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Cultural Norms Cultural Dimensions

Cultural Norms Cultural Dimensions

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Cultural Norms Cultural Dimensions

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  1. Cultural NormsCultural Dimensions

  2. IB Syllabus says: • Define the terms “Culture” & “Cultural norms”

  3. What is culture? • Moghaddam (1993) Humans have an ‘interactive’ relationship with culture – we shape culture and we are also shaped by it • Jahoda (1978) believes that ‘Cultural Evolution’ rather than ‘Biological Evolution’ the reason for our progress and civilization today

  4. Another definition of culture…. • Culture is defined by Matsumoto (2004) as “a dynamic system of rules, explicit and implicit, established by groups in order to ensure their survival, involving attitudes, values, beliefs, norms, and behaviors”. • This is a complex definition, so we will look at it piece by piece. • Culture is dynamic—it changes over time in response to environmental and social changes. It also exists on many levels.

  5. What are cultural norms? • Cultural norms are behavior patterns that are typical of specific groups. They are often passed down from generation to generation by observational learning by the group’s gatekeepers—parents, teachers, religious leaders, and peers. • Cultural norms include such things as how marriage partners are chosen, attitudes towards alcohol consumption, and acceptance (or rejection) of spanking children.

  6. The ‘Etic’ Approach to psychology…. • This is an etic approach to psychology. • Etic approaches are typically taken within cross-cultural psychology where behavior is compared across specific cultures. • Etic study involves drawing on the notion of universal properties of cultures, which share common perceptual, cognitive, and emotional structures.

  7. The problems with the etic view… • The danger is that many Psychologists adopt the ‘universal man’ assumption – We are all the same – culture does not influence our behaviour • Smith & Bond (1998) found that Psychology is Ethnocentric (western centred)– they reviewed textbooks and found that only 10% of the world is sampled in psychological research • Cultural relativists believe culture is important vs. absolutists believe that our biology most important in determining our behavior

  8. The ‘Emic’ Approach to psychology…. • The emic approach looks at behaviors that are culturally specific. • Emics have challenged psychologists to re-examine their ideas of “truth” with regard to culture. • In most cases, truth may be relative, based on the culture in which one is raised. • In that case, it is important for psychologists to recognize these cultural variations in order to best understand members of other cultural groups.

  9. IB syllabus says: • Examine the role of two cultural dimensions on behavior (Individualism vs. Collectivism and Uncertainty vs. Avoidance) Understanding and respect for cultural norms can promote successful interactions

  10. Cultural Dimensions of Behavior • In addition to cultural norms, another component of culture is dimensions—the perspectives of a culture based on values and cultural norms. • Hoefstede’s classic study (1973) involved asking employees of the multinational company IBM to fill in surveys about morale in the workplace. • He then carried out a content analysis on the responses he received, focusing on the key differences submitted by employees in different countries. • His research looked at the 40 most represented countries in the surveys. The trends he noticed he called “dimensions”.

  11. Cultural Dimensions of Behavior • Hoefstede argues that understanding cultural dimensions will help facilitate communication between cultures. • Understanding and respect of cultural norms can promote successful international diplomacy as well as international business. • Hoefstede gives the example of cultural differences in business in Middle interactions.

  12. Cultural Dimensions of Behavior • When negotiating in western countries, the objective is to work towards a target of mutual understanding and agreement, and shake hands when that agreement is reached—a cultural signal of the end of negotiations and the start of working together. • In Middle Eastern countries, much negotiation takes place leading into the agreement, signified by shaking hands. • However, this does not signal that the deal is complete. In fact, in Middle Eastern culture it is a sign that serious negotiations are just beginning.

  13. Cultural dimensions of behavior • Imagine the problems this creates when each party in a negotiation is operating under diametrically opposed cultural norms. • This is just one example of why it is critical to understand other cultures you may be doing business with, whether you are on a vacation in a foreign country, or negotiating a multimillion-dollar business deal.

  14. Questions: Cultural dimensions • What is the name of the researcher that developed the concept of cultural dimensions? • How did Hoefstede carry out his early research into cultural dimensions at IBM? • What concepts did he develop after his research? • Why is understanding cultural dimensions important? • Explain the example Hoefstede presents to illustrate the importance of understanding cultural norms…

  15. Individualism vs. Collectivism • Activity: • complete activity 1.4 in pairs –’the search for individualism & collectivism’ • •

  16. Individualism v.s. Collectivism • One dimension is individualism; another one is collectivism. In individualist societies, the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after himself or herself and his or her immediate family. • In collectivist societies, from birth onwards people are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, often extended families (with uncles, aunts, and grandparents), which provides them with support and protection. • However, if an individual does not live up to the norms of the family or the larger social group, the result can sometimes be severe.

  17. Individualism vs. Collectivism • Markus and Kitayama (1991) characterized the difference between US and Japanese culture by citing two of their proverbs: • “In America, the squeaky wheel gets the grease; in Japan, the nail that stands out gets pounded down.” • Markus and Kitayama argue that perceiving a boundary between the individual and the social environment is distinctly western in its cultural orientation, and that non-western cultures tend towards connectedness.

  18. Questions: Individualism Vs. Collectivism • Explain how individualist and collectivist cultures are different? • What can be the consequences of not living up to the cultural norms in a collectivist culture? Give an example. • What proverbs do Marcus & Kitayama (1991) to illustrate cultural differences? • What do Marcus & Kitayama (1991) mean by the term connectedness?

  19. How cultures perceive a line…. Questions to check understanding: • What difference is there between people from eastern and western cultures when it comes to looking at objects? • How does this difference relate to individualism and collectivism? • What difference between easterners and westerners does Park identify? • What were aims, procedures, findings and conclusions of Hedden et al.’s (2008) study? • What differences did Markus find when it came to children solving puzzles? • Why does Park believe that understanding cultural differences is important?

  20. Uncertainty vs. Avoidance • A second dimension is uncertainty versus avoidance, which deals with a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity. • It indicates to what extent a culture programmes its members to feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations. • Unstructured situations are novel, unknown, surprising. • Uncertainty-avoiding cultures try to minimize the possibility of such situations by strict laws and rules, safety and security measures, and, on the philosophical and religious level, by a belief in absolute Truth—there can only be one Truth and we have it.

  21. Confucian Dynamism… • Bond (1988) argues that Chinese culture replaces the uncertainty- avoidance dimension with Confucian work dynamism:instead of focusing on truth, some cultures focus on virtue. • China and other Asian countries have a long-term orientation.These cultures value persistence, loyalty, and trustworthiness. • Relationships are based on status. They have a need to protect the collective identity and respect tradition—what is often called “saving face”. • Hoefstede found that Finland, France, Germany, and the US have a short-term orientation. In contrast to Confucian work dynamism, these cultures value personal steadiness and stability. There is a focus on the future instead of the past, and innovation is highly respected.

  22. Questions: Uncertainty vs. Avoidance • Define the cultural dimension of uncertainty vs. avoidance? • Give an example of an uncertainty avoiding society, and explain why it is? • Explain what Bond (1998) proposes Chinese society overcome the uncertainty avoidance dimension? • Explain the difference between long term and short term orientation?

  23. The danger of making generalizations …. • One does have to be careful, however, with applying the idea of dimensions too casually. • Hoefstede warns against the ecological fallacy—that is, when one looks at two different cultures, it should not be assumed that two members from two different cultures must be different from one another, or that a single member of a culture will always demonstrate the dimensions which are the norm of that culture. • These concepts simply give psychologists a way to generalize about cultures in order to better discuss the role that culture plays in behaviour.

  24. An alternative view.. Proxemic theory (1966) • Hall’s proxemic theory (1966) is based on a culture’s need for personal space”. • In his book, The Hidden Dimension, he shows that different cultures have different perceptions of the amount of personal space that is required to be comfortable. • People only allow their closest, most intimate friends into this bubble of space.

  25. Personal space…. • In the US, for instance, people engaged in conversation will assume a social distance of roughly 10—15 cm/ 4—7 inches, • but in many parts of Europe the expected social distance is roughly half that, with the result that Americans travelling overseas often experience the urgent need to back away from a conversation partner who seems to be getting too close.

  26. Time consciousness…. • Hall also described the norm of time consciousness. • He distinguished between monochronic cultures and polychronic cultures. • Monochronic cultures focus on one thing at a time. There is a high degree of scheduling, and punctuality and meeting deadlines are highly valued. • In polychronic cultures, many things happen at once. The focus is more on relationships and interactions. Interruptions are expected as part of life, and there is little frustration experienced when things are postponed or late.

  27. Questions: Personal Space & Time consciousness • According to Hoefstede what ecological fallacy should be avoided when comparing cultures? • What theory did Hall (1966) present to explain cultural differences? • Give an example of cultural differences in terms of cultural space? • Using examples, explain the difference between monochronic and polychronic cultures?