Tag Archives: Cross cultural

Research on Well-being and Aging: Comparison between U.S. and Japan

We have only begun to look at the evidence, but it appears that different aspects of well-being matter for health in different ways depending on the cultural context where people reside

Source: blogs.plos.org


Well-being in the West is formulated more in terms of the individual and how he or she may feel about how they’re doing in life.


In the East, well-being is much more about the self embedded within social relationships; for example, how well you’re doing in meeting your obligations to others.


In the U.S., self-report tools ask people to report on their levels of positive and negative affect. Usually the two types of affect tend to be inversely correlated. Emotions are strongly related to people’s health in the U.S.: those with more positive and less negative affect report better health. This is true even when we look at more objective health criteria, like stress hormones, or other biological risk factors.


That is not true in Japan. Both affects tend to be more moderately reported. That is, there is no cultural prescription for feeling mostly positive emotion and not feeling much negative. In Japan there’s nothing wrong with feeling negative emotion; it’s not viewed as something amiss that possibly needs to be fixed in therapy


In the West, the core objective is to get people out of the experience of negative emotion – whether it’s anxiety or depression. The way that well-being tries to do that is to get patients to focus on their experiences of well-being by keeping daily diaries of positive experience.


In Japan therapy is designed to treat distressed or maladjusted people, but the focus is not on fixing emotions. In fact, they are viewed as beyond the person’s control. Emotions come and go and people do not control them. They may be positive or negative, and you can observe them, but it’s not worth your time to try to fix them. What you can fix is what you do. So the therapy tries to get people to shift into thinking not so much about how they feel, but what they are doing.

See on Scoop.itGreat Life Coaching

Culture Is Like A Mayonnaise

Culture Is Like A Mayonnaise

The popular ‘Iceberg model’ of culture developed by Selfridge and Sokolik, 1975,  identifies a visible area consisting of behavior or clothing or symbols and artifacts of some form and a level of values or an invisible level.

Recently Milton J. Bennett, Director of Intercultural Development Research institute, suggested to remove this metaphor from the vocabulary of intercultural professionals in his blog Culture is not like an iceberg. Personally I like the iceberg metaphor but the Interculturalist Christian Höferle thinks too that it is a bit too simplistic and offers some interesting suggestions in his blog :Wanted: A 21st century metaphor to explain culture

Mayonnaise I came up with the idea of “mayonnaise”, a water in oil emulsion, to represent culture. What you first see in a good mayonnaise is a homogeneous yellowish cream. But in fact if you look at it under a microscope, it is made of small drops of water with different sizes and shapes dispersed in a homogeneous oil phase. If you include oil too fast then the 2 liquids separate. If you pour and whisk oil slowly, the water drops get smaller and the preparation becomes thick and stable.


 Most people know that water and oil don’t mix together and that you need other ingredients such as emulsifiers to have a stable mixture looking homogeneous from the outside.

 I like to compare droplets of water (coming from egg yolks with some vinegar or mustard) with different shapes and sizes as individuals who share same culture. They are defined as a specific cultural group because they have in common a set of rules, thinking process, behaviors or other cultural norms, that are invisible but highly powerful. In the Mayonnaise metaphor those “invisible” bonds are the emulsifiers, like the lecithin. The oil can represent the most obvious and visible component of the culture: Geography, language for example.

So in short,  culture is not only what you see but you need deep immersion to understand what makes people unique and yet what holds them together by explicit and not so explicit  cultural rules or norms.

How about you ? Do you have a better metaphor to explain culture ?

Anne Egros, Intercultural Executive Coach

This blog has been inspired by an article published  by Rana Sinha How to understand cross-cultural analysis?. I have summarized Rana’s key ideas and added my own sources of information

Origins and Evolution of Cross-cultural Communication.

 Typically anthropologists and social scientists tend to study people and human behavior among exotic tribes and cultures living in far off places rather than do field work among white-collared literate adults in modern cities. Advances in communication and technology and socio-political changes started transforming the modern workplace yet there were no guidelines based on research to help people interact with other people from other cultures. To address this gap arose the discipline of cross-cultural analysis or cross-cultural communication. The main theories of cross-cultural communication draw from the fields of anthropology, sociology, communication and psychology and are based on value differences among cultures. Edward T. Hall, Geert Hofstede,Fons Trompenaars, Shalom Schwartz

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Avoiding Cross-Cultural Faux Pas – Career Skills From MindTools.com

See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Learn some common mistakes to avoid when traveling or working in a different culture.

Quote from the article:

The Importance of Cultural Awareness

It’s not just professionals working overseas who need to learn cross-cultural business etiquette. Stop and think about how many different cultures you come into contact with at work.

Even if you work in your home country, your colleagues and suppliers could hail from other cultures. Your organization might decide to acquire or merge with an organization in a different country. And your customers, too, may be located in dozens of countries worldwide.

Considering Cultural Differences:

Consider the following questions when thinking about how a culture might differ from your own:

What values does this culture embrace? How do those values compare with those of your culture?How do people make decisions, conduct relationships, and display emotion?How does this culture treat time and scheduling?What are the social rules and boundaries surrounding gender?How does this culture display and respect power? Which authority figures are revered?How do individuals relate to their employers?How do people in this culture communicate? How direct are they in what they say and mean?

Key Points

Cross-cultural awareness is an essential skill, regardless of whether you’re working overseas, leading a cross-cultural or virtual team, or dealing with a global customer base. Learn about the culture of the country where you’re doing business to avoid cultural mistakes, and to demonstrate respect and understanding.

Research key differences in decision making, relationships, dress, food, dining, and social etiquette before working with or traveling to a different culture. Your hosts will notice your efforts, and appreciate that you took the time to learn about their culture.

Read more on www.mindtools.com

Cultural intelligence cannot be learned by simply visiting different countries for few weeks, learning languages, attend cross-cultural webinars or read books.

Cultural intelligence is acquired by being exposed directly to cross-cultural  challenges at work and everyday life, preferably with family.


The True Art Of Aging

Oscars 2013: Amour wins best foreign film

Oscars 2013: Amour wins best foreign film

In our Western societies the subject of aging is often taboo triggering anxiety and shame. 

Aging scares us ! With over 40 million Americans over the age of 65, and the fastest growing segment of the population being over 80 years old it is important to combat the stereotype that aging is solely a process of progressive decline.

I just finished reading the bookThe Warmth of the Heart Prevents Your Body from Rusting: Ageing without growing old” from French psychologist Marie de Hennezel. I was touched by the stories she shared about people reaching very old age,  especially the interviews of Sister Emmanuelle who died at age 99 in 1998 and French resistance fighter Stéphane Hessel, who died on  February 26, 2013 at 95. Our society sends a disastrous image of old age and in her book, Marie de Hennezel explains  the  elements of the true “art of aging”. 

We all age, but we can choose not to become ‘ old ‘ 

Aging does not condemn us to loneliness, suffering, deprivation and dependence. In her book Marie de Hennezel uses her experience as clinical psychologist and her encounters with “old beautiful” persons to show us how to find joy as we get older. With our ability to love and desire with our “heart”, we can overcome our fears and support us in the midst of the worst events of the age. 

It is also interesting to note that the concept of aging and stereotypes vary across cultures: According to  a recent study perceptions of aging influence societal behaviors and expectations towards older people and coping with the aging process.

Successful Aging is a concept that revolves around maintaining mental and physical health, as well as social interaction. Optimism and resiliency are two qualities that can help older adults remain happy and healthy as they age. A growing body of evidence suggests that positive thinking does correlate with less illness and longer lives. Most experts say the keys to successful aging include accepting changes and finding meaningful activities.

Conclusion: My intention with this article is to make you think about the latest years of your life, not as a fatality, but as something you can prepare by choosing to get peace with your past, live in the moment and plan purposeful activities before you retire. Getting old should give you the opportunity to live your true passions.

Related Articles:


Who Needs Cross-cultural Training ?

Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

This article posted in  www.expatica.ru is giving a great overview about cross-cultural training

Expatriate failure is defined in literature in a variety of ways, with intentions to leave listed prominently

Anne Egros‘s insight:

Tailoring cross-cultural training programmes to the individual’s situation

Cross-cultural trainings should start by the selection of the best candidate for a specific international assignment. Succesful international leaders share some personality traits such as:

-Active listening skills


-Emotional intellligence

-Global strategic thinking with understanding of local issues/market


-Life long learner



Expectations and goals should be clearly defined as well as the key performance indicators including both contribution to local and global performance with in mind long-term impacts of the decisions taken during a short-term (2-3 years) mission. Including colleagues of the host country in the decision process is also a good idea.

Ideally, the family should be assessed too or at least get pre-departure cross-cultural trainings and transition coaching

See on www.expatica.ru


Cultural Map of the World: Using Values To Explain Cross-national Differences

See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Click here to edit the title

Anne Egros‘s insight:

The World Values Surveys were designed to provide a comprehensive measurement of all major areas of human concern, from religion to politics to economic and social life.

Two dimensions dominate the picture: (1) Traditional/ Secular-rational and (2) Survival/Self-expression values.

These two dimensions explain more than 70 percent of the cross-national variance in a factor analysis of ten indicators-and each of these dimensions is strongly correlated with scores of other important orientations.

The results of this type of surveys must be used with caution as people behaviors are changing pretty fast based on economic development, new technologies, globalization and communication tools such as internet or mobile phones.

Other theories of cross-cultural communication are drew from the fields of anthropology, sociology, communication and psychology and are based on value differences among cultures. Edward T. HallGeert Hofstede, Fons TrompenaarsShalom Schwartz and Clifford Geertz are some of the major contributors in this field.

My Favorite tool is the Five  Hofstede’s Intercultural Dimensions 

See on www.worldvaluessurvey.org


Cross-cultural Variation in People‘s Prevailing Value Orientations (Powerpoint Presentation)

Geography Girl

See on Scoop.itInternational Career

A Human Development View on Value Change Trends (1981-2006)

Powerpoint presentation, Author : Christian Welzel Professor of Political Science ? International University Bremen (IUB) c.welzel@iu-bremen.deIstanbul, November 03, 200

Summary : Cross-Cultural variation in people‘s prevailing value orientations can be boiled down to just two dimensions :

(1) Weak vs. strong SECULAR-RATIONAL Values: with secular-rational values getting weaker one approaches the mythical ideal of a sacred community, with these values getting stronger one approaches the rational ideal of a secular community. This polarity is about ideals of the COMMUNITY.

(2) Weak vs. strong SELF-EXPRESSION Values: with self-expression values getting weaker one approaches the conformist ideal of a restrained individual, with these values getting stronger one approaches the ideal of an expressive individual. This polarity is about ideals of the INDIVIDUAL.

Using only two dimensions,  each country is positioned according to its people’s values and not its geographical location.

Thus, Australia, Canada, the U.S. and Great Britain are cultural neighbors, reflecting their relatively similar values, despite their geographical dispersion.

seee on : fr.slideshare.net

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