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Chapter III

Awareness of cross culture


A. Who Needs Intercultural Awareness?
Intercultural awareness is a skill needed by anyone mixing with
people from different cultural backgrounds. However, there are four
distinct categories of people that are in need of intercultural
awareness the most.
1. Tourists
Intercultural awareness at a surface level helps tourists
understand their boundaries when visiting a foreign country and
promotes good relations with the native culture.
2. People who work in Multi-Cultural Teams
Intercultural
awareness
is
a
necessity
communication

between

staff

is

clear

and

to
also

ensure
between

management and personnel.


3. People who work globally
Intercultural awareness is a means to establishing better
relationships and promoting healthier business prospects through
minimizing

the

possibility

of

misunderstandings

born

of

intercultural differences.
4. Expatriates
Usually on a two or three years stint, the expatriate is
expected to apply skills that may have been honed within their
native culture to an alien one. Intercultural awareness allows the
expatriate

to

enter

into

the

new

environment

with

the

intercultural knowledge to mould their behaviors and preferences


so that intercultural synergy is achieved.
B. Status in Cross-Cultural Differences
1. Types of Status
For the sake of simplicity there are two types of status:
a. Ascribed-status
Ascribed-status refers to those cultures that base status
upon external qualities such as age, wealth, education or
gender. If one has the right external characteristics, status is
ascribed to them. In such cultures there is little room for
others to gain status through actions and achievements.

b. Achieved-status
Internal qualities are valued more than external one.
Therefore, status is achieved through accomplishments such
as hard work and contributions to a company or community. In
such cultures status is malleable.
2. Status Hierarchy
An area that status impacts within businesses is organizational
hierarchies. In ascribed-status cultures there tends to be rigid
hierarchies that define roles, practices and processes.
3. Status Formality
The formality of a culture is usually a good indication of the
significance of status. The use of names between colleagues is
one of the more observable manifestations of status in the
workplace. In ascribed-status cultures colleagues will generally
address each other using titles and surnames.
4. Status in Workplace
A manager in an achieved-status culture will usually take on
the role of a mentor. In ascribed-status cultures, the manager is
expected to give orders and know all the answers.
5. Flow of Information
The flow of information between people in companies and
organizations

is

another

area

affected

by

cross

cultural

differences in status. In cultures where status is achieved,


information usually flows easily between ranks. In ascribed-status
cultures information flow is a lot less fluid.
C. The Case for a Culturious Lifestyle: 4 Reasons to be Aware
Intercultural skills improve communication abilities so that
increase job opportunities, Job Stability, Social Benefits, Ongoing
Rewards. Intercultural awareness is an enriching lifestyle and
mindset, not an obligation or one-time training.
1. Job Opportunities
Being able to work and communicate with people from
different backgrounds and cultures is essential in todays world
and workplace. Without intercultural competence,the chances of
landing and keeping a job internationally are slim to none.
2. Job Stability

People who can communicate effectively, solve problems


creatively, and keep an open mind when others shut down, this
means a job well done.
3. Social Benefits
Interculturally aware people are interesting. They have
interesting things to say and can express themselves well.
4. Ongoing Rewards
Intercultural awareness is an enriching lifestyle and mindset,
not an obligation or one-time training.
D. Cross Cultural Awareness-(Big Brother) in Arabia
The breadth and scope of cross cultural understanding applies
to many fields in the business and personal spheres. Many cross
cultural

experts

focus

on

the

application

os

cross

cultural

communication to business and related areas such as negotiation,


advertising, and marketing. Therefore art, music, and TV are also
areas where cross cultural awareness becomes relevant.
In early 2004, the Arab TV channel MBC surprisingly decided to
prodece their own version, Al-Rais (the Boss), in Bahrain. The failure
of Al-Rais points to two things:
1. The adverse consequences of a failure to incorparate cross
cultural analysis into a business strategy; in this case a TV show.
2. The importance of cross cultural understanding in transferring
ideas and concepts across cultures.
E. Intercultural Lessons from the Movie Crash
Fear-based behavior comes out when we least suspect it as
we experience racism, ageism, wealth-ism, homophobism or any
number of isms and cant believe its happening to us, inside of
us, around us, or worst case that its actually perpetrated by us--even today.
Kenneth turan, film critic for the LA Times, suggests that
CRASH is a feel-good movie about racism.... He used this as a
reason

that

liberal

Academy

voters

chose

CRASH

over

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN for the Best Picture Academy Award.


F. Results of poor cross cultural awareness
The success or failure of a company,venture, merger or
acquistion is essentially in the hands of people. Cross cultural
differences in matters such as language, etiquette, non-verbal

communication, norms and values can, do and will lead to cross


cultural blunders.