Cross Culture Is A Vital Issue Cultural Studies Essay

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The interaction of people from diverse backgrounds in the business world, Cross culture is a vital issue in international business, as the victory of international trade depends upon the smooth interaction of employees from different cultures and regions. A growing number of companies are consequently devoting extensive resources toward training their employees to interact effectively with those of companies in new cultures in an effort to stimulate a positive cross-cultural familiarity.

Cross culture can be experienced by an employee who is transferred to a location in another country. The employee must learn the language and culture of those around him, and vice-versa. This can be more tricky if this person is acting in a managerial capacity; someone in this situation who cannot effectively communicate with or understand their employees' actions can lose their authority. In an ever-expanding global economy, cross culture and adaptability will continue to be important factors in the business world

Living and doing business in foreign country. This is an experience we often look forward to with enthusiasm.

However, when it comes to actually dealing with the work environment there, many of us are unprepared for the extent of dissimilarity of cultural that we encounter. We may experience certain reactions that are psychologically disoriented in a way that we need to perform things we are not used to.

This is a very real phenomenon and is called "cultural shock" by some. And no traveller entering into a foreign market is spared unaffected by it in any way.

Others also call it "cultural adaption".

Though cultural shock may feel as more intense and it strikes suddenly. Adapting to new cultural environment is vital for a happy journey.

Factors that could affect and contribute to the cultural differences among the employees are religion, experience, education, social standing, personality, belief structure, affection shown by peers, etc. This all affect the human mind and behaviour.

Understanding the culture, values, beliefs, and the thought process of the recipient is highly important in order to effectively deliver the message to them.

In any organization, an individual can never think on the same line as his boss does. There is always a difference in their thought process. The work pressure, lack of transparency between the team members are also the barriers which lead to an ineffective communication. These barriers are called internal barriers.

Differences in culture are persistent and are capable of posing a number of challenges for multinational companies. The firms that effectively manage itself in adapting to various cultures where they operate and try to be diverse are at an advantege.

In order to perform in an effective manner, a person has to have a cultural and ideological understanding about the surroundings that have diversified human beings belonging to different cultures.

The ways and customs are to be thoroughly understood when it comes to interacting with clients oversees.

A study was conducted in Canada on cross cultural differences where a comparison was made of ethnic group to another. There is a human need to categorize. There is also a danger that has the chance to come in when people act on generalizations. It cannot be avoided. These generalizations are mainly based on faulty observations. Eye contact, touch, personal space and interest in participation are things upon which generalizations can be made. They can have serious negative penalties.

"What some words are considered polite in some cultures may be inappropriate for others."

In some cultures "yes" simply means "I agree with you" more than "I hear you".

The length and way of pleasantries before you get down for a business meeting, politeness shown or etiquettes exposed, tolerance shown when around is speaking a foreign language, or manner in which you expect a person to dress are some factors that may come into the cultural differences.

For example, it is customary in Mexico to greet others when a person is arriving.

Instance could be, when someone walks into a set of persons eating, he would say 'provecho' (enjoy your meal).

In Chile, women often greet both the women and men with a peck on the cheek.

In Russia, it's very common for two female friends to walk hand in hand.

Paying due attention to cultural differences and customs of a countries can give a better chance of acceptance or assimilation for the person who is from an outside culture. Not complying to these cultural norms can pose danger to an unsuspecting person.

History of cross culture

The term "cross-cultural" emerged in the social sciences in the 1930s chiefly as a result of the Cross-Cultural Survey undertaken by George Peter Murdock, a Yale anthropologist. Initially referring to relative studies based on statistical compilation of cultural data, the term gradually acquired a secondary intelligence of cultural interactivity. The comparative sense is oblique in phrases such as "a cross-cultural perspective," "cross-cultural differences," "a cross-cultural study of..." and so forth, while the interactive signification may be found in works like Attitudes and Adjustment in Cross-Cultural Contact: Recent Studies of Foreign Students, a 1956 issue of The Journal of Social Issues. Usage of "cross-cultural" was for many decades controlled mainly to the social sciences. Among the more well-known examples are the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) recognized in 1972 "to further the study of the role of cultural factors in shaping human behavior," and its associated Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, which aims to grant an interdisciplinary discussion of the effects of cultural differences

Cross Culture specializes in Tran cultural exchanges through the arts. Many artists, institutional partners and corporate sponsors from around the world have participated in Cross Culture projects and events since 1979, and continue to do so Search for identity in a globalize world, unlimited artistic expression, and inspiration for harmony are the basic principles of Cross Culture. The result: a celebration of diversity. This vision is transformed into material cultural events: exhibitions, festivals, concerts, performances, workshops and  publications Cross Culture was initiated and is coordinated by Thomas Imboden, a freelance cultural manager. He collaborates closely and long-term with artists who hunt to bridge gaps between cultures as well as across art forms, and supports them in their interview with counterparts and with varying audiences

Difference between high context and low context communication in cultures

High Context

Low Context


Relationships depend on trust, build up slowly, and are stable.

One distinguishes between people inside and people outside one's circle.

How things get done depends on relationships with people and attention to group process.

One's identity is rooted in groups (family, work, culture

Social structure and authority are centralized; responsibility is at the top. Person at top works for the good of the group

Relationships begin and end quickly.

Many people can be inside one's circle; circle's boundary is not clear.

Things get done by following procedures and paying attention to the goal.

One's identity is rooted in oneself and one's accomplishments.

Social structure is decentralized; responsibility goes further down (is not concentrated at the top).


High use of nonverbal elements; voice tone, facial expression, gestures, and eye movement carry significant parts of conversation.         

Verbal message is implicit; context (situation, people, nonverbal elements) is more important than words.               

Verbal message is indirect; one talks around the point and embellishes it.                  

Communication is seen as an art form-a way of engaging someone.

Disagreement is personalized. One is sensitive to conflict expressed in another's nonverbal communication.

Conflict either must be solved before work can progress or must be avoided because it is personally threatening.

Low use of nonverbal elements. Message is carried more by words than by nonverbal means.

Verbal message is explicit. Context is less important than words.

Verbal message is direct; one spells things out exactly.

Communication is seen as a way of exchanging information, ideas, and opinions.

Disagreement is depersonalized. One withdraws from conflict with another and gets on with the task.

Focus is on rational solutions, not personal ones. One can be explicit about another's bothersome behavior.


Space is communal; people stand close to each other, share the same space. 

Space is compartmentalized and privately owned; privacy is important, so people are farther apart.



Everything has its own time. Time is not easily scheduled; needs of people may interfere with keeping to a set time. What is important is that activity gets done.

Change is slow. Things are rooted in the past; slow to change, and stable.

Time is a process; it belongs to others and to nature.    


Things are scheduled to be done at particular times, one thing at a time. What is important is that activity is done efficiently.

Change is fast. One can make change and see immediate results.

Time is a commodity to be spent or saved. One's time is one's own.


Knowledge is embedded in the situation; things are connected, synthesized, and global. Multiple sources of information are used. Thinking is deductive, proceeds from general to specific.       

Learning occurs by first observing others as they model or demonstrate and then practicing. 

Groups are preferred for learning and problem solving.

Accuracy is valued. How well something is learned is important.

Reality is fragmented and compartmentalized. One source of information is used to develop knowledge. Thinking is inductive, proceeds from specific to general. Focus is on detail.

Learning occurs by following explicit directions and explanations of others.

An individual orientation is preferred for learning and problem solving.

Speed is valued. How efficiently something is learned is important.

Thought Patterns

Truth will manifest itself through non-linear discovery processes and without having to employ rationality. 

Emphasis on logic and rationality, based on the belief that there is always an objective truth that can be reached through linear processes of discovery

Social perspective

 Collectivism emphasized

Individualism emphasized

I have been transferred to Japan for five years on a project. I want to adjust myself in new environment so that I do not have cross cultures problem, being resident of America I have to give deep study about Japanese cultures as there is a vast difference between Japanese and American cultures

Variation between Japanese and American culture

Japanese and American cultures reveal abundant variations. American as well as Japanese culture is heavily influenced by the kind of people living in the country. For example the society in Japan is largely homogeneous and middle class, whereas the American society is heavily heterogeneous, owing to the increased levels of immigration. This has contributed to a very diverse cultural setting and widened the dissimilarity gap in American society. These two varying trends have profound influence on the cultures of the two societies.

Because of the different set of ethnic groups in American society, this phenomenon has helped to strain a number of subcultures existing within a single American universal-culture. This is one of the main distinguishing features of

American culture. Consequently, each American citizen belongs to a number of subcultures, which may be connoted as cultural origin, class, gender, religion, exceptionality, geographical location and so onwards. Every individual subculture has certain common attributes with the comprehensive culture.

On the other side, the Japanese society is not as diverse, in terms of subcultures. This is to a certain extent due to the fact that there is fewer immigration to Japan, and only a small portion of the total population (<1%) are not Japanese by background. The Japanese society is largely urban, hence a large population density.

The structure of the family in these two cultures extensively differs too. While in Japanese culture the structure of the family is still defined by tradition, in American culture the family structure is much more

"free" and family members liberally choose roles depending on tastes or likes . Roles are not traditionally defined.

In the family life, the roles of the husband and wife in a family opposite in the two cultures. While the wife in any Japanese family is expected to 'look after' her husband, American culture will almost take that opinion as offensive. In Japanese culture, the man is seen as the head of the family and all his needs must be tendered to 1st, while in the culture of America, a wife and husband are 'equal' and their roles in the family are not evidently defined.

While going to Japan I will study various aspects of Japan culture so that I do not have any problem

Cross cultures aspects

Building relationship


Meeting and negotiation

Body language

Dinning etiquettes

Group orientation


Gift giving etiquittes

Building relationship

While doing business in Japan a successful relationship with a Japanese colleague or client is based on 3 factors: trustworthiness, sincerity and compatibility. Sincerity means that you are compromising; understanding and you want to carry out business on a private level. Compatibility is recognized when you are seen to be concerned about the personal relationship, the well being of the business and not just focused on financial gain. Credibility relates to the faith put in you to defend from loss face.

Communication skills

The stress in Japanese culture on maintaining harmony has developed in a way as to allow very blurred forms of expression. The cultural judgment behind this is that by avoiding explicit or direct statements one has a better possibility of not causing crime.

While doing business in Japan one should clarify meanings and dig deeper for more information. The Japanese are implicit communicators. An explicit communicator assumes the listener is ignorant of background information or related issues to the topic of discussion and provides it. The Japanese however assume the listener is well knowledgeable on the subject and reduces information relayed on the principle that listener will understand from implication.


The Japanese are fact orientated. Look forward to lots of questions which are asked in different ways. Be sure to bring all information as possible, in writing, on your company, service, product

The Japanese like to deal with calm, compromising and sincere persons. Extroverts are seen as hasty and arrogant. Early in negotiations remain modest, indirect and non-frightening. Do not disagree directly; do not put natives on the spot and always use diplomatic language while doing business. Be sure to hold off concessions till the end of proceedings. If made before time then your integrity will be questioned.

Silence is considered an asset. If things go calmly when doing business in a meeting then do not fright. Suggestion is taking place. Silence may be also be accompany by the closing of the eyes. Never break off the silence.

Group orientation

Team-work, group cohesiveness and Altruism are all areas to the highest degree stressed within Japanese society. Individuality is defined by the social group. As a result, when doing business, the Japanese stress self-discipline and compromise.


In order to protect harmony in society and to maintain the simplicity of the hierarchical structure, showing respect to others acts as a vital social lubricant. Respect is conveyed through language, behavior, etiquette, body language and other subtle forms of non-verbal communication.

Body language

Eye contact: Making eye contact in Japanese culture considered to be rude, leads to rough attitude and can be construed as a sign of violence. While speaking to or approaching a Japanese individual, make very short eye contact to signal the person, but then maintain suitable eye level, to the individual's neck

Gestures: The common body gestures used by the Japanese should be studied. One should learn these to avoid any confusion and uncomfortable looks when communicating with your Japanese friend, coworker or stranger!


Angry: anger is shown by index finders pointing out from head, like horns

Asking for forgiveness; Favor: Favor is asked by single clapping of the hands in front of the face.

Embarrassed: Japanese show their embarrassment by Open-hand behind the head

Excuse me: Japanese extended their arms out for praying, but with only one arm

Greeting Etiquette

Japanese comparable to the shake hand.

The minor and longer duration of the bow, the advanced degree of respect displayed by the bow. Unclearly similar to how the determination of the handshake determines the level of respect and confidence one has for the person.

Females use both arms in the front, with hands on top of legs. Males stay arms to their sides. Bowing Japanese is the 6th most spoken language in the world, with over 99% of the country's population using it.  Amazingly, the language is spoken in barely any region outside Japan.  

Dining Etiquette

When you are invited to a Japanese house:

Remove your shoes before entering and put on the slippers left outside the house.  Leave your shoes pointing away from the doorway you are about to walk through. Arrive on time or not more than five minutes late if invited for ceremonial dinner. If you are invited for a large social gathering, arriving a little bit late than also the invitation is acceptable, although punctuality is always valued.  If you have not been told the event is casual, dress as if you are going to the office. 

 Gift Giving Etiquette

 Gift-giving is highly ritualistic and significant. The ritual of presenting the gift and the way it is wrapped is as significant, sometimes it is more important than the gift itself. 

Gifts are given for several occasions. The gift need not be pricey, but take care to ask somebody who understands the culture to help you make a decision what type of gift to give.  Superior chocolates or small cakes are good ideas.  Do not give camellias, lilies or lotus as they are linked with funerals. .Do not gives potted plants as they support sickness; even though a bonsai tree is acceptable. Give items in odd numbers, except9. 

If you buy the gift in Japan, have to be wrapped. 

 Gifts are not opened when received. 

Meeting Etiquette

Greetings in Japan are very official and ritualized. It is significant to show the accurate amount of respect to person based upon their status relative to your own. If at all possible, wait to be introduced. It can be seen as rude to introduce yourself, even though in a large gathering. Whereas foreigners are expected to shake hands, the traditional form of greeting is the bow. How far you bow depends upon your relationship to the other person as well as the situation. The more you bow, the more respect you show.