Post #5: Reflecting on Communication Differences

In my last discussion post, I discussed the country report I wrote for my supervisor as a proof of concept for an undergraduate activity. When I showed Mr. Gillanders—my supervisor, France’s completed country report, he was very pleased with my work and expressed his plan to incorporate it as an undergraduate activity. 

As my next project, he advised the need for me to research some corruption related topics. Specifically, he wanted me to use Google Scholar and look for good resources involving corruption’s relationship with artificial intelligence and behavioral kleptocracy. After he told me what I’d be researching, I was confident on my acuity to research corruption and artificial intelligence. However, I needed more clarity on behavioral kleptocracy because of my unfamiliarity with the subject. Though, I could infer some meaning of the topic because I know what a kleptomaniac is, and the words have the same prefix. A kleptomaniac is someone with an impulse control disorder that results in an irresistible urge to steal. 

Mr. Gillanders explained the basis of behavioral kleptocracy to me: it’s a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population. Furthermore, he offered Vladimir Putin’s regime of Russia as an example of this. After this explanation was given to me, I was quickly intrigued because it was an unexplored concept for me.

First, I started my research with corruption and behavioral kleptocracy. As I was conducting my research, I noted how fewer resources there were regarding this topic in comparison to the research I’ve done before with corruption and food insecurity. Clearly, it was a less investigated subject in corruption studies. Also, there was one text, “Gangster States: Organized Crime, Kleptocracy and Political Collapse,” appearing consistently. I gathered the impression most of the articles stemmed from the text. Overall, I thought the concept of corruption and behavioral kleptocracy was interesting; however, there weren’t many relevant resources to explore. 

As I started my research with corruption and artificial intelligence, I noticed there was a considerable amount of more resources in comparison to behavioral kleptocracy. This made sense since artificial intelligence is so popular in today’s modern world. At the same time, many questions regarding artificial intelligence remain unanswered, leaving more room for examination and query. 

Once I completed my research of the two topics, I sent my findings to Mr. Gillanders, and we reviewed it in our next meeting. In this meeting, I informed him on the thoughts I had while studying corruption and behavioral kleptocracy—there was one very popular text which seemed to revolve around most articles and after about two or three pages on Google Scholar, the relevancy of the subject started to decrease. In response, he saw this as a good thing. In the world of professional academia, you want to be conducting your research on the undiscovered, making your findings more valuable to society.

Regarding the communication scale, I admittingly conducted some research on the difference between low-context and high-context…I don’t believe I’ve heard such terms before. After a simple Google search, I gathered low-context communication is communication with little left to inference. Even if unaccustomed to the cultural context, the addressee is keen to comprehend the communicated information. In juxtaposition, high-context communication means a large amount of information is implied rather than explicit.

Since my host country is Ireland, there was no language barrier between my supervisor and me. Furthermore, most of our communication was in low context, leaving little need for deduction. I’m very grateful of this because I’m no maestro in any language other than English. While pondering my experience, I believe communication is one of the stronger components within my supervisor and I’s dynamic. I enjoy my conversations with him, and any problems or misunderstandings are quickly resolved. For example, one situation of miscommunication involved my first research project concerning corruption and food insecurities. With each research article, he asked me to note how they studied corruption and how they measured it. When he first assigned this task to me, he didn’t really explain what fashion to measure corruption in and additionally, I failed to ask. After presenting my findings to him, it was clear I hadn’t included the customary measurement familiar to economics. When this was made obvious, he presented how corruption is usually measured either quantitively or qualitatively. Once he explained this to me, the concept of how corruption is measured quickly clicked for me because I’m familiar with such terms from statistics classes. Clearly, this instance was the first one which came to mind when thinking of times of miscommunication amid my experiences thus far. Undoubtedly, instances of communication allow for reflection and the answers to avoid moments of miscommunication in the future.