I made an internship in a French plant, in France, and I noticed a very specific matter. All the employees seemed to like each other, they were very nice the ones to the others. People used to eat together, and to go to each office to speak, to offer little cakes, to wish a good birthday… But on the other hand, I have often heard many employees criticizing the other ones who were not present. It was a very bad impression. Indeed, I felt very confident at the beginning of my internship, because everybody used to be very nice with me. But when I realized that fact, I felt less and less trusting in the others; they could talk about me when I was not there.
I do not know if this happens in the US, because a friend of mine who works here told me that people are very nice and do not criticize each other at all. But this experience taught me that a bad ambiance in an office does not only depend on the manager, who is usually not aware of that, but on the employees who are not frank and who do not tell you what they think of you.
I can analyze this experience thanks to the concept of ‘emotional intelligence’ that Howard Gardner talks about. The ‘relationship management’ should be developed in this company, so as to make people work together and make them understand each other.