How Culture Drives Behaviours | Julien S. Bourrelle | TEDxTrondheim

How Culture Drives Behaviours | Julien S. Bourrelle | TEDxTrondheim


Translator: Tijana Mihajlović
Reviewer: Ilze Garda I was in Brussels. I was sitting on La Grand-Place, which is a beautiful square
in the center of the town. Suddenly, a man came and sat next to me,
and started talking to me, so I turned to him and I answered. Then I turned back and I asked myself,
“Why is he talking to me?” Suddenly, I realized,
“Julian, you’re becoming Norwegian.” (Laughter) So I turned to the man and I said, “Sorry, I live in a country
where people don’t speak to each other.” The thing is, in Norway, it is not
that people don’t speak to each other; it’s that socialization takes part in a much more framed
and organized manner. I was not expecting this man as a stranger
to come and talk to me. However, this is surprising, because I come
from the French-speaking part of Canada where that type of behavior
is totally normal. However, my mental programming
has changed. My brain has been rewired, because during the last five years I’ve lived in a tiny little country
in the north of Europe which is called Norway. When you move to a different country, there are three ways
that you can relate to the culture: you can confront, complain, or conform. When you confront, you believe that your behaviors
are the right behaviors. When you complain, what happens
is that you will isolate yourself into social bubbles of foreigners
living in segregation with the society. When you adapt your way to behave,
when you conform to the whole society, then you can truly benefit from diversity. But that implies that you are observing, learning,
understanding the behaviors of others, and adapting your own, so that it fits with the behaviors
of the society you’re in. I was in the north-east of Spain,
in a beautiful region of Catalonia, and I was there
with a very good friend of mine. He is two-meters tall,
blond hair, and blue eyes. We were visiting the beautiful region where they’re making the cava,
the Spanish sparkling wine. After the guided tour, we asked some more questions
to the very charming guide that was there, and she was explaining us with passion
about what she was doing, and then suddenly she stopped. She took a step aside,
she took my friend, and she shook him. And then she looked at me and said, “Why is he not interested
in what I’m saying?” Because she was not getting
the emotional feedback she was used to. (Laughter) She was seeing his emotional feedback through her own cultural glasses, meaning that she was interpreting
the fact that he had a neutral face on what it would mean if someone
from her culture would have that face, and that would mean that the person was not interested
or didn’t want to be there. And we all see the world
through cultural glasses. The lens through which your brain
sees the world shapes your reality. If you can change the lens, not only can you change
the way your brain perceives behaviors, but you can change the way
people relate to cultural differences. Embedded within that statement
is the key to benefiting from diversity. Three years ago, I was sitting on the board of directors
of one major university in Northern Europe and I was representing
2,000 academic staff, and I wanted to become a better leader. So I’ve looked around the whole university for a leadership class
that would be suited to my position, and I found one, and I was thrilled, because not only
would I learn about leadership, but because I would also learn
about how women lead, because the class was called
“Leadership for women”. (Laughter) And so, as naive as I was,
I’ve registered for the class. The next morning, the gender equality adviser
of the university calls me and says, “Julian, this is leadership for women.
You’re a man. You cannot attend.” It was the first time in my life that I was denied education
based on my gender. (Laughter) This is my cultural perspective
about what happened there. However, why is the university doing this? Because the government
had been putting in place a scheme that allowed the university to take
candidates in full academic position before someone
that has higher academic training if the candidates can document
leadership training. By offering leadership training
only to women, the university was fast forwarding the track of women
into full professorship position at a place where less than 20% of women
had professorship. I call this equality of result. Not equality of opportunity;
equality of results. I did not have the same opportunity
to flourish to my full potential, but the result is
that we have a balance in society. We enforce diversity,
and there is a good reason to do this. Studies show
that boards composed of both genders will perform 15% better then boards
that are composed of mainly one gender. But studies also show that boards
that are composed of different cultures will perform 35% better than boards
that are composed of only one culture. Cultural diversity increases
problem-solving ability. It increases creativity and innovation. The real challenge here is to make people being able
to communicate well together. And this you do through explaining
cultural differences. Two years ago,
I was sitting in my living room. I was sitting there with a friend and we started to draw
typical cultural situations. Then we made a Facebook page, and then we made a free website, and then I started to lecture
all around the country. I’m happy to say we’ve just crossed
one million people that have seen these drawings
to help to connect culture. And the idea behind that project
is to create a simple, humoristic way in connecting people
of different cultures, especially in Norway. You know that most people around the world
are raised with the idea that they will need
to contribute to a group, that they will be part of a group
and interdependent on their members. And it affects the way people behave. Other parts of the world,
especially the Western world, we raise our children to be independent
and to be self-sufficient, and we create
certain independence in society, and it changes behaviors. You see the difference? This basic principle tells a lot about how you’re going to expect
a friendship to look like. In certain societies
where the group prevails, the friendship will be much stronger, in terms that people
will live in symbiosis with each other and dependent on each other, and they will be expected to be invited to every single event
that the very good friend will do. However, in other cultures,
friendship will be much more distant. I’ve asked a Scandinavian man one day
what a good friend was. You know what he answered? “It is someone I can sit in silence
in a room and feel comfortable.” If you tell this to a South American, they won’t understand
what the principle is. This is about friendship and love, and contact with people
is one of the six basic human needs. If you’re not able to see how this friendship and love
is communicated to you because you are blinded
by your cultural glasses, you will spend years
believing you have no friends. You will spend years believing
that people are rejecting you. It is about changing
these cultural glasses. This is when you know
that a Norwegian bus stop is full and that you need to stand. (Laughter) What happens if you sit in the middle? It could very well be
that one of the two persons stands up, takes a step aside,
starts playing on his phone. Now, what if you look different?
What if you’re wearing a religious symbol? How easy it is to believe
that the person has moved away because you’re of a different skin color
or of a different religion? A typical cultural misunderstanding
and a very basic of human interactions: you’ve came into the personal space of someone who has
a much bigger personal space. In most cultures in the world,
there’s place for 4 people on that bench. Not understanding these very subtle
physical differences with people will actually lead
to lot of miscommunication. If you want to observe it yourself,
go to any international conference and try to observe a South American that tries to communicate
with a North European. What will happen there is that the South American
will be very eager and will stand at a distance
that’s comfortable for him. The North European
will be also very eager, but stand a little bit further away, because he’s not comfortable
that the South American is so close. If you observe it over time, you will see that a little dance starts (Laughter) and people go around the room, none of them realizing
that they are feeling uncomfortable, or they both feel uncomfortable,
but they don’t realize why. It’s just a simple thing of culture and being able to feel
that distance between people, which is different in every culture. And that has to do
as well with politeness. Politeness is a concept
which is very much culturally related. It’s a group of norms
and social codes that everyone obeys to, so that communication
goes well in the society, and in certain societies
it is very strict, and you have a way to talk,
and you have a way to behave. You change the way – you’re changing
the words in the sentence. In other places, politeness might only mean
not to disturb others, to leave more space,
both in friendship and physical space. And if you move to another country and no one explains you
what politeness means, how can you expect people – how can you expect that someone
will behave as he’s expected to in a foreign culture? The key here is to benefit from diversity. Everyone sees the world
through cultural glasses. It’s not about what you see;
it’s about what you perceive. It’s not about what you see;
it’s about what you perceive. And it is by taking small steps that we will one day help the world
to truly benefit from diversity. Thank you. (Applause)

65 thoughts on “How Culture Drives Behaviours | Julien S. Bourrelle | TEDxTrondheim

  1. hmm.. well! diversity might be all well and good! but then all those things about ourselves that we like would just die! it's like killing your own culture.. your way of life! something that you're comfertable with! this is also how some conflicts arise!

  2. Cultures in norway is very different. Scandinavian man is not the same all over scandinavia. People from north, east, west, south of norway is very different in terms of culture. Maybe one of the reasons why norway is very successful, we can comunicate with people from other places very well.

  3. people shouldn't have to take on the defention of psychopathy to cross cultural boundaries. culture is shifted by media everywhere and it is only because it pushes negative traits to certain demographics that people cannot connect. america has a terrible problem with segregating people from different cultural backgrounds, even with the nation supposedly being the melting pot. you shouldnt have to be anti social just to be social with other people. i say change the problem, not yourself. social moray is created by people and it can be destroyed just the same. there should be equality for all. that cannot happen by simply ignoring negative cultural morays, just accepting that they are used as a weapon to isolate people, and adapting, but by taking them on as people in general. only then can cultures from everywhere be free and equal. damaging behaviors that create distance between people, that are often used as excuses to shun outsiders shouldnt really be seen as acceptable and a shrug your shoulder type deal. in america we have situations where people are ignored, bullied or not really payed attention to because our people allow it to go on. no one steps in and says, "hey, did you just hear what so and s said, so and so was talking to you." we have situations where people are given messaging to get over friendships in commercials and pick up smartphones. i dont know about norway but in america we have a growing, dismissive behavior towards other human beings in general and i feel that employing such an attitude here would just be teaching people to avoid some issues but not get to the root of the issue.

  4. I believe this to be true in the older generations, but as the world becomes a smaller place, these cultural boundaries become less and less pronounce with the people who are more liberal/open and accept change. This is usually more common with younger people.

  5. changing culture is not good just because it's changing. What is important is what it's changing into. Me personally dont want my culture or language to die out that would be very sad. If it melds with some other culture then it stops being itself and thus it dies out. you cant have mixed cultures or ethncities without either one taking a fall.

    I dont really trust the methodology used in the studies he is refering to because the variables is simply too many

  6. Interesting about these statistics he cites: How do you define "perform better" and, most importantly, how the hell would you measure it? This idea of giving up meritocracy, denying good, well-educated and hard-working people a reward in favour of someone who happens to find themself in possession of a vagina is disgusting and the (of course uncited) statistics brought up here are dubious at best.

  7. Doesn't this plagiarize Shaun Achor's 2011 Ted Talk ?? Compare his 3:18 sentence with Achor's (below):

    6:13 – " the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness,"..
    7:42 – "Embedded within that question is the key to understanding the science of happiness."

  8. I believe that culture is so often confused with 'racism' and we are behaving not out of dislike for another race, but simply as a result of our cultural programming….making us feel uncomfortable with different behaviours. When not understood much tension arises.

  9. This is such a great insight. We should spend more time understanding different cultures, that way we connect with our fellow brothers!

  10. G M thank you for thinking of me I'm a hold 60 love it and ready to continue my journey please stay in touch. Dear GOD
    Thank you for the closed doors. Thank you for not allowing me to settle for second best God. Every time I though I was being rejected from something good. You were re-directing me to something better. God I pray that you will give me peace when frustration creeps in. I pray that you will give me strength to press on when I'm told 'no'.
    God I thank you for teaching me that 'no' is just a step to a. Bigger bigger and better 'YES' 708-510-5678 braines22 youtube.

  11. He lost me when he said, "enforced diversity". Is like saying " I'm sitting on the outside and standing inside. 🙂

  12. It's the difference between introversion and extroversion…Northern European countries have a much higher percentage of introverts, hence the difference in cultural norms.

  13. I love the way you explain this situasjon in Norway cause all is tre is just that you make it Funny and simple and stuff 😂

  14. Cultural diversity only works when all the cultures in a nation are willing to contribute positively to a society. It does NOT work, when some cultures in a nation are seeking to harm or take advantage of other cultures in a nation.

  15. Pokémon, Yo-Kai Watch and Disney are helping people overcome their cultural biases. Support them if you want to improve your culture skills in a fun way.

  16. Culture has worked so well in the past! I'm going to name all the countries with a lot of diversity! 😀
    Austro-Hungary
    The Ottoman Empire
    Serbia
    The Mongolian Empire
    Yugoslavia
    Czechoslovakia
    Portuguese Empire
    Spanish Empire
    Korea
    Israel
    Palestine
    Jordan
    Iran
    Iraq
    Sudan
    China
    Russia
    Danish Empire
    India
    Sinkiang
    Romania
    Bulgaria
    Germany
    France
    Slovakia
    Northern Cyprus
    Southern Cyprus
    Ukraine
    Bangladesh

  17. I think while taking some benefit from seeing others through cultural glasses, we must never forget the disadvantages of diversity. Harvard professor Dr. Robert Putnam studied the effects of diversity amongst 30,000 American citizens. He has found that the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study, the largest ever on civic engagement in America, found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings.

  18. I think diversity is something we have no control of not to mention to enforce it ! ,but I agree with him when he speaks of changing cultural glasses for further better understanding of others from whatever background culture they have. I think ACCEPTING DIVERSITY is a much better term to use than ENFORCING DIVERSITY.

  19. This is great. CQ is indeed vital. I'm learning more each time I watch this type of videos. IQ, EQ, & CQ are important especially for global leaders. Enhancing all of these will make for better leaders. The illustrations are very helpful as well. Thank you.

  20. I totally get it since lately I was thinking that even though I am polish, I found myself too extrovert for my nation and more similar to the people from south when it comes to contact with people 😱

    So interesting TED!

  21. in a ethereal digital space, IE the internet – multiculturalism plays an important role, but in the physical tangible material world, multiculturalism can create problems in much the same way as the Grey squirrel eviscerated the red squirrel. English culture would be useless in the context of the Amazon, where the culture of the Piraha or Xingu tribes is beautifully adapted to the geographical context, and an Amazonian culture would be at a great deficit in cold climates where Inuit culture thrives. Metaphysical multiculturalism = efficient; physical tangible material dimension = each culture has its own place. Not a good idea to take all the fine wines of the world and mix them together, it'd taste like POO!

  22. So true and interesting what you say! Something similar happened to me yesterday!!! I grew up in North Carolina where nothing is more important than smiling, being friendly, and speaking in this protocol that basically says> If you are well educated, or not, you never ask a question until you have smiled, greeted the person with chit chat and then ask the question. After leaving NC I lived in Miami, and South American, learned Latin American Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. Now I live in Madrid, Spain. I laughed that one of your talks you said people are friendly in Spain perspective is so interesting, bc `I've never heard anyone say that. I hear constantly that they are rude. Living here I've changed as well. Here's what happened.

    After living in Spain and finding people here much less chatty and less friendly than the US Southern culture, and Latin America ''save Argentina' I too have become a bit drier. Yesterday I was looking for a street in downtown Madrid. A young man was hauling something that looked heavy on a cart, dolly thing. I figured he must do deliveries, he was not a tourist so he may know the street I was looking for. Thinking his load may be heavy I was trying to be considerate, take less time so not to bother him, and because after living in Spain I'm a bit more direct. I blurted out in Spanish,,,,Do you know where Calle Horteleza is? The boy stopped. Looked straight into my eyes and said very seriously, BUENOS DIAS. I knew right away he was South American and I was acting a bit barbaric for just blurting out a question. I smiled, he did not, and I said in Spanish, oh…it's because you are not from Spain. He said, WHAT????? You are not saying Good morning bc I'm not from Spain??? I said, no no no no….I didn't say good morning bc in Spain no one says that. But, you are totally right. The proper way to communicate is to first say good morning, excuse me, blah blah blah. I was rude. He said yes, you were. (certainly a New Yorker or perhaps someone from Norway would have thought I was too friendly…perspective.
    I thanked him. I thanked him for reminding me of who I am. And, no he did not know where the street was. I liked the lesson.

    Another point. In Spain they say HOLA only when you walk into a store. You think that is friendly. I am used to it now, but in the beginning I found it sort of rude, or uneducated, because I too am used to more formal greetings. Good afternoon, may I help you, how are you? etc. Hola to me sounded like, I am so annoyed you just waked in here and that I have to work here. Don't get me wrong. I love living here! However, after being married to a Spaniard for 20 years, I still feel totally offended if I say Would you like some water, and he says no, instead of no thank you. It is considered to me the rudest thing anyone can do. Crazy, huh? Changing my chip….

  23. You are making the assumption that all things from different cultures are acceptable as long as they can be well communicated . Not so

  24. Wonderful, loved the way the cultural diversity is explained. It's all about perception and reality for which, I ask my students to learn to see the things the way they are rather than trying to see the things the way you like them to be seen.

  25. I think it is an interesting insight. It was what I had sometimes missed when I see differences. We all have our own cultural glasses differed from another culture. However, the important thing is that we should try not to have prejudice against differences. Of course, our perspective can be changed to theirs.
    Also, I was interesting that behaviors haven't been made by chance. Someone's behaviors are affected by his or her circumstances involving lots of cultural factors. We should not judge other's behaviors through our own cultural glasses. Remember that to understand one's behaviors means to know their cultures more accurately.

  26. Ted talks are more often than less superficial speeches filled with anecdotes told in a way that puts public speaking tricks at the forefront with little use of facts and a well connected theme that goes anywhere beyond the obvious.

  27. The whole presentation lack credibility when the speaker states that he was in Catalonia that is on the North-east of Spain (2 minutes and 5 seconds). Catalonia is on the South-east…

  28. As a seasoned presenter Management Consultant and global professional in CQ this lecture is one I have huge argument with! What about industry type, generational gaps! Types of communication! This lecturer is obviously a theorist and has never implemented commercial on industrial change in any businesses across the globe!

  29. In 1:36, i heard the word "social bubble" . I don't make sure that all I heard was exact. Can you explain to me the meaning of the word "social bubble"?

  30. Multiculti = 35% improved performance? Where the f… did u get that from? 35% out of one factor, diferent culture?

  31. As a child, I lived in Hurdal Norway, and I remember how everyone friendly everyone was, how people stopped and spoke to you and asked how is your grandma and other small talks. This new lack of conversation is a modern-day choice of not wanting to talk, but ponder on your own selfish ideals of the day that last half a minute! You are part of that problem of creating closed up independence.

  32. How does TED´X get past its postmodern blight, bias & its petty departure from rational knowledge & comprehension!

    Too sad…

  33. In Australia it depends where you are – in Sydney you don't speak to people randomly but if you are in a South Coast regional town you can chat to anyone wherever you find yourself standing around where other people are and if you walk past someone on the beach or a track and you're the only people then there's a good chance they'll say "hi".

  34. John Cleese has come out and said something that a lot of English people are thinking these days. London and other places in England is no longer looking like England and If most of the places you go to no longer have white English people its not right. A lot think something has gone wrong. Thats why Brexit and a strong border needs to be in place. Diversity is something they are saying now to make us think its a good thing that its ok to be one white in a bus full with blacks and immigrants. This is not right and we don`t want diversity. Only blacks and companies who want to play low wages want diversity.

  35. Good and relevant information as to how should one relate to people from different cultures. cultural lens indeed influence us in so many ways.

  36. According to the Ted Talk located in the Module, Julien Bourrelle, in the Ted Talk How Culture Drives Behaviors, Bourelle believes that politeness is a concept that is very much culturally related. (True) Thank me later quiz takers.

  37. I had to stop by describing Norway as tiny little country and I found that it is almost the same size of the UK 🙂 but no one usually describe UK as tiny little country, perhaps an island. I think the perception of country size is different when you live in big countries like Canada.

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