Home > Service Learning in Columbia > Preparations | Bogota Colombia

Preparations | Bogota Colombia

A lot can happen in just 24 hours! April 12 I received an email from Dr. Sergio Matviuk, Executive Director of Global Affairs at Regent University with an opportunity to instruct a 12-hour module on “Managing and leading a small business” in Bogota Colombia. The focus of this course would be to facilitate the teaching of entrepreneurs in the basics of management and leadership.

The email itself was not a surprise as I had already been selected as a member of a team to travel to South America. I realized as I responded to the email that this opportunity would be fluid and fast moving. Curriculum would have to be presented by April 21st;  translated into Spanish and I would have to travel May 16th through May 21st. Within 24 hours it was confirmed that I would be on my way to Bogota in about a month.

Having grown up in Southern Florida I was accustomed to the Latin culture, but what did I know about Colombia and its culture?  I had many assumptions, but I had to be sure before I ventured into another country. I needed to research the culture of Colombia and began with Geert Hofstede Analysis. The Hofstede Analysis included a review of the Power Distance, Individualism, Masculinity, and Uncertainty Avoidance.

Colombia is a considered a hierarchical society. Individuals earn respect based on age and position. In my case, I am seen as an authority and will be addressed as Professor.

Considering Geert Hofstedes analysis for Colombia we find a country that is very strong in uncertainty avoidance, large power distance, and low individualism. They hold a high concern for rules, regulations, are slow to accept changes and are risk averse. Colombia has a high level of masculinity and therefore male dominance is significant in the society and their power structures.

These cultural attributes are all important to how one develops a curriculum and presentation. I took these attributes into consideration when selecting graphics as well as text for the PowerPoint slides. These attributes were also considered when developing group activities and team building exercises.

I am very excited about my trip to Colombia and look forward to sharing my adventure and possibly even some pictures with you. There is certainly more to come.

References:

Hofstede, Geert (n.d.).  Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind: Intercultural Cooperation and Its Importance for Survival New York, McGraw-Hil. 1996 retrieved on May 2, 2012 from: http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/hofstede.htm.

Hofstede, Geert (n.d.) “Geert Hofstede – Colombia” retrieved on May 2, 2012 from: http://geert-hofstede.com/colombia.html

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Philip A Foster, MA is a 3rd year doctoral student at Regent University and is the Founder of Maximum Change, Inc. To contact Philip or for more information, visit http://www.maximumchange.com

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