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Discuss about the Fawlty Towers for BBC Television Program.

This report focus on the issue of safe space and cultural capabilities. Cultural capabilities can be defined as the skills that are needed in delivering of services in a manner that is culturally acceptable. Safe space is a place in which a person or a group of people are confident that no harm can befall them. The difference in languages found within different cultures create a barrier when it comes to communication. For this barrier to be avoid, then a safe space has to be established to ensure a peaceful interaction among people.

The aim of the report is to describe a scenario where communication is a problem between two individuals with different languages. The harm of having cultural differences is also addressed. In addition, recommendations are given in regard to barriers in communication in order to maintain a safe space.

The report covers a communication problem that is experienced in the video of Fawlty Towers, 1979. The video is about Basil a manager and an English speaker tries to correct the pronunciation of Manuel, a waiter who speaks Spanish. Basil is not able to correct Manuel and this results to them being in an unsafe space.

The video is a TV program called Fawlty Towers: Basil gives Manuel A language lesson. It was published in 2009 on June 5th. The man characters in the video are basil who is a manager and his waiter, Manuel. The scene is done in a social setting where Basil the manager asks his waiter to make the necessary arrangements in a meal that is on the trays he is carrying. Basil speaks to him in English saying, “There is too much butter on those trays.” Manuel being a Spanish speaker rephrases these works into Spanish a, “ono dos treys.” Manuel is thereafter not able to understand any of the commands given by his boss because he speaks Spanish while his boss speaks English. Basil after getting disappointed sends Manuel away while Manuel suggests to him that he should get a monkey and train it instead. 

It is observed that when basil notices there is too much butter on the trays, he asks his waiter, Manuel to change the arrangement. However, since Manuel speaks Spanish, he corrects Basil on some of his words, “ono dos treys”. Basil then tries to talk in Spanish to Manuel but nothing is understandable since his Spanish is not proper. Basil then gets agitated since his worker cannot understand his simple instructions. This scene elaborates that it is difficult for people in different cultures with different languages to communicate (Yitmen, 2012). Basil being of the English culture and Manuel being Spanish cannot understand each other and as a result they get disappointed. This puts them in an unsafe space as they cannot communicate their messages clearly.

Aim

Basil is the manager and therefore this puts him in a high position. Manuel is the waiter who helps in serving food to the guests. The size and layout of the space is a small one as it involves a small setting of a workplace where Basil is the manager and Manuel is a waiter who serves the guests. In this case, Basil shows a case of cultural intelligence since he speaks Spanish to Manuel even though he is of the English culture. However, he is not patient with Manuel with the Spanish language making him not culturally intelligent all the same. Manuel only communicates in Spanish and has no hint of English making him not culturally intelligent.

In the first scene, Basil, a manager tries to ask the waiter in a workplace to look into the matter as he has put a lot of butter in the trays that he is going to serve the guests. The waiter in this case is a Spanish speaker and therefore he tries to correct Basil in Spanish terms. Basil, the manager, noticing the difference in cultures and language shows cultural intelligence by speaking to the waiter in Spanish. Cultural intelligence is the ability of a person to effectively work and relate with other people of different cultures. It is when a person adopts the differences in cultures and is able to relate with them (Eisenberg, 2013). In this case, Basil showed the adaptation and relation with Manuel who is from a different culture. However, Manuel does not understand the Spanish spoken by Basil as it is improper even after being repeated severally to him. This results to Manuel having other interpretations of the commands by Basil since he cannot adapt to the English words of his boss due to his lack of cultural intelligence. This situation frustrates both the men and leads the space between them to be unsafe as they have no cultural respect for one another. An unsafe space means that a person or a group of people are assured that harm will be caused to them be it physical, emotional, verbal or any other form of harm (Crowne, 2013).

Basil’s assistant tries to intervene in the situation and finds out that basil was not all patient with Manuel as he was already disappointed for the lack of understanding that Manuel displayed. For this reason, Basil do not want to make any compromises with the waiter and refuses any other further talks with him. Basil’s assistant notes the inability of understanding by her boss when it comes to cultural differences and suggest to him to get a monkey and train it instead to take his orders and understand his words. If Manuel is replaced by a monkey, then there will be no problem of communication barriers between Manuel and Basil. It would take time for Manuel to adapt to the fact that his boss can speak in Spanish. Even though it is not perfect, then patient would have caused the two to understand each other. Manuel would have understood that his boss’s Spanish would not be perfect since he is not from the Spanish culture ad take time to understand what he was being sked to do. Basil on the other hand should have known that Manuel is not good in English and elaborated his orders to him but neither did this. They rushed into their own conclusions and wanted things to be done their way which is not possible when it involves two different cultures.

Scope

It is evident that both Manuel and Basil cannot work together due to their differences. In spite of the fact that they are of different cultures with different languages, they do not have respect for each other’s culture. This shows the unsafety of their space. They are not patient with each other and both portray egos that they are not willing to let down for each other’s sake and safe space (Jones, 2012). Their communication barrier is strong and no one is willing to learn from the other. In this case it is extremely difficult for them to work together.

From the analysis above, it is clear that patient is a vital tool when it comes to cultural intelligence. Patient helps in respecting other people’s culture to ensure a safe and peaceful relation. If Basil and Manuel were patient in respect to each other’s culture, then their conflict would have been resolved and they would have understood each other more clearly (Pandey & Dutta, 2013).

It is also important to stick to the original language.  Manuel having been working in the place would have learned some English names or familiar with them. In this case, he would have then maintained the conversation in English as it was started by Basil (Ascoli et al, 2012). This would have prevented any cultural disrespect and saved the two the time of argument. Manuel rephrasing Basils words in English was a low blow as Basil felt not intelligent enough and not respected as the boss.

As much as the cultural and language difference affects Manuel and Basil, they should maintain a cool and balanced behavior and not go all wild on each other especially in the workplace. This is not the case as Basil’s assistant was able to notice conflict between them.

Conclusion

The video shows a situation of how an unsafe space arose between two people due to cultural differences. It starts when Basil a manager asks Manuel, a waiter to look into a matter concerning a lot of butter in the trays. However, Manuel rephrases the words of his boss in English which agitates Basil. Manuel shows a case of lack of cultural intelligence as he uses Spanish after his boss speaks to him using English. Basil portrays cultural intelligence when he speaks Spanish to Manuel although the waiter does not understand since it is improper. However, Basil is not patient and portrays lack of cultural adoption since the waiter cannot understand him even after speaking in Spanish. To improve this situation, the two have to forget their cultural barriers and respect each other’s cultures with much patient in order to provide a safe space to do their work. 

References

Ascoli, M and Nuamh, O. (2012). The place of race and racism in cultural competence: What is to be learnt from the English experience about narratives and arguments? Transcultural  psychiatry. Pp 185-205.

Crowne, K. (2013). Cultural intelligence: An explanatory study. International journal of cross        cultural management.

Eisnberg, J. (2013). Effects of cross cultural management courses on cultural intelligence. Academy of management learning and education.

Jones, E. (2013). The role of intercultural experiences in the development of transferable skills.Public money and management.

Pandey, S and Dutta, A. (2013). Role of knowledge infrastructure capabilities in knowledge  management. Journal of management of knowledge. Pp 435-453.

Spiers, B. (1979). Fawlty Towers, communication problems, handling complaints, season 2  episode 1. BBC TV program. Retrieved on Feb 19th from:      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_cDmwlbVkg

Yitmen, I. (2012). Organizational cultural intelligence. Project management journal.

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