BBC Learning English 英语教学

Vocabulary: management 词汇:企业管理

Monkey Business 商场上动物行为的借鉴

What can we learn from monkeys' behaviour?

Do you want to understand your work colleagues better? Go to the zoo and observe the monkeys. That's the advice of the Dutch business consultant Patrick van Veen, who has biology on his CV.

He takes groups of business people around Chester Zoo in Britain and teaches them how primitive behaviour is alive and well in the workplace.

The mainly female audience attending the course nod when Mr van Veen describes how most offices have a set of dominant males, who slap each other's backs, stamp their feet and draw themselves up tall.


Watching the monkeys grooming one another, Mr van Veen emphasises the importance of this kind of supportive behaviour at work. "We spend a lot of time in chit-chat, drinking coffee with each other," he told BBC reporter Katie Prescott. "That's grooming behaviour, like primates do."

The consultant says managers might neglect to do this sometimes, but it is a vital part of keeping a happy environment in the workplace.

Exploring the similarities in behaviour between man and monkeys might be a new idea for a business, but the theory behind it is well known.

Sonya Hill, a research officer at Chester Zoo, points out that there's only a 1.4% difference in genetic material between humans and chimpanzees.

The course, held in several countries across Europe, has also given Mr van Veen the opportunity to do some observation of his own about the way different cultures react in the corporate world. He says that Germans are very hierarchical, but open-minded about changes in management style. The Dutch, according to the consultant, tend not to like change.

A visit to the zoo can prove inspiring and help people to understand the politics at play in theworkplace. So, next time you want to see who is really King Kong in your office, pay close attention to who is grooming who.

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