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31 December 2012

Sahar Al-Jobury 39E Cross Cultural Management and Communications Dr. Hassan Wageih

Q. Define Third Culture and discuss with examples. State whether you agree with it or not? Third culture is a framework designed between individuals from different cultures, to ensure enduring adaptation and survival: shared value systems and increasing interdependence. In such framework, individuals from different cultures are integrated in a new hybrid culture which each of them can accept as a new part of her/his cultural identity. Third culture includes a shared understanding that consists of work-related norms and worldviews.

There are several examples of third cultures around us. The case of mergers is one example. In these mergers, the creation of "third cultures" is by no means a simple task and there are still a number of difficulties which must be overcome. For example, there may be disagreements not only over substantive issues but also with respect to the reasoning processes that should be used in conducting the dialogue. Researchers in the field of intercultural communication have identified cultural differences not only with regard to what is expressed, but also with regard to how it is expressed. Communication styles vary from culture to culture, as do "epistemic structures" (how arguments are built) and rhetorical patterns (how arguments are presented).

The United Nations is another case in point. It has a third culture of its own that includes norms for diplomacy and values for human rights and the sovereignty of individual nations. Because third culture is a composite of the individual cultures from which it transcends, it is distinct from but cannot be understood without references to the cultures in which group participants were socialized. Thus, although third culture is a group-level construct that evolves as a function of team interaction, it can only be understood by looking at the teams cultural composition and the team members preexisting values, norms, and belief systems.

Personally and as a member of the United Nations I believe in Third Culture. Throughout my career I have come across several colleagues who have professionally acted in a manner that is different from the way they would have acted under different environment, or even in their natural habitat back home. Having said that, it is hard to perceive the existence of third culture in Egypt, as Egyptians mostly tend to take sides and not meet mid way. Many of them regard "blind conformity" to the status quo as a good

thing and therefore see no reason to engage in reflective criticism or cross-cultural dialogue. It will take a lot for Egyptians to learn to stop suppressing the points of view of those they disagree with or learn to create forums through which differences can be aired and, hopefully, mutually satisfactory agreements can be reached.