Intercultural Communication: Chapter 6

Perception
How you make sense of your physical and social world, how you construct reality
What are the 5 aspects of perception identified in the textbook?
Perception is selective, Perception is learned, Perception is culturally determined, Perception is consistent, Perception is inaccurate
Cultural values
the qualities and actions that people consider necessary and vital to sustain and maintain their culture.
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Cultural Patterns/ Value Orientations
An umbrella term used to collectively talk about the values, beliefs, and other orientations that characterize the dominant group of a culture.
Who is Robert Kohls?
A professor of international relations and comparative religion, Mr. Kohls wrote a book titled, The Values Americans Live By, that identified American cultural values for expatriates moving to work in the U.S. to help them adjust to life in the U.S.
Personal Control over the Environment
The ability to control nature is considered normal and right by the dominant American culture
Change (American Value)
A body of forward looking beliefs and attitudes that promote progress including: Optimism, receptivity to change, emphasis on the future rather than the past or present, faith in the ability to control all phases of life, and confidence in the perceptual ability of the common person.
Time (American Value)
A valuable commodity, something to be measured and used wisely. Schedules are organized into hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly segments.
Equality/ Egalitarianism (American Value)
One of the most prized American values, but is more focused on equal opportunity and informality in social relationships. This value is not always displayed, yet highly prized by American citizens.
Individuality/ Privacy (American Value)
The interests of the individual are paramount to. This value gives rise to others including: personal initiative, self-reliance, and equal opportunity.
Self-Help (American Value)
An outgrowth of the values of independence, equality and individuality, Americans value self-reliance. “Stand on your own two feet” is a common expression of this value
Competition (American Value)
Americans hold a positive attitude toward competition. A competitive nature is encouraged in children. People are ranked, graded, classified, and evaluated throughout society (ie. sports, education, work)
Future Orientation (American Value)
The future takes precedence over the past and present. This is reflected in American attitudes regarding change, taking chances, an emphasis on youth culture, and optimism.
Action/ Work Orientation (American Value)
A highly valued cultural view, evident in typical greetings between Americans. They are apt to ask, “What do you do?” or “Where do you work” when first meeting someone. Leisure time is viewed as something earned, a relief from the stress and demands of work.
Informality (American Value)
A reflection of the American value of equality, everyone is viewed as equal and approachable despite position, rank or wealth. Informality does not equate with a lack of respect, rather it conveys feelings of equality and individuality for Americans.
Directness, Openness, Honesty (American Value)
Direct, open and honest communication is highly valued and takes precedence over politeness and face saving measures. This value is influenced by equality, informality, the importance of time, and the idea of self-reliance
Practicality and Efficiency (American Value)
A pragmatic attitude that permeates the dominant American culture. Efficiency is demonstrated in American values of time. A rational or logical approach to decision making or problem-solving and the importance of objectivity are also connected to these values. Reason takes precedence over emotions, subjectivity or sentimentality in American culture.
Materialism/ Acquisitiveness (American Value)
Acquiring material possessions is highly valued. Materialism is a natural outgrowth of the USA’s philosophy of equal opportunity for all. Evidence of the value of materialism can be seen in the average grocery store that offers over 48,000 items for sale.
Who is Geert Hofstede?
A social psychologist that identified six value dimensions that are influenced and modified by culture
Individualism/ Collectivism
One of Hofstede’s value dimensions for culture that can be measured on a spectrum with individualism being at one end of the spectrum and collectivism at the other. Individualism focuses on the individual as the most important unit in any social setting. Collectivism upholds the value of group interests over those of the individual.
High Uncertainty Avoidance
Cultures with high uncertainty avoidance try to reduce unpredictability and ambiguity. They are intolerant of deviant behavior and ideas, emphasize consensus, resist change, and adhere to traditional social protocol. Cultures with high uncertainty avoidance tend to influence high levels of stress and anxiety. The uncertainty avoidance manifests in a strong need for laws, written rules, planning, regulations, rituals, ceremonies, and established social, behavioral and communicative structures.

World Culture Example: Japan

Low Uncertainty Avoidance
Cultures with this value dimension easily accept the uncertainty of life, tend to be tolerant of the unusual, and are not as threatened by different ideas and people. Initiative, dislike of structure associated with hierarchy, a willingness to take risks, flexibility, a dislike of rules and regulations and self-reliance are all valued in cultures with low uncertainty avoidance.

World Culture Example: Great Britain or Sweden

Low Power Distance
Cultures with this value dimension believe inequality in society should be minimized. Using laws, social norms and everyday behaviors these cultures strive to reduce the distinction between persons in power and those that are not. Communication across all levels of society is encouraged and valued.

World Culture Example: Austria

High Power Distance
Cultures with this value dimension believe that power and authority are facts of life. This value generally manifests in a greater centralization of power, more recognition and use of rank and status, and adherence to established lines of authority.

World Culture Example: Malaysia

Masculinity
The extent to which the dominant values in a society are male-oriented. Qualities associated with masculinity include: emotional gender roles are clearly defined, career success, highly defined gender roles, achievement in the workplace, assertiveness, materialism. All of these qualities take precedence over interpersonal relationships.

World Culture Example: Japan, Austria, Venezuela

Feminity
A trait that stresses nurturing behaviors. When emotional gender roles overlap a culture is called feminine. Values of modesty, tenderness, concern over the quality of life, assertiveness and nurturing for both men and women, sexual equality, value of people and environment, interdependence of people and helping the less fortunate are highly prized.

World Culture Example: Sweden

Long-term orientation
The fostering of virtues oriented toward future rewards like perseverance and thrift.

World Culture Example: China

Short-term orientation
The fostering of virtues oriented to the past and present like respect for tradition, preservation of face, and fulfilling social obligations.

World Culture Example: Mexico

Indulgence
A cultural dimension identified by Michael Minkov, this dimension stands for a tendency to allow relatively free gratification of basic and natural human desires related to enjoying life and having fun. Usually identified in the value of leisure time and interaction with friends, consumption and the spending of money.

World Culture Example: Venezuela

Restraint
A cultural dimension identified by Michael Minkov, this dimension reflects a conviction that personal gratification needs to be curbed and regulated by strict social norms. Gratification refers to the overall enjoyment of life.

World Culture Example: Egypt

Minkov’s Monumentalism
Compared to the concept of monuments/ statues, people in cultures that favor monumentalism possess and openly demonstrate pride in themselves, their achievements, families, and other social institutions.

World Culture Example: Latin American and Middle Eastern Countries

Minkov’s Flexhumility
A combination of the words self-flexible and humility, cultures with high levels of flexhumility value the exercise of humility, situational flexibility, and adaptation to changing conditions.

World Culture Example: Russia

Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck’s Value Orientations
Two anthropologists who identified five cultural value orientations after considering five basic questions they believed every individual, regardless of culture, must answer for themselves.
Human Nature Orientation
This value measures the character of human nature. The dimension ranges from evil to good and evil to good.
Evil
One of the human nature orientation values that infers people are intrinsically evil. Evident in Puritan lifestyle this value is generally connected to some religious views including Islam.
Good and Evil
One of the human nature orientation values, this perspective is compared to a Taoist worldview of Ying/ Yang, or the belief that there is an infinite system of opposing elements and forces engaged in a balanced, dynamic interaction. In this value, people are not viewed as good or evil and both qualities are believed to be an integral part of the universe.
Good
One of the human nature orientation values, this perspective perceives human nature as originally good. Connected to Buddhist and Confucian belief.
Harmony with Nature
Often associated with East Asians (Japan, Thailand), this value illustrates a belief that nature is a part of life and not a hostile force waiting to be subdued. People should live in harmony with nature.
Master of Nature
A value that focuses on conquering and directing the forces of nature to our advantage. This value is characteristic of western culture, especially in the U.S. where technology, change and science are highly valued. People with this orientation see a clear separation between humans and nature.
Past Orientation
A cultural orientation of time where history, established religions, and traditions are extremely important.

World Culture Example: India

Present Orientation
A cultural orientation of time where the immediate moment carries the most significance. The future is seen as ambiguous, changing often and suddenly, and beyond the control of the individual. A present orientation lives in the moment. Often exemplified with a casual, relaxed lifestyle

World Culture Example: Brazil

Future Orientation
A cultural orientation of time where what is yet to come is most valued and the future is expected to be grander than the present or past. Change, taking chances, a stress on youth, and optimism are prominent values in cultures with a future orientation.

World Culture Example: USA

Being Activity Orientation
This term refers to spontaneous expression of the human personality. People in being oriented cultures stress release, indulgence of existing desires, and working for the moment.

World Culture Example: Most Latino cultures

Being-In-Becoming Orientation
This term refers to the idea of development and growth. This orientation usually correlates with cultures that value a spiritual life over a material one.

World Culture Example: Buddhists, Hindus, New Age Spirituality

Doing Orientation
This term refers to activity in which accomplishments are measurable by standards external to the individual. There is an emphasis on values that stress activity and action.

World Culture Example: USA

E. T. Hall’s High Context/ Low Context Orientations
Anthropologist, E.T. Hall’s categorization of the degree to which meaning comes from the contextual environment rather than the words exchanged during communicative interaction.

High Context Communication: most of the information is already in the person, very little is coded or explicitly transmitted in the message.

Example: Asian cultures

Low Context Communication: the verbal message contains most of the information and very little is embedded in the context or the participant’s nonverbal activity.

Example: US or Germany

The GLOBE Study
An ongoing research project of massive proportions that is investigating the relationship between social culture, organizational culture, and leadership within organizations. This study distinguishes between personal and organizational values amongst different people groups.
Face
A metaphor for the self-image you want to project to other people; your public identity
Facework
The acquisition, maintenance, or loss of face through social interactions. Whether facework is conducted by self-effort or collectively will depend on the cultural pattern dimension of individualism/ collectivism.

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