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Crossing Cultures

A beginners guide to crossing cultures

Steph Schmaltz

on 10 April 2012

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Transcript of Crossing Cultures

Crossing Cultures What is Culture? a system of meanings and values that shape one's behavior understanding your own culture • cultural values are influenced by the dominant culture you grew up in

• how much you "adhere" to those values is based on where you grew up, your religious views, your ethnic/racial group

• every culture had "ideals"

• often times we think our cultural values are "universal" or "common sense" know your own culture misattribution "It's easy to believe that one's own culture is the best, because it works so well for you it seems impossible to think that it would not be best for everyone. The truth is that all cultures are equal in their ability to work for the people of that culture." Lane-Crossing Cultures "cultural incident" Occurs when two people of different cultures have an interaction that causes tension or strong emotions in one or both parties because of a cultural misattribution. Six cultural lenses Context relates to the formality of a culture and the rules governing how people interact with one another High Context cultures are considered formal and the rules of the society are highly respected Low context cultures are considered informal where anything goes within reason •who you are related to matters
•who you know matters
•it is better to overdress than under dress
•give attention to approrpriate greetings
•use manners
•respect the rules •what you know is more important than who you know
•lack of protocol is not dishonoring
•address people by their given names unless others use titles activity identifies what drives a society Being culture values relationship and quality of life •activities that enhance and build relationships are valued
•people that value relationships are valued Doing culture values results and materialism •activities that produce results are valued
•people who get results are valued
•numbers are important in an event to measure the value or sucess authority Egalitarian cultures or informal authority •all people have equal values and equal rights
•people earn the right to be heard
•anyone can have a position of leadership based on their gifting
•appreciate small power distance
•look for a leader with skills •unequal treatment expected and appropriate for society to work
•respect is given not earned
•it is acceptable to categorize people based upon their gender, age, etc
•appreciate larger power distance Hierarchial Cultures or formal authority name 3 idioms/proverbs from your culture that have to do with authority

who is able to be in leadership in your culture?
who is entitled to have authority in your culture? egalitarian vs. hierarchial relationship communal vs. individual communal
"the nail that sticks up will be nailed down" •feel a sense of group responsibility even for one individual's actions
•value harmony
•strive to fit into the group's etiquette and norms rather than distinguish oneself individual •value taking personal responsibility for actions
•value truth telling
•speak personal opnions, even if they differ from the group direct vs. indirect communication direct communication short, direct questions show respect for a person's time

a "yes" is a "yes" and "no" is a "no". There are no hidden meanings.

an honest, direct response is informational only. It is not a reflection of how a person feels about you

you can politely say what you think, and it will usually not be taken personally indirect communication it is all about being friendly

every question must be phrased in such a way as to not offend by its directness

use a third party for accurate information if you sense you are not getting the results you are seeking

a "yes" may not be the answer to your question. it is a first step in a friendly exchange. avoid yes-no questions because verbal compliance may be a cultural requirement

avoid embarassing others temporal abundant or event oriented •meetings don't always start on time because it is more important that everyone is there
•respond to what life brings
•spend time together without a "scheduled" time to leave so it feels more natural abundant vs. limited limited or time oriented •starting on time shows that you respect other people, because "everyone is busy"
•using time efficiently is a value
•schedule appointments, even between friends to show that this time is a priority
•visiting or informally chatting happens before or after the event worldview how cultures think different about: truth subjective (tradition) , objective, subjective (experienced) knowledge mystical, scientific, mystical (understandable) perspective holistic, dualistic/linear evidence experiential (group then individual), empirical, experiential (individual then group) 1. Suspend judgment •recognize when we make negative judgments
•ask if you have enough information
•check whether it's a personal difference or a Biblical mandate
•think about how to communicate •openness even if you need to rebuke
•keep a learning posture 2. develop a tolerance for ambiguity •exercise patience
• keep anxiety in check 3. learn to think "gray" • learn to see shades of gray without assuming right vs. wrong 4. assume the best • think about what is positive in what the person is saying
• if you assume the best, you can easily ask questions without sounding critical or judgmental 5. ask an insider • when you are unsure...and particularly if you interacting with a culture that is very different from your own, ask a cultural insider for help to understand the situation
• be sure not to creat a "triangle" where you are gossiping or not ever addressing the person you have issue with, but mediators may be helpful at times to create mutual understanding 6. recognize different values in conflict • harmony
• justice
• victory
• acknowledgement toolbox
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