the participants would do, how long you would expect the activity to take, where it
would take place (inside or outside the seminar venue), etc.
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Things to Consider When Writing Your Paper
? The audience for your seminar will be almost completely composed of educated, successful Italian men. So, whether you are a male or a female presenter will definitely affect the aspects of Italian culture you will need to know about and how you will deal with them during the seminar. The fact that they are almost all men will also have a bearing on what aspects of American business and social culture you teach them (such as Italian vs. American ideas of sex and gender roles, etc.)
? Identify any pre-conceptions and expectations of Italian culture you yourself may already have, and use your research to give them a reality-check. Find out how much of what you think you know is accurate, how much is made up of stereotypes which are only partially true, and how much of it may be completely inaccurate.
? Research the probable preconceptions and stereotypes the Italian executives will have about the United States and Americans, so you can address them and debunk the ones that are false ? and accept/own up to the ones that are true. Remember that American culture is itself made up of many microcultures, so take this into account as you decide what the Italian executives would need to know.
? Give details about Italian and American culture, not just generalizations. For example, do not simply state, ?Expectations of American and Italian workers may differ?; compare and contrast the two groups? expectations. Do not simply mention that, ?Italian executives may dress differently than their American counterparts?; describe the differences in style, formality, etc. of the two groups? dress, and what impressions these differences might convey. Do not just assert that, ?Relationships between men and women in the workplace may be different in America than in Italy?; describe the differing expectations women and men have of each other in the two cultures. Do not merely assert that, ?Americans use nonverbal communication differently than Italians?; describe some of the differences (such as gestures that might be misinterpreted).
? Give details about the training activities you will have the executives participate in. Do not simply state, ?Next, we will play a roleplaying game?; describe the game, how it is played, and what you hope the participants will learn by playing it. Or, don?t just say, ?Watch a video?; give the title of the video (and the URL, if you found it online on YouTube, etc.), and briefly tell what it is about and what you hope they will learn from it.
Length, Style, and Other Requirements
Your paper should be between 2,750 and 3,000 words in length. You should write in grammatically complete sentences arranged in fully developed paragraphs. And you should carefully follow APA format and style guidelines, as demonstrated in Rev. Troutman?s Sample Paper in APA Style (available at https://mycourses.snu.edu/mod/resource/view.php?id=136294).
In your paper you must cite at least six different sources, as follows: One of the sources you cite must be the textbook for this course. At least one of your sources must be some other
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book (print or e-book) dealing with aspects of culture, communication, etc. One of the sources should be Indesit?s own website in English (https://www.indesitcompany.com/inst/en/). The other three sources may be any reliable sources you can find online, in the library, etc. (Remember, you may not cite Wikipedia, but you may consult it for ideas and links to other sources.)
Submitting Your Paper
You must submit your finished paper via the TurnItIn link at the bottom of our course?s Moodle page. The TurnItIn link will open for submissions on Thursday, December 6, at 12:05 a.m. and close on Wednesday, December 12, at 11:55 p.m. No late submissions will be accepted (except in the case of major emergencies such as a death in the family, serious illness, etc.).
You do not need to print out a copy of your paper for the instructor. However, I strongly advise you to save a copy of your paper on a flash drive, on your Google drive (provided as part of your SNU email account) or somewhere else safe, before you submit your paper on TurnItIn, just in case anything should go wrong during the submission process.