Cross-Cultural Realities at Work (individual interview report)
This interview is designed for students who are learning about diversity.
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at least 7 years older or younger than you are;
doing work that you may not imagine yourself doing; and
culturally distinctly different from you.
Your goal is to get the person talking. Listen for what is said, what is implied, and what is not said. Try not to insert your opinions and experience.
Start the interview by explaining who you are and why you are interviewing him or her. Thank the person sincerely for giving you his or her time and thoughts. Be sensitive throughout the interview regarding whether the person wants to continue.
Sample Interview Questions
Start with questions that are easy and comfortable to answer.
What kind of work do you do?
How long have you been doing it?
Can you describe a typical workday?
Then move to questions that require more thought and rapport with the interviewer.
Why did you end up doing this work? What kind of person often does this sort of work? (And would you consider yourself typical?)
What do you like about this work?
What is difficult about this work?
How do [customers, others in the company, etc.] treat you? What do they think about the job you do? [Adapt this question to fit your particular interview—try to get at how the person thinks he or she is treated based on his or her work.]
How does being a [fill in the blank with a salient cultural category: man, older person, African-American, 20-something, etc.] play into the work you do?
Has this work changed the way you think about yourself and about the world?
What are some cultural values that are important to you? [It can be family, work, or interpersonal.] Do you think these are similar to or different from mainstream American culture? Please explain your ideas.
What do you like best about American culture? What do you like least? [Even if the person is American, he or she will have an opinion about this question that gives you some insight about how he or she views things from his or her perspective.]
Thank him or her again.
Analysis of Your Interview
Think about your interview, the person, and his or her work. Please consider these questions as you write your report for this assignment.
What aspects of this person’s work determine or indicate his or her status relative to others?
What are some of the connections between this person’s work experience and gender, race, age, and/or ethnicity, etc.?
What kinds of attitudes, values, and behaviors does this person’s work culture encourage?
What attitudes and values held by this person are similar to your own, and which are different?
From this interview, what can give us insight into communicating across cultures or across work cultures?