Summer Study Abroad Series: Golden Rules

Blog by: Christopher Dequaine Christopher Dequaine 2

Today marks the fifth day of our stay in Italy and once again it did not disappoint.  With every day that passes, the more I wish I never had to leave this beautiful place.  Unfortunately, we are almost halfway done with our adventure!  Today, we covered two important items on the agenda.  The first order of business was a lecture regarding Intercultural Management.  The objective of this lecture was to better enhance our understanding of the Italian cultural values and their consequences on behaviors and relationships.  One of the key elements that we focused on was Geert Hofstede’s Five Dimensions Model and how Italy’s rank amongst each category compared to that of the U.S.  I had already researched this topic for a project beforehand so I had a general understanding of where both countries stood.  One thing that our instructor pointed out that I was unaware of prior to the lecture were some of the differences that exist between Northern and Southern Italy.  For example, those who reside in Northern Italy tend to be more individualistic, as opposed to those in the South who appear to be more of a collectivist nature.  To me, this was quite interesting because this attribute is nearly the same between the Northern and Southern states in America.  While discussing Hofstede’s Five Dimensions took up a fair amount of time, the portion of the lecture that had the greatest impact on me at the end in which she spoke of “The Golden Rules” of Intercultural Management.  These “Golden Rules” stress the importance of viewing the world with an open mind and to not let the ignorance of a few hinder your perception of other cultures.  It is important to understand the rationale behind behavior in other cultures and to show them the utmost respect.  Based on personal experience, this is one aspect of life that everyone could improve upon.

Following a short break after the lecture, we visited one of the most astounding businesses I have ever had the pleasure of seeing; the Bisazza.  The Bisazza is a well-renowned company who designs and produces luxury glass mosaic for both interior and exterior decoration.  Aside from all of the amazing works of art, Bisazza’s brand values and strategies caught my attention.  Their Christopher Dequainebrand values include modern, design, and timeless.  They believe it is extremely important to create products that are superior in design to other alternatives and ones that never lose their value.  Bisazza’s brand strategies are contributions, collections, and distributions.  These three strategies have helped lead Bisazza to the top of their industry where they plan on remaining for many years to come.  Some questions that I found myself asking were how exactly does this business work?  Where do they make their profit?  I came to find out that Bisazza actually works with their own designers and architects to construct the product that is requested by the customer.  The majority of their profit comes from projects conducted overseas, most of which occurs in the U.S.  Taking into account both the lecture and the plant tour of Bisazza, I would say that it was yet again another successful day.  I wish this trip were not going by as fast as it is, but I am looking forward to the remaining time I have left.  So far, I could not have asked for a better experience.