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OPS Cultural Barriers

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Brendon Goh

on 18 May 2013

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Transcript of OPS Cultural Barriers

Understanding Cultural barriers Delegates to understand that there is more to culture than meets the eye.

Delegates to understand that cultural shock is normal, have appropriate expectations and tools for addressing it. Session Objectives Thinking Culture? A model Adapted from: Guy Rocher, Introduction à la sociologie générale, Tome 1, 1969 Doing Feeling Lifestyles Methods Institutions Laws and customs Rituals Language Norms Roles Beliefs Philosophy Ideology Values Tastes Attitude Desires Assumptions Expectations Deep Culture Evident Culture Food Music Dance Concept of Time Non-Verbal Communication Patterns of Handling Emotions Notions of Leadership Ideals of Child rearing Courtship Practices Concept of “self” Nature of Friendships ‘... we need to become more aware of the cultural basis of our own behaviours, perceptions, beliefs, and values. This enables us to see an interaction from a cultural perspective. It is not just the other person who is displaying culture-specific attitudes and behaviours; we are also doing just that’ (Peter Putnis & Roslyn Petelin, ‘Professional Communication – principles and applications’, Prentice Hall, Sydney, 1996, p.76). Culture shock is...normal. You may feel: What are some evident and more
importantly, deep cultural features that
YOU possess? ACTIVITY Freak! confusion insecurity disorientation Most people will experience some form of "shock" Heightened irritability



Need for more sleep than normal

Withdrawal from social activities

Compulsive eating or loss of appetite

Stereotyping of and hostility towards host nationals

Lack of energy Common Symptoms iT CAN vARY in Duration INTENSITY and FoRm What could cause it? Loss of familiar cues

A breakdown of interpersonal communication

An identity crisis exaggerated by cultural differences The road to Acculturation Adapting to a new culture without
losing existing identity Honey Moon Stage New discoveries Differences between the old and new culture are seen in a romantic light Excitement! Culture Shock Stage Excitement gives way to unpleasant feelings!
Recurring unfavorable events
Language barriers Adjustment Stage Growing accustomed
Developing routine
'Seen it...' attitude Acculturation! You've made it! Comfortable with differences Embrace yourself Feeling confident Barriers to Cross-cultural Communication Observation skills
- Behavior, interaction, body language
- Mirror and match greetings, body language etc...

Appreciate differences
- Time keeping - India: relaxed (focus on personal relationship) vs. Switzerland and Japan (time oriented);
- Northern Europe: fact based negotiation vs. Italy: emotion

Don’t assume stereotypes

- Respect the individual as an individual


- Different understanding in communication Barriers to cross cultural communication Assumed similarity Attitudes Denigration of differences Prejudice Stereotyping Tips to communicating with cultural awareness First understand yourself and your own culture.

Acknowledge differences in evident and deep culture - do not treat locals based on a generalized notion of 'national' culture

Culture shock is common!

Try not to take unexpected/undesirable actions personally Recap How to get over Culture shock Keep up communication with home
track yourself - journal, blog

talk to others also in your situation Do your research Eating habits: when, what, who with whom, table manners, conversation during eating
Hygiene: using the toilet, showers, shaving, changing/washing clothes, sneezing, spitting
Relations: whom to respect, relation between young and old / male and female
Religions: Impact on society, different religions, potential conflicts if you have a different religion
Taboos: at work, with friends, in public
Sexuality and romance: role in society, sex before marriage, what is OK / offensive
Laws: traffic, behavior in public
Wealth and Poverty: general situation, how to deal with it, potential conflicts AIESEC Roll calls!! Do you think you can dance ?
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