Corporate memetics

© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Consulting Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available for qualified Publishers wishing to consider it for publication in English and other languages except for Italian and Arab. If you are interested in publishing or Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

Where our ideas come from, how they enter the company, and our attempts to make them survive

A healthy life (personal but also corporate) requires awareness of what beliefs, values ​​or teachings we are putting into practice, and above all recognizes the fact that they have been acquired by acculturation, have been assimilated by the surrounding environment – from family to school to religion – have “entered” and the subject himself is impregnated with it. Human beings are full of “memes“, of mental traces, ideas, beliefs, learned from other human beings (face-to-face) or from mediated sources. Even companies are full of “ideas” or “mental traces” often suffered rather than built.

Memetics – as a new discipline in the social sciences landscape – deals with how ideas or “memes” are transmitted from person to person, from group to group, as well as how genetics deals with the transmission of genes and hereditary heritages . The ideas that each of us carries have been learned by someone (in large part), and we ourselves have partly modified them, becoming bearers of memes. Who brought these ideas within us? Who brought them to the company? How did they spread? Who is a healthy carrier? Are they all good or are some of them harmful viruses?

As soon as two cultures meet, we discover that our memes are different from those of others, but in “reproductive” terms we try to replicate our own rather than accept those of others. At the center of intercultural negotiation there is not only the question of who “is right” about the details, but even the attempt to make their “memes” survive, to reproduce their own vision of things, sometimes to impose it. This behavior from the ethological point of view of the “human animal” is normal, it responds to the principles of conservation of the species. Like any animal being tries to reproduce its genes, the social being tries to reproduce its ideas (“memes”) and pass them on to others.

The concept of “memetics” (expressed by several scientists) lends itself well to studying how ideas are transmitted from person to person, from group to group, as does “genetics” with the transmission and replication of genes. Intercultural negotiation does not consist only in an encounter between different positions in detail, but in the clash between subjects carrying a different “memetic”, a different “cultural genetics” or personal heritage. There is therefore a first strong awareness that makes the intercultural negotiator more effective: the awareness of one’s own culture, of one’s active “memes”. This awareness does not mean rejection and must not automatically produce rejection of what has been learned culturally, but only and simply awareness of what has been learned (what), of the sources (from whom), and of the history of one’s learning (when).

The analysis is carried out on several levels. – On the general level of one’s own learning and acculturation. Ex:

  • What did they teach you in the family, as basic values, openly or by example? § And, in the company: what are the circulating ideas?
  • What are the dominant currents?
  • Who is its spokesperson?
  • Who entered them, since when?
  • Which are to be maintained, which are harmful?
  • Which are firm? Which do you apply occasionally?
  • Which ones do you adhere to unconditionally?
  • Which ones do you find deleterious and would you change?
  • In terms of specific behaviors and actions. Ex:
  • (for a commercial) who did you learn to sell from?
  • what did they teach you, what values ​​did they transmit to you, how were you “set up”?
  • For any manager: Has anyone taught you to relax, to think from above? What orientation towards time have you absorbed? A long-term or a short-term thought? who gave you examples from which you assimilated something? How aware are you?

© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available for any Publisher wishing to consider it for publication in English and other languages except for Italian and Arab whose rights are already sold and published. If you are interested in publishing the book in English, or in Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

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