V. U.S. Culture Paper (30 points) All your writing for this class should conform to business writing format. If you haven’t taken a business communications course and learned business writing format, then you will need to familiarize yourself with it on your own. This paper will be done in groups of four (4) students. You must turn in one 4-page maximum, single-spaced MS-Word, font Ariel/size 10) paper describing the culture of the U.S. The 4 pages exclude the 1-page description of your interviewees (see below). The paper will reflect a combination of your own thoughts about the United States and those of foreign-born. Each group member must interview at least one (1) foreign-born resident (cannot be a student) and one (1) U.S. citizen (cannot be a student). What constitutes “foreign-born”?
a. Your interviewees have been in the U.S. at least 6 months but not more than 5 years.
b. Your interviewees, as a group, should represent at least three different continents. Your objective is to understand their perception of what constitutes “American” values and beliefs so that you have a broader view of the subject before you develop your decisions about the fundamental values and beliefs this culture embraces. The objective is not to recount what these people have told you. It is to integrate/interpret/anaylyze what they have told you with your own thoughts in order to arrive at some conclusions about U.S. culture. By “conclusions,” I mean descriptors of U.S. culture, such as “generous,” “interdependent,” “family-oriented,” “hierarchical,” etc. You may quote or paraphrase their statements as support for your conclusions, just as you can use your own experiences for the same. If you yourself are a foreign student or permanent resident, then your interviewees need to fit the following criteria:
a. Two must be American-born. b. The foreign born must be from a different continent/region from your own. You must incorporate the interviewee information into an integrated piece on U.S. culture. To support your conclusions about the values and fundamental beliefs that you think best describe American culture, you should include examples from your group members’ experiences, from your interviews and/or other material you have obtained to support each assertion/theme. Each group member must include a very brief description of your interviewees, the total which should not exceed one page: age, country of origin, time in the U.S. if foreign-born, student/nonstudent status of interviewee. (This page does not count as part of the 4-page maximum.). To limit this “U.S. Culture Paper” to the required page-length, you must “cut to the core” and be concise but clear. This is not just an opinion piece but an educated, informed opinion piece. “Educated” means you have arrived at a thoughtful, comprehensive yet succinct work on what U.S. culture is and can support your assertions with examples. Development of US Culture Paper i. Think about your impressions of U.S. culture at this point in time. Consider past and current events, business-government-society interactions, stereotypes about Americans, etc. Jot down some of your thoughts. What are some of the themes that come to your mind at this point? Be careful to avoid stereotyping or just focusing on things you’ve heard before that are stereotypes. ii. Use the interview to both “test” some of the themes you have sketched as well as to ask some open-ended questions that “start from scratch.” Develop a line of questioning if you desire to structure the interview. Suggested example questions would include: • If you were to describe Americans in 3-5 words, what words would you use to do that? Why? Can you give any examples you have observed or experienced personally? • What was the image you had of Americans/America before you came to the U.S.? How has that changed since you have been here – if it has? • How does the U.S. differ from your own country from your experiences here? Can you give some specific examples? • What are the advantages and disadvantages of living in the U.S.? iii. After you have carefully selected your questions, interview your “informants.” Make sure the atmosphere is relaxed and you are in a place where there are no interruptions. Tuck away your smartphone and ask the interviewee to do the same. iv. When you finish your last question, always ask the interviewee if there is anything else he/she would like to add. 8Syllabus MGMT 461 (revised), Spring 2020, Sennhauser.docx v. After all the interviews are over, sift through your notes from your interviews, comparing and contrasting perceptions from the interviewees, your own thoughts, etc. vi. From your synthesis of the interviews and your own thoughts of relevant themes, develop a final “list” of themes (four to six probably) that accurately describe the essence of U.S. culture. You should NOT use the same terms as you have learned in Hofstede and Hall’s models. Develop your own descriptors. vii. Select a couple of good examples to support each theme. Organization of US Culture Paper Your paper should follow this type of organization: (Parts #1 and #2 do not count towards the 4- page requirement) 1. A title page with your names and contact information. 2. A one-page description of your interviewees (see requirements above). 3. A short introductory paragraph that briefly mentions the values/beliefs conclusions you have selected to describe U.S. culture. 4. The body of the paper should then cover the 4-6 conclusions you mentioned in #3 above. Each conclusion should have its own heading as in business report format and enough concrete examples to establish the conclusion’s credibility. 5. Explain briefly the value of this assignment. What did you learn, if anything, as a group? What was surprising, if anything? How does it help you understand how others perceive Americans? Evaluation weighting [percentages] • Do your strengths and weaknesses reflect a synthesis of appropriate information? (Do the pieces fit together logically? Is it well thought out and carefully approached?) Is the organization of your ideas clear and logical? [25%] • Is there appropriate and adequate evidence for each strength and weaknesses noted in your paper? Are you using concrete examples rather than generalizations in citing your evidence for your strengths and weaknesses and also in listing your activities for your plan—e.g. ”reading books on stress” is too general; instead, name the book(s) and state why that/those book(s). [25%] • Does your analysis demonstrate insight? (Does it go beyond common sense or what would be obvious to most? Is there a clear integration of material from various sources and are there insightful conclusions derived from the integration? [30%] • Is the paper overall well organized and visually consistent with business report format? (i.e., organized around logical headings, subheadings, etc.) [10%] • Is the paper technically superior? (Grammar, punctuation, mechanics, spelling). [10%]