Cultural shock: Understanding Cultures


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A soft approach to understand cultural differences mainly between Asian and Western countries.

This is an updated version of David Gilbert’s Understanding Western Cultural.

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Cultural shock: Understanding Cultures

  1. 1. UNDERSTANDING CULTURESAndrés VargasM.A. In International Relations,Media and Communications An updated version of David Gilbert’s Understanding Western Cultural
  2. 2. What is Culture? Traditions Ethical Religion Values Society Science & Politics Technology Age Art & Education Philosophy Literature Social Class Organisation
  3. 3. Western culture ≠ Western Film / TV (but does influence it)
  4. 4. Originates from Ancient Greece (Europe)
  5. 5. Spread by Roman Empire (1st Century BC)
  6. 6. Influenced by Christianity (4/5th Century)
  7. 7. Stagnated during Dark Ages (5/6th Century)
  8. 8. Rebirth: Renaissance (14 – 17th Century)
  9. 9. New ideas: Scientific Revolution (17th Century)
  10. 10. Logic & Reason: Age of Enlightenment (18th Century)
  11. 11. Independence: American Revolution (Late 18th Century)
  12. 12. Industrial Revolution (19th Century)
  13. 13. World Wars & Media coverage
  14. 14. Photo by Steve RhodesModern Civilization (Today)
  15. 15. Core Ideas Reality- or fact-based thought and perception (Aristotle 384-322 & Values BC)Recognizes the right of Emphasis on theprivate ownership, capital individual person whoaccumulation, exchange Reason is independent andand profit self-reliantIndividuals should be Worldly happinessable to act on their own should be the focusreason without of each persons lifeinterference from others– i.e. freedom
  16. 16. We live in a multicultural world where cultures: Transcend geography and race (no connection) Exist worldwide in some form (usually mixed)
  17. 17. • A stereotype is a popular belief STEREOTYPE about specific social groups or types of individuals.• The concepts of "stereotype" and "prejudice" are often confused with many other different meanings.• Stereotypes are standardized and simplified conceptions of groups based on some prior assumptions.
  18. 18. CulturalDifferences* West (US / Europe) East (China / East Asia) Logic Linear (direct Spiral (roundabout) associations) Communication Direct, verbal Indirect, implied Identity Individual, independent Group orientated Agreement / Argumentative, verbal Hard to say no, non- Disagreement verbal Punctuality Start and end on time Appointments flexible Respect Success, achievement Seniority, wisdom Business Relationship Economics come first Relationship comes first Decision Making Distributed, proactive Manager has final say Time Horizon Short term (per quarter) Long term (years ahead) Risk / Spending Risk-takers, spend Risk-avoiders, save * but of course there are obvious exceptions
  19. 19. InterculturalCompetence Regional Experience Openness Language & Proficiency Tolerance
  20. 20. Communicate Effectively • Speak slowly, maintain eye contact • Use objective, accurate language • Rephrase sentences where necessary • Listen carefully and patiently • Adapt your conversation style • Don’t talk down to others • Clarify what will happen next
  21. 21. Uncomfortable Situations
  22. 22. Deal With It 1. Know your neighbor 2. Be open and tolerant 3. Ask lots of questions “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”
  23. 23. Remember
  24. 24. Thanks!Contact @andresvargas