Beeing a complete newcomer in the area of law and legal issues listening to the brief talk of Doris Kiendl-Wendner in Week 2: Legal Cultures of the cope14 challenged my assumptions about legal systems and made me reconsider my opinion on law inforcement.
It has been very interesting to learn about the civil law tradition, historically originating by the Roman Empire, and the case law tradition, originating in England. My understnading of law so far, was the one of the civil law, and it is very new to me to think about law in a more subjective, or more individual way, like in the case law tradition (at least this is how I understand case law after following discussions and comments in the course so far). I was surprised in the beginning, because law was something very solid and not at all flexible in my mind so far, but it makes perfectly good sense to me, now that I got to think about it differently.
Suddently I thought of law inforcement in a new way: If you are realy thirsty and someone gives you an icecream, just because everybody got an iecream, that doesn’t meet your needs nor is it making the system more fair for the others. Equality doesn’t mean “everyone gets exactly the same”, regalrdless of the specific situations and diverse individual needs.
My case in Austria in 2001 as briefly as I can get it: an austrian administrator at the university refused my application for further studies in the department of psychology. He explained to me that they only accept applications from persons who already have an admition for the specific study degree in their home countries. My problem was that I already had a bachelors degree from the UK, which was not my “home country” – I am greek and Greece would make my life very difficult in order to offer me a study place at that point. This law was adapted in the year 2005, when Austria decided to adopt the european system and encourage student mobility. By then I had graduated a masters degree in the UK, had returned to Austria and was working as a researcher in one of its universities.
If Austria had a case law tradition, how would my life look like now?
A better understanding of cultural diferences just became one my learning goals for my participation in the #cope14 MOOC.
Rupert Beinhauer, facilitator of the #cope14, introduced the group to the 7 dimensions of culture by Fons Topenaars and initiated a group activity about cultural differences in perception using advertisements.
As part of the activity I posted a US car advertisement on Google+, that I remembered seeing in the past, because it was one that I realy found iritating and very annoying. Why was that? And what will be the reaction of the group?
Further reading about the different cultural dimensions brought me to the 5th dimension of Achievement Versus Ascription, relating on how people view status. The culture I come from (Greece) and live in (Austria) would fall in the category of ascription:
People believe that you should be valued for who you are. Power, title, and position matter in these cultures, and these roles define behavior.
The US falls in the category of achievement:
People believe that you are what you do, and they base your worth accordingly. These cultures value performance, no matter who you are.
What do you think? Could there be another of the 7 dimensions, that also plays a role in this case? Do other participants find the ad iritating? If yes, why do you think it is so?
I have signed up for the MOOC #cope14, a Massive Open Online Course on various Issues around Global Collaboration. The course starts on 22. of April (next week already) and will run for 6 weeks.
The first week is a welcoming week, as I understand a chance to get to know the way this course works, to organise and plan own learning activities, and to get to know (some) of the other participants. It would be great to get the chance to exchange with people from so many different countries.
The next 4 weeks concentrate on issues of legal cultures, business in emerging markets, relationshiops and networks in business to business marketing, as well as international communication and negotiation. Many of the terms mentioned in the introductions of the topics are new to me, since I was never interested in business or law. I have always been interested in communication though and thats why I look forward to find out how the different topics will fit together and what I am about to learn. Who knows? After this course I might be able to say: I am interested in business and law! This will be a significant learning achievement of the course.
The last week will be a week to sum up everything and consider how the new ideas fit into what I already know and to where I want to go. I guess…
Thats my understanding of what will happen in the course and look forward to next week.