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Cross

Cultural

Understanding

By
Widiatmoko
Contents
A Cross Cultural Framework

• Case Study #1: A cross-cultural


misunderstanding
• Learning outcome
• Why cross cultural training?
• What is cultural awareness?
• Stereotypes
• Understanding cultural diversity
Case study
A cross-cultural
misunderstanding
Questions
1.Did Mary mean to offend the people at the camp?
2.What do you think they thought about her?
3.How did she see their behaviour?
4.Why did this cross-cultural misunderstanding happen?
5.Do you think that Mary or the people at the Camp could
explain to you what the rules are if you asked them?
6.You may wish to make a list, contrasting the rules that dictated
Mary’s behaviour with to those that dictated the behaviour of
the people at the camp.
Learning Outcomes

• Through the oral communication people will be


able to demonstrate knowledge of important
differences in Western and Non-Western manners,
communication style and protocols of sensitive
communication and to identify potential areas of
miscommunication and how to address them.
Why Cross Cultural training?

• Cross Cultural training offers the


opportunity to make a contribution to
development and the creation of strong
relationships between the people of
Australia and our neighbours in the Asia-
pacific region.
What is cross-cultural training?

• Cross-cultural training is a specialist field of


training that examines cultural difference
and its implications for cross cultural
interaction. Cross-cultural training is based
on a number of important premises. These
are as follows.
1. All human beings are
culturally bounded

• Cross cultural awareness begins with the


acknowledgement that each human being
acquires in the process of acculturation into
a particular culture a set of values, attitudes,
ways of perceiving and thinking and ways
of communicating and behaving in various
settings
1. Most of the barriers to
successful cross-
cultural interaction are
invisible and unconscious
• The majority of barriers to successful
interaction between cultural different
people, stem from invisible cultural
differences, which operate beneath the level
of consciousness of either party.
• Cultural ‘blindness’
produces the tendency
for cultural difference to
be seen as cultural
deficiency
• Cultural blindness is the inability to ‘see;
another culture or world view because of
the attitude, belief and value ‘filters’ we
have acquired from our own culture (Irwin
1987:15). These filters are also part of the
invisible culture all people carry into a
cross-cultural environment.
4. Cross cultural awareness
depends on clearly defined
cross-cultural conceptual models
• These models are essential for conceptualising and
describing in a systematise way the rule governed
differences between cultures. They give us the
conceptual tools we need to be able to step outside
our cultural bounded ness and begin to really ‘see’
both our own culture and the culture of others.
What is the most important
outcome of cross-cultural
training?
• The most important outcome of cross cultural
training is to help participants take the first step
towards becoming cross cultural brokers, able to
operate effectively in two cultural environments.
However, developing cross cultural awareness or
empathy with the points of view of another culture
is not enough to achieve this outcome.
What is ‘cultural awareness’?

• ‘Cultural awareness’ programs aim to give an


‘insider’ view of the culture, learning experience
and history of the culture into which the sojourner
is being placed. The recent trend to have this
training designed and delivered by someone from
within the culture rather than by an ‘outside’
expert has been positive. An insider view tends to
come with all the appropriate rules and manners
that underlie the cultural framework. Cultural
awareness is a necessary component of cross
cultural training and preparing trannies for
working in a cross-cultural environment,
5. Cross cultural training aims
to make visible and conscious
that which is invisible and
unconscious
• Cross-cultural training begins with a process of
self-awareness. The first step is to become aware
of the unconscious invisible ‘rules’, which we live
by, and the values that we hold. Once a foundation
of understanding about he nature of cultural
difference has been established through cross
cultural training, increased exposure and contact
with culturally different people is much more
likely to have a positive rather than an
unintentionally negative impact.
6. Can people with years of
experience benefit from cross-
cultural training?
• While long-term interaction and
relationships with culturally different
people may give someone considerable
insights into the dynamics of a particular
cross cultural setting, it does not
automatically give them an awareness of the
cross cultural issues which affect service
delivery and working relationships at the
interface between western and non western
cultures.
Stereotypes

Breaking negative stereotypes

• A stereotype is a generalised trait usually


associated with a particular group, a
negative value judgment. Stereotypes
develop in a variety of ways. Many
negative stereotypes have their roots in
cultural difference and arise from negative
cross-cultural encounters that lead to
unresolved conflict.
What effect do stereotypes have?

• The stereotyped group often feels a sense of


powerlessness. Negative stereotypes devalue other
cultural groups, often making them feel that their
very cultural identity is being criticised. Knowing
that people you are dealing with may hold a
negative stereotype is not conducive for good
communication. People may feel defensive,
suspicious, angry, resentful and unable to
communicative because they are aware that others
are not relating to them but to a pre-conceived
image of how they will behave.
Understanding cultural diversity

• There has been a tendency throughout the world to


focus on static traditional versions of cultural
experience and identity rather than on the dynamic
reality. This focus can be attributed to outdated
thinking, which sees only those people who still
have access to a traditionally orientated lifestyle as
being real/authentic, while the rest have already
‘lost’ their culture. It is extremely difficult to
understand the complexity of culture change and
continuity without the help of an appropriate
conceptual framework.