Cross-cultural may refer to
- cross-cultural studies, a comparative tendency in various fields of cultural analysis
- cross-cultural communication, a field of study that looks at how people from differing cultural backgrounds communicate
- any of various forms of interactivity between members of disparate cultural groups (see also cross-cultural communication, interculturalism, intercultural relations, hybridity, cosmopolitanism, transculturation)
- the discourse concerning cultural interactivity, sometimes referred to as cross-culturalism (See also multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism, transculturation, cultural diversity)
By the 1970s, the field of cross-cultural communication (also known as intercultural communication) developed as a prominent application of the cross-cultural paradigm, in response to the pressures of globalization which produced a demand for cross-cultural awareness training in various commercial sectors.
Cultural communication differences can be identified by 8 different criteria:
- when to talk;
- what to say;
- pacing and pausing;
- the art of listening;
- what is conventional and what is not in a language;
- degree of indirectness; and
- cohesion and coherence.
The appearance of the term "cross-cultural" in the titles of a number of college readers and writing textbooks beginning in the late 1980s can be attributed to a convergence of academic multiculturalism and the pedagogical movement known as Writing Across the Curriculum, which gave educators in the social sciences greater influence in composition pedagogy. Popular examples included Ourselves Among Others: Cross-Cultural Readings for Writers (1988), edited by Carol J. Verburg, and Guidelines: A Cross Cultural Reading Writing Text (1990), ed. Ruth Spack.
Cross-cultural studies is an adaptation of the term cross-cultural to describe a branch of literary and cultural studies dealing with works or writers associated with more than one culture. Practitioners of cross-cultural studies often use the term cross-culturalism to describe discourses involving cultural interactivity, or to promote (or disparage) various forms of cultural interactivity.
Cross-culturalism is nearly synonymous with transculturation, a term coined by Cuban writer Fernando Ortiz in the 1940s to describe processes of cultural hybridity in Latin America. However, there are certain differences of emphasis reflecting the social science derivation of cross-culturalism.
The term "cross-culturalism" became prevalent in cultural studies in the late 1980s and 1990s. An early proponent of the term was the Guyanese writer Wilson Harris, who wrote in The Womb of Space (1983), that "cultural heterogeneity or cross-cultural capacity" gives an "evolutionary thrust" to the imagination.
Anthropology exerted a strong influence on the development of cross-culturalism in literary and cultural studies. French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss was a key figure in the development of structuralism and its successor, post-structuralism. Cross-influences between anthropology and literary/cultural studies in the 1980s were evident in works like James Clifford and George Marcus's collection, Writing Culture: the Poetics and Politics of Ethnography (1986). Harvard anthropologist Clifford Geertz was cited as an influence on literary critics like Stephen Greenblatt, while other literary/cultural scholars turned to works by Victor Turner and Mary Douglas.
Like multiculturalism, cross-culturalism is sometimes construed as ideological, in that it advocates values such as those associated with transculturation, transnationalism, cosmopolitanism, interculturalism, and globalism. Nevertheless, cross-culturalism is a fundamentally neutral term, in that favorable portrayal of other cultures or the processes of cultural mixing are not essential to the categorization of a work or writer as cross-cultural.
Cross-culturalism is distinct from multiculturalism. Whereas multiculturalism deals with cultural diversity within a particular nation or social group, cross-culturalism is concerned with exchange beyond the boundaries of the nation or cultural group.
Cross-culturalism in literary and cultural studies is a useful rubric for works, writers and artists that do not fit within a single cultural tradition. To the extent that cultures are national, the cross-cultural may be considered as overlapping the transnational. The cross-cultural can also be said to incorporate the colonial and the postcolonial, since colonialism is by definition a form of cross-culturalism. Travel literature also makes up a substantial component of cross-cultural literature. Of the various terms, "cross-culturalism" is the most inclusive, since it is free of transnationalism's dependence on the nation-state and colonialism/postcolonialism's restriction to colonized or formerly-colonized regions. This inclusiveness leads to certain definitional ambiguity (albeit one derived from the term culture itself). In practice, "cross-cultural" is usually applied only to situations involving significant cultural divergence. Thus, the term is not usually applied in cases involving crossing between European nations, or between Europe and the United States. However, there is no clear reason why, for example, Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America or even Woody Allen's Annie Hall (in which the protagonist experiences culture shock after traveling to Los Angeles from New York City) could not be considered cross-cultural works.
Although disagreement over what constitutes a "significant" cultural divergence creates difficulties of categorization, "cross-cultural" is nevertheless useful in identifying writers, artists, works, etc., who may otherwise tend to fall between the cracks of various national cultures.
The term "cross-cultural" emerged in the social sciences in the 1930s, largely as a result of the Cross-Cultural Survey undertaken by George Peter Murdock, a Yale anthropologist. Initially referring to comparative studies based on statistical compilations of cultural data, the term gradually acquired a secondary sense of cultural interactivity. The comparative sense is implied in phrases such as "a cross-cultural perspective," "cross-cultural differences," "a cross-cultural study of..." and so forth, while the interactive sense 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 restricted mainly to the social sciences. Among the more prominent examples are the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP), established 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 provide an interdisciplinary discussion of the effects of cultural differences.
- The African Queen
- Anna and the King
- Bride and Prejudice
- Jodhaa Akbar
- Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
- The King and I
- The Last Samurai
- The Man Who Would Be King (film)
- The Namesake (film)
- Princess Tam Tam
Note that in the early 21st century the term "intercultural theatre" is preferred to "cross-cultural theatre."
- International Centre for Theatre Research
- The Bridge Stage of the Arts
- TheatreWorks (Singapore)
- Darpana Academy of Performing Arts
Plays and theatre piecesEdit
- Homebody/Kabul by Tony Kushner
- Indian Ink by Tom Stoppard
- Madame Butterfly (1900) by David Belasco
- Miss Saigon
- The Mahabharata by Peter Brook
- The Mikado (1885), a comic opera in two acts by Gilbert and Sullivan
Characteristics of cross-cultural narrativesEdit
Cross-cultural narrative forms may be described in terms of common characteristics or tropes shared by cross-cultural writers, artists, etc. Examples include primitivism, exoticism, as well as culturally specific forms such as Orientalism, Japonisme.
Cross-cultural narratives tend to incorporate elements such as:
- acculturation or resistance to acculturation
- culture shock
- ethnographic description
- overcoming of social obstacles through acculturation, tricksterism, kindness, luck, hard work, etc.
- return home (often accompanied by further culture shock)
- social obstacles such as discrimination, racism, prejudice, stereotypes, linguistic difficulties, linguicism
- travel writing
Music has long been a central medium for cross-cultural exchange. The cross-cultural study of music is referred to as ethnomusicology.
Cross-cultural theatre directorsEdit
- Peter Brook (United Kingdom)
Cross-cultural visual artistsEdit
- Leonard Tsuguharu Foujita (Japan, France)
- Paul Gauguin (France, Tahiti)
- Isamu Noguchi (United States, Japan, France, India)
Cross-cultural writers (autobiography, fiction, poetry)Edit
- Meena Alexander (India, Sudan, England, United States)
- Elvia Ardalani (Mexico, United States, Iran)
- Ruth Benedict (United States, Dutch New Guinea, Japan)
- Aimé Césaire (Martinique, France)
- Charles Eastman (Sioux, United States)
- Olaudah Equiano (Igbo, United States, England)
- Lafcadio Hearn (Greece, Ireland, United States, Japan)
- Joseph Heco (Japan, United States)
- Rudyard Kipling (India, England, United States of America)
- Jhumpa Lahiri (England, United States, India)
- Anna Leonowens (India, England, Thailand, Nova Scotia)
- Yone Noguchi (Japan, United States)
- Marco Polo (Italy, China)
- Victor Segalen (France, China)
- Khal Torabully (France, Mauritius).
- Cross-cultural leadership
- Cross-cultural narcissism
- Cultural Detective
- Emotions and culture
- Third culture kid
Cross-Cultural Leadership Cultural Assumptions in the Context of Study Experience Leadership approaches in India or China is significantly different to those found in other countries, such as England or France. These differences arise mainly from the cultural differences among countries, and thus cannot be ignored. The global managers are, therefore, faced with the challenge of developing a management strategy that is sensitive and understands how leadership across countries and cultures differ (Agneessens & Koskinen, 2015). For instance, global managers must understand how an individual from a certain culture would react when placed in a conflicting environment. In this essay, I reflect on how cultural assumptions can affect an individual in the context of study experiences.
As students, we are often unaware that some of the problems we face in schools, colleges or even in our social relationships stem from the cultural differences within the student and teaching body. For instance, a student may assume that the lecturer or the supervisor is reluctant to help or even a racist when that is not true. These misunderstandings and cultural assumptions would leave an international student feeling unsupported or unwilling to seek help from the lecturers or the supervisors due to the perceived cultural discrimination (Uitermark, 2017). As a result, the student may experience a dip in academic performance, stress, and the fear that they will not be able to meet the high expectations placed upon them by their families. Consequently, negative cultural perceptions can also adversely impact on the ability of the university to retain international or students from minority ethnic groups. Besides, these cultural assumptions can be entrenched within the university system when lecturers and members of the staff develop opinions regarding these groups of students without paying attention to the cultural factors that may be in play. Past studies by Hofstede and Trompenaars suggested different models that can help teachers and students to understand how cultures are different. From these theories, we acknowledge that cultural differences can affect teaching and learning in a couple of ways (Jefferson, 2017). For instance, teachers from hierarchical cultures would expect students to behave in a manner that shows their respect for authority, i.e., respecting teachers. On the other hand, students see teachers as experts who should pass to them the knowledge that they need. In these cultures, discussions or students challenging teachers may not be encouraged. In cultures that favor equality, teachers are expected to function as facilitators of knowledge. In this regard, discussions, and debates among students is encouraged. In these cultures, it is believed that students will learn more by questioning and discussing different concepts with the teachers. In the Western countries, such as the United States and Europe, the culture of individualism influences their education system (Jefferson, 2017). Students are expected to be as independent as possible, and their responsibility is limited to providing essential guidance and information to help them in their assignments and studies. In the cultures, students are not expected to collaborate with others in sharing ideas or doing joint assignments. However, when an international student comes from community-oriented cultures, where group collaboration is normal, they may find it hard to succeed in the western education system where teachers and lecturers are not as accessible or supportive as they would expect (Tsai, 2011). The student may lag behind in understanding the way tutorial classes operate while, at the same time, feeling reluctant to participate as they would in their home countries. In a nutshell, I have noticed how home cultures affect learning styles from my study experience. However, students from a different culture can learn best by observing and understanding what the other students are doing rather than making cultural assumptions. In some cases, a student may prefer verbal instructions or written. Nevertheless, they must be ready to adapt to the norms and best practices of the country or system. To conclude, sometimes it can be difficult for international students to integrate faster as expected when they come from hierarchical cultures where they are expected to learn by watching teachers or their leaders.
Differences between Individual and the Team Cultures in the Context of Classroom Assignments
Normally, students are given class assignments or tasks to complete in teams or groups. Members of these teams or groups often do not come from the same cultural and social background, and may not share similar religious and political ideas. Team members are, therefore, required to drop their cultural, social, political, and personal biases to realize the goal of the task. When personality and cultural clashes occur, team members are expected to solve the conflicts without disrupting the normal business of the team (Agneessens & Koskinen, 2015). In this essay, I reflect on how individual values and national cultures can impact on task allocations and effectiveness of team operations in group assignments. The goal of the group assignment was to brief a group of middle management who were being repatriated to Saudi Arabia from Australia. The group was made up of an Australian female student, Saudi Arabian male student and I (Australian). In the allocation of the group tasks, Hofstede model that compared Australia and Saudi Arabia national cultures were used as shown in figure 1.
Australian national culture scored high on individualism and indulgence while Saudi Arabian model scored high on power distance, uncertainty avoidance, and long-term orientation. According to the study on national cultures by Dr. Hofstede, it is agreed that changing the organisational culture may be difficult (Bjerke & Al-Meer, 1993). This is because changing the culture within an organisation will involve the integration of personal values of the members of that organisation. A person from a different culture is, therefore, expected to adapt to the processes and priorities of the organisation and specifically their team. However, it should be understood that a person’s home culture can considerably influence their participation in team activities. In this case, there should be effective communication strategies within the team to understand the relationship differences and diversity of personalities within the team.
Based on the Hofstede’s model, the tasks were distributed based on the national culture features. For instance, my tasks as an Australian included those that required individualism and greater indulgence (Beugelsdijk, Kostova, & Roth, 2017). Therefore, my roles included conducting a portion of the research and preparing the structure of the presentation. The Saudi Arabian played the role of a wealthy Arab prince who has just acquired a new business. His role was to show how businesses are run within the Middle East business environment. Furthermore, the assignment tasks were broken down into the suggested subject matter that fulfils our roles as dictated by the national cultures. The distribution of work was mainly in terms of the national culture with few ideas borrowed from the corporate culture. When taking group assignments, team members may be compelled to overlook rudeness or disruptive personalities within their team so that the assignment can be delivered on time. In most cases, team members fail to understand that what they may consider disruptive personalities is a normal characteristic of certain cultural heritage (Tsai, 2011). The focus of the team members should, therefore, be on the different ideas these personalities offer. The key to success in the team is, therefore, to leverage of the strengths of every team member by understanding personality differences so that the group can restructure task allocation according to strengths and weaknesses of every team member. Besides, it is advisable for all team members to connect with what is important to all people in the group, i.e., the group task or assignment (Nazarian, Atkinson, & Foroudi, 2017). The individual must, therefore, tear apart the cultural complexities within the team and assist in the creation of ground rules that would help the team build trust and commitment towards the attainment of its objectives. In conclusion, the approach was a very comfortable fit for me as it played to my strengths. From the assignment, I learned that it is the responsibility of the individual to respect the team values and adapt to the prescribed behaviours within the group. Nonetheless, the individual can still stay authentic to self, but be flexible to create a win-win situation for yourself and the entire group by focusing on the assignment rather than external issues. In a nutshell, working in a group can be challenging, but it is a comfortable fit for me and my career development as it allows me to learn about different cultures and their values and perceptions.
The Power Dynamics Cultures Power and politics play a significant role in business management and every other aspect of life. Power and politics govern the process of making decisions within an organisation and how the members of such organisation relate with one another. In a learning institution, power dynamics will considerably influence the learning and teaching styles adopted by the organisation (Beste, 2017). However, the power culture within the organisation can either have a negative or positive impact on the students or the teachers. In this regard, the power culture will have a role to play on whether the student attains positive individual outcomes. This essay provides a personal observation of the power dynamics and organisational structure influences study experience.
An organisation can either have a vertical or horizontal culture. Vertical culture is an organisation where there are hierarchies and different levels of authorities, responsibility, and accountability. Horizontal cultures emphasise the equality of the members of the organisation. That is, all members of the organisation are equally responsible for their actions. In addition, horizontal cultures also value the flexibility of members and teamwork. Based on a personal opinion, my current learning institution has a horizontal structure. The lecturers act as facilitators of the knowledge process (Kessler, 2010). Class discussions and debates are facilitated based on the principle of equality among students and lecturers. For instance, students are empowered to challenge not only other students, but also their lecturers as well. This organisational structure can either result in a positive or negative power within the organisation. Basically, positive power encourages the productivity of the members of the organisation. In my case, I consider the structure of the learning institution to exhibit positive power as it gives students the power to make their decisions (Kessler, 2010). Furthermore, it challenges the students to complete their assignments with minimal or no supervision, thus allowing the students to express themselves better. Consequently, positive power assists in building the confidence of the students and motivating them to work harder to attain their personal goals. This egalitarian organisation structure also allows students to gain power through respect from the peers and communication rather than coercive efforts. According to past studies, members of the organisation should learn to navigate the politics of an organisation that is more productive than those who are left on the loop (Gallant, 2013). Positive power should encourage members of the organisation to be more productive and ensure that these members are able to understand their tasks easily. That is, the institution should develop clear policies and effective chains of command that make it easier for the students to get answers that they seek and allow them to spend more time on academic work (Beste, 2017). The environment of the learning institution should be focused on the collaboration and equal treatment of all people to avoid conflicts that would negatively impact on the ability of the institution to attain its goals. I, therefore, conclude that individuals in a low power distance context would be more willing to participate in decision-making processes and willing to challenge the decisions of those above them. In addition, individuals working in egalitarian structures have tasks, which are broadly defined, thus allowing them the necessary flexibility to make their decisions. Most of the communication takes place among the members of the team in a horizontal manner. For instance, in my learning institution, there is no communication gap between the teachers and students as students can freely air their views. The lecturers have no power to control the activities of the students, and thus are only tasked with the facilitation of the learning process. From the observation, it is also clear that decisions in this type of organisation come from all directions as both students and teachers see each other from a similar wavelength. That is, lecturers and students do not necessarily have to justify their decisions to anyone within the organisation. Lastly, there are no routine decisions as students pick up new instructions randomly from their e-mails, student’s portal or during lectures, and class discussions.
Managing Culturally Diverse Teams
Managing culturally diverse teams in an organisation is a major challenge for many managers. Such teams require the manager to understand different cultures and values of employees and determine how best to deploy them. Unlike employees from the home cultures, employees from foreign countries or minority groups may require special attention to avoid any perception or feeling that they may be discriminated against (Brooks, 2018). In this case, organisations have a responsibility to develop cultural competence that will result in enhancing their ability to understand, communicate with and effectively interact with people across different cultures. Developing cultural competence also make it easier for the employees to work with people with varying cultural beliefs and schedules. The essay reflects on the effective approaches to managing a culturally competent organisation. Several cultural factors can affect the manner in which organisations are run. For example, in egalitarian cultures, managers and employees will likely see each other as equals. In these cultures, authority, and responsibility is shared among all members of the organisation. In authoritarian cultures, members of the organisation are accustomed to strong and consolidated leadership from the top. People from these cultures are more likely to put more emphasis on hierarchy and class. Furthermore, there is a greater focus on respect for seniority and hierarchy (Gallant, 2013). On the other hand, in egalitarian societies, leaders are mostly seen as equals and highly accessible. In addition, some cultures focus on individuals while others focus on the group. For example, Australia is characterised by an individual culture (Beugelsdijk, Kostova, & Roth, 2017). In individual cultures, job responsibility lies with the specific employee. Employees are also less loyal to one another or even their organisation. In other regions, such as Saudi Arabia, people are more group oriented. In these regions, the nation, organisation, and family are the most important components of a person’s life (Bjerke & Al-Meer, 1993). When managing people from countries with group cultures, managers should emphasis on team collaboration and group sharing. Contrastingly, when managing in individualistic societies, employee recognition is a crucial component of motivation as people prefer to be singled out for success (Shaban, 2016). Despite the differences in national cultures, there are common practices, which are essential to managing a diverse workplace. Effective communication is like the glue that keeps employees united and ready to work towards the realisation of a shared vision. Providing accurate and prompt information is also essential for effective work and team performance. Good communication can also help when the project is troubled, and immediate corrective actions are required. In this case, employees should be empowered to be able to give good as well as bad news to their managers. Consequently, team building in some individualistic cultures where people want to go it alone can be challenging. Nevertheless, the managers must find effective ways of promoting cooperation when an organisation comprises of people from individualistic and group cultures (Tsai, 2011). An effective cross-cultural team building should, therefore, promote cultural competency within the organisation. Other personal differences that may occur in cross-cultural organisations include people’s perception regarding overtime and deadlines. Some employees may be willing to work overtime to attain the goals of the assignment (Brooks, 2018). This can lead to misunderstanding on schedules and deadlines when some people believe that overtime would impact negatively on their social behaviour and personal lives. To conclude, contemporary working environments involves working in teams to deliver on specific tasks. Management must, therefore, embrace the fact that there are different ways in which employees can see the world and interact with others. In this case, there should be proper training for acknowledge cultural diversities and effectively form teams that can deliver on its tasks.
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- Cross-Cultural Study: Some Considerations
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