Motivation is Motivation is Motivation

My photo of white board written by M. Li

In my management classes, I always start with definitions and quite often with the etymology of the words in the title of the lecture. For example, the word motivation is originated in latin’s MOVERE, which means to move and to push.

Being lucky enough to teach a group of Chinese master students during this semester in the course „Leadership coaching“, I asked them to translate the word MOTIVATION in Mandarin. After a certain period of discussion I was obviously not able to follow, they said, there are two possibilities to translate MOTIVATION, with two hieroglyphs respectively. One is the combination of „Stimulation & Inner Power“, another „Movement and Reason“ (s. picture).

So there was no need to explain the difference between Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivation! These two different kinds of factors are already shown as different concepts in Chinese. Is it about internal desire („Inner Power“) to achieve something or even enjoying the process (e.g. learning) itself or is it the impulse coming from outside, giving you the „Reason“ to move forwards – rewards, appreciation, money at last!

It took quite a long time in the western cultures to realize this distinction; somewhen in the 1970s, this psychological idea infiltrated the management science. And it seems that ignoring the intrinsic motivation factors, which seem to affect longer and stronger, is not „effective“. So could it be the advantage of my Chinese students to understand this distinction rather naturally, based on their language? And is it maybe one of the reasons why they are so motivated in the classes?

Intercultural Skills for Health Institutions:

Great venue for interdisciplinary intercultural workshop: bauhaus model in Dessau

Working in the health care system becomes an increasingly  multicultural experience. The following examples illustrate this claim: medical  cooperation within the NATO; “Doctors Without Borders”; medical professionals  who leave their country of origin to work in other regions, with patients (and  colleagues) from other countries and cultures.

This can cause misunderstandings, conflicts and, in the worst-case,  even errors of diagnosis or treatment mistakes. However, beyond unknown  behavioural patterns and clichés, which might cause dissent, cultures can be  compared objectively.

IKWW developed a system of intercultural interactions for people  involved in the health care system. It is based on 10 cultural dimensions – four  by the American cultural anthropologist Edward Hall and six by the Dutch social  scientist Geert Hofstede and has been measured for 91 countries. It works in all  “combinations” regardless of the cultural roots of patients, medical  professionals, doctors, medicine managers….and between doctors from different  cultures too.

The IKWW-workshop for intercultural competence is  certified by the Ärtzekammer Berlin (8 points for half a day – seems to be a  record!) and takes place in Berlin in German language. The same workshop in  English and personal coaching can be tailored to your needs and help you master  the intercultural challenges you face. Please contact us for a non-binding  consultation via email: irina<at>



Intercultural Skills for Industry and Science

Joan Miro at Palma de Mallorca: great inspiring venue of art and diversity


More than a half of international projects does not start ever or stops because of cultural dissonance between people involved

Intercultural Management does help to overcome such barriers and above this bring additional use – through the synergy of a different mode of thinking and handling.

At the end of the day, the sustainable success in any business is a matter of personal work “in-flow”, in the intercultural projects it is just more tangible.


We are convinced that the intercultural competence is needed not only by personnel which work directly with customers, partners and colleagues from other countries and cultures but also for coworkers who support all the process in the company or organization, at least the middle office (legal department, taxies, HR, QM) up to back office (billing, labs). There is no process without people, all the process has to work with an awareness of intercultural aspects.

The crucial role in the intercultural competence in the company or organization belongs to the leaders: all this is about the respect towards the people, no matter, inside or outside the company, no matter, from which cultural or and social background.


There are two principal ways to increase the intercultural competence: in a general way or specifically for the country or region of actual interest, whereas the combination of such brings mostly reliable output. Every next cultural – pair is easier to learn.

We are convinced that Continue reading “Intercultural Skills for Industry and Science”