Monochronic and Polychronic Time
This reading was authored to raise attention on conducting business and social activities within differing times and cultural spaces. Hall asserted that doing business with Lorenzo Hubell a trader with Hopi and Navajo involved attending various meetings to discuss commercial activities. He affirmed that, the meetings were carried out in large rooms instead of private offices. Thus, the concept of using corners of large rooms was a strategy aimed at encouraging everyone to attend the meetings. He also acknowledged that Native Americans conduct commercial activities applying differing concepts and ideas from Europeans and Americans. Thus, Hubbell a Native American from the Spanish dynasty did not conduct business like Hall had either expected or envisioned based on his European cultural origins (Edward, 1994).
As a result, Hall had to understand and agree that, a mutual involvement with Hubell would be sustained through repeated visits. The visits were conducted in New Mexico Spanish, Arab, and Latin American commercial regions. They were however affected by several systematic issues. The issues included hindered channeling and flow of information as well as management of business networks across extending societies. More importantly, he acknowledged cultural patterns across complex societies support and encourage organization of time into polychronic (P-Time) and monochromic (M-Time) (Edward, 1994).
Based on the article, Hall argued that polychronic (P-Time) and monochromic (M-Time) cannot mix. He compared the two to oil and water as these compounds never mix. He therefore explained why persons accustomed to M-Time can face psychological issues within polychronic environments. He had to provide discussions criticizing polychronic and monochronic times. Foremost, he described M-Time as a system scheduling life to enable people put focus on one thing at a particular period of time. Thus, he criticized M-Time as a system ordering life. He also affirmed M-Time regards time as something that can be lost, spent, made up, saved, or killed. Consequently, he noted human beings are occasionally preoccupied with time. However, they lack biological rhythms and creative drives as they adopt learned behaviors. M-Time regards schedules as sacrifice or opportunities encouraging people to miss out or cut short their day to day activities. As a result, professionals in philosophy, poetry, business, and medicine within monochronic cultures focus on particular fields. Consequently, their cultural spaces face interpersonal impacts (Edward, 1994).
Hall also criticized polychronic time asserting that, administrative and control measures are applied in analyzing jobs. Job analysis involves evaluating employees’ roles and responsibilities based on the amount of time required to complete the tasks. He criticized the fact that subordinates’ work schedules should not be established by junior employees as it is a tyrannical violation of individuality. He equated this mode of scheduling to invasion of roles and responsibilities. He also discussed P-Time based on men and women. For example, men cannot multitask like women. Thus, women are more likely to suffer in a monochronic system than men due to unconscious sexism of institutional structures (Edward, 1994).
He also criticized cultures within P-Time. This is because they
are natured to focus and orient with people based on monochronic cultures that
are more concerned with procedures and tasks. Hall discussed Japan as a
cultural space combining monochronic and polychronic times. He discussed the
nation as a cultural space able to conduct different activities either
commercial or social. For example, it can take photos, conduct interviews, and meet
business associates and admirers. However, it mainly relies on tight schedules such
as two hour lunch breaks to enable the dichotomy. Thus, Hall’s article was
aimed at explaining why social and commercial activities differ across various
cultural spaces facing differing time systems (Edward, 1994).
Edward, T. H. (1994). Monochronic and Polychronic Time, New York: Doubleday