Travail de recherche/Working paper
Résumé : Much research on acculturation around global experiences has focused on the “type” of overseas experience—e.g., expatriate, repatriate, inpatriate, flexpatriate. The experiences of people in those categories and across various demographics (single/married/divorced; gender; sexual orientation) can differ dramatically. In addition, given the explosion of people working in global business, some global business citizens could well fit into several of those various types of experiences over the course of their careers. In this paper, we propose to push in a somewhat different direction and explore something that for us would be quite new. Rather than focusing on the various categories and their resulting experiences, we take a step back to consider what attributes and ways of thinking a global citizen may need to become better as a global business citizen, regardless of type of experience. The question is less one of “Who am I” than “How can I become better?”. Essentially, we would like to explore what might be required in moving the global citizen from thinking about “global mindset” to “global mindsponge.” When we hear the term mindset, we think of a certain way of thinking that stays rather fixed. So part of the challenge of the paper will be to define and examine what mindsponge might mean in the global context—what does it take to unlearn or squeeze out certain ways of thinking or behaving before absorbing and reshaping new ways of thinking and behaving? Moreover, how might that become part of a natural and regular way of operating, especially in a rapidly changing developing country like Vietnam, in particular? At this early stage, we think of mind sponge as a mechanism that encourages flexibility and receptiveness through a process of using multiple filters and more focus on creativity, or doing things differently to improve an organization or individual performance. Our goal is to develop a basic conceptual framework for “mindsponge,” drawing upon a broad literature review as well as several unstructured interviews, to assess whether the idea of mindsponge helps people perceive that they are more culturally versatile and culturally mobile, regardless of whether they work in or outside of their “home environment.” We hope this would enhance their ability to shape an emerging set of cultural values that erases the divide between “foreign” and “local” cultural differences that so often dominates in emerging economies.