Cross-Cultural Experience in Conference of Cross-Cultural Research (Maastricht, June 2015)

                     * if you don’t want to read – scroll down for the video and gallery with pictures at the bottom of the page ;)

As a PhD. student I have these opportunities to participate in research events. This time I went to Maastricht for a week to 10th PhD. Seminar/Conference “Global and Cross-Cultural Organizational Research”. First I should say – this was not a vacation or week of relaxation. We had a very tight schedule for every working day and spontaneous cultural events during evenings.

On June 13 I took a flight to Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Was very happy to leave again (after being home for less than 3 weeks). My great friends Nata and Vini took me to the airport and we had a one last coffee before my take-off.

In the airport my experience started – even before getting into the plain I first met 2 Dutch guys who after a small talk proposed to give me a ride to Maastricht (though they don’t live there), so actually my almost 4 hour trip after landing (with bus+train+train+bus) to get to my new home last only 2 hours through nice village and having fun talk with local people.

The first day was the day I explored the Maastricht. It is super nice, cozy, and very beautiful! Tourists have not overcome the city center yet, which I find a problem in Amsterdam.

The second days’ morning I still had time to do a little more sight-seeing. It was the first and only hot day during my travel.

During the evening on June 14 the whole group of the conferences participants met in Basilica (which everyone thought is a Church but it is a very good restaurant/cafe next to the Vrijthof (Church’s) square) to have first drinks and snacks together. Everyone introduced themselves and smart talks could start. The group of less than 20 people in next following days met each morning, had a coffee and lectures together. We created a small family, which actually became really close and supportive. Never thought I could make so good friends in conference.

I really enjoyed the set up of the conference – which was a round table discussion with interaction between the professors and listeners. With 58 articles in the reading list (workshop10program_june_2015(2)) before the conference, a meaningful discussions started straight away. Such a good content is only possible if you have the best facilitators and professors, which we did have! They were: Mikael SøndergaardMark Peterson, Michael Minkov, and Geert Hofstede. It was pleasure to meet the highest top researchers in face and have a close interaction and conversations with them. It’s not the every days case.

Here I should say something about what I learned on cross-cultural research. From economists perspective and in my personal opinion:

  1. Cross-Cultural research should be learned to all economists on the bachelor level in relations to macroeconomics, because it can explain a part of variance in differences among countries or nations, or regions. For the first time I actually believed that divergence could be the case instead of convergence, however, no unequivocal research is there yet.
  2. Even in qualitative topic as “Culture”, quantitative research is highly appreciated, especially during the last decades, therefore – whatever your profession is, please study statistics carefully!
  3. The quote from Mr. Geert Hofstede I took with me is: “when you study something, make sure you know what you are talking about”.

In the first two days every participant also gave a presentation of his own research. I told about my idea of creating a new “flexicurity index” and opened discussion whether and how I can integrate the aspects of culture here. Main finding was that I could probably research more on institutionalization because of the role of trade unions and negotiations in the employment and employees environment. So will see how this will affect my further steps on Ph.D. thesis. Thank you Puerto Rico colleagues also for help on understanding the process of index creation.

Overall I would say – get out and go to conferences! The insights you get there you won’t receive staying home. Broader your knowledge, broader your network, broader your cultural experience and abilities to act in different situations.

One of the tasks in the Thursdays group work was to watch how in 4 different nations (India, France, Japan, and Canada) parents are bathing their children and what effects it gives to the characteristic creation. These videos I could not find in YouTube, however, Margaret Mead (who was an American cultural anthropologist and the initiator of research through these videos) has other examples too, one of them is the “Childhood Rivalry in Bali and New Guinea”. Video is only 16 minutes and I can guarantee you will get a culture shock!

Thank you everyone, who was a part of this great time in Maastricht!



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