Neuroscience and change in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan

By William Seidman Can the science we use to effect organizational change be used in other cultures and in other languages? Do differences in negotiating styles, teams and hierarchies, and verbal and nonverbal ways of communicating influence a company’s ability to do things differently, and have the changes “stick”? I’m working on a change initiative for a large multinational in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Japan this summer. It’a a great way to test the mettle of positive deviance, fair process, and knowledge transfer – based on neuroscience – in translation and with some cultural barriers that we’ll be working with. In Hong Kong there are language differences between Cantonese and Mandarin. Fair process has three principles: Engagement, Explanation, and Expectation Clarity. There seems to be a universal sense of honor and dignity created when a change process relies on the science of fair process. This has been especially powerful in work I’ve done with Japanese and Chinese companies previously. A foundation of neuroscience, that “neurons that fire together, wire together,” would seem to predict that the approach will work.]]>

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