Priya Kaul


Biography

Priya Kaul is a practicing therapist in Bangalore, India. Born and raised in Mumbai, India, she moved to the United States of America where she spent nine years. Since the last four years, Priya now resides in Bangalore, India with her husband and two daughters.

She has spent much of professional life dealing with people across multiple settings. She started her career in Mumbai working with children and adolescents in a school. Ms. Kaul then moved to the United States of America where she worked in the school system with adolescents. Priya was able to use her enthusiasm for working in fast paced mental health environment in at Baylor-Richardson Medical Center, Texas. Here she was able to work with crisis stabilization in mental health and chemical dependency. Priya has worked community-based organizations in Texas like C.I.T.Y. House that funded programs for working with children and families in North Dallas. She worked with Families United Program, which helped assess family environments for the best interest of children that were experiencing loss through divorce in the Dallas Court system.

After relocating to Bangalore, Priya works as a consultant with CWSolution Pvt. Ltd., a firm that facilitates workshops on leadership development and professional skills. A part of the CWSolution team since 2006, Priya, brings over ten years of experience to her role in business development and as a facilitator. Her areas of expertise include communication, cross-cultural awareness, coaching.

Priya continues to develop new and inventive ways to apply her experience of working in health and personal growth and development in both India and the USA in her role at CWSolution, helping to make the programs meaningful and effective.

Priya also enjoys maintaining an interest in the field of psychology and offers her services as a counselor with 1to1help, an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) company based in Bangalore, India.

Priya holds Master's degrees in Clinical Psychology and Social Work. She has completed a nine-month course in Transactional Analysis. Her professional memberships include Bombay Psychological Association (BPA) and National Association of Social Workers (USA). Priya is also certified to administer and debrief the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which she likes using to give her workshops psychological depth.

17 December 2008, Bangalore, India

Looking for a better understanding of how witnessing, participating and doing business with people from other cultures in the outsourcing industry may have given rise to new kinds of sensing and responsibility, the company that Priya Kaul works with was highly recommended to me by Dr. Carol Upadhya. By the time I approached Priya Kaul, I had come to understand that cross communication skills are considered to be of vital importance to be successful in this business. Priya is one of the consultants who provide this training and guides people and companies in cross-cultural trajectories for several years. Being trained as a psychologist and having lived and worked in both India and the USA she is able to combine professional scientific analysis with first hand personal experience. At very short notice Priya Kaul was so kind to make time available and talk to us.

Summary

Priya Kaul is doing mostly group facilitation with IT companies, financial services companies and some detail sector companies from out CW Solution. The workshops are about leadership development, communications skills, cross cultural collaboration and teambuilding. A lot of the clients depend on technology to a large extent because they are not in the same place. So they do have to work double hard to keep establishing the connection and rapport, to keep trusting each other as teams to work together.

In the workshops Priya Kaul gives communication is crucial, which is why they focus a lot on behavioural skills that the clients are going to use: to show that you understand, (instead of just understanding it in your head), to show confidence, to learn to present professionally, to be aware of body language, to develop verbal skills, to manage expectations, to make clear what you need, what you expect, what you want, what you want to do with your team, what you want to do across with the global teams. Priya Kaul argues that at work you can't be like you are at home. You can't be laid back; you can't expect things to happen because the people around you don't know you for twenty years, like your family would.

To establish trust in a technology environment I is not easy. Integrity, sharing information in an honest fashion is a first requirement. Of course there is a 'share what they can share'; sometimes there is confidential information you can't share, but acknowledging things that are happening; sharing that information factually. Secondly it is important to show capability; giving the work that you commit to give and on time, because if someone sees you doing what they would like consistently, they will end up trusting this team. Thirdly it is important to be clear about intentions; to realize for your self what the purpose of an email is and to be able to show that expectation up front. Building reputation is a fourth requirement; one has to realize that trust travels between people; the relationship one builds with one person will generate trust when one learns to know a connected third person.

Part of cross-cultural communication is perception of how I perceive another person. A certain physical presence may trigger some opinions about that. As the conversation continues, those perceptions are checked and possibly changed. When things are very unfamiliar there are a lot of vices that come into play. Priya Kaul thinks that is part of the hurdle really with cross-cultural communication. It is difficult to say who would be biased with what, but definitely there are certain biases that come into play. The challenge is to realize, argues Kaul, that there are biases and what your own are, so that you know what to look out for as you go ahead. It is difficult to step back from your bias and look at yourself. Such self-reflection sometimes needs a distance from one's own culture and home to realize the values one actually cherishes just like the fish that doesn't know what water is until it is out of the water. Kaul notices that when people realize that things aren't going the way they want, it's maybe the time to look at why they are not going the way they want. And to look at yourself at what you have done and what you have said, acted on, rather than at the next question. Of course you have to look at the other persons response as well. Once you go into a global atmosphere like we have now, we are thrown in a lot of other cultures that are now put forward. So it is a balancing act to some extent where you have to balance out your personal cultural needs, social demands, what is globally required in a professional atmosphere, not easy.

Cross-cultural communication is happening all the time right now. All people are communicating with accents, all of us are communicating in a global place. We are all collaborating that is the nice part about where we are at, finds Kaul. Right around the world people can support each other and leverage strengths. When there is a crisis in one country there is a lot of support, other countries take a stand, become involved and actually say their views. This is also possible because of technology. But Priya Kaul also warns for becoming so homogeneous that we forget our own identity. There is something about being unique that's equally nice and maintaining that and people are bridging from that. To be able to work in a global context people have to learn and adapt to cross cultural communication. For Kaul 'learning' shows more of a curve, where 'adaptation' shows more that you own that particular learning. Some adaptation is acceptable for people, for instance small things like using soda etc. Other adaptation is more difficult. People adapt necessarily because of economics, because the job demands it. From the social engineering perspective in the global companies Kaul notices that people adapt to that flow periodically; when they go home, they leave that adaption at work. Every human being has the potential to adapt or not to adapt to things that can be done. Physically people have certain limitations and certain capabilities, but everyone can adapt.

The more we learn to appreciate the human being's uniqueness in global adaptation processes, the more we'll end up preserving it, argues Kaul. Certain processes have to be standardized, that's how it works well. But within that, we will make room to accommodate strands that are different. Standardization opposes creativity Kaul argues. If you need an entire team functioning in a productive way, you do have to have a plan, how you proceed on things. Also, standardization helps in crisis for people to know what they have to do. Everyone cannot have the presence of mind or gets solution focused in a crises. But when you are discussing what could be options in a certain scenario that's a time to be creative.

On a personal front Kaul thinks there are many times that we have to sort of subdue our own crisis and concentrate on what's happening at work. It's not easy and sometimes it is about acknowledging it and maybe getting some support at work.

Transcript

The following is an edited transcription of the conversation. Film fragments of the conversation are included to illustrate parts of the transcribed text.

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CN: We are here on the seventeenth of December with Priya Kaul in Bangalore. Thank you very much on joining us on this evening. Can you shortly describe the work you are doing?

PK: Yes, at the moment I am doing mostly group facilitation with IT companies, financial services companies, some detail sector companies, and the work we largely do is leadership development communications skills, cross cultural collaboration, teambuilding and workshops about this

CN: So as I explained before my research is about witness presence and in a work environment, or in any environment when I do an action and you see it, my action becomes a deed. You can testify about it, you can intervene and it will shape your judgment of me. So at the moment one person witnesses another, a social process happens. From earlier interviews I got a really clear impression that part of being a professional is that you perform being a professional. So there is a distinction between professional life and personal life. How would you describe that?

PK: If I understand your question, you are essentially asking me if when you perform certain behaviors or actions in professional life, does that contribute to them being perceived in that sense?

CN: Yes

PK: I think I would support that argument because part of what we do with our work is looking at the behaviors that are demonstrated when people are collaborating with other people. When you are communicating, it is not just understanding in your head, but showing that you are able to understand either by reiterating a statement or by following it up by email or by following it up in a call; by showing that you understood a common sense rather than keeping silent about it and assume understanding. So that is one aspect. Another aspect is, I think, looking at the role, like you said, professionally, if you are out there to sell something whether it's a slide presentation or it's a product service, whatever, you have to look the professional part, you have to look confident, maintain a certain professional image. When we facilitate groups this involves a lot of behavior of skills that they are going to use. We look at that part.

CN: Yes, that makes sense. And how would you say that the behavioral skill relates to the being?

PK: To the being of themselves?

CN: Yes

PK: For instance when we go back to communication here, a lot of our clients say, "We are very assertive". So I say "How do you think the other person gets that you are assertive?". They say, "Well, they don't but we are assertive". I say, "So what would you have to do to show them that you are assertively asking them for something or getting some means met?". And then they are not very sure. So in that sense, when they are saying that we do certain things or we are a certain way, we try and help them understand either their own body language, whether they are demonstrating it or not; or through their verbal skills, are they demonstrating it or not. So sometimes it is about taking the videotape and showing it to them and telling them what you see. And sometimes it's about sitting in a group, putting them in a situation that are sometimes not comfortable and have them role play what they would do and then we talk about that.

CN: So how come that, if I have an intention, and a conviction about my self, you do not immediately see that, you cannot witness it, because I have an intention. You have to do something to show it?

PK: Right. Not always. I don't think it is always immediately understandable what your intention is, the first time I see you, unless I don't see it in some way from you.

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CN: Yes, I am trying to understand this gap, this possible gap between a personal life and a professional life. Because on the one hand the personal life resonates in the professional life, on the other hand it's completely different. When I spoke to some of the other people, they said it's like, it's more and more like a playing role, professional life, and is less and less about being your self. While when you develop leadership how can you be a leader without being your self? How do you see this?

PK: So I think what I see and what we then do with our workshops is a little different, I think what we see a lot of times is people are very much themselves and things don't workout because it isn't home when you come to work. You can't be like you are at home. You can't be laid back; you can't expect things to happen because the people around you don't know you for twenty years, like your family would. They can't intercept what your thoughts might be. So that is one aspect. That is the personal life not coming out into the professional life unless they don't somehow show their intention. I think the other aspect is developing some skills or some behaviors that help you, or help the other person understand what you need, what you expect, what you want. What you want to do with your teams, what you want to do across with the global teams.

CN: So how does that go when you are not in the same place?

PK: I think a lot of people we work with, they do depend on technology to a large extent obviously, they are not in the same place, so it's a lot of conference calls, video conference call, and emails, and they try to establish a rapport through that. I think a lot of the people in the industries that we work with have become quite adapted, developing rapport through email, which is something so different to the field where I am from. Psychology is all about maintaining that human contact, so it is interesting however at the time, what I see now comes across as largely these IT mediums. I used to do a lot of data download, which is great, but then the connection with the person sometimes is missing, with the teams is missing. So they do have to work doubly hard to keep establishing that connect, keep sort of trusting each other as teams to work together.

CN: How do they do that?

PK: I think one is about sharing information in an honest fashion. Of course there is 'share what they can share'; sometimes there is confidential information you can't share, but acknowledging things that are happening; sharing that information factually. Giving the work that you commit to give, on time. And then building that trust over time. Because if someone sees you doing what they would like consistently, they will end up trusting this team, you know, that always tends to deliver it in this fashion. So they start developing trust in the team and the person and the process.

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CN: So there is trust in that people will deliver? Trust in their capability?

PK: Right, right.

CN: And somehow also the integrity, like you say, like sharing the knowledge is also..

PK: Yes, it's also trusting the integrity of people that you work with, because people's capabilities are considered to be as good as the people them selves. So they are able to share that capability.

CN: Do you think that people need to share place or need to share time to have that trust developing? Technologies like phone calls, videoconferencing, how do they relate to for example email or web archives? Do you see there is a need to be in the same moment, to establish contact? Or not really?

PK: Some people prefer to do it over the email. They prefer that medium because the other person does not have to make contact in the same moment. Engineers I think would sometime say, 'no it's better when we send them this first, let me get to know them and then when I meet them it will be so much easier'. So that is one aspect. Some people however do feel that it would have been easier when the person would have been sitting next to them. So in terms of percentage, I can't say which is best.

CN: Because there is a lot of lack of senses, it's mostly text.

PK: right

CN: When two people meet, the senses are very important.

PK: Definitely, there is a lot of body language you can perceive how the person has meant something, the tone of voice, or as when it's on the email, it's just a written words.

CN: So how do you work with those groups?

PK: They are about setting contexts, the emails, and about what are their expectations and have they been able to set that context and expectation or have they just been able to write out whatever was needed minus the content. So then they go back and forth, many times already, they start this whole big email and..

CN: Yes, because the context is not there

PK: Sometimes there isn't a whole lot of context

CN: So how do you make context? How do people make context for each other?

PK: Again it is about, I think, putting up, looking at the people and seeing first of all if the people sending on to this whole chain email, really needed to be on it. That's the first thing. Secondly it is more about looking what is the purpose of this email, why am I forwarding it, just because everyone has forwarded it. I feel the group's needs to know ABCD information, but do they really need to or are we inundating them with access information. So I think one of it is to realize for your self what the purpose of your email is. And the second thing is to be able to stick that expectation up front. This is what you need from whomever.

CN: But if I wanted to present my context, living in Amsterdam, to you living in Bangalore, and I do not know you, how do I do it, how would I present my context to you?

PK: That's interesting, because our meeting was I think on an email, very much with context I suppose. So, we were introduced on the email, Vicky called me up of course and said do you have time to meet Caroline and she send to me the emails that she got from you and I asked her "Do you want me just to respond back to her?", so it would be easier. She said, "Yes, why don't you do that" and we met. I think I sent you an email, which said "Hi Caroline this is Priya and I believe we need to meet at our office". So I think it is really about that quick context of what is needed.

CN: Yes, But there is also a link like I have a friend in Delhi, Vibodh, who introduced me to Carol Upadhya. Carol introduced me to Vicky, Vicky introduces me to you and now here we are. So we had four radars before we are sitting here.

PK: Before we are sitting here, definitely. So it was about following up that link though.

CN: I always wonder how the trust travels

PK: yes, that is interesting, I do not know Carol, but I do know Vicky, so that's interesting, I suppose she trusts Carol, and I trust her, so

CN: and so it's apparently something you can shift

PK: Something that goes down to a relationship, doesn't it?

CN: To a relation, how do you mean?

PK: Well it's about the relationship you have created with the person you have asked and about the relationship I have with Vicky and so it travels

CN: It travels

PK: it just travels, yes.

CN: Yes, and also you know, that you would not be introduced, if it would not be ok. So because I have a friend in Delhi, Vibodh, who is ok for Carol, Carol says 'ok I meet you'. And after she met me, she said 'ok you should meet Vicky'. So then it travels, there is a certain behavior and then I respond, so we also have the rapport in how you do things. So it's both delegations of trust or forwarding of trust somehow and performance as well; you email me, I email you and so on. Lets go to a next subject. You have worked with cross-cultural communication a lot

PK: Yes the last two and a half years yes

CN: I would like to focus on witnessing. When I witness you, I also see maybe someone from India, maybe someone of America, I read the shoes you wear, the clothes you wear, how you do the make up. We read signals, like you read my signals and there is a lot of misreading always happening. So can you tell me about cross-cultural communication in the respect?

PK: a little broad, what are you looking at particularly?

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CN: I like to know what really happens when I witness you and how the witnessing can change because I am aware of cross-cultural communication. So I am interested in how people become aware? What are the hurdles? Does it work anyway? Can I become good at cross-cultural communication? What makes it work? So what are the hurdles, what makes it work?

PK: So I think with cross-cultural communication I think part of it part as you rightly said, is perception of how I perceive you. Of course when I look at you I get a certain physical presence in my mind and may make some opinions about that. I think part of it is also then about establishing, as I go through with my conversation with you, are those perceptions really accurate? Do I need to change them? And sometimes it is about changing perceptions as the conversation goes on. I think also what happens when things are very unfamiliar there are a lot of vices that come into play. I think that is part of the hurdle really with cross communication I think. Difficult to say who would be biased with what, but I think definitely there are certain biases that come into play. I think the challenge is to realize that there are biases and what your biases are, so that you know what to look out for as you go ahead. But that would be one of the biggest hurdles in my opinion.

CN: How do people become aware?

PK: I think the first thing is to look at your self and realize where you are. Difficult to step back from your bias and look at yourself. Perhaps when you realize things aren't going the way you want, it's maybe the time to look at why they are not going the way you want. And look at yourself at what you have done and what you have said, acted on, rather than at the next question. Of course you have to look at the other persons response as well.

CN: So are you actually arguing that cross cultural communication only starts happening when there is a crisis, when there is a need to understand each other?

PK: Not necessarily, I think cross-cultural communication is happening all the time right now. I think all of us are communicating with accents, all of us are communicating in a global place. We are all collaborating and I think that is the nice part about where we are at. Right around the world we can support each other and leverage those strengths. I was really answering to the challenges, part of your question held what are the hurdles and I was answering to that in terms of the biases. I think that is the hurdle that I see.

CN: But it is interesting that when you discuss the hurdle - to overcome the hurdle - a person only prepares to cross the hurdle, if I understand you correct, if some things don't go the way this person wants them to go?

PK: You asked how do you think you became aware. I think most people wait, when things are going well you don't ever disturb the situation. Most people wait until things don't go so well, so at least at that point I think it's time to get aware. Normally there is a bit of discomfort before you make any changes.

CN: If I may ask you a question as a psychologist. Because if I think of my being, the way I relate to my parents, the way I relate to my friends, how I behave in a hierarchy that all is very culturally determined. No one has raised the issue of nature-nurture yet.

PK: Well, I believe most arguments now reside at fifty percent nature, fifty percent nurture, but I definitely think there is an impact of how you are raised, there is a lot of visual education that goes on when you are raised at home, with your parents, friends, in the social environment. Once you go into a global atmosphere like we have now, we are thrown in a lot of other cultures that are now put forward. So it is a balancing act I think, to some extent where you have to balance out your personal cultural needs, social demands, what is globally required in a professional atmosphere, not easy.

CN: Can you explain?

PK: For example, in India when you are growing up, everyone older than you is usually uncle, aunty, older sister, older brother. There is always a title given. When you get thrown into a professional atmosphere globally, there are no titles; there is just a name. And even now if I walk into a program, where someone who is fresh out of college, it never seizes to amaze me that they call me 'Maim', or madam. "Maim can you please come here and let me know how to do this". Ok you're 25 or 28, and that's the first part that comes to my mind and then I have to step back and have to think, ok this is really part of the Indian culture that is what people say. Throughout schooling, throughout college life people say this and it takes a little bit of time to get over the 'maim' and move on to the first name bases. And people still say 'Sir', yet we don't get knighted in this country so it's really antiquated at some point. They still use it, it takes time to get into your professional environment and work through that. It may not be necessary to use those titles at work. You know just because someone has seniority doesn't give them the added advantage of immediate power. So again, extrapolating all that takes time, I think.

CN: And how does a process like that happen for a person?

PK: How does this happen? I think I am going to answer this from a personal point of view just because I went through a process like that. I grew up in a city; Bombay is quite advanced compared to some of the smaller cities and some of the towns. My family was not really conservative, so I had that advantage. Even given that advantage that we weren't as conservative, it wasn't always Sir and Maim, etc. When I went to the US, when I went to collage there, it was a whole different culture. I couldn't understand why someone would pick up a can of coke from a vending machine, pop it open in class in front off the teacher and be drinking it and be ok with it. So that, to me was a cultural learning. It took me a couple of weeks I think and I realized there are different ways of showing respect in different cultures. Just because you open a can doesn't mean you are disrespectful; just because you sit with your legs straight like you are appearing to listen to the teacher, doesn't mean you are respectful. But it would take you a while to understand that. And then when you are going to do work, this whole concept of not being held by the hand, spoon-fed, you just have to get up and do it yourself and figure it out. And if you fail that's fine, you get up and you learn. I think what I had before I left was, was that you took all your background books and make sure you don't make a mistake. So it was a very different kind of set up that I came from.

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CN: The story you tell me now, sounds really like a learning story. The story I get from the social engineering that happens here in the outsourcing business is more an adaptation. Could you make that distinction between learning and adaptation?

PK: I think in terms of me I think I went to another culture, it was a learning because I married to someone who is from another culture. So I've been learning in my own house actually. In terms of adaptation, when you are in, particularly like you are saying from the social engineering perspective, a lot of globalization has come to India and what I see people trying to do is catch up to what is adapt to that flow periodically, when they go home, you leave that at work. Down your own culture, or what you would do at home, then you come back with your coat, into that adaptation mode. I think some adaptation is acceptable, for people, for instance these are the small things like using soda etc. Those are the smaller adaptations, which I think people are happy doing. Some of the adaptation is more difficult. I think people adapt necessarily maybe because of economics, because the job demands it they like the job, they stay with the job for whatever reason.

CN: There is a performance change?

PK: It's performance change sometimes. I see some people making an adaptation to where they really in calculate something they want to keep. Some people make a superficial adaptation and do it as a role.

CN: And where would be that turning point? Is there a difference when I have had a cross-cultural learning process, or I have a cultural adaptation process, I don't talk all societies now, I really talk from a personal, 'one human being perspective. How does it influence my performance?

PK: A cross-cultural learning?

CN: Or a cross-cultural adaptation. Is it a different performance actually? Do they generate different performances?

PK: I think learning shows more of a curve. Adaptation shows more that you are owning that particular learning, to me.

CN: Can you explain?

PK: So to me when you are in the learning process it's more "hum let me see what I am getting from this", sort of weighing it out, with adaptation it is more like, "I like what I have been doing so far, it somehow fits with me, I think I want to keep this for my self. I am going to adapt to that.

CN: ok, because when things go wrong, and especially when you talk large systems, we have many communities of people and systems these days, then how does the gap between the professional life and the personal life influence the crises? This is a very deep question. It is for example when I have had a riot at home, a bad situation at home, and I go to work, my perception is different than when I just fell in love and I go to work. So that would mean bringing your personal life, yeh, at least it is your perception. So how does this learning and this adaptation influence performance in crisis?

PK: Do you want this from a personal point of view? Or what I see?

CN: both please

PK: From what I see I once had an interesting experience actually. It was a workshop we're doing on cross-cultural no, on assertiveness skills. And there was a gentleman who came in very late. Now I make the rule that if you are in, or later than a certain part, it is just if you come in the next month because you have missed part of the beginning. There is no penalty from this thing really so I might as well come another month. And so my colleague very jokingly said "good afternoon". It was about, not quite twelve o'clock. The program started around nine, he was there about eleven thirty, so he says, 'Well shall I say good evening and go back?'. How are we going to take this, you know he had a certain smile on his face but obviously not like he was disturbed about something. So I said, "You don't need assertive skills, you are really assertive". So anyway he came in and we were going to break at that point for morning break so we broke and I talked to him, "Look, you seemed a little disoriented and taken aback when he said 'good afternoon'", I said, "Do you want to share what is going on?" And he said, " Well, eh, I have been in an accident just before I got here, which why I was late, I am never late usually. Not this late at any rate (..) I had to go back home, change and come back. I am sorry that I said that, but I was really rattled when I came in and that's the first interaction I had with anyone other than the auto driver after the accident, so I just said that." So it is interesting that that what happened personally to him, influenced what he said at work, which he would have never done ordinarily. On a personal front I think there are many times that we have to sort of subdue our own crisis and concentrate on what's happening at work. It's not easy and sometimes it is about acknowledging it and maybe getting some support at work. I don't know if people really feel comfortable doing that however.

CN: There is another issue I like to discuss. If we talk witnessed presence, and so I also understand from you that you can learn skills and you can develop awareness to influence how people will witness you. So you can influence how you will be witnessed. Because you communicate well, and also if you think cross-cultural communication starts with having a reflection on your self, understanding your own culture before you can see other cultures.

PK: I will say something there. I think it is sometimes it's very difficult to understand your own culture till you're pulled away from it. Does that make sense?

CN: You have to be out of it to feel it.

PK: You have to be out of it to feel you recognize what you valued in it, or didn't value in it, either way. There's a saying the fish doesn't know what water is until it is out of the water. Sort of like that.

CN: Yes, I think so too. And also I think what makes a big difference… cross culture is when you relate to someone it can be in work but it can also be friends; relatives that you can ask open questions. You can ask "how is it for you?" And not sort of already fill in how it will be for someone else. So the open question is very important in the cross-cultural communication

PK: That is one of the skills we actually talk about a lot, about questioning things rather than just accepting what you think it is.

CN: In this respect I wonder if you can elaborate on a shame culture and a guilt culture? That is very different dynamics I think, for witnessing each other.

PK: Yes I think if you look at it from, there is a Freudian point of view; a lot of parental bringing up is with guilt. You guilt the child into feeling, you shame the child into feeling that this wasn't right, this wasn't appropriate, you know, this is how you don't do certain things. I think, ultimately in India we do use a lot off guilt culture. It's that whole going back to 'you should have known what I wanted'; 'I don't have to say I am irritated'; 'I don't have to say I am upset'. Which then leaves the other person wondering, oh my god what did I do? So I think I see more of a guilt culture. Sometimes I think we create these rules, socially, culturally, particularly moralistically that are supposed to focus on shame. So that the other person perhaps isn't doing what society doesn't want them to do. I hope we are moving away from it. I see there is a change; there is a move away.

CN: How do you see this in your work?

PK: I think what comes across is when they, particularly in cross-cultural work, there is a lot of discussion going around things. There is a lot of social activities they do and explain when they meet and greet people, and networking. It's interesting the kind of things that people will talk about at those times. I think sometimes we'll do activities like sit on the floor and say 'ok we are going to talk about one thing I didn't like in my childhood'. And then we use that as an ice break. Or 'one thing I did like in my childhood'. And it's interesting you will find someone who definitely talks about 'my parents always expected me to do a b c and I always felt bad about not being able to do, live up to this expectation.'

CN: This happens in all cultures

PK: Right.

CN: In my experience, being a professional woman, being a woman is very different in this aspect. Do you think so too? Do you see the distinction how women are seen and perceived, how shame and guilt work for woman and how it works for men? Do you see that too or you don't think so?

PK: Yes I think it works differently. I think woman feel they have to be in a certain sense more responsible for things. With men I think they feel their wives are there. Some of the burden of the household responsibilities for instance. I think even of something like smoking. I you look at the percentage of woman outside corporate smoking, compared to the percentage of men it's a telling sign. If you see there might be two women smoking, you'll see every person that is passing by would be looking at those two women who are smoking. So I think there is a sense that society has, which is about how can you do this? I don't know if those women necessarily feel that way, the shame or the guilt, because like I said, we've changed a lot, we're changing on a daily bases, with this whole globalization So I don't think the women in themselves have that feeling of shame or guilt. I have seen woman who say oh can I have a cigarette; I am going to step over that side and I'll come back. So there is obviously that whole façade of I don't want to be seen. To a certain extent. Not everywhere but..

CN: So if I ask you, like now we are exploring witness presence and cross-cultural communication is there anything you would like to add or to say?

PK: On cross cultural communication?

CN: yes

PK: I think it is an interesting time. I honestly think we can live it so much, right now the world. I think I see a lot of support when there is a crisis in one country I see a lot of support, where other countries take a stand, become involved and actually say their views. I think we can communicate that support across which is interesting and part of why we can do that is technology. I think something to watch out for though is we don't get caught up into becoming so homogeneous that we forget our own identity. I think there is something about being unique that's equally nice and maintaining that and people are bridging from that.

CN: And how do you think this uniqueness relates to when I interact as a technology system, so the technology system recognizes my uniqueness?

PK: Now that's a tough one! I don't know, I guess you'd have to create a technology system that recognized for instance accents. Do you know those voice systems that recognize voices, they don't always recognize the word, and the number, the way you would say it. You get really frustrated. So I am not sure how one can resolve that with systems, in terms of technical systems. Now, in terms of communities and societies I think we can see the beauty of what every culture brings. If it is a different accent or if it is a different way of dressing, presenting things. Enjoy that.

CN: But this is really a human view, because if I talk from the perspective of systems design, I would ask you "so, what can you not adapt to?"

PK: What could I not adapt to? As a human being?

CN: Yes, with your uniqueness

PK: As a human being I think, every human being has the potential to adapt or not to adapt to those things that can be done. Physically, I think, people have certain limitations and certain capabilities, I think everyone is different in that, but I think everyone can adapt

CN: But how do we preserve this uniqueness in global adaptation process that we are in?

PK: I think the more we learn to appreciate the uniqueness, we'll end up preserving it. The more we learn to say, we need to be getting things standardized. We let go to a certain extent, the more you get standardized, the more you let go off creativity in terms of an extent of uniqueness, I should say creativity. You don't need certain processes, you know, I will not say that you can't have certain standardized processes, I mean,.. You can't have an army without standardized processes otherwise there is going to be chaos. So you can't be so creative that every soldier thinks they are going to march together and fight battle their own way. So I do think certain processes have to be standardized, that's how it works well. So that people know where they are going. But within that, do we make room to accommodate strands that are different.

CN: Can you elaborate what can be standardized and what cannot be standardized?

PK: I think safety should not be standardized

CN: Safety?

PK: eh Safety, should be standardized, excuse me. For instance you have a disaster plan that has to be standardized so everyone knows what they are doing. I think emergency protocol all should be standardized. But when we are building something we should allow for all sorts of thoughts to come in so we can accommodate the best possible design. That is what I would say, does that make sense?

CN: In a company, for example, your clients, you say the moment there is creativity in the process, and then you should allow for input?

PK: You should, yes,

CN: But the moment you are doing standard procedures....

PK: You have to have certain standard procedures. I am going back to an earlier profession now. I used to work very closely with the emergency room for mental health services and my role there was in crisis management. It's impossible, every person is unique, but if you don't have crisis management plan, it's going to get very difficult to get the person stabilized to a certain extent. So physically you have to be able to stabilize a crisis before you get creative with solutions. So I do think you have to have a plan of if something goes wrong, plan B is.. this is the way we take. We do have to have exit plans and so people need to know those. But I think when you are discussing what could be options that's a time to be creative.

CN: Because mostly, people in crisis follow their own interest. The standardization prevents this then?

PK: I think standardization would also help because they don't know what to do and there is a crisis and they know what to do because there is a set out plan. Everyone is not creative, everyone cannot have the presence of mind in a crisis, everyone doesn't get solution focused in a crises. If you need an entire team functioning in a productive way, you do have to have a plan, how you proceed on things. So in that sense yes. But it is interesting that you say that, that in a crisis most people think of their own interest, because. I want to go back to the blast situation that just happened (ed. Mumbai Attacks). Of course this was all in emails and headlines and newspapers etc. But most people have said what's most interesting - the police, the management and so - that the hotel staff were not trained for any disaster and they all did their best to make sure that the people who came to the hotel were first protected and no one ran away. Which is why a lot of the staff lost their lives. But they didn't run away, they made sure that people were safe. So it's interesting that people in crises, sometimes a group of people will behave a certain way. Either because they are role modeling someone or they think that's the thing to do.

CN: So you think that is because of the service role they had all ready or you think this is because this is human nature?

PK: I don't know, that's an interesting question. I don't know because what the headlines said is that they weren't trained in this at all. Because no one expected something like this to happen. So all the applause to the teams, they were quite shocked that they were able to manage that.

CN: They did that very well

PK: Considering they didn't know what to do, but they did what they could do best, to keep people safe.

CN: It may say something about the management touch. That actually the management delegates responsibility and not tasks. That's a very big difference. It would be interesting to check weather this would be true.

PK: One of the persons, she said, in one of the rooms they told people, we are going to draw the curtains, one of the guys went outside, locked the door from behind, closed all the lights. They kept serving us tea and coffee, as if nothing was going on, they wanted to make sure everyone was comfortable. They must have been panic sick, for them to be able to do that would have probably been spoken of delegating responsibilities management.

CN: So anything you want to add?

PK: No, thank you for exploring with me on this journey.

CN: Thank you very much

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