Coffee? Tea?

Hello dear friends.

All good things must come to an end. We are now in our final week of our class called Tvärkulturell Retorik A1. It’s been a very interesting and inspiring class we must way. We really appreciate all the help that we received from the Stanford students during our video conferences. And for our Russian friends, the case study on IKEA was amazing and we learned so much about how companies work in Russia.

Our groups last and final assignment focused on what we in Sweden call ”kaffepaus” or ”fika”, wich would translate into something similar to a coffeebreak. However, during our study we found that this ”coffeebreak” is more than just sitting down and having a cup of coffee. It’s actually very important to us Swedes. We wanted to find out how important it was and also compare it to another country, so we choosed Great Britain.

To start with, we wanted to get a nice overview on how much coffee and tea the Swedes and British people consumed, and also what it meant to them to be able to drink coffee or tea at their workplace. So we asked 15 young Swedish students/workers and 15 young British students/workers five questions each. The questions that we asked the students were as followed:

1: How much coffee or tea do you drink every day?
2: How important is it for you to be able to drink coffee or tea at your workplace?
3: How important is it that your boss provides you with free coffee or tea?
4: How much do you think the quality of your work would improve if you were provided tea or coffee regularly?
5: How many cups of coffee or tea do you drink every day?

The students who participated in our survey were given a choice to answer on a scale from one to five where number one was “not very important” or “not very much” and five was “very important” or “very much”. On the last question we had a rating scale where you could answer that you either drank zero cups of coffee or tea, more than seven cups of coffee or tea, or anywhere in between.

When our surveys was completed we found out that there were some big differences between us Swedes and the British people. To start with, us Swedes on average drank more coffee and tea than the British people did. We also found out that it’s very important for us Swedes to receive free coffee or tea at our workplaces. The Swedes who participated in the survey also believed that regular intake of coffee and tea would increase the overall quality of your work.

The British people however didn’t agree. Only one British person who participated in our survey thought that it was important that you were provided free coffee and tea at your workplace. Almost everyone else who answered our survey in Britain thought it was not very important.

What we learned the most during this assignment was how wonderful the internet is. It was very easy for us to find Swedes to fill out our survey, since we live here (duh!). However, we could not travel to Great Britain to ask the British people to fill out our survey, so we posted our survey on one of the biggest social news sites: Perhaps you have heard about it? Anyway, the British members of this social news site were happy to fill out our survey, thus we got answers from both Swedes and British people without really having to go through too much struggle.

In conclusion: If you in the future run a company and you happen to have Swedes as employees, make sure to provide them with coffee or tea. Oh, and it has to be free 🙂

// Robert Eriksson & Johan Påhlman

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