Culture And Working Abroad Cultural Studies Essay

Published:

It is very interesting for me to know more about a culture and especially what the definition of a culture is. Because it could be necessary for my future plans, if I want to work abroad. So this workshop was a very good choice for me. Now I know more about the difference in culture and I also have used this material for my self-study assignment.

I was very happy with my teacher because she know a lot of differences in culture. She also has used a lot of experiences from herself or from her friends to illustrates us, in a good way, how people can react in a different cultures, because we have to be aware of the fact that a lot of things can happen when you are a foreigner.

This workshop was also very useful for my minor Communication, because it is important to speak with nonverbal skills and therefore we have to know how people can react on several nonverbal skills.

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet

Professional

Essay Writers

Lady Using Tablet

Get your grade
or your money back

using our Essay Writing Service!

Essay Writing Service

In this final report you can read about the things that I have learnt in this workshop and how I can apply some definitions that are related to the workshop 'working abroad'.

I hope you will enjoy reading my final report.

Tasks

Culture

Explanation of the meaning culture

It is important to know what a culture exactly is. People do not exactly know what the meaning of culture is. But it has something to do with values, habits, history, knowledge, experience, beliefs, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, roles, relations and manners of people behaving, that are different from other cultures.

The Iceberg Model

This model is about the visible and invisible cultural aspects; The practices described above are the tip of the iceberg, the things we can see, hear and observe. The small part above the water level is visible. In it, we can include manners, customs, and languages: all things we can observe and learn. We also talk about the explicit aspects of culture, those aspects that we can easily describe.

However, the larger chunk, is hidden under water, and we cannot see it. This is where we find the values and the vision of the world, the way of thinking and the assumptions we have. All these aspects are hidden; we cannot easily express our values.

Dimensions of culture

Explanation what dimensions of culture are

There are a lot of differences in culture. To explain and to know more about a culture it can be useful to use the dimensions of culture. Therefore the dimensions could be an useful tool. Because when you describe a culture you can understand the culture even better. Perhaps, when you are in a new culture you want to know more about this culture, and with a little bit of help from the dimensions of culture, you can understand the behaviour of an organization, society or city.

Explanation of one dimension of culture from Fons Trompenaars

Achievement vs. ascription

If you work hard you get rewarded and in an achievement culture this means that your performance are very important. People get status based on how well they perform their functions. But they must continue working hard, because their status is based on their own actions. And in an ascription culture, the status related to who or what a person is. This can be based on age, gender and social connections.

A film to illustrate this particular dimension

- The Devil Wears Prada-

The company culture (the culture where Andy becomes part of):

To work hard and get rewarded is very important in the company culture. Therefore achievement is very important. Because you have to prove yourself and you must continue working hard, because their status is based on their own actions. In this film you see that Miranda, the boss of the company, has a high status, a lot of experience, and a lot of connections in the fashion world. Therefore she has enough power to lead this business.

The national culture (Andy's culture):

Andy lives in an ascription culture because she thinks that people are important based on what kind of person they are. She is emotional and kind to others. Andy is not used to the achievement culture at 'Runways' and this is a real culture shock for her.

Explanation of one dimension of culture from Geert Hofstede

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet

Comprehensive

Writing Services

Lady Using Tablet

Plagiarism-free
Always on Time

Marked to Standard

Order Now

Individualism vs. collectivism

You have the collectivism and the individuals side. The different is that you are on your own or getting protection from others. When you are an individual everyone is expected that you are looking after someone else. So if you are for example an individual country you have more power because you don't need help from other people/countries. America is an individual country, they are a rich and powerful country, but you also have countries who need protection and security and are surround other people/countries, they are less powerful.

A film to illustrate this particular dimension

- Hooligans -

The new culture were Matt is going to be involved is collectivism. They are best friends and fight for their lives. They need each other for protection, because they cant make it by their own, they need backup support.

Entering a new culture

Explanation of the three culture types

The encapsulator

Encapsulators are not used to a new culture. They want to be in an environment that is similar to their own culture.

The absconder

The absconder want to be part of the new culture, and they will minimize the contact with people from their own culture, and sometimes even reject their former culture. Those people will adopting a lot of things from their new culture, like the new food and lifestyle.

The cosmopolitan

The cosmopolitans are positive and optimistic persons. They are truly curious and interested in their new culture. They want to be totally part of the new culture but they don't want to forget their own culture. They love both cultures and enjoying them equally.

A case study that illustrates the cosmopolitan

- WHAT WOULD YOU DO - CASE STUDIES SESSION 4 -

You have been hired as a manager in a huge building project in Bahrain. The salary is good and so are the perks and benefits, but there is one catch. At many times you are bored. It seems there is always a reason why work cannot continue. For example, when you thought you had had all religious and national holidays, the construction plans were changed and you had to wait for approval from the local government. When the new plans were approved of, other materials had to be ordered and you will have to wait up to two months for the right materials to arrive. If you do not show up at work, you do not get paid, so you already come in late, take long lunches and leave early. Still, you often think of your family and friends at home and without the distractions of work, you start feeling homesick and wonder whether you should not simply go home for a while - but this is obviously going to cost you much money.

This case study shows that the manager is a positive and optimistic man, because he likes his job.

He is also be willing to do a lot of things for other people, because he loves his new culture and he earns a lot of money with his job, but sometimes he feels bored and he often has to think of his family and friends at home. He wants to be the positive man, because entering a new culture is more important for him then going home, otherwise it will cost him much money.

Culture shock

Explanation of culture shock

When people are in a different and unknown culture, they struggle with a lot of difficulties in assimilating the new culture, causing difficulty in knowing what is appropriate and what is not.

When people are in the honeymoon phase they felt wonderful about moving to another and unknown culture. But after a few weeks they felt for instance homesick , and see the different in the new and old culture and it cost many other symptoms when they are in the negotiation phase.

They might missing their home and old friends or feel boredom but after a while things get 'normal', and they knew what to expect in most situations when they feel adjustment.

The several stages of culture shock

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet

This Essay is

a Student's Work

Lady Using Tablet

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Examples of our work

Honeymoon phase

Disorientation phase

Irritation and hostility phase

Adaptation and integration phase

Biculturalism phase

A case study that illustrate one of these types of culture shock

- The Day after the Party -

I can still remember sitting in the airplane about to start my new life. I was very excited about coming to this country and making new friends. But once I got to the university the first week were mostly filled with practical problems. I had to find a room, I had to buy books, I had to register for various things, and so on. I had expected to get more help with these thing. My supervisor was always away on a foreign trip or at meetings. Then over the next weeks I started to get the feeling that the people here were cold. During the day they never seemed to have time for anything other than working. Contacts with the people from my apartment building were distant and superficial, and I didn't know how to change that. The best part of the week was calling home on Saturday nights. Then one of the Ph.D. students got married and invited me to the wedding party. That was great. I got to know the people from the office and many others, and we had a lot of fun. They taught me their way of dancing, and I taught them my way. I finally went home thinking, ''Now I know how to make friends in this country.'' But the next Monday morning they acted as if nothing had happened! They just said the usual ''Hi'' in the corridor and went on with their work! I felt cold and lonely. What had I done wrong? Were they showing me I was just an outsider after all? My misery must have shown on my face, because a few days later one of the Ph.D. students I had been dancing with came to me and asked me whether something was the matter. We talked about it, and she explained to me that this was normal behaviour and that people made a clear distinction between work time and private time. This conversation made me feel a bit better. Since then, we have talked about these things every now and then, and she and a few others have become good friends. I am doing well now. Work organization is efficient here, and I am making good progress. I have notices that people do take the time to talk about the content matter of my work when I ask them. I still feel, though, that the people here do not make the best of their lives, and I miss the warmth of home.

Explanation of the case study which illustrates the stages of culture shock

Honeymoon

Rui is very excited about starting a new life. He is also very curious about his new life and his new friends. He sees the good things of moving to another country/culture.

Disorientation

Nothing is normal anymore and he doesn't know how to change that.

Irritability and hostility

Rui feels angry because everyone ignores him, but he also sees the other side of his new culture.

Adjustment/Adaptation and integration

Rui sees integration of the new behavioural codes. He can function properly and sees the bad & good sides of both cultures.

Culture clash

Explanation of culture clash

A culture clash is the misunderstandings, and disagreements between different cultures. Normally there are two cultures who are disagree about their own believes or way of thinking.

Culture clash is different from culture shock because when you are in a culture shock you struggle with a lot of difficulties in assimilating to the new culture, but you also see the good things of the culture. So you aren't disagreeing with the other culture, you just want to see more of it.

A article which can serve as an example of culture clash

'Culture Clash over Japanese Whaling' on http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8564342.stm

You can find this article in the appendices on page 13 & 14

Explanation of why this case is such a good example

This is a good example of culture clash because this case is a real culture clash situation. Two cultures disagree about their believe or way of thinking. In this case the anti-whaling protestors and the Japanese restaurant(s)owners are the opposites from each other, because these restaurant(s) owners sell whale meat to customers. This culture thinks that it is normal to eat fish, like whales. But the anti-whaling protesters and Greenpeace are strongly against eating whale meat. This whale meat is also being sold on the black market. But you can't be aware of everything. Greenpeace members show that this is being sold on the black market, and handed their evidence to the prosecutors. They promised that they would investigate this case, but they didn't. On the same day the Tokyo police arrested them and prosecuted the person who exposed the corruption, but not the corruption in the government. If they are convicted of theft, they could face up to 10 years in prison.

On the hand of this situation you can see that this is a real culture clash. People know that it is normal in the Japan culture, to eat different food then, for example, the European culture. They see this meat as a delicatessen. But Greenpeace and the anti-whaling protesters find this not acceptable. They want to make people aware of the fact that there are not so much whales anymore. Therefore they demonstrated against eating Japanese Whaling.

You can see that there are two different cultures and they are the opposites from each other, because those two cultures don't understand each other and they disagree with each other. I neither do think that they compress with each other. Because you see a lot of the same situation in the world, it cost a lot of trouble and discussions in the world. But I do think that we have to accept that we are all different and that we all have other beliefs and values.

Analyzing cross/cultural encounters

Explanation of the three-step method of intercultural communication

At the first step you have to look at your own culture/ your own norms/ values. Otherwise you can't understand the norms/ values from others. After that you have to look to the other culture/ norms / values, to understand the other person better. So you can see the differences between you and the other person because everyone has a truly different background. You also can see the similarities of the both cultures. If you know all these things there could be an given solution of how people can relate with each other. In some of the cases you can't give 'an solution' because sometimes it is how it is.

A case study to illustrate the three steps taken

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/08/british-woman-arrested-dubai

You can find this article in the appendices on page 15

Step 1. Your own Norms/Values: British tourist

A British woman has reported to the police that she was raped. They related to a crime, they find it also normal that such a crime would be reported to the police and that the police does an investigation to find the rapist. Safety is very important in their society.

But she has been arrested for having illegal sex (sex outside marriage) with her fiancé, when she was celebrating her engagement in Dubai. She find that very strange because in her culture it is normal to have sex with the person you love.

Step 2. Norms/ Values of others: Police

The police of Dubai have a strict law, about sex in outside marriage. The couple could face up to six years if they found guilty of having sex outside marriage. This strict law caused problems for British tourists or Western tourists. In this case the reported of rape were ignored, because the Dubai authorities find it a bigger crime when you have sex outside your marriage. Something unusual for the British way of thinking. These norms are very strict, this has to do with religion beliefs. They live for their religion, and you can´t make any jokes about it. So you can see that the police of Dubai have different sentences then the police of England.

Step 3. How people relate in a given situation:

The police of Dubai must know that not-Muslim people have other rules about sex. The British authorities have to intervene. Beside of that the couple can give their apology for this incident, on this way they show respect to their habits.

Explanation how or when applying this analysis can be useful

If there are a lot of trouble between two or more cultures it can be useful to use the three-step method to give your true opinion about the case. First of all, you have to look to yourself. After that you have to know more about the other person and if it is possible you can give an solution. It will also help you to know more about a culture, so you will understand another culture better.

What would you do?

- WHAT WOULD YOU DO - CASE STUDIES SESSION 4 -

You have come to Mongolia to train local air plane mechanics who work for a private airline. You like your job, not just because you like the adventure of working abroad and the pay, but you also feel you contribute to air safety in this part of the world. In spite of your good intentions, the local mechanics often don't come to training sessions and they regularly don't use what you taught them. The language barrier has also proven to be a problem so you have introduced an English course, but again, the mechanics fail to show up for lessons. You have even introduced a bonus system for mechanics who attend classes and pass exams, but nothing seems to help. You feel frustrated and wonder what on earth you are doing here if these people don't want your help.

Why does this case study appealed more to me than the other cases ?

This case study appealed to me the most because of the fact that I find the stories of Mongolia very interesting to hear and read. I also can recognize myself into this man because when it will happened to me, I will also think: ''What on earth am I doing here ?''

A short analysis of the situation and description what I would do in this situation ?

A mechanics who works for a private airline likes his job very much. But he doesn't understand why some local mechanics often don't come to his training sessions. Even when he introduced a bonus system for them when they attend classes and pass exams. But nothing seems to help. He feels frustrated and wonder what on earth he still do there if these people don't want his help.

If this happened to me, I will asked the local mechanics ''Why didn't you show up for all the training sessions?'' I also will explain them how important it will be for them to earn more money and that it will be useful for themselves to learn more, so they can give this information to other people.

Conclusion

Sometimes it can be very difficult to find the definition for culture. Therefore it is probably easier to explain culture by discussing a number of theories. For example, the iceberg model, this model is about the visible and invisible culture aspects. Some aspects we can easily describe and some aspects are hidden, those aspect we cannot easily express easily.

Because of the fact that there are a lot of differences are in culture, it can also be very useful to use the dimensions of culture. When you are in a new culture you want to know more about this culture, and with a little bit of help from the dimensions of culture, you can understand the behaviour of an organization, society or city.

You can use the dimensions of culture from Geert Hofstede or Fons Trompenaars. They both show a lot of similarities.

Entering a new culture can be very excited for a lot of people. When a person is entering a new culture we can divided him into three main groups or 'culture types':

The encapsulator, those persons are not used to the new culture. They want to be in an environment that is similar to their own culture. The absconder want to be part of the new culture, and they will minimize the contact with people from their own culture, and sometimes even reject their former culture. Those people will adopting a lot of things from their new culture, like the new food and lifestyle. And the cosmopolitan, are positive and optimistic persons. They are truly curious and interested in their new culture. They want to be totally part of the new culture but they don't want to forget their own culture. They love both cultures and enjoying them equally.

When people are in a different and unknown culture, they struggle with a lot of difficulties in assimilating the new culture, causing difficulty in knowing what is appropriate and what is not.

When people are in the honeymoon phase they felt wonderful about moving to another and unknown culture. But after a few weeks they felt for instance homesick , and see the different in the new and old culture and it cost many other symptoms when they are in the negotiation phase.

They might missing their home and old friends or feel boredom but after a while things get 'normal', and they knew what to expect in most situations when they feel adjustment. This is also named culture shock.

But when two cultures are disagree about their own believes or way of thinking this is culture clash

Culture clash is different from culture shock because when you are in a culture shock you struggle with a lot of difficulties in assimilating to the new culture, but you also see the good things of the culture. So you aren't disagreeing with the other culture, you just want to see more of it.

Even with the three-step method you can understand another culture even better.

Because you have to look to your own values/ norms and to the other persons values/norms to come to a possible solution.

So if you want to work or study abroad these culture differences would be useful for everyone. But we all have to keep in mind that we can't be aware of everything. Sometimes it will also be lovely to go to another culture and to see what will happen, you have to experience it by yourself.