Gioia, S. (2016). Six games to envision the company culture you want. XPLANE. https://xplane.com/six-games-to-envision-the-culture-you-want/
Anthropologist's Game is adapted from work by Geert Hoftstede.
5:35 pm 21 December 2022
I used the ‘Anthropologists Game’ (adapted from Geert Hoftstede’s work on culture) with a group of 12 third-year engineering students as an extra-credit assignment on intercultural competency. NOTE: the instructions were a little hard to find on the Xplane website as the link takes you to a page with many more links. The game is under the link: ‘Six Games to Envision the Company Culture You Want’. The students were asked to observe and analyze their culture, the undergraduate program in the School of biomedical engineering. I choose it because it seemed to be a way for the students to begin to understand the nature of culture be examining the one that they are immersed in nearly every day and likely don’t notice what it is and how it is affecting them. It is also an activity that they can do individually on their own time-limited schedule without needing to coordinate with any others. The students generally found the activity easy to complete over the course of one week (the time I allotted them). Since we had not addressed any aspects of culture in the course, I felt the activity needed some pre-work on cultural analysis. So I had them read a short essay on Hoftstede’s cultural dimensions and listen to a TED talk on cultural analysis before completing the activity. Even then a few students seemed to misunderstand the requests to look for and identify some items in their culture, e.g. heroes and legends. Most found the activity revealed fun and interesting aspects of the culture that they had indirectly noticed but not taken into account as cultural influences. This certainly heightened their ability to observe and identify cultural artifacts. The only criticism of the activity was that the ‘fillable PDF’ version that I provided them (from the website downloads) didn’t work for all students on some of their personal digital devices. Some students chose to type in the worksheet directly when they could use the fillable version, others chose to print out and complete with pen or colored marker for emphasis. I will certainly use this activity again with a few modifications. We didn’t have much time for the reflection on this activity, but it was perhaps the most useful aspect when the students could compare notes from their worksheets. I would allot more time to this reflection next time. I would also provide some more examples of artifacts and heroes, perhaps from another cultural analysis on the worksheet to help all student have better understanding of what they are looking for. Finally, I would suggest ahead of the activity that they can print out or change the format for collecting their own data as it suits them so that all students realize that they have this option.
2:18 pm 18 January 2023
I am planning to use this in a professional workshop for intercultural educators. The game is not explicitly tied to Hofstede's cultural dimensions, and it makes sense to offer some support around the kinds of cultural differences that might be explored before going into it. However, it could also be a powerful way for people in different org units to come up with their own articulations of cultural facets and compare them to learn from others and to process for themselves their own cultural preferences or for people in the same org unit to offer various perspectives on cultural norms within the same unit and get to understand each others' preferences. It's hard to locate a description of the game (see aob review below for help), and the game lacks debriefing questions. A general Thiagi debrief or variation thereof would work well.