Intercultural Communications 11

This Blog post is about some parts of the “Handbook of intercultural communications and cooperation” written by Alexander Thomas. It begins with an interesting conversation between two colleagues, discussing about whether to read a book about to do’s and not do do’s with Chinese people. One of them is convinced with the idea that people are all the same and these books are unnecessary and another person claims that cultures can differentiate people from each other. 

Firstly, it is good to describe the meaning of culture. Cultures could be described as different human interaction developments in different countries. These rules are nonnegotiable and applying wrong rules in the host country, can cause big misunderstandings. Kroeber and Kluckhorn found more than 150 different cultures in the year 1952 (Schroll-Machl, Thomas and Kinast, 2018).

Different researchers and psychologists agree with this term that cultures can cover vast area of important humanist factors in different places such as, language, philosophy, values and different interactions between subjects and objects (Schroll-Machl, Thomas and Kinast, 2018). 

If an individual’s life is under a “normal” circumstance, which means that the individual has kind of grown up in a society that the norms are taught in everyday life and understood with other members of the society in addition, they are interacted with other people. On the one hand, appropriate behavior can lead to an acknowledgment on the other hand, inappropriate behavior can be a failure in the society. However, when two individuals with two dissimilar cultural backgrounds interact with each other, it can happen that their actions seem alien and unknown for the other individual and cause unexpected behaviors and unknown situations (Schroll-Machl, Thomas and Kinast, 2018). From my point of view, this situation is called as a culture shock. 

Research and witnessing of German-American work group (Zeutschel, 1999), has found five different cultural indicator standards, that are almost similar in different places (Schroll-Machl, Thomas and Kinast, 2018). The majority of the society members share a similar pattern that could be seen in the way they think, judge, communicate, interact and percept, which are normal and typical behaviors in that specific area. 

  • Native or unfamiliar behavior is judged by the native cultural patterns.
  • Using cultural standard provides us a mastering and regulating behavioral pattern to deal with different people in different situations.
  • Personal or group cultural standards within a group can only fluctuate in a range of tolerance.
  • Different cultural patterns out of the standard form cannot be accepted.

When two different cultures meet each other and in some cases it leads to misunderstanding or difficult situation, better to say when a cultural overlap happens, they have to build a third culture to enhance their way of interaction (Breitenbach, 1975).

Schroll-Machl, S., Thomas, A. and Kinast, E., 2018. Handbook of Intercultural Communication and Cooperation (Handbook of Intercultural Communication and Cooperation). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.