Developing an experiential design approach to gain understanding about foreign culture: challenges and solutions
Abstract: China’s economy is growing. It has been said that “the question like ‘how to do business with Chinese people’ have occupied the minds of international business people who are planning to enter China.” (Fan & Zigang, 2004). Sweden as a country which listed China as its largest trading partner in Asia and a priority country in Sweden's export strategy, has a need to gain understanding about guanxi –an important concept in Chinese business culture. In this thesis, the author will present the development of three exercises inspired by design methods (role play, visualization and customer journey map) which aim to help Swedish business managers to learn guanxi in an experiential way. It includes the challenges the design team went through, how did they solve it and what are the latest version of the exercises looks like. The main challenges presented in this thesis are: how to embed specific knowledge smoothly into exercise; how to set up the role of facilitator(s); and how to increase the level of satisfaction for the users. Those challenges are not only specific to our project, but also could be inspirational for other people (e.g. designers, business culture scholars and so on) who want to create similar exercises or looking for new ways to deliver the knowledge about cross-cultural business communication.
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