It is common for workplaces at the University of Iowa to have employees working together who grew up speaking different languages and/or in dissimilar cultures. In workplaces like this, misunderstandings can result from differences in how language is used and understood, hidden cultural expectations, or both.
Staff Language and Culture Services (SLCS) offers assistance in resolving and avoiding misunderstandings in multi-lingual, multi-cultural work areas. SLCS staff can provide research on specific topics and cultures, deliver informational presentations, and consult on particular workplace situations. They also can prepare handouts and lists of resources. Assistance is offered on request and is tailored for specific groups and circumstances.
Just a few topics we can address:
- Cognitive dissonance and language culture
- Ways to more effectively communicate with people learning your language
- Tips for working with English Language Learners
- Gestures and body language variation across cultures
- Intercultural conflict—different norms for behavior in a confrontation
- Perceptions of disability and accommodation across different cultures
- Appropriate gift-giving in the US versus elsewhere
- Intercultural communication—cultural perception differences between supervisor and employees
- International culture through the arts (cinema, literature, visual)
For more information or to request help for yourself, your work group, or others, please contact Staff Language and Culture Services.