Monkey Business 商場上動物行為的借鑒

更新時間 2012年 11月 1日, 星期四 - 格林尼治標準時間13:14

Vocabulary: management 詞匯:企業管理

A gorilla

What can we learn from monkeys' behaviour?

Do you want to understand your work colleagues better? Go to the zoo and observe the monkeys. That's the advice of the Dutch business consultant Patrick van Veen, who has biology on his CV.

He takes groups of business people around Chester Zoo in Britain and teaches them how primitive behaviour is alive and well in the workplace.

The mainly female audience attending the course nod when Mr van Veen describes how most offices have a set of dominant males, who slap each other's backs, stamp their feet and draw themselves up tall.

Watching the monkeys grooming one another, Mr van Veen emphasises the importance of this kind of supportive behaviour at work. "We spend a lot of time in chit-chat, drinking coffee with each other," he told BBC reporter Katie Prescott. "That's grooming behaviour, like primates do."

The consultant says managers might neglect to do this sometimes, but it is a vital part of keeping a happy environment in the workplace.

Exploring the similarities in behaviour between man and monkeys might be a new idea for a business, but the theory behind it is well known.

Sonya Hill, a research officer at Chester Zoo, points out that there's only a 1.4% difference in genetic material between humans and chimpanzees.

The course, held in several countries across Europe, has also given Mr van Veen the opportunity to do some observation of his own about the way different cultures react in the corporate world. He says that Germans are very hierarchical, but open-minded about changes in management style. The Dutch, according to the consultant, tend not to like change.

A visit to the zoo can prove inspiring and help people to understand the politics at play in theworkplace. So, next time you want to see who is really King Kong in your office, pay close attention to who is grooming who.

Quiz 測驗

1. What are Patrick van Veen's two careers?

He is a business consultant and a biologist.

2. Why do women nod when Mr van Veen describes behaviour in the office?

Because they think men in their office behave like dominant male monkeys.

3. What else do humans and monkeys have in common, apart from behaviour?

Genetic material.

4. Is the following statement true, false or not given? In Germany each office worker tends to make his own decisions.

False. According to Mr van Veen, Germans are very hierarchical.

5. What action is described in the article as one of praise and grooming?

To slap each other's backs.

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