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Cross Cultural Communications for the MI Analyst

The classification of this presentation is UNCLASSIFIED

Action: Compare cultures using the 25 aspects listed in the lesson. Conditions: Given student handouts Standards: Compared cultures using the 25 aspects listed in the lesson.


There are no safety requirements. The risk assessment level is low. There are no environmental considerations Evaluations Student Checks

Why Study Culture ?

The Ugly American

threatens mission makes enemies for US distorted view

The Arab Perspective,

The United States is an evil nation corrupted by Hollywood filth which glorifies violence, sex and drugs. Their adulterous leaders support the Zionists and repressive moderate Arab regimes, and dare preach to us about democracy and human rights. Such arrogance.

Why Study Culture?

The lack of sensitivity to local customs, values, and feelings often creates tension which can assist those politically active groups disenchanted with the decisions of Gulf State governments. To prevent a crisis, the US should ensure that it maintains as low a profile as possible while at the same time being aware of the cultural sensitivities and national pride of the local population.
- Joseph Moynihan, Gulf Security in the 21st Century

Culture & Terrorism

The American military man is a perfect target. He is a symbol of Americas military interests overseas. His death weakens the ties between America and our countrys military rulers. The American military people are paid to risk their lives for their country. Do not hesitate to kill them. Kill their wives and children if necessary. Make America order them back home or risk open rebellion in the streets of Washington. American military members are highly visible targets. They seem to intentionally act in such a way to be culturally obnoxious and alienate themselves for no apparent reason. - Hussein Balkir Turkish Workers and Peasants Liberation Army

Military Disaster

British invade Zululand

Lord Chelmsford

I cant understand it, I left a thousand men there.

Reenactment of Isandlwana

Battle of Isandlwana Rorkes Drift

Zulu Chief
Lord Chelmsford

What is Culture?
Now that we have established why culture should be studied we must understand what culture is. Shirley Teper, an anthropologist, defines culture as a habit system in which truths that have been perpetuated by a group over centuries have permeated the unconscious. Culture is a belief system that ties a society together and gives a perspective on the order of the world (an outlook on life).

Opening the Door

Archetype in Action: Think about when your supervisor calls you Come to my office please. As you go in your supervisor tells you Close the door please! How do you feel?

Cultural Sensitivity

Knowing & Respecting

Liking not required Accepting differences

By knowing peoples values and beliefs, you can come to expect and predict their behavior. Surface behaviors are influenced by beneath the- surface values and assumptions.

Aspects of Culture
1. 2.

4. 5. 6.

8. 9. 10.

12. 13.

Understanding of the Natural World General World View Religious Beliefs Religious Customs Holiday Customs Values Child raising beliefs Concept of self Social Relationships Work Ethic Concept of Leadership Concept of Personal space Concept of Fairness
Practical Exercise #1

14. 15.

17. 18. 19.

21. 22. 23.


Rules of Social Etiquette Eating Habits Foods Importance of time Notions of Modesty Fashion Facial Expressions Gestures Concept of beauty Paintings Music Literature

Above the Waterline

01 Concept of Self (Concept of Fairness, Understanding of the Natural World) 03 Religious rituals (Religious beliefs) 05 Paintings (Concept of Beauty) 07 Literature (Concept of Beauty) 08 Child raising (Values and Social Relationships) 09 Leadership (Values and Social Relationships) 10 Gestures (Concept of Modesty, Values, and Social Relationships) 11 Holiday Customs (Religious beliefs) 15 Foods (Religious beliefs and Understanding of the Natural World) 16 Eating Habits (Religious beliefs, and Social Relationships) 18 Work Ethic (importance of time and values) 21 Music (Concept of Beauty) 22 Fashion (Concept of Beauty and Social Relationships) 24 Personal Space (Values, Social Relationships, and Concept of Modesty)

Below the Waterline

02 Religious beliefs (Religious rituals, holiday customs, foods, and eating habits) 04 Importance of Time (work ethic) 06 Values (Child Raising , Leadership, Gestures, and work ethic) 12 Concept of Fairness (self) 13 Social relationships (child raising, leadership, gestures, eating habits, fashion, and personal space) 14 Concept of Modesty (gestures and personal space) 17 Understanding of the Natural World (self, foods) 20 Concept of Beauty (determines Paintings, Literature, Music and Fashion)

Culture is Learned

Culture is learned not genetic


behavior & consciousness Culture is everywhere

Humans are social animals


cannot survive on their own Larger groups require more complexity

Culture vehicle for organization Culture is always evolving and changing


learned Technology & Trauma can change culture


that is taught is not always

Culture & Social Organization

Cultures evolve into civilizations Government harness resources and protects from invasion Political stability establishes sound economy Strong economy encourages specialization and invention

System of education indoctrinates new members Understand Culture and become a student of History

Technology - skills or procedures necessary to make or use tools New technologies - emerging technologies have a significant impact on social life Washing Machine Automobile Airplane Internet

Understand Conflicts of Today Predict Conflicts of Tomorrow

Cultural Conditioning

Occurs mostly in childhood

Adult conditioning

Basic activities (eating, walking, talking, etc)

New behaviors New ways to perform old behaviors

Cultural Conditioning

Observation/Instruction Imitation Reinforcement Internalization Spontaneous manifestation

Cultural Awareness
Blissful ignorance Unaware of cultural



Incompetence Conscious Competence Unconscious Competence


American Culture

Essential to CCC knowing yourself


& differences can be compared People from culture sometimes have difficulty seeing their own out of body experience

Americans are diverse Americans share a core set of values & beliefs

Lego Study

American Culture

Frontier Culture

Achievement & Success Freedom & Democracy

Egalitarian Informal

Risk taking Religiosity

Yankee Ingenuity
Science & Technology Efficiency & Practicality

Communication Direct & Blunt Honesty Saving Face not a priority

Sources of American Culture


A strong work ethicwork is intrinsically goodand the notion of predestination, that salvation is apparent through worldly success
The frontier, unlimited resources and opportunity, isolation, sparse population, distance from Europe From religious and economic repression and rigid class system and social stratification Out of the mainstream in home country, dissatisfied with lot in life, willing to take risks, adventuresome




Practical Exercise #2 & #3

How Non-Americans see Americans

Decisive Energetic Honest Industrious Sexy Self-indulgent Sophisticated Intelligent Friendly Greedy Nationalistic Inventive Lazy Rude

Practical Exercise #4

Why are you Americans always in such a hurry to get things done?
We often seem this way because of our tendency to use achievements and accomplishments as a measure of a persons worth. Were in a hurry to get things done because its only then that we feel we have proved our worth.

Why do you Americans insist on treating everyone the same?

We do this because of a deep cultural instinct toward egalitarianism, which was a reaction to the class system and, before that, the feudal system that existed in Europe. In cultures where inequality is more accepted, our insistence on egalitarianism may be grating.

Why do you Americans always have to say what youre thinking?

We believe that being direct is the most efficient way to communicate. And being more efficient means you get more done.

Why do you Americans always want to change things?

We think things can always be better, that progress is inevitable. Older cultures are more skeptical because they have been around longer and seen more.

Why dont you Americans show more respect for your seniors and elders?

We respect results, not age or authority. Therefore, unless an elder or a senior also happens to be a superior achiever, there is no automatic respect.

Why do you Americans always think things are going to get better?
We are optimists because we believe the locus of control is in ourselves. Therefore, the only obstacle to things getting better is a personal lack of will or effort, which is eminently fixable.

Why are you Americans so concerned about individual recognition?

Individualism is ingrained in

us. Not being used to working together that much, we dont trust team or group recognition.

Why are you Americans so impatient?

If things take a long time to do, we can do fewer of them. And when youre counting achievements, more is better.

The point of view that ones own culture is to be preferred to all others.



Cognitive = believing stereotypes Emotional = feeling toward another person Behavioral = engaging in discrimination repeated & exaggerated continuously reinforced almost impossible to unlearn


Racism: outward manifestation of prejudice

Sports and Stereotypes

Cultural Awareness

Unconscious Incompetence

Conscious Incompetence

Blissful ignorance Unaware of cultural


Conscious Competence Unconscious Competence

Realize differences exist How do I figure these people


Cultural Relativism
To counter our tendency to use our own culture as a tool for judgment, we can practice cultural relativism. Practicing cultural relativism allows us to understand another culture on its own terms. We can analyze how the elements of culture fit together without judgment.

Ethnocentrism vs. Cultural relativism

Ethnocentrism Denial

Ethnocentrism Defense

Associated with Unconscious Incompetence Disbelief in cultural differences Think people who behave differently dont know any better Impose their own values on others (UGLY AMERICAN) Not threatened by cultural differences Associated with Conscious Incompetence Recognize differences and not happy about it Threatened by cultural differences & convinced of their own superiority Dont try to impose values but instead prefer to avoid contact Associated with Conscious Incompetence Still believe new culture is inferior, but minimizes differences We may be different on the surface, but deep down we are the same

Ethnocentrism Minimization

Cultural Awareness
Unconscious Conscious

Incompetence Conscious Incompetence



differences Conscious effort to adjust behaviors Objectivity key to figuring these people out sensitive New behaviors second nature



Ethnocentrism vs. Cultural relativism



Relativism Adaptation & Integration


with Conscious Incompetence Recognize and accept cultural differences without judgment Live and let live

Relativism Acceptance

and Unconscious Competence Behavior and attitude change Bicultural or Multicultural

Values & Beliefs

To understand why people behave the way they do learn about values & beliefs Universal refers to ways in which all people in all groups are the same Cultural refers to what a particular group of people have in common with each other and how they are different from every other group Personal describes the ways in which each one of us is different from everyone else, including those in our group

Cultural Universals
Cultural universals - values, norms, or other cultural traits that are found everywhere. Although there are universal human activities, there is no universally accepted way of doing any of them. Humans have no biological imperative that results in one particular form of behavior throughout the world.

PE # 5

Values and Beliefs

Culture allows social organization Values and Beliefs keep individuals in line Belief Systems are religions


of the masses-Karl Marx

Values differentiate between right and wrong and good and evil Values and beliefs explain the purpose of it all (Philosophical Worldview)

Values, Norms, & Sanctions

Values - ideas of what is desirable in life.


are the standards by which people define good and bad.

Norms - describe rules of behavior that develop out of a groups values. Sanctions - positive or negative reactions to the ways in which people follow norms.

Folkways, Mores, and Taboos

Folkways - norms that are not strictly enforced. If someone does not follow a folkway, we may stare or shrug our shoulders.

Mores - norms that are considered essential to our core values. Taboos - norms so strongly ingrained that even the thought of its violation is greeted with revulsion.

Individualist or Collectivist

Individualist Identity primarily with self

Psychological & emotional distance One may choose to join groups, but

Self-sufficiency=group well being Independence & self-reliance

Collectivist Identity within group important Success of group=individual survival

Looking out for others in your own interest Harmony & interdependence stressed & valued.

Individualist characteristics are often associated with men and people in urban Practical Exercise #6 settings.

group membership not essential to ones identity or success.

Psychological & emotional closeness

distance toward nonmembers

Collectivist characteristics are often associated with women and people in rural settings.

Answer PE #6
Person A: $5000
Person B: $5000 Person C: $5000

Person D: $5000

Practical Exercise #7-10

Personal vs. Societal Obligations

Results PE #10

not: 96% Percentage of Venezuelans who said they would not: 34%

of Americans who said they would

What do you think accounts for the great difference between Venezuelan and American percentages? Universalism vs. Particularism

Universalism vs. Particularism

Universalism Some absolutes across the board Fairness for all, no exceptions Objectivity Life is not fair, be we can be Particularism Circumstances determine action Family first, world can fend for itself The group will protect you There are no absolutes Exceptions made for certain people

Practical Exercise #11 & #12

Cultural Context
In the eye of the beholder Any behavior observed across the cultural divide, therefore, has to be interpreted in two ways:


meaning given to it by the person who does the action, and the meaning given to it by the person who observes the action

Behavior and Context

Marijuana in USA vs Holland Hunting in New York vs Alaska THE BOOK OF EMBRACES by Eduardo Galleano

Kiss and Context

Four Kisses

Parental Social Ceremonial Erotic

Kiss out of ContextConsequences

Folkway ? Taboo ?

Cultural Theory of Relativity


USA Africa Positive ? Negative ?


Lining up and not lining up are culturally determined behaviors

Concept of Time

Two poles of Time:



Time is the given People are variables The needs of people adjusted to suit demands of time (schedules & deadlines) Time is money One thing at a time Interruptions are an inconvenience Time is tool of people Time is flexible More is available, not less Man~ana Several things done at once Interruptions are a part of life

PEs #13 & #14

Concept of Power Distance

Attitude towards Inequality

Two poles of Power

Different levels of status & access to power Most evident in workplace relations
High Power Distance

Low Power Distance

Inequality is natural & accepted Those with power emphasize it (elites) No delegation & lack of initiative
Power & status are artificial Deemphasized to minimize differences Delegation and initiative encouraged

PE #15

Attitude towards Status

Similar to Power Distance & Individualism / Collectivism Two poles of Status

Achieved Status (doing)

People respected for personal accomplishments Status is earned Less impressed by titles Using Education is important Status is not permanent (lack of productivity = low status) Status automatic & difficult to lose Can be determined by birth or school attended Acquiring Education important Stickler for titles Status & Face defended fiercely

Ascribed Status (being)

PE #16

Attitude towards Fate

Fate the inherent uncertainty in life

Creates anxiety in all cultures Different responses

Two poles of Fate

US response = technology Others = religion

High Uncertainty Avoidance

Low Uncertainty Avoidance

Group paranoia, the unknown is frightening More laws, regulations, policies & procedures Strong tendency toward conformity

More tolerance for differences More curious than frightened of the unknown Life is interesting Risk taking

PE #17

Attitude towards Fate

People from different cultures may see their ability to influence external events very differently. Which of the following two statements do you most agree with?

A. What happens to me is my own doing. B. Sometimes I feel I dont have control over the direction my life is taking.

Percentage of Americans who chose A = 89% Percentage of Chinese who chose A = 35%

Attitude towards the Universe The Locus of Control

Cultures differ greatly upon a persons place in the world Two poles of Control


Within the individual No limits on what I can do The skys the limit Life is what I do Predetermination There are boundaries that cannot be crossed Life happens to me


PE #18

Culture & Symbols

Symbolic culture nonmaterial culture whose central components are symbols.

A symbol - something to which people attach meaning and which they use to communicate.

Gestures - involve using ones body to communicate. Language - a system of symbols that can be strung together in an infinite number of ways for the purpose of communicating.

Integral part of culture More complicated in cross-cultural context


you mean what you said? Was what you said received as you meant?

Misunderstandings and miscommunications most common frustrations in CCC Examine American communication styles and compare

What Language Does

All human groups have a language. Language allows for experiences to be passed from one generation to the next Language allows culture by freeing people to move beyond their immediate experiences Language provides us a past and a future, as well as shared understandings.

Sapir Whorf Hypothesis

Language has embedded within it ways of looking at the world


Arabic word for privacy, word for loneliness comes closest Chinese word for four also means death

Thinking and perception are shaped by language

Indirect/High vs. Direct/Low

Indirect / High Context Unconscious understanding required Common in homogenous & collectivist societies

Direct / Low Context Heterogeneous & individualist

Less reliance on words More reliance on non-verbal communication Manipulation of context used to convey message

Asia, Middle East, Africa People know & understand each other

Maintaining harmony & saving face paramount

What is said is not necessarily what is meant Reading between the lines

I mean what I say Less reliance on nonverbal Getting or giving info more important

North America, Europe Less is assumed More independence & emotional distance

PE #19

Practicing Indirectness

I dont think thats such a good idea.

Thats not the point. I think we should....

Do you think thats a good idea? Are there any other ideas? I like most parts of that idea. Thats an interesting point. Thats another good point
I have a possible suggestion. What do you think about this idea? What do you think of this idea? May I make a suggestion?

What do you think, Mr. Cato? (Calling on people sometimes

embarrasses them. How can you find out what Mr. Cato thinks without directly asking him?)

Those figures are not accurate.

Does anyone else have any suggestions? Have we heard all opinions?

Youre doing that wrong.

I have some other figures here. Those figures may be slightly old.

I dont agree.

I would do that like this. Have you tried doing it this way?

Decoding Indirectness

That is a very interesting viewpoint.

This proposal deserves further consideration.

I dont agree. We need to talk more about this. Youre wrong.

We dont like it. It needs work. Propose something else.

We understand your proposal very well.

We will try our best.

Do you have another one? We dont like it.

Dont expect much to happen.

I heard another story about that project.

I know very little about this, but....

Can we move on to the next topic?

I dont agree with what you said about that project. We dont want to talk about this now. We need to consult with people not in the room before we can decide.

Im something of an expert on this but am too polite to say so. What I think we should do is...

Nonverbal Communication
Verbal & nonverbal Nonverbal accounts for majority of Communication Nonverbal communication is subconscious Four subcategories of nonverbal communication

Gestures Eye Contact Facial Expression Personal Space & Touching


Gestures help identify the context of the conversation (i.e. friendly, confrontational, leader-follower) Observe

Watch for

Hands (open or closed, together or apart) Arms (folded or open) Fingers (curled or strait, pointing?) Whole body (slouching, good posture)

Amount of gesturing Gestures that accompany interruptions (talk to the hand) Gestures that indicate conversation is over (waving) Disagreement (shaking of finger) Displeasure (folded arms) Pattern of eye contact (dominance, intimacy)

Eye Contact

Observe the degree and nature of eye contact in as many of the following situations as possible:

Between two men of the same age: Between two women of the same age: Between an elderly person and a younger person: Between a man and woman: Between a husband and a wife: Between a boss and an employee: Between a student and a teacher: Between a parent and a child: Between strangers passing on the street:

What are the implications of more or less eye contact?

Facial Expressions

Observe what people do with their head, eyes, eyebrows, mouth, nose, chin, or actions taken with the head and the hands.
Frowns Smiles Wrinkling Nostril


Personal Space & Touching

Observe how close various kinds of people stand to each other and how much and in which parts of the body the following people touch each other: in various settings:

What are the implications of more or less personal space and touching?

In normal conversation, at work, or on the street In line at the post office, bank, cinema, etc. In an elevator, crowded or uncrowded Two men Two women Two children An older and younger person Parent and child A man and woman Husband and wife

Social Relationships

PE #19

Cycles of Adjustment

Initial Enthusiasm (the Honeymoon)

Time Frame: First week or two in country Characteristics:

Excitement & enthusiasm

Initial Culture Shock

Time Frame: First few weeks in country Characteristics

Initial Adjustment

Frustration Vulnerability & Dependence Homesickness Lack of routine Close bonds formed with other Americans

Time Frame: 3 6 months in country Characteristics

Routines established Climate change accomplished Increased confidence

Culture Shock
The disorientation that people experience when they come into contact with a different culture. Common symptoms of Culture Shock:

Homesickness Boredom Withdrawal Excessive sleep Compulsive eating Compulsive drinking Irritability

Excessive cleanliness Marital stress Family tension and conflict Chauvinistic excesses Stereotyping of host nationals Loss of ability to work effectively Unexplained fits of weeping Physical ailments (psychosomatic illnesses)

Coping Strategies

Learn new ways of doing things; Learn to do things youve never done before; Stop doing things you can no longer do; Adjust to an entirely new set of people; Learn to live and work in an environment where you speak a foreign language; Get used to various new and unusual phenomena; Learn to live without all kinds of familiar phenomena.

Coping Strategies

Things I can do with other people


people over Go and visit someone Telephone someone Go to a movie, cafe, etc. with someone Play a game with someone Participate in a team sport Volunteer my services to a needy cause

Coping Strategies

Things I can do on my own

Read Play cards Listen to music Cook a meal Take a walk Meditate Go to a movie Write in my journal Go to a restaurant or caf Go shopping Exercise Listen to the radio Garden Take some pictures

Coping Strategies

Things I can do on my own

Call home Look at photos Write letters Make a tape to send home Play an instrument Take a ride Solve puzzles Watch birds Practice a craft Take a trip Watch television Watch people Study language Deep breathing

Coping Strategies

Things I can remind myself of

This will pass. Its not the end of the world. I came here to experience a challenge. Ive been through worse than this. Its natural to feel down from time to time. No pain; no gain. Its not just me. Things didnt always go well back home either. I have taken on a lot; I should expect to feel overwhelmed from time to time.

Coping Strategies

Ways I can improve my language skills

Talk to children Talk to older people (who have more time and patience!) Go to a cafe and eavesdrop Listen to the radio or TV Join a club or sports team Participate in some other kind of group activity Study a language textbook Do exercises in a language textbook Listen to language tapes Ask a host country informant to tape record key language phrases that I can practice


Richard Hooker, What is Culture?, Washington State University

modules/top_culture/culture-definition.html Cornell University Rosaldo Consulting Peace Corps



Questions ?
The classification of this presentation was UNCLASSIFIED