You have a request to a colleague in a different department which is in another country. Essentially, she must do some work for you and send you the results. You have written an email, with background details and clear instructions. Your request is not unusual and in the normal scope of her position.
You address the email to your colleague. Do you include her manager and your manager in the cc?
Scenario A: No, I will not include either manager on cc. We only include the manager if there is a real problem, and currently I am just making a request. My manager could be annoyed by the overload of information if included on all correspondence with other colleagues.
Scenario B: Of course include my manager and my colleague’s manager. How else can we keep them informed? Then the managers have an idea of how the communication is flowing and the work is progressing.
Scenario C: Since I want to ensure the my colleague does the work, I will include her manager. If not, my colleague might ignore my request since it was not important enough to include her manager.
Different Points of View
Scenario A: This scenario is generally the mindset of a more egalitarian culture in which employees are empowered to make commitments for their own work. Employees generally provide regular updates (ie., weekly) to their managers, and that is enough to keep the manager informed. Although the manager and employee are in the same department, they generally work independent of each other.
Scenario B: The managers in this scenario have a more active role in the work of the department. They believe inherent in the position of the manager is a more advanced level of knowledge, political savvy and broad experience, which helps the employee. The manager and employee work in an integrated manner, which guarantees the employee is working on the right thing and receives the support she needs.
Scenario C: The underlying assumption is the manager has the power to make things happen by telling the employee to do the work. More than that, the employee only does the work that the boss tells her to do. These cultures tend to be hierarchical, and the manager has the vision, strategy , political savvy and knows what work is necessary, and not, to reach the goals. This is a way to ensure the employee works on the items that should be done and does not waste time.
Culture Cubes are common generic scenarios to trigger reflection on different perspectives. They are not meant to encourage stereotyping or labeling.