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Cultural intelligence, self-awareness and capability


Cultural intelligence, self-awareness and capability all make up to form the essentials requirements that are needed to create safe spaces. Safe spaces have a different meaning for different people. People may either take it up as safe place for women to work independently or even consider the place safe as their job would be secured if they keep delivering good aspects and create good impression at work(Quappe and Cantatore, 2005).This report here aims to show how safe spaces at work come in the form of disguise. Many employees tend to ignore such blessings as they do not understand the worth initially but gradually understand it better. The video that I have selected to prepare this report is that of the Friends Series Season 4 Episode 9. The scene relates to the idea that Rachel’s boss doesn’t want to lose her. Rachel is the main protagonist here(The One Where Rachel's Boss Doesn't Want to Lose Her - Friends Season 4, 2013).There are multiple scenes that I’ll be discussing here in this report. Firstly, the interview scene, it is also the beginning scene for the video and secondly the scene following that where Rachel confronts she is leaving job since her boss doesn’t find her fit enough to work in the office. Later scenes are also included in the report where the boss assures that the reason why she has created a negative image of Rachel in front of the organizational head is so that her boss can retain her in her own department. This does define another aspect of cultural workplace where safe space is explained in a unique manner.

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Summary and Observations

The name of the TV show whose report is being presented here is called Friends. The scene is taken from Season 4 and Episode 9. The setting of the scene is at Rachel’s workplace. Here there are four characters who are conversing. Three of them namely Rachel’s boss Johanna, Purple and one more elderly senior member of the organization is present in the scene. All are taking Rachel’s interview which seems to be more of a job position promotion interview. The beginning scene is where Rachel’s interview takes place(Growing up a Third Culture Kid, 2011).Rachel proudly admits that Johanna has been a good mentor to her. In turn, Johanna keeps blabbing out the flaws which Rachel has and the petty work she does such as bringing in coffee and bagel for Johanna each morning. Rachel is actually Johanna’s assistant in office. Rachel though contradicts saying that she does take up more responsibilities instead of just performing activities. The senior member of the organization who takes their interview is happy with the performance of Rachel and comments positively on how well she maintains the folders in the office which shows her capability of handling important documents safely.

The behaviour showcased in the beginning interview scene is good and very professional. Safe workplace scenario is showcased here. Cultural safety issues as such is not present and things are all good safe. In the second scene where Rachel speaks to her boss Johanna regarding the interview, the tone of her boss looks somewhat like a satire. Her body language and the way she talks is also inclined towards being rude. She invites Sophie in the room saying Rachel is making her uncomfortable. And when Sophie admits there isn’t anything of that sort that she is asked to leave the room mentioning Sophie is good for nothing. Words and behaviour like this my even force an individual to think that such workplace is not safe at all. There is lack of cultural intelligence as displayed by Johanna since she insulted Rachel as well as Sophie, two of her subordinates in the office. Any employee will not tolerate such an insult and would rather develop a kind of disinterest towards their boss. Layout of the office is good, and it does look safe. Rachel is seen having her own cubicle where she works, and her boss Johanna too has her own room from where she operates and commands everyone(Brislin, Worthley and Macnab, 2015).On the contrary, in the last scene it does seem that the workplace is a safe one since Johanna has her own unique way of focusing on Rachel as the one who is perfect for her organization and someone whom she doesn’t want to lose at any cost.


Cultural safety is defined as a policy that ensures respect for social and cultural differences that form as the provision of health and education services. It is somewhere related to cultural awareness and cultural competence(NATSIDAG- facilitator guide Cultural Safety, 2017).Cultural safety is responsible in building up a socially and emotionally safe organization that can challenge and assault one’s identity. On the other hand, cultural intelligence is something that an outsider can naturally define and even has the ability to interpret the unfamiliar and ambiguous gestures. People have the capacity to relate their work with that of how an ideal workplace should be. Cultural intelligence also relates to how well the senior officials in the organization can work effectively in diverse cultural conditions(Earley & Mosakowski, 2004). Cultural capability refers to the skills, knowledge and behavioural system through which people plan, improve, support and deliver services in a culturally respectful and appropriate manner("Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Capability", 2017). Cultural capability has effects that help it in improving the outcomes that have holistic workplace for safety in employees as their main goal(Cultural Capability Matters, 2016).

Now that we have understand what these terms mean, lets relate them to the scenes that we have noticed in the season 4 episode 9 of Friends. In the beginning of the scene, the elderly man taking Rachel’s interview showcases a positive side to how the interview in a professional workplace should be conducted. He perfectly describes what cultural safety is all about. Defining the importance of culturally significant people and improving their skills is all that employees need. By praising the employees for their effort and hard-work, not only makes the employeesconfident but also helps in making them understand and retain themselves in the organization. Rachel said even though her job is tough, and she has to stay involved with the designers but still she is happy for what she does(Flanja, 2009).

Her boss Johanna on the other hand lacks cultural intelligence in the first scene. Here, she goes on to insult and make fun of her subordinate continuously. She kept on pointing the negative aspects of keeping Rachel in the organization. And that she is only good for bringing in morning coffee and bagel for Johanna, etc(Rand, 2017).She also blamed Rachel for drinking and binging on and getting overfriendly with her clients whenever she goes for a business meeting. Johanna said that it is not good for her to form personal relationship with the designer clients but rather keep it only to professional level.

In the later scenes, Rachel is upset with whatever has happened in the interview scenes and therefore she becomes upfront and says that she is leaving, will pack up her desk and leave the office by the end of the day. She then corrects her statement and mentions that her presence is not even required for the entire day, therefore she is about to leave immediately. This when Johanna showcase cultural safety and capability where she mentions her reason for showcasing Rachel as a negative employee in office. Johanna assures that she said all this just to keep Rachel intact as her assistant in office and bribes her with an individual office cabin, she will create a separate job position for Rachel and give her an expense account too where she can claim all her individual expenses along with other needs. This is an absolute picture shown about cultural capability as the employees get lured with lot of things that would help him or her to stay in the organization for the better.


Johanna shouldn’t have shown a negative image of Rachel in front of the senior organization members during the interview. This resulted in low morale esteem of Rachel and is definitely not a clear picture that Rachel would ever want to show to her colleagues and senior officials in office. Instead of showing a negative image of Rachel, Johanna should have portrayed the positive aspects of the character, praise Rachel for all her efforts at workplace such as meeting with designer clients or even something that is as petty as brining in coffee and bagel for her boss Johanna. It is always recommended as well as suggested that senior employee officials must take in all responsibilities to praise the employees and keep their confidence high. Since once the employee starts losing interest at the workplace, then he or she may not like to do anything as such which also includes surviving forcefully in a culturally unsafe workplace.

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Summary & Conclusion

The main idea of this report where video summary has been showcased was to enhance the importance of culturally safe workplace or safe space as it defines. The video was very good and one could understand how a good manager can go beyond limits just to save his or her employee with whom they are comfortable to work with. Culturally safe space is what all employees look for and this is what our protagonist Rachel was also looking for at the end of the scene. After talking to Johanna, she was calm and happy. Therefore, she plans to stay back in the organization.


  1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Capability. (2017). Queensland Government. Retrieved 21 October 2017, from
  2. Brislin, R., Worthley, R. and Macnab, B. (2015). Understanding Behaviours that serves people's goals. pp.1-14.
  3. Cultural Capability Matters. (2016) (1st ed., pp. 2-5). Retrieved from
  4. Earley, P., & Mosakowski, E. (2004). Cultural Intelligence. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 21 October 2017, from
  5. Flanja, D. (2009). Culture Shock in Intercultural Communication. Journal of History of Ideas, pp.1-18.
  6. Growing up a Third Culture Kid. (2011). Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, pp.29-42.
  7. NATSIDAG- facilitator guide Cultural Safety. (2017) (1st ed., pp. 1-2).
  8. Quappe, S. and Cantatore, G. (2005). What is Cultural Awareness, anyway? How do I built it?. pp.1-3.
  9. Rand, I. (2017). Cultural Intelligence: The Essential Intelligence for the 21st Century (pp. 1-5). SHRM Foundation-Effective Practice Guidelines Series.
  10. The One Where Rachel's Boss Doesn't Want to Lose Her - Friends Season 4. (2013). Retrieved from

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