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5.0 out of 5 stars Great help for foreign students and their professors!, Jan. 24 2003
By 
diane michelangeli (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions (Paperback)
I am a professor of atmospheric chemistry at York University. Most of the people in my research group have done their studies (either graduate or undergraduate, or both) outside of Canada. I have found the content of this book and the suggestions it provides invaluable. Last Christmas, I gave each of my students and postdocs a copy of this book. The feedback I got from them has been very positive.
I strongly recommend this book to any foreign student who is studying in Canada and wants to pursue a career here. I also recommend strongly to professors and researchers who work in groups as diverse as mine.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Getting Multicultural Teams to Work!, Feb. 22 2003
By 
Mike Jackson, P.Eng. (Vancouver, BC Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions (Paperback)
We all know how much difference there is when a team functions well - the tricky part is getting it to happen. This new book tackles this topic in the context of Canadian engineering teams, which are almost all composed of people from many cultures. In this insightful book, Dr. Laroche includes lots of material to help get multicultural teams firing on all cylinders.
Written for both managers and technical contributors, the book uses a multicultural lens to look at management styles, teamwork, communication and career management. This new perspective drives home a central theme that cultural differences are key in how our teams work, and not widely recognized in their importance. In these kinds of abstract topics I find concrete examples very helpful, and the author includes numerous anecdotes drawn from his consulting background. These vivid examples show the profound impact of what sometimes seem like small issues, like the Mexican engineer who resigned the day after getting some negative feedback in front of his colleagues.
The book also includes a number of quantitative charts and tables showing how different cultures have quite different expectations of the importance of hierarchy, individualism, and risk tolerance. Having read this book, I now much better understand the experience I had in Canada managing an employee from another culture. What I experienced as a lack of assertiveness was actually the case of an employee expecting highly directive management, and their way of showing respect. Had I understood that well at the time, I would have approached the situation quite differently, even starting at the interview stage. On the flip side, the book would have helped me a lot during my two-year stay in France. In particular, it wasn't until I read this book that I realized that when my French colleagues were jumping in and finishing my sentences, they were demonstrating their agreement by showing they knew how my sentences were going to end!
The book closes with a number of interesting comparisons, like the different emphasis on theory and hands-on work that exist between engineering schools in Canada, the United States, France and Mexico. And to finish off, an entertaining appendix containing explanations of expressions which we take for granted from such diverse areas as baseball ("to be out in left field" - to make no sense at all) and warfare ("loose cannons" - ones which are not fixed down, and fire a different direction each time).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Getting Multicultural Teams to Work, Feb. 22 2003
By 
Mike Jackson, P.Eng. (Vancouver, BC Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions (Paperback)
We all know how much difference there is when a team functions well - the tricky part is getting it to happen. This new book tackles this topic in the context of Canadian engineering teams, which are almost all composed of people from many cultures. In this insightful book, Dr. Laroche includes lots of material to help get multicultural teams firing on all cylinders.
Written for both managers and technical contributors, the book uses a multicultural lens to look at management styles, teamwork, communication and career management. This new perspective drives home a central theme that cultural differences are key in how our teams work, and not widely recognized in their importance. In these kinds of abstract topics I find concrete examples very helpful, and the author includes numerous anecdotes drawn from his consulting background. These vivid examples show the profound impact of what sometimes seem like small issues, like the Mexican engineer who resigned the day after getting some negative feedback in front of his colleagues.
The book also includes a number of quantitative charts and tables showing how different cultures have quite different expectations of the importance of hierarchy, individualism, and risk tolerance. Having read this book, I now much better understand the experience I had in Canada managing an employee from another culture. What I experienced as a lack of assertiveness was actually the case of an employee expecting highly directive management, and their way of showing respect. Had I understood that well at the time, I would have approached the situation quite differently, even starting at the interview stage. On the flip side, the book would have helped me a lot during my two-year stay in France. In particular, it wasn't until I read this book that I realized that when my French colleagues were jumping in and finishing my sentences, they were demonstrating their agreement by showing they knew how my sentences were going to end!
The book closes with a number of interesting comparisons, like the different emphasis on theory and hands-on work that exist between engineering schools in Canada, the United States, France and Mexico. And to finish off, an entertaining appendix containing explanations of expressions which we take for granted from such diverse areas as baseball ("to be out in left field" - to make no sense at all) and warfare ("loose cannons" - ones which are not fixed down, and fire a different direction each time).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Culture 101 for Technical Professionals, Feb. 18 2003
This review is from: Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions (Paperback)
Some books break new ground by introducing fresh concepts, others by applying well proven concepts to fresh contexts and audiences in down-to-earth and creative ways. Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions is of the latter kind-it is Culture 101 for those who have followed the technical curriculum.
Culture, as Laroche points out, tends to be far from the minds of technical experts, engineers and scientific researchers. It does not show up in the data and procedures they work with. It does show up, however, in the disappointment, confusion, and even rancour that too often occur in these circles as those of different ilk attempt to cooperate with each other. These unpleasant aspects of collaboration are usually dismissed as personality deficiency or incompetence on the part of one party or both, usually in gritty language about, "loose cannons," "ruffled feathers," and "passing the buck." (The author even provides a glossary of such terms commonly occurring in North America). Their cost to progress and profit is rarely counted.
Wisely, the author, who has his feet firmly planted in both technical and educational worlds, enables the reader to identify cultural dimensions in the behaviors they commonly produce or experience in others by telling stories that readers can immediately recognize. To these he applies the boilerplate of cultural theory, building upon Geert Hofstede's cultural dimensions and the insights of others who have applied and expanded this seminal work. Power distance, individualism, risk aversion all come to life in the daily encounters that affect productivity, synergy and career advancement.
Understanding a cultural difference or conflict still does not resolve it. Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions does not leave us in theoretical speculation but repeatedly asks and answers the questions, "What can you do?" with very practical advice and tips, and, "What can you gain?" with a clear expectations of how ones management skills, interpersonal competence, and career path can benefit from expanding one's intercultural response repertoire.
The result is both a very readable and well documented text, addressing the common misunderstandings and frictions between what Laroche carefully defines as Americans and New Americans when it comes to management, teamwork, decision-making, feedback, making presentations, humor, and a host of other human interactions that technical people are involved in. Essentially written for the North American workplace in language, style, and presentation, the book can nonetheless find a place in global management curricula and training efforts. Certainly, it belongs in the hands of any intercultural trainer who has been interrupted with the question, "Can you give me a concrete example of that?" when presenting a point of cultural theory to a hard-nosed technical audience.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Culture 101 for technical professionals, Feb. 18 2003
This review is from: Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions (Paperback)
Some books break new ground by introducing fresh concepts, others by applying well proven concepts to fresh contexts and audiences in down-to-earth and creative ways. Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions is of the latter kind-it is Culture 101 for those who have followed the technical curriculum.
Culture, as Laroche points out, tends to be far from the minds of technical experts, engineers and scientific researchers. It does not show up in the data and procedures they work with. It does show up, however, in the disappointment, confusion, and even rancour that too often occur in these circles as those of different ilk attempt to cooperate with each other. These unpleasant aspects of collaboration are usually dismissed as personality deficiency or incompetence on the part of one party or both, usually in gritty language about, "loose cannons," "ruffled feathers," and "passing the buck." (The author even provides a glossary of such terms commonly occurring in North America). Their cost to progress and profit is rarely counted.
Wisely, the author, who has his feet firmly planted in both technical and educational worlds, enables the reader to identify cultural dimensions in the behaviors they commonly produce or experience in others by telling stories that readers can immediately recognize. To these he applies the boilerplate of cultural theory, building upon Geert Hofstede's cultural dimensions and the insights of others who have applied and expanded this seminal work. Power distance, individualism, risk aversion all come to life in the daily encounters that affect productivity, synergy and career advancement.
Understanding a cultural difference or conflict still does not resolve it. Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions does not leave us in theoretical speculation but repeatedly asks and answers the questions, "What can you do?" with very practical advice and tips, and, "What can you gain?" with a clear expectations of how ones management skills, interpersonal competence, and career path can benefit from expanding one's intercultural response repertoire.
The result is both a very readable and well documented text, addressing the common misunderstandings and frictions between what Laroche carefully defines as Americans and New Americans when it comes to management, teamwork, decision-making, feedback, making presentations, humor, and a host of other human interactions that technical people are involved in. Essentially written for the North American workplace in language, style, and presentation, the book can nonetheless find a place in global management curricula and training efforts. Certainly, it belongs in the hands of any intercultural trainer who has been interrupted with the question, "Can you give me a concrete example of that?" when presenting a point of cultural theory to a hard-nosed technical audience.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to the Managing Cultural Differences Series!, Feb. 3 2003
By 
Phil Harris (La Jolla, California, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions (Paperback)
General managers and customers often complain about communications when they interact with engineers and technical personnel. These cross-cultural communication problems can become acute with users try to comprehend instructions from technical support services or manuals. The dominance of high technology in the global marketplace seems to exacerbate the situation. The world's workforce has become more multinational, and those with technical competence are much in demand, regardless of place of origin. However, for those who use English as a second or third language, there can be difficulties in oral or written exchanges. Finally, a Canadian engineer who is also an intercultural communications expert has written a book that is sure to improve matters, if only those in varied fields of technology will read and learn from it!
MANAGING CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN TECHNICAL PROFESSIONS has six easy-to-read chapters for increasing productivity among multicultural professionals, teams, and departments in all aspects of 21st Century technology. Dr. Lionel Laroche opens with a very comprehensive explanation of culture and the impact of such differences on both interpersonal and organizational relations. The author then examines the management of technical personnel, especially in terms of teams, technial communications, and career development. In his final chapter, Laroche projects into the future, offering astute insights on globalization and meeting its cross-cultural challenges. In addition, the writer provides five helpful appendices dealing with diversity and the HR trainer; North American demographics; technical education; technical professional associations; and a useful glossary of idioms and sports phrases used by North Americans. For all managers, especially those in technical positions, this is a pragramatic handbook. But for foreign visitors and workers in the United States and Canada, or outsiders who have to do business with North Americans, this is an essential guide for higher performance. And the analysis comes from a graduate of Ecole Polytechique de Paris and the California Institute of Technology who has himself worked, consulted, and published effectively in 40 countries.
This is the fourteenth offering in the successful MANAGING CULTURAL DIFFERENCES SERIES, now published by Butterworth-Heinemann/Elservier Science... Recent Series releases of relevance were
EURODIVERSITY, UNITING NORTH AMERICAN BUSINESSES, GLOBAL STRATEGIC PLANNING, SUCCEEDING IN BUSINESS IN CENTRAL AND ESTERN EUROPE and INTERCULTURAL SERVICES. These and other titles are spinoffs from the classic, parent volume, MANAGING CULTURAL DIFFERENCES, now going into a 6th edition and used in over 200 universities worldwide.
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5.0 out of 5 stars About cultural diversity, Jan. 29 2003
By 
Lois Michelangeli (Montreal,Quebec, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Dr. Laroche's book- "Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions" especially because of the many anecdotes and examples he uses to illustrate the problems encountered in dealing with cultural diversity. I was left with the feeling that Dr. Laroche has "been there" and "done that"- all of which lends credibility to his writing. I kept thinking throughout the book -- " so that is why----" or " now I understand why----". The elaboration of the concepts put forth was somewhat repetitive, however this repetition has allowed me to integrate these concepts into my daily thinking, and I regret not having understood them years ago while active in a multicultural workplace. Although Dr. Laroche has written this book specifically for Technical Professionals, the problems encountered, the concepts elaborated,and the solutions suggested could all be easily transposed to everyday situations in our multicultural society.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great textbook!, Sept. 23 2003
By 
Marcia Friesen (Winnipeg, Manitoba) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions (Paperback)
I am using this book as a textbook in a course that I facilitate for international engineers at the University of Manitoba. We're using the text to explore cultural parameters and the different ways they manifest themselves in different cultures, both generally and specifically in engineering business. I value the book for the work it does in framing the larger concepts behind specific cultural differences, but also for the practicality it offers through anecdotes and tips for working with other cultural styles.
While it's early in the academic term, this book has already been extremely useful in framing discussions in our class. Also, as I talk to employers in Manitoba, many have asked for the bibliographic reference to source the book for their corporate library.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five of my friends have asked to borrow my copy!, Jan. 11 2003
This review is from: Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions (Paperback)
When it comes to understanding and adjusting to Canadian workplace culture most new Canadians learn their lessons the hard way. Usually, this is a lengthy and painful process, which can be made more enjoyable and far shorter if one knows the right approach. "Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions" offers a systematic approach to understanding cross cultural issues and the importance of cultural differences in the Canadian workplace, showing the path one has to take to win the battle for a successful career.
It is also a book written by someone who has a deep understanding of cross cultural issues and a fine ability to convey thoughts in a concise and crystal clear manner.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great help for foreign students and their professors!, Jan. 30 2003
By 
diane michelangeli (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions (Paperback)
I am a professor of atmospheric chemistry at York University. Most of the people in my research group have done their studies (either graduate or undergraduate, or both) outside of Canada. I have found the content of this book and the suggestions it provides invaluable. Last Christmas, I gave each of my students and postdocs a copy of this book. The feedback I got from them has been very positive.
I strongly recommend this book to any foreign student who is studying in Canada and wants to pursue a career here. I also recommend strongly to professors and researchers who work in groups as diverse as mine.
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Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions
Managing Cultural Diversity in Technical Professions by Lionel Laroche (Paperback - Aug. 16 2011)
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