KEY THEMES / CONCEPTS
Norbert Kraft was the Austrian scientist on board who disagreed with the Russian interpretation of events, saying the Russian’s were only trying to protect themselves, thus a means of security. During the Russian’s dispute at the New Years Eve party, a colleague had to hide the knives in the station’s kitchen in fears they would be used as a weapon. It appears that only the Russians were involved in the misbehaviour and violence among the international team. Participants stated that they would not have joined the experiment as subjects, if they had known misbehaviour like this was going to take place. It is a security concern for the Russian subjects to protect their status, but more so for the individual participants to protect themselves against other incidents such as sexual assault.
Everyone’s first priority is to protect themselves and ensure their safety and reputation is protected, however, there may come a time when this is threatened. Having a means of security represents stability within the individual or organization. It’s important to examine the issue of security because the experiment took place in Russia, and the incident of sexual assault was conducted by a Russian. As we know, each culture places different priorities on what they consider to be a threat or concern, as Russia states… it’s “nothing” in response to kissing.
“The problem of sexual harassment is given a lot of attention in North America but less in Europe. In Russia it is even less of an issue, not because we are more or less moral than the rest of the world; we just have different priorities.”
Could this be why there was no action taken by the Russian leaders?
IBMP understands the importance of diversity in an experiment consisting of subjects from several different countries. They apply this importance by having a group of international researchers consisting of participants from Japan, Canada, and Austria (this allows for an array of different cultures). We find diversity of sex between the international participants by having a female involved in the study. Both the Austrian and Japanese researchers found having a female in their group as a favorable factor. She wanted to make the place more festive by decorating for Christmas, because she states that she is the kind of person who likes to host and entertain people. Females are typically more creative and have a greater drive to decorate than males, and this is demonstrated in this case.
Diversity of cultures is important in this experiment because it can increase a group’s creativity. For example, the international researchers made their chamber more comfortable by rearranging the furniture, adding posters, and a tablecloth. While on the other hand, the Russian researchers viewed their chamber as a place they had to endure, which resulted in a lack of creativeness. This “enduring” perspective could be influenced by their cultural background.
Diversity also causes a problem in this simulation because there was a language barrier between the participants. None of the participants spoke English as a first language but yet that was the language they spoke in. This can cause a lack of communication and make solving problems difficult. Diversity also creates the problem of interpreting situations, for example the kiss between Lapierre and the Russian Commander. The Russians responded as though this situation was nothing and even said “the female participant was too emotional”, placing the blame on her. The Commander was at fault but they did not see it that way. In Lapierre’s culture, kissing can be seen as sexual harassment but Russian scientist Vadim Gushin said “sexual harassment is less of an issue here than North America because we have different priorities”.
Throughout the entire process, from hiring to the experiment itself, there seemed to be a lack of a leadership role in place within