|16：MONOCHROMIC AND POLYCHRONIC TIME|
|http://www.sina.com.cn 2003/11/16 18:45 中图读者俱乐部|
Haste makes waste.
Time reveals all things.
Remember that time is money.
I haven’t got time to be tired.
Monochromic and Polychronic Cultures
Mr. Paul Rosen is the international sales representative for his computer equipment company. His most recent trip takes him to China,swhereshe is scheduled to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Patrick Chang.
Mr. Rosen and his training team arrived in Beijing three days ago for a scheduled appointment with Mr. Chang. However, Mr. Chang has not yet met with
Mr. Rosen or his team. Finally, a call to Mr. Rosen’s hotel room indicates that Mr. Chang is prepared to meet with him. When Mr. Rosen arrives at the location, he is asked to wait outside Mr. Chang’s office. As he waits, he notices many people entering and leaving Mr. Chang’s office at a very quick pace. The hallways of this building are a hustle and bustle of activity, with people shuffling in and out of many rooms. Finally, after several hours, Mr. Rosen is called in to meet Mr. Chang.
Mr. Paul Rosen是美国一家电脑公司的销售代表，他最近来到中国，按约定要和中国一家公司的销售代表Patrick Chang会面。
Mr. Rosen和他的培训队伍已经在北京等了三天了，终于接到Mr. Chang的电话。Mr. Chang准备和他会面了。到了指定地点后，Mr. Rosen又在Mr. Chang办公室门楼等消息，他看见人们从Mr. Chang的办公室出出进进，走廊里人来人往，一幅忙碌的景象。大约过了几个小时之后，Mr. Rosen被叫了进去。
Mr. Rosen: Ah, Mr. Chang, it’s so good to finally see you. Gosh, I’ve been waiting for days. Did you forget our appointment?
Mr. Chang: Hello, Mr. Rosen. Please sit down. Everything is fine?
Mr. Rosen: Actually no ... (Phone rings) ... the problem is ...
Mr. Chang: Excuse me ... (Takes the phone call and speaks in Chinese. After several minutes he concludes the phone conversation) Yes, now ... everything is fine?
Mr. Rosen: Well, actually, I’ve got a small problem. You see, the computer equipment you ordered...(A staff person enters the room and hands Mr. Chang something to sign.)
Mr. Chang: Oh, excuse me... (signs the document) Yes, now, everything is fine?
Mr. Rosen: As I was saying ... all of the computer equipment you ordered is just sitting on a ship at the dock. I need your help in getting it unloaded. I mean, it’s been there for two weeks!
Mr. Chang: I see ... This is no problem.
Mr. Rosen: Well, if it sits in the heat much longer, it could be damaged. Could I get you to sign a worksgroupsto have it unloaded by Friday?
Mr. Chang: There is no need for that. The job will get done.
Mr. Rosen: Well, could we set up some kind of deadline? You see, I have a staff of people here waiting to train your people on the equipment. I need to let them know when it will be ready. How about this Friday? Could we do it then? My people are here now, and they’re waiting to begin training.
Mr.Chang: Dont worry. We have been living quite well without those equipment for years. If necessary, we could wait for several weeks. That’s not the problem.
Mr. Rosen：噢，Mr. Chang，终于见到你了。天啊，我等了好几天了，你忘记咱们的约会了吗？
Mr. Chang：你好，Mr. Rosen。请坐，一切进展顺利吗？
Mr. Rosen：呃，实际上，我遇到了一点困难，你订购的那批电脑设备…(一个职工走进来递给Mr. Chang一个文件让他签字)
There is little chance that Mr. Chang will sign any kind of worksgroupsfor Mr. Rosen. Mr. Rosen is also distressed by the constant interruptions. To Mr. Chang, Mr. Rosen is in too much of a hurry. Mr. Rosen is monochromic, whereas Mr. Chang operates from a polychronic time orientation.
Mr. Rosen从Mr. Chang那儿了解不到任何工作的进程安排，他对不断有人打扰谈话也感到很反感。在Mr. Chang眼中，Mr. Rosen办事太急躁了。两个人使用的时间模式不同，Mr. Rosen具有单一时间导向，Mr. Chang具有多元时间导向。
Dialogue 2Working Late(加班)
Liu: We could finish this if we stayed late tonight.
Frank: Has the deadline changed?
Liu: I don’t think so, but we’re so close.
Frank: Yes, it will be nice to start a new project.
Liu: How late can you stay?
Frank: Me? I’m leaving at quitting time.
Dialogue 3Weekend Workers(周末工作者)
Wang: We got a bit behind on this. The deadline is wednesday.
Bob: Yes. We’ll have to clear our calendar and work on it first thing next week.
Wang: That’ll be cutting it a bit close, don’t you think?
Bob: What other choice do we have?
Wang: We could come in on Saturday.
Generally speaking, Chinese often follow polychronic time pattern, whreas Americans often follow molychronic time pattern.
People who follow M-time pattern usually engage in one activity at a time, compartmentalize time schedules to serve self-needs, and tend to separate task-oriented time from social time. People who follow P-time tend to do multiple tasks at the same time, tend to hold more fluid attitudes toward time schedules, and tend to integrate task needs with social needs. A person using a P-time orientation, for example, will stop a conversation with one person to take a phone call from another, especially a friend or relative. People who follow M-time schedules tend to emphasize individual privacy, schedules, and appointments. People who follow P-time schedules, in contrast, tend to emphasize the connection between people, fluidity, and the flexible nature of time.
The Chinese make little distinction between private and public life. They often work many hours beyond work time, especially if they believe that it is necessary. For some businesspeople, schedules in their non-business hours are much more hectic than during business hours. People in the Chinese commercial community even presume that a person’s business will decline if they have nothing to do, or no one to deal with, after working hours. This can be seen in the following illustration.
In 1994, a Chinese businesswoman tried to introduce a foreign company to a Chinese counterpart with a view to working together on a China-based project. She accompanied the managing director of the foreign company to Beijing for further business discussions after extensive long-distance negotiations. Like other Chinese businesspeople, the general manager of the Chinese company treated the foreign guest generously during his trip to China. However, the foreign managing director found that the Chinese general manager talked almost continuously on his mobile phone when he picked them up from the airport, at the hotel and during dinner in the evening. The foreign managing director asked the Chinese businesswoman,“Why couldn’t the Chinese general manager finish his work within work hours?”and then commenter that“the Chinese manager must not be an efficient manager”. Although the reason for the behavior was explained at length, the foreign director was still confused. And made it very clear that be did not appreciate this Chinese manager’s behaviour. Ironically, while the Chinese manager was undoubtedly busy, his behaviour may have been partly intended to impress on his Western counterpart how important, essential, hardworking, diligent and above all efficient he really was. Clearly, there exists a marked difference between the two manager’s perspectives of what constitutes efficiency.
According to Chinese business culture, if something cannot be discussed with and official or bureaucrat in the workplace or at a formal meeting, and an opportunity arises to talk to then in their home or during an informal occasion, then the above Chinese manager must seize the moment. According to the Chinese, this is truly an efficient use of their valuable time.
Difference Between Monochronic People & Polychronic People
Mono: Do one thing at a time concentrate on the job.
Poly: Do many things at once are highly distractible and subject to interruptions.
Mono: Take time commitments (deadlines, schedules) seriously.
Poly: Consider time commitments an objective to be achieved, if possible.
Mono: Are low-context and need information.
Poly: Are high-context and already have information.
Mono: Are committed to the job.
Poly: Are committed to people and human relationships.
Mono: Adhere religiously to plans.
Poly: Change plans often and easily.
Mono: Are concerned about not disturbing others; follow rules of privacy.
Poly: Are more concerned with those who are closely related. (family, friends, close business associates than with privacy)
Mono: Show great respect for private property; seldom borrow or lend.
Poly: Borrow and lend things often and easily.
Mono: Emphasize promptness.
Poly: Base promptness on the relationship.
Mono: Are accustomed to short-term relationships.
Poly: Have strong tendency to build lifetime relationships.
Assessing Time Orientation
The following scale is designed to measure one’s monochromic and/or polychronic time orientation. In the blank before each item, indicate the degree to which you (1)strongly agree, (2)agree, (3)are neutral, (4)disagree, or (5)disagree with the statement. There are no right or wrong answers, and many of the statements are similar by design. Work quickly and record your first impression.
1. I usually feel frustrated after I choose to do a number of tasks when I could have chosen to do one at a time.
2. When I talk with my friends in asgroupssetting, I feel comfortable trying to hold two or three conversations at a time.
3. When I work on a project around the house, it doesn’t bother me to stop in the middle of one job to pick up another job that needs to be done.
4. I like to finish one task before going on to another task.
5. At church it wouldn’t bother me to meet at the same time with several different people who all had different church matters to discuss.
6. I tend to concentrate on one job before moving on to another task.
7. The easiest way for me to function is to organize my daily activities with a schedule.
8. If I were a teacher and had several students wishing to talk with me about assigned homework, I would meet with the wholesgroupsrather than with one student at a time.
9. I like doing several tasks at one time.
10. I am frustrated when I have to start on a task without first finishing a previous one.
11. In trying to solve problems, I find it stimulating to think about several different problems at the same time.
12. I am mildly irritated when someone in a meeting wants to bring up a personal topic that is unrelated to the purpose of the meeting.
13. In school, I prefer studying one subject to completion before going on to the next subject.
14. Im hesitant to focus my attention on only one thing because I may miss something equally important.
15. I usually need to pay attention on only one task at a time to finish it.
Scoring: For items 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 11, reverse your response (5=1), (4=2), (3=3),(2=4), (5=1), for example, if you response to item＃2 was 5, reverse it to 1. If you response to item # 3 was 4, reverse it to a 2. Once you have reversed your responses to those 6 items, sum the entire 15 items. Scores of approximately 30 and below indicate a monochromic orientation. Scores of approximately 42 and above indicate a polychrinic orientation.
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