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Task: Write a formal report to observe and analyse whether characters in a video scenario (from the choices given below) are showing effective cultural capabilities and maintaining a culturally safe space. Also, recommend how effective cultural capabilities of the characters in the video could be improved.

Task details

The report should:

  • Summarise and describe observations of the interactions related to aspects of cultural capabilities in the video clip.
  • Analyse (with formal references) the safe and unsafe aspects of the scenario,  including the physical location and interactions between actors.
  • Provide recommendations for creating or sustaining this video scenario as a culturally safe space.
  • Be written in a formal tone - avoid personal language, contractions and slang. (For more information, see link to formal writing in the Assessment Tasks Overview Summary Table.)

In the early part of the sequence of events, Jane displayed a high level of cultural intelligence by adjusting her behaviour with direct eye contact and using a calm tone of voice as soon as she became aware that her patient had never been in a hospital before. This had an instant effect on the patient who visibly relaxed and began to talk. This is an excellent example of what Brislin, Worthley and McNab (2006, p. 40) define as cultural intelligence or the ability to adjust to another culture. Jane showed she was reading the other person’s uncomfortable body language and adjusted her approach appropriately to make the patient feel safe in that new place. This is one way that her cultural capability in her role as a hospital registrar is relevant in making the patient feel safe as they enter the hospital.

This example shows how the student has:

  • Identified an example of cultural intelligence from the video clip
  • Integrated a definition of cultural intelligence from one of her readings
  • Explained how the behaviour in this example relates to the definition and the broader question for the report


Due to the advent of technology, travelling and international business deals have become highly common in nature and due to this it is very important for an individual to ensure that they are  aware of the of the different exclusivities of different cultures in order to ensure that their dealings turn out to be positive in nature (Appadurai, 2013). This can be stated to be the case especially for the expatriates and international students who often have to visit different countries and ensure that they are being able to connect with the audience present (Van Dyne, Ang & Tan, 2017). This is always considered to be the cultural capabilities which assist a person to adjust in various situations. In the same way, the report will discuss the concept of a safe place behind which a person tends to feel protected in the dynamic environment. The primary objective of the report is to understand how cultural capabilities can be applied in various situations.

The main purpose of the report is to analyze the theories related to cultural capability and understand it better with the help of an example. The report is built upon a video which is from a clip from the iconic show F.R.I.E.N.D.S and helps in understanding how the knowledge of the cultural capability assists in various situations. Theoretical concepts shall also be applied.

The scope of the paper is based on one of the episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S show which involves one of the main leads and the problems which she faces during an interview. The clip has been taken from the fourth season of the show and portrays a perfect example of how an unsafe space can spoil the consequences of an individual (Livermore & Soon, 2015). 

The chosen clip belongs to the fourth season, of the TV Series and specifically from the seventh episode. The clip is of an approximate duration of 5 minutes but serves as a good example of how the creation of the unsafe space might have an impact on the employees and other related candidates (Bruhn, 2005). The show is about six friends who live in New York and go through various good as well as bad times. The name of the episode from where the clip has been taken from is named as `The one where they go to a party`. The main characters as involved in the clip are Rachel, her boss and two other interview panelists. However, the second half of the clip shows only Rachel and her boss Joanna in a serious conversation. This episode shows how Rachel`s boss does not want to lose her as an assistant.

The given observations have been made from the given clip:

  • It can be reflected that not only was Rachel excited for the interview but also a bit nervous as she wanted to do well for her career. Hence, as she already knows one of the panelists, she thought that Joanna would be supportive for her and help her to get the job.
  • However, this was not the case and in reality Joanna did not assist her and instead tried to sabotage her image (Chen & Lin, 2013).She mentioned in front of the panelists that she was quite clumsy, often came to office drunk and did not perform her work well.
  • Rachel felt attacked and came under an unsafe situation. Another reason why the scenario became quite dangerous for her is because all the other leads were in a higher position and were more inclined to listen to Joanna rather than her.
  • This treatment made Rachel feel secluded and when later on she understand the scenario and reflect a good knowledge of cultural intelligence by trying to change the situation in her favor.

For better understanding and examination, the scene can be analyzed in two halves. The first half is the interview scenario and the second half is the scene between Joanna and Rachel. In the interview, being in an intimidating position, Rachel was nervous, but then, when she was faced by the betrayal of her Boss she was taken back and saw her failure (Quappe & Cantatore , 2005). She lacked cultural capability in the case and failed to take advantage of the situation at large which as stated by Mor, Morris, and Joh (2013), leads to poor consequences.


In the second half of the scene, Rachel was distressed and understood the primary intentions of Joanna and becomes very anxious. However, Joanna reflects cultural intelligence by calming her down and turning an explicit exit into a tenure (Earley & Mosakowski, 2004). 

The communication in the given scenario tends to begin on a positive note whereby the different panelists tend to remain very interested in Rachel`s profile as an executive, however, later on the communication tends to fail as Joanna spoils her image and from this point onwards the communication becomes rather one sided and they no longer want to listen to what Rachel wants to say. In the same manner, Rachel is unable to argue with Joanna or the panelists and this thereby places her in a dilemma. As agreed by the theory of Chao, Takeuchi and Farh (2017), the interview environment became highly critical and quite unsafe for Rachel and hence, she could not adjust.

Cultural shock is a situation whereby a person exposed to conditions which tend to surprise them and hence, the behavior as displayed by them is quite different to the one which they usually display. As Rachel had expected a certain kind of behavior from Joanna, she felt taken back and was in a cultural shock when Joanna went behind her back and sabotaged her image. This caused her an ultimate shock and Rachel was unable to support herself.

The change in dynamics means a change in a business situation which took place at the latter half of the report whereby Rachel confronted her boss and she had to confess that due to the efficiency of her performance, Joanna did not want to lose her which thereby caused her to spoil her image. This confession changed the dynamics of the scenario and put Rachel than a higher position than that of her boss (Bonerz, 1997). Rachel was in a fury and was about to resign when Joanna reflected cultural intelligence by calming her down and promising her to give her a better position in the firm itself.  This can be stated in agreement to the statement of Ott and Michailova (2018), which states that when a person is culturally aware and intelligent they are able to make changes in the situation accordingly and turn it to the best of their advantage.

When the situation was against Rachel in the first half of the video clip, it was reflected that her body language was quite nervous and that her hands were clasped and she was being dominated and harassed by the allegations of her boss. Her body language reflected what she was actually feeling inside and due to this, the interviews did not believe her case. The second half of the act shows her in a dominating position whereby she was appalled by her boss`s backstab. Here Joanna`s body language, has changed and she seems to be pleading to Rachel as to request her not to leave (Holley & Steiner, 2005). Her body language reflects her state of mind where she is scared of losing out on a potential employee like Rachel.

Summary and Observations

In the entire video clip, it needs to be mentioned, that Joanna was the only character who reflects cultural awareness of the different surroundings. In the interview round, Joanna understood the points whereby they would not like Rachel and also understood how to manipulate the situation in her favor. She came to the conclusion that if she had to retain Rachel in the firm she would be required to sabotage her image and hence, she did that. Her capabilities reflected in her manipulative behavior and her understanding of the different situations and scenario.  Even in the second half of the scene, she knew that she was required to ensure that Rachel had to be calmed down and had to be given a lucrative offer which would make her stay in the firm for a longer time frame. According to Brislin, Worthley and Macnab (2006), when an individual is able to take advantage of any situation, it reflects true cultural capability as well as intelligence.

Hence, it would be right to state that when a person is not able to handle a particular situation adequately, they might be made to feel in an unsafe situation whereby they feel exposed and uncomfortable which results in a future loss for them in the long run (Russell, 2011). In the given video of the television series, Joanna in the beginning showed awareness of the interview ethics and procedure and disrespected Rachel which then led to the panel rejection for Rachel. This aspect greatly upset Rachel who was unable to stand for herself and it shows that how Rachel was unable to portray cultural capability (Erez et al., 2013). Had Rachel been a bit more aware of Joanna`s plan at the given interview, she could have avoided the embarrassment.  From this it is recommended that in order to ensure success in the long run, it is important for an individual to have an acute knowledge of cultural intelligence and awareness which can then prevent them from entering the unsafe space. For this reason, an expatriate, or a student or an employee like Rachel needs to understand that for their long term welfare, they need to become smarter and twist the situation in their favor.

Summary and Conclusion

Therefore, from the paper it can be inferred that safe space plays a major role in assuring that an individual does not feel discriminated against or targeted and is provided with adequate respect. When an individual is made to feel safe, then they feel valued. The video from the TV series F.R.I.E.N.D.S showed how Rachel was exposed without any predication and that she was made to feel like a smaller person.  Moreover, her boss Joanna served as a great example of how cultural capability as well as awareness can help a person to change the situation in their favor at large. In both the parts of the video, her boss took over the situation and achieved her goals. Hence, it is recommended in the paper to develop ones cultural capability and awareness.


Appadurai, A. (2013). The future as cultural fact. Essays on the Global Condition. London and New York: Verso.

Bonerz, P. (Director). (1997, Dec 11). Friends, The One They’re Going to a Party (Rachel’s Boss Doesn’t want to lose her), Season 4 Episode 9. (Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television). Retrieved from

Brislin, R., Worthley, R., & Macnab, B. (2006). Cultural intelligence: Understanding behaviors that serve people’s goals. Group & Organization Management, 31(1), 40-55.

Bruhn, J. G. (2005). Culture-brain interactions. Integrative Physiological & Behavioral Science, 40(4), 243-254.

Chao, M. M., Takeuchi, R., & Farh, J. L. (2017). Enhancing cultural intelligence: The roles of implicit culture beliefs and adjustment. Personnel Psychology, 70(1), 257-292.

Chen, M. L., & Lin, C. P. (2013). Assessing the Effects of Cultural Intelligence on Team Knowledge Sharing From a Socio?Cognitive Perspective. Human Resource Management, 52(5), 675-695.

Earley, P. C., & Mosakowski, E. (2004). Cultural intelligence. Harvard business review, 82(10), 139-146.

Erez, M., Lisak, A., Harush, R., Glikson, E., Nouri, R., & Shokef, E. (2013). Going global: Developing management students' cultural intelligence and global identity in culturally diverse virtual teams. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 12(3), 330-355.

Holley, L. C., & Steiner, S. (2005). Safe space: Student perspectives on classroom environment. Journal of Social Work Education, 41(1), 49-64.

Livermore, D., & Soon, A. N. G. (2015). Leading with cultural intelligence: The real secret to success. Amacom.

Mor, S., Morris, M. W., & Joh, J. (2013). Identifying and training adaptive cross-cultural management skills: The crucial role of cultural metacognition. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 12(3), 453-475.

Ott, D. L., & Michailova, S. (2018). Cultural intelligence: A review and new research avenues. International Journal of Management Reviews, 20(1), 99-119.

Quappe, S., & Cantatore, G. (2005). What is cultural awareness, anyway? How do I build it. Retrieved July, 17, 2008.

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Van Dyne, L., Ang, S., & Tan, M. L. (2017). Cultural intelligence. Oxford University Press.

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