Today I will try to discuss some about time, which I think interests everyone who come to India. A few days back I read an article about Monocrome (M-time) and Polycrome (P-time), which I found quite interesting. You will find the definitions here:
“M-time emphasizes schedules, segmentation and promptness. P-time systems are characterized by several things happening at once. They stress involvement of people and completion of transactions rather than adherence to present schedules” See ET Hall, Beyond culture, Ancor books New York (1981).
As you probably already have guessed, countries like Norway and Germany are denoted by working in M-time, while countries like India are denoted to be in P-time. So I have now moved from an M-time country to a P-time country. According to the article people in the P-time does things one by one, and then moves on to the next task, while people in M-time does more things at once, and they are not too worried about when to complete one task. At first when you move from one “time zone” to another, this can be quite confusing and frustrating. People will never be in meetings at time, and they will probably do other things even while they are in the meeting. Right now when I’m writing I’m supposed to be at a training session. The session should have started some five minutes ago, but not even the instructor is here…
After having been here in India for a few months now, I’m really starting to get adjusted to this, and it does not bother me that much. People in Mumbai usually tell me that life is so stressful here, but I really don’t find it that. In Norway, if you are late to a meeting, or not able to complete your things within your planned time, then you get stressed. A few days back I was in a shopping mall and the cash register had broken down. Everything had to be done manually. If this had been in Norway, people would have been stressed and shown their frustration. This did not happen in Mumbai. People were just waiting. Here, well, things will happen. At some time.
I don’t think it is correct to say that the one time zone is better than the other. In western countries I think it is a perception that Indians always deliver things too late and don’t stick to their given deadlines. That might be true to some extent, but you can be quite sure that Indians have done a lot of other things in the meantime.
You can read more about the differences in this article
What do you think? Is this observation correct or is it different?
Talk to you soon!