Cross cultural awareness
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Cross – Cultural Awareness. In the International Aviation Cockpit. Factors affecting cross cultural communications. Cognitive Constraints – the way people view the world based on their own culture Behaviour Constraints – the way people behave from different cultures

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Cross cultural awareness

Cross – Cultural Awareness

In the International Aviation Cockpit

Factors affecting cross cultural communications
Factors affecting cross cultural communications

  • Cognitive Constraints – the way people view the world based on their own culture

  • Behaviour Constraints – the way people behave from different cultures

  • Emotional Constraints – the way each culture has “rules” that determine how emotional we can be in each situation

  • Ethnocentricity – a presumption that other cultures should and must speak English and understand American/British culture

  • Jargon and Slang – each culture develops its unique jargon and slang and use them with abandon

Factors affecting cross cultural communications1
Factors affecting cross cultural communications

  • Personal Space – different cultures take significantly different approaches to personal space

  • Eye contact – different cultures view eye contact in various ways, from being honest to being threatening

  • Time – perceptions of time differ from culture to culture and time can be rigid or “elastic”

Two main aspects to focus on today
Two main aspects to focus on today

  • Gender Issues – men’s views on women in the cockpit. How men from different regions of the world treat and/or accept women in the cockpit and how this affects cockpit communications.

  • Silent or Non-verbal communications. The use of sign language is becoming more prevalent in cockpits today and we look at how various hand signals are understood across the globe and how they affect cockpit communications.

  • How both of these issues are viewed in various parts of the world and how they affect our ability to communicate in a dynamic and challenging environment

Workshop exercises for living in a culturally diverse world
Workshop exercises for living in a culturally diverse world

  • What manners in a cockpit are acceptable?

  • What actions/words/signals will offend another person?

  • Do you have a willingness to learn and accommodate other cultures?

  • Is there a place for humour in the cockpit?

Non female pilot airlines
Non female pilot airlines

  • Malaysia Airlines until recently

  • Singapore Airlines

  • Till recently, EVA Air in Taiwan

  • Till recently, all Korean and Japanese airlines

  • In the middle East, local women are slowly being trained and are joining the professional ranks of aviation as pilots. However, non-local female pilots are now more readily accepted in the Middle East

  • Remember, women in Saudi Arabia and other Middle East states are not even allowed to drive a car!

Online comments on gender issues
Online comments on gender issues

  • Don't shoot me out of the water over this.

  • Just ask any management pilot how much grief SOME female pilot's cause them. Not in terms of their performance but more to do with maternity leave, baby sitter problems, PMT etc.

  • I do not want to project a discriminatory tone here, as many female pilot's are very good, as we know. The cost of the above problems, according to some management pilot's is not worth the hassle.

  • There are of course plenty of useless male pilot's who do not deserve to be in a job such as ours. The system unfortunately allows these idiots to get through from time to time.

  • Some intellectual debate is warranted in this area!

Attitudes are cultural or personal
Attitudes are cultural or personal?

  • General bigoted attitude against women in the cockpit exists.

  • Tolerance in my experience, has been greater from Asian men than Western men.

  • Why is this?

  • Attitudes towards women varies greatly from region to region with many cultures still openly displaying a sexist attitude.

  • In the west, the attitude is more tolerant towards women and with legal equal rights, but is this REALLY the case or just a show?

Video discussion
Video Discussion

  • What was the cause of the communication breakdown?

  • What went wrong? Where? Why?

  • How did cultural background influence the communication?

  • Did Speaker’s native tongue and English proficiency affect the communications?

  • How did language and culture influence the discourse?

Icao sign language
ICAO Sign Language

  • In ICAO sign language officially exists. ICAO ANNEX II Rules of the Air – Visual Signaling

  • However, this is between cockpit and ground crew when intercom is not available.

  • How about sign language within the cockpit?

  • Between people of different nationalities and culture?

  • Does all sign language have the same meaning across cultures? Across professions?

Signing across cultures
Signing across cultures

  • A common misconception is that sign languages are somehow dependent on spoken languages, that is, that they are spoken language spelled out in gesture, or that they were invented by hearing people.

  • In aviation the misconception lies in that there is a general belief that their sign language will be understood across all divides

  • Let’s look at some examples:

  • Number signing in Asia…..

  • Thumbs up/down

  • Open palm

  • Hold up two fingers. It's an international symbol for two, right? Wrong. If you make the same sign in Germany or France, they count three.

Thumbs up
Thumbs UP

  • The thumbs up sign in most American and European cultures meaning things are going according to your plans or something you approve of. However, the going good sign translates into a rude and offensive gesture in Islamic and Asian countries. In Australia, it means OK, but if you move it up and down, it is considered as a grave insult.

  • In the cockpit it is commonly being used for “gear up” and also to maintenance when they release the aircraft

Thumbs down
Thumbs down

  • The thumbs down sign obviously means the opposite of a thumbs up sign. It is an indication of something that is bad or something that you do not approve of. It also indicates that something or someone has failed. The thumbs down sign is not used as often as the thumbs up sign. This is a rude hand gesture and an arrogant way to indicate failure.

Palm facing
Palm facing

  • When one raises the hand up with the palm facing towards the opposite person, it means 'to stop' in America and British countries. In a stop sign, the hand is tilted forward. This means the person is in an authoritative figure and asking one to 'Stop'. If the fingers are pushing down, it will indicate that the gesture is indicated for the person to sit down or settle. This is not a defensive hand gesture and is in fact a gesture to take control over the person it is intended for. If you were to use this sign in Singapore or Malaysia, it would mean that one is trying to 'hail' someone's attention like a waiter or asking for permission to speak. In Vietnam, the palm is never faced up as it is considered impolite

Palm up
Palm up

  • But, if you were in Greece, the same gesture would be considered as a traditional manual insult. It means that you are thrusting your hand in the face of the opposite person and using a brash 'na'. This suggests that you are asking the person to 'eat shit' and leave you alone. The moutza in American terms is similar to the hand gesture that means 'talk to the hand’.

Place in the cockpit for sign language and cultural communication norms
Place in the cockpit for sign language and cultural communication norms?

  • Is there place in the cockpit for international sign language?

  • If so, to what extent? How is it controlled? What about legalities of a silent cockpit that is managed with signing?

Cultural communications offensive acceptable or not
Cultural communications – offensive, acceptable or not? communication norms?

  • In Vietnam the use of “oi” after your name is considered polite. In Britain it is offensive.

  • How to manage such verbal communication norms in a cultural cockpit?

Conclusion communication norms?

  • Today’s workshops will follow two threads as viewed in the CRM video.

  • The first thread is how some women are treated in the cockpit and how this affects communication, particularly across different cultures.

  • The second thread deals with the use of non verbal communications and the barrier that they present to cross cultural communications in the cockpit.

  • Our challenge today is to manage these threats and we can only do so by recognizing them and taking active steps to ensure that cockpit communications remain strictly professional and in adherence to SOP’s.