This glossary includes most of the terms used in Mudita’s blog posts and infographics: here you will find a collection of definitions related to culture and cultural dimensions, taken or based upon the writing of the original authors (each explanation is followed by an indication of the source).

Most definitions are followed by a short list of related articles and further recommended readings.

***

Disclosure: This section contains affiliate links. If you buy any of the books listed under "Recommended readings", I may earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

You can hide or disable the Glossary definitions by clicking on the letters of the alphabet

Accommodation

Cultural accommodation refers to the process by which individuals may take on values and beliefs of the host culture and accommodate them in the public sphere, while maintaining the parent culture in the private sphere.

Source: Baden, A. & Ahluwalia, M. (2008). Cultural accommodation and negotiation. In F. T. Leong (Ed.), Encyclopedia of counseling (Vol. 1, pp. 1090-1090). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781412963978.n351

Related articles:

Ethnocentrism The Biggest Threat to Global Organizations

Recommended readings:

Constructing co cultural theory: An Explication of culture, power, and communication


Acculturation:

Acculturation is the process by which migrants to a new culture develop relationships with the new culture and maintain their original culture. Acculturation has been classically defined as the changes that develop when groups of individuals come into contact with a different culture.

Source: Tanenbaum M.L., Commissariat P., Kupperman E., Baek R.N., Gonzalez J.S. (2013) Acculturation. In: Gellman M.D., Turner J.R. (eds) Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_147

Recommended readings:

Psychological Aspects of Geographical Moves: Homesickness and Acculturation Stress

"Little Things Make Big Things". A Psycholinguistic Analysis of Immigrants' Life Stories

Acculturation strategies and adaptation

Acculturation: When Individuals and Groups of Different Cultural Backgrounds Meet


Acculturation strategies:

In cross-cultural psychology, a framework proposing four ways in which members of a nondominant group (e.g., immigrants, racial or ethnic minorities) may experience acculturation and manage their contact with and participation in the culture of a larger, dominant group. The assimilation strategy is one in which individuals do not wish to maintain their original cultural identity and prefer instead to seek daily interaction with the dominant group. By contrast, the separation strategy is one in which individuals hold onto their original culture and avoid interaction with the dominant group. A third strategy is integration, in which individuals maintain their original culture while still seeking to participate as an integral part of the larger social network. The fourth strategy, marginalization, describes an unwillingness or inability of individuals to identify with and participate in either their culture of origin or that of the dominant group. These strategies are partly determined by the extent to which the dominant group does or does not force a nondominant group to adapt to its cultural mandates or constraints (e.g., through discrimination).

Source: APA Dictionary of Psychology

Recommended readings:

Psychological Aspects of Geographical Moves: Homesickness and Acculturation Stress

"Little Things Make Big Things". A Psycholinguistic Analysis of Immigrants' Life Stories

Psycholinguistic Bases of Speech Adaptation by Children of Immigrants

Acculturation strategies and adaptation

Acculturation: When Individuals and Groups of Different Cultural Backgrounds Meet


Allocentrism:

Allocentrism refers to a set of personality traits that indicate a collectivist orientation. Allocentrics define themselves as interdependent with others. In social relations, they stay close to members of their ingroup, are sensitive to social norms, and may choose to subordinate their own personal goals to those of their family or ingroup. They tend to share resources with others, often with the explicit expectation of receiving reciprocity or assistance in the future. Allocentrics frequently feel honored or shamed when other ingroup members are honored or shamed.

See also: Idiocentrism, collectivism, individualism.

Source: Caldwell-Harris, Catherine. (2013). Allocentrism. 10.1002/9781118339893.wbeccp017

Related articles:

Consumer Segmentation: The Influence of Cultural Factors On Purchasing Behaviour

Recommended readings:

The Encyclopedia of Cross-Cultural Psychology

Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind


Assimilation:

Assimilation, in anthropology and sociology, the process whereby individuals or groups of differing ethnic heritage are absorbed into the dominant culture of a society. The process of assimilating involves taking on the traits of the dominant culture to such a degree that the assimilating group becomes socially indistinguishable from other members of the society. As such, assimilation is the most extreme form of acculturation.

Source: Encyclopædia Britannica

Related articles:

Ethnocentrism The Biggest Threat to Global Organizations

Recommended readings:

Constructing co cultural theory: An Explication of culture, power, and communication


Attribution Bias (Ethnocentric):

Ethnocentric Attribution Bias is a cognitive bias that determines people’s tendency to attribute the positive behavior and success of in-group members to internal factors (“they’re competent”, “they’re clever”, etc.), while negative behavior and failures are attributed to external factors (for example, if in-groups fail to perform well in a test, the fault may lie with “tricky questions” rather than with a lack of personal preparation). The opposite happens when the behavior of out-group members is under scrutiny.

Source: Taylor, D. M., & Jaggi, V. (1974). ”Ethnocentrism and causal attribution in a south Indian context”. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 5(2), 162–171

Related articles:

Ethnocentrism: The Biggest Threat to Global Organizations

Recommended readings:

Constructing co cultural theory: An Explication of culture, power, and communication

Chronemics

Chronemics is “the study of human tempo as it is related to human communication. More specifically, chronemics involves the study of both subjective and objective human tempos as they influence and are interdependent with human behavior”.

Source:

Bruneau, T. (2004). "Time and Nonverbal Communication". The Journal of Popular Culture. VIII. 658 - 666. 10.1111/j.0022-3840.1974.0803_658.x

[In simple terms, chronemics is the term that indicates the study of the role and use of time in communication: it includes individual perceptions about time and the ways time affects interactions (e.g., punctuality, speed of speech, task prioritization, power dynamics, etc.).]

See also: Polychronic Cultures, Monochronic Cultures.

Related work:

Blog posts

Global Leadership and Time Management Skills

Expressions of Power and Status in Non Verbal Communication

Time Tracking Best Practices and Mistakes to Avoid (note: promotional post)

Course

Workplace Conflict: Time Management Across Different Cultures

Infographics

Monochronic and Polychronic Time

Recommended readings:

The Dance of Life: The Other Dimension of Time

The Silent Language

When cultures collide: Managing successfully across cultures

Issues of time in international, intercultural management: East and Central Europe from the perspective of Austrian managers


Co-cultural Theory:

Co-cultural theory is a framework designed to provide insight into the communication behaviors of individuals with little societal power. Generated primarily from the research of Mark Orbe, cocultural theory focuses on how culture and power affect communication. The theory focuses on various segments of society that have traditionally been described as being a part of subcultural or minority groups. This theory prefers the term cocultural group. Initially, the theory focused on people of color; women; persons with disabilities; gay, lesbian, or bisexual persons; and those from a lower socioeconomic status. More recently, researchers have used the theory to study other groups, including the homeless, first-generation college students, immigrants, and international students. The core concepts of co-cultural theory emerged from a series of qualitative studies designed to study communication processes from the perspective of those historically marginalized in social structures.

Source: Binus University [citing Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A.Floss. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory. USA: SAGE]

Related articles:

Ethnocentrism: The Biggest Threat to Global Organizations

Recommended readings:

Constructing co cultural theory: An Explication of culture, power, and communication


Collectivism (Collectivist cultures)

Collectivism is a social or cultural tradition, ideology, or personal outlook that emphasizes the unity of the group or community rather than each person’s individuality. Most Asian, African, and South American societies tend to put more value on collectivism than do Western societies, insofar as they stress cooperation, communalism, constructive interdependence, and conformity to cultural roles and mores.

Source: APA Dictionary of Psychology

[Note: collectivist cultures are usually high-context, polychronic, and relationship-oriented. In collectivist cultures the main tool of social control is shame, at times in combination with honor.]

See also: Institutional collectivism, in-group collectivism, individualism, shame cultures, guilt cultures

Related work:

Blog posts

Narcissism and Competitive Communication in Individualistic Cultures

Challenges in Cross Cultural Marketing and Advertising

I II Social Connections Harmony Consensus Confucian Beliefs and Business Culture in China Japan and Korea

II II National Culture International Business Strategy and Common Misunderstandings Between The East and The West

I II Why Do We Work So Hard Rdquo Motivation and Reward Across Different Cultures

II II Why Do We Work So Hard? Introduction to Guilt and Shame Cultures

Infographics

Individualism Collectivism

The Sub-Saharan Africa Cluster

The Middle East Cluster

The Latin Europe Cluster

The Eastern Europe Cluster

The Latin America Cluster

The Southern Asia Cluster

The Confucian Asia Cluster

Recommended readings:

Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind

Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies

Reporting bad news about software projects: impact of organizational climate and information asymmetry in an individualistic and a collectivistic culture


Communication:

A process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior.

Source: Merriam-Webster

[Note: During the communication process - that requires both a sender (the party who initiates the communication) and a receiver (the target of the communication) -, a message must be:

- encoded (the sender needs to find a way to make their thoughts understandable to the receiver through the use of words, images, symbols, body language, etc.);

- transmitted through a variety of potential channels, both verbal and non-verbal;

- decoded (the receiver is expected to understand and interpret the message correctly).

Among the several factors that might have a negative impact on the communication process - e.g. the choice of a wrong channel, background noise and other types of distractions, specific jargon only known to one of the parties involved, etc. -, lack of familiarity with the context in which the communication exchange occurs plays an important role, as people whose cultural backgrounds are dissimilar may interpret verbal and nonverbal messages differently.]

See also: Context.

Related work:

Blog posts

Narcissism and Competitive Communication in Individualistic Cultures

Challenges in Cross Cultural Marketing and Advertising

The Importance of Context in The Communication Process

Course

An Introduction to Intercultural Communication

Infographics

Communication: High- and Low Context Cultures

Recommended readings:

The Silent Language

Beyond Culture

Interpersonal Communication: Relating To Others

Handbook of communication and social interaction skills

The nonverbal communication reader: classic and contemporary readings

Intercultural communication in contexts

Fundamentals of human communication: An interpersonal perspective


Context:

Context is the situation within which something exists or happens, and that can help explain it.

Source: Cambridge Dictionary

[Note. With regard to the communication process, context can be:

- Physical: the setting in which communication takes place. The location, the noise level, the time of the day, the weather conditions, are all environmental elements that contribute to a more or less successful communication exchange;

- Social: mostly based on psychological factors, social context refers to individual and group norms, behaviors, social dynamics between the people involved (relationship type, level of familiarity with each other, degree of expected formality, etc.);

- Temporal: it considers how communication develops in relation to other events (for instance, the communication process will be vastly different depending on whether two people discuss a happy event or sudden bad news);

- Cultural: it encompasses all aspects - both conscious and unconscious - of a culture, such as values, beliefs, behaviors, lifestyles, language, power dynamics, etc.]

See also: Communication.

Related work:

Blog posts

The Importance of Context in The Communication Process

Course

An Introduction to Intercultural Communication

Infographics

Communication: High- and Low Context Cultures

Recommended readings:

The Silent Language

Beyond Culture


Cross Culture:

Cross culture in the business world refers to a company's efforts to ensure that its people interact effectively with professionals from backgrounds different from their own. Like the adjective cross-cultural, it implies a recognition of national, regional, and ethnic differences in manners and methods and a desire to bridge them.

Source: Investopedia


Culture:

Culture can be defined as the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time.

Source: Cambridge Dictionary


Cultural Relativism:

Cultural Relativism is the position that there is no universal standard to measure cultures by, and that all cultures are equally valid and must be understood in their own terms.

See also: Ethnocentrism.

Source: Oxford Reference

Related articles:

Ethnocentrism The Biggest Threat to Global Organizations

Challenges in Cross Cultural Marketing and Advertising

Marketing Relativism: Glocalized Tea Vs Globalized Coffee

Reasons Why Market Research Matters in Cross Cultural Advertising

Recommended readings:

Constructing co cultural theory: An Explication of culture, power, and communication

Folkways: A study of the sociological importance of usages, manners, customs, mores, and morals

Language, thought, and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf

Deculturation:

Deculturation is the processes, intentional or unintentional, by which traditional cultural beliefs or practices are suppressed or otherwise eliminated as a result of contact with a different, dominant culture.

See also: Enculturation, acculturation.

Source: APA Dictionary of Psychology

Enculturation:

Enculturation is the process whereby individuals learn their group’s culture through experience, observation, and instruction. To learn is to develop the knowledge and skills needed to participate in the communal, cultural practices and to become a fully functioning member of the community.

See also: Deculturation.

Source: Gavelek J.R., Kong A. (2012) Learning: A Process of Enculturation. In: Seel N.M. (eds) Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_868

Enculturation:

Enculturation is the process whereby individuals learn their group’s culture through experience, observation, and instruction. To learn is to develop the knowledge and skills needed to participate in the communal, cultural practices and to become a fully functioning member of the community.

See also: Deculturation.

Source:Gavelek J.R., Kong A. (2012) Learning: A Process of Enculturation. In: Seel N.M. (eds) Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_868


Ethnocentrism:

Ethnocentrism is the technical name for this view of things in which one's own group is the center of everything, and all others are scaled and rated with reference to it.

See also: Cultural relativism.

Source: Sumner, W. G., & In Keller, A. G. (1906). ”Folkways: A study of the sociological importance of usages, manners, customs, mores, and morals”. Boston : Ginn and Company

Related articles:

Ethnocentrism The Biggest Threat to Global Organizations

Challenges in Cross Cultural Marketing and Advertising

Marketing Relativism: Glocalized Tea Vs Globalized Coffee

Reasons Why Market Research Matters in Cross Cultural Advertising

Recommended readings:

Constructing co cultural theory: An Explication of culture, power, and communication

Folkways: A study of the sociological importance of usages, manners, customs, mores, and morals

Femininine Cultures (Cultural dimension known as Masculinity/Femininity, MAS):

In the context of this cultural dimension, masculinity indicates “a preference for cooperation, modesty, caring for the weak and quality of life”.

Source: Hofstede, G. H. (1997). “Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind” (second ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill

Infographics:

Masculinity/Femininity (Tough/Tender)

Recommended readings:

Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind

Masculinity and Femininity: The Taboo Dimension of National Cultures (Cross Cultural Psychology)

Guilt Cultures:

Guilt is a feeling that arises when we violate the absolute standards of morality within us, when we violate our conscience. A person may suffer from guilt although no one else knows of his or her misdeed; this feeling of guilt is relieved by confessing the misdeed and making restitution. True guilt cultures rely on an internalized conviction of sin as the enforcer of good behaviour, not, as shame cultures do, on external sanctions. Guilt cultures emphasize punishment and forgiveness as ways of restoring the moral order.

Source: Hiebert, Paul G. (1985). ”Anthropological Insights for Missionaries”. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House

[Note: To better understand the concepts of honour and shame as tools of social control, we must look at the work of Ruth Benedict, the anthropologist who popularized the terms “guilt-” and “shame culture” in relation to the American and the Japanese culture respectively. While guilt and shame are often confused and may occasionally overlap, the main difference between them is that “guilt” is the feeling we experience when we compromise our own moral standards, while“shame” is how we feel in relation to others (it’s the embarrassment caused by breaking some social norms, it’s the loss of “face”).]

See also: Shame cultures.

Related work:

Blog posts

The Importance of Context in The Communication Process

Course

An Introduction to Intercultural Communication

Infographics

Communication: High- and Low Context Cultures

The Sub-Saharan Africa Cluster

The Middle East Cluster

The Latin Europe Cluster

The Eastern Europe Cluster

The Latin America Cluster

The Southern Asia Cluster

The Confucian Asia Cluster

Recommended readings:

The Silent Language

Beyond Culture

Idiocentrism:

Idiocentrism refers to a set of personality traits indicating an individualistic orientation. Idiocentric people define themselves as relatively autonomous and self-reliant. In social relations, they pursue their own goals and are generally motivated by their own preferences, rather than group goals and social norms. In interactions with others, they may often follow exchange theory, using money to ensure equal exchanges, rather than communal sharing of resources or reciprocation of favors. Idiocentric people are frequently concerned with universal human rights and may be critical of those who practice favoritism toward family and ingroup.

See also: Allocentrism, collectivism, individualism.

Source: Caldwell-Harris, Catherine. (2013). Idiocentrism. 10.1002/9781118339893.wbeccp278.


Individualism (Individualistic cultures):

Individualism is a social or cultural tradition, ideology, or personal outlook that emphasizes the individual and his or her rights, independence, and relationships with other individuals.

Source: APA Dictionary of Psychology

[Note: individualistic cultures are usually low-context, monochronic, and task-oriented. In individualistic cultures the main tool of social control is guilt.]

See also: Collectivism, institutional collectivism, in-group collectivism, shame cultures, guilt cultures.

Related work:

Blog posts

Narcissism and Competitive Communication in Individualistic Cultures

Challenges in Cross Cultural Marketing and Advertising

I II Social Connections Harmony Consensus Confucian Beliefs and Business Culture in China Japan and Korea

II II National Culture International Business Strategy and Common Misunderstandings Between The East and The West

I II Why Do We Work So Hard? Motivation and Reward Across Different Cultures

II II Why Do We Work So Hard? Introduction to Guilt and Shame Cultures

Infographics

Individualism Collectivism

The Anglo Cluster

The Nordic Cluster

The Germanic Europe Cluster

Recommended readings:

Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind

Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies

Reporting bad news about software projects: impact of organizational climate and information asymmetry in an individualistic and a collectivistic culture


Institutional Collectivism:

Institutional Collectivism is the degree to which organizational and societal institutional practices encourage and reward (and should encourage and reward) collective distribution of resources and collective action.

Source: The Globe Project

[Note: some cultures and - such as those based in the Nordic Cluster - may simultaneously score high in institutional collectivism and low on in-group collectivism: these societies value social harmony equality and strive to achieve collective well-being through equal distribution of resources, but at the same time they also value personal independence and self-reliance. Other cultures - such as those based in the Eastern Europe Cluster - may simultaneously score low in institutional collectivism and high on in-group collectivism: while individuals tend to feel a strong sense of obligation toward their families and organizations and a clear distinction is made between in-groups and out-groups, they don't necessarily strive to ensure that resources and opportunities are accessible to all members of the society.]

Recommended readings:

Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies

Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind


In-Group Collectivism:

In-Group Collectivism is the degree to which individuals express (and should express) pride, loyalty, and cohesiveness in their organizations or families.

Source: The Globe Project

[Note: some cultures and - such as those based in the Nordic Cluster - may simultaneously score high in institutional collectivism and low on in-group collectivism: these societies value social harmony equality and strive to achieve collective well-being through equal distribution of resources, but at the same time they also value personal independence and self-reliance. Other cultures - such as those based in the Eastern Europe Cluster - may simultaneously score low in institutional collectivism and high on in-group collectivism: while individuals tend to feel a strong sense of obligation toward their families and organizations and a clear distinction is made between in-groups and out-groups, they don't necessarily strive to ensure that resources and opportunities are accessible to all members of the society.]

Recommended readings:

Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies

Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind

Low-Context Cultures

Low-context cultures are those cultures that value logic, objectivity, individualism, and competition.

Source: Cambridge Dictionary

[Note: low-context cultures are usually monochronic, individualistic, and task-oriented]

See also: High-context cultures.

Related work:

Blog post

The Importance of Context in The Communication Process

Course

An Introduction to Intercultural Communication

Infographics

Communication: High- and Low Context Cultures

The Anglo Cluster

The Nordic Cluster

The Germanic Europe Cluster

Recommended readings:

The Silent Language

Beyond Culture

Masculine Cultures (Cultural dimension known as Masculinity/Femininity, MAS

In the context of this cultural dimension, masculinity indicates “a preference in society for achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material rewards for success”.

Source: Hofstede, G. H. (1997). “Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind” (second ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill

Infographics:

Masculinity/Femininity (Tough/Tender)

Recommended readings:

Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind

Masculinity and Femininity: The Taboo Dimension of National Cultures (Cross Cultural Psychology)


Monochronic Culture

A monochronic culture can be defined as a culture that structures various activities based on the notion of time which is believed to be concrete, linear (from A to B), and universal and as such, is expected to be complied with by the other party.

Source: Blog On Linguistics

[Note: monochronic cultures are usually low-context, individualistic, and task-oriented]

See also: Chronemics, Polychronic cultures.

Related work:

Blog posts

Global Leadership and Time Management Skills

Expressions of Power and Status in Non Verbal Communication

Time Tracking Best Practices and Mistakes to Avoid (note: promotional post)

Course

Workplace Conflict: Time Management Across Different Cultures

Infographics

Monochronic and Polychronic Time

The Anglo Cluster

The Nordic Cluster

The Germanic Europe Cluster

Recommended readings:

The Dance of Life: The Other Dimension of Time

The Silent Language

When cultures collide: Managing successfully across cultures

Issues of time in international, intercultural management: East and Central Europe from the perspective of Austrian managers

Polychronic Cultures

A polychronic culture can be defined as a culture that structures various activities based on interpersonal relationships with people and views time as cyclic (A-B-C-A-B-C…) and relative.

Source: Blog On Linguistics

[Note: polychronic cultures are usually high-context, collectivist, and relationship-oriented]

See also: Chronemics, Monochronic cultures.

Related work:

Blog posts

Global Leadership and Time Management Skills

Expressions of Power and Status in Non Verbal Communication

Time Tracking Best Practices and Mistakes to Avoid (note: promotional post)

Course

Workplace Conflict: Time Management Across Different Cultures

Infographics

Monochronic and Polychronic Time

The Sub-Saharan Africa Cluster

The Middle East Cluster

The Latin Europe Cluster

The Eastern Europe Cluster

The Latin America Cluster

The Southern Asia Cluster

The Confucian Asia Cluster

Recommended readings:

The Dance of Life: The Other Dimension of Time

The Silent Language

When cultures collide: Managing successfully across cultures

Issues of time in international, intercultural management: East and Central Europe from the perspective of Austrian managers


Power Distance (PDI, Power Distance Index):

Is one of the attributes of national cultures identified by Geert Hofstede. It refers to the degree to which members of a group or organization accept an uneven distribution of power amongst their members. In some cultures with large power-distance it is regarded as acceptable that power is concentrated in the hands of senior managers, whilst in other cultures there is an expectation that power will be diffused.

Source: Oxford Reference

Related work:

Blog posts

Gift Giving Etiquette in The Confucian Asia Cluster: The Luxury Fruit Culture

Social and Business Connections in China: An Insider's Perspective On Guanxi

I II Social Connections Harmony Consensus Confucian Beliefs and Business Culture in China Japan and Korea

Giving and Losing Face: Honour, Social Reputation, and Networking in Asian Countries

Power Dynamics in The Workplace and The Hidden Costs of Fearful Communication

Infographics

Power Distance

The Sub-Saharan Africa Cluster

The Middle East Cluster

The Latin Europe Cluster

The Eastern Europe Cluster

The Latin America Cluster

The Southern Asia Cluster

The Confucian Asia Cluster

The Anglo Cluster

The Nordic Cluster

The Germanic Europe Cluster

Recommended readings:

Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind

Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies

Outliers: The Story of Success


Separation:

In the context of co-cultural theory, separation indicates the approach chosen by any individual who resists interactions with the dominant groups.

Source: Zhaoxun Song, 2018. "Integrated Co-cultural Communication Accommodation Strategies”. Proceedings of International Academic Conferences 7808541, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences.

https://econpapers.repec.org/paper/sekiacpro/7808541.htm

Related articles:

Ethnocentrism The Biggest Threat to Global Organizations

Recommended readings:

Constructing co cultural theory: An Explication of culture, power, and communication


Shame Cultures:

Shame is a reaction to other people's criticism, an acute personal chagrin at our failure to live up to our obligations and the expectations others have of us. In true shame-oriented cultures, every person has a place and a duty in the society. One maintains self-respect, not by choosing what is good rather than what is evil, but by choosing what is expected of one. Personal desires are sunk in the collective expectation. Those who fail will often turn their aggression against themselves instead of using violence against others. By punishing themselves they maintain their self-respect before others, for shame cannot be relieved, as guilt can be, by confession and atonement. Shame is removed and honour restored only when a person does what the society expects of him or her in the situation, including committing suicide if necessary.

Source: Hiebert, Paul G. (1985). ”Anthropological Insights for Missionaries”. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House

[Note: To better understand the concepts of honour and shame as tools of social control, we must look at the work of Ruth Benedict, the anthropologist who popularized the terms “guilt-” and “shame culture” in relation to the American and the Japanese culture respectively. While guilt and shame are often confused and may occasionally overlap, the main difference between them is that “guilt” is the feeling we experience when we compromise our own moral standards, while“shame” is how we feel in relation to others (it’s the embarrassment caused by breaking some social norms, it’s the loss of “face”).]

See also: Guilt cultures.

Related work:

Blog posts

The Importance of Context in The Communication Process

Course

An Introduction to Intercultural Communication

Infographics

Communication: High- and Low Context Cultures

The Sub-Saharan Africa Cluster

The Middle East Cluster

The Latin Europe Cluster

The Eastern Europe Cluster

The Latin America Cluster

The Southern Asia Cluster

The Confucian Asia Cluster

Recommended readings:

The Silent Language

Beyond Culture


Stereotype:

A stereotype is a fixed general image or set of characteristics that a lot of people believe represent a particular type of person or thing.

Source: Collins Dictionary

Related articles:

Power Dynamics in The Workplace and The Hidden Costs of Fearful Communication

Recommended readings:

Envy Up, Scorn Down: How Status Divides Us

Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI)

Uncertainty Avoidance, one of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, indicates an intolerance of ambiguity or uncertainty and a psychological need for formal rules.

Source: APA Dictionary of Psychology

Infographics

Uncertainty Avoidance

Recommended readings:

Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind

Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies

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