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National Culture: Understanding The Cultural Diversity

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Question:

Discuss about the National Culture for Understanding the Cultural Diversity.

 

Answer:

The following paper is going to comment on the thoughts pertaining to the national culture and cultural conflicts. As a compact definition of national culture, it can be stated that national culture is a set of  discipline, customer, rituals, beliefs and behaviours that impact upon the daily life style of the people living in a country. The following paper has been segmented into two different parts. One argues the thought process of Hofstede’s survey on the move and motif of the national culture. The researcher has conducted his survey through the questionnaire that has been sent to the employees of IBM. It has been argued that his process has been unauthentic as he misjudged the mode of representation. He should not have conducted such survey on the very topic.

The second part of the paper chronicles an incident showing real life cultural conflict in an academic institution between an African student and a Japanese one. through the description of the incident  it has been portrayed that cultural conflit is still in  vogue even in the world of multiculturalism. There raise a question pertaining to the application of collectivism upon individualism.

I personally doo agree with the view point of Professor Brendon McSweeney’s argument against Hofsted’s work on national culture. The latter has generalised about the whole national population in each of his case countries. the questionnaire made by him was targeted in a general sense and the respondents were not addressed in a particular manner. The respondents were only the employees of certain company that is IBM.  With scrutinising the employees of only one company one cannot understand the movement of national culture in a generic sense. The basic problem with Professor Hofstede lay in the fact that his survey did not address the greater mass of the individual countries. Professor McSweeney has justly questioned the ability of the survey questions in making firm decisions on the national culture and its structural movements in different countries. He argued that greater number of masses was not address and cultural aspects depend on the economic status as well. Therefore, it would be unjust to survey a certain economic class and conclude something (Avruch 2009.).

In terms of my country, there is a huge cultural diversity.  From north to south and east to west the diversity is so vivid that surveying only a particular group of employees would not provide us with authentic data and information. Therefore, the conclusion remains absurd and invalid. A country like Canada has people from different cultures. Moreover,  the countries like UK, USA has been witnessing cross cultural population in differetn parts of them. Therefore,  the survey s not going to provide us with a firm insight of actual cultural motif of a particular country standing in 21st century.  An Englishman is not always violent while watching football.

Hofstede’s second assumption that “respondents were already permanently...programmed ...with no –interacting cultures”  again raised a matter of conflict. The authenticity of Hofstede was doubted as he has taken a small cell of IBM while  presenting the move of the national culture. It was quite challengeable as the whole country could not be represented by a mere organisation.  Moreover, the organisation has its own culture and it was obviously going to be challenged if the organisational culture was supposed to be compared with that of the entire country. So far my own country is concerned, one can find various types of people from different cultural background. Since, I believe, that the cultural differences is only vivid in terms of the economic differences, this survey was totally invalid.

 

Cultural conflict is something that the modern world has been facing since the industrial boom in the European countries (Trueba, Jacobs and Kirton 2014.).  The concept of nation and culture has now become much more diversified than it was before the World Wars. I had read a book written by an Indian writer. The novel was named The Shadow Lines where the sense of culture and nationalism was at its apex point. The character of the novels- all Indians (though not in nature) were highly multidimensional. The Amitava Ghosh novel dealt with the definition of nationalism and national culture. There is no doubt that the cultural essence begins with the pride of the countries (Choudhury 2016).  In the lecture delivered by Fons Trompenaars in TEDx, it has been vividly depicted that the cultural differences in different countries before 1950s was quite expressive whereas post 1950s world experienced what we know as globalisation that has entailed the sense of multiculturalism. However, the question remains the same- whether the cultural difference have been eradicated from the world.  The answer, I suppose is an absolute “No”.

I would like to chronicle an anecdote that reflects that the cultural conflicts still remain as it was before the 1950s. The only difference lays in the fact that social cohesion has led the conflict into internal level. If I take the example of Australia, it is a paradigmatic example of social cohesion. As a global hub for education and employment, Australia has come with the opportunity to provide better future for the job seekers as well as the students. However, in recent times I have faced a cultural conflict with a student of Africa. Though I was a passive witness of the conflict I could clearly sense that it was nothing but the cultural clash between the African student and a Japanese one. The clash started with a very minimal attitude (Boubakri et al. 2016). My Japanese friend had his cultural habit to bow down and greet someone. Seeing this, my friend from Congo laughed and tried imitating him. The imitation ended up in a fight. I had to intervene into the matter and separate them from each other. The only way I was able to stop them was by making them understand in a rational manner.  

I understood that only separation could end the fight and it did so.

Fons Trompenaars has mentioned two different terms in his TEDx lecture: individualism and collectivism. In order to extract the benefits from the collective view points from different cultures and different people, we need to focus on the priority set upon individualism over collectivism and vice versa. Connection of different viewpoints will obviously end up ntoo a mutual understanding of e people who could generate the concept of respecting the cultures of the others. The movie “Dictator” has a dialogue, which clearly states the  cultural differences that is even more deliberated by the governing authorities when the Security Chief of the US police says to the protagonist that all outsiders are Arabs. I personally believe that the cultural conflicts and confrontation can be overcome only through rational upbringing of the people from different countries and cultures. Different viewpoints help us understand the positive value of multiculturalism. It acts as the adhesive for gluing different form of people all together. One of the most effective benefits of multi-dimensional viewpoints in cultural aspect is to bring the people under the same shade by providing them the feeling of sharing space. The sharing ability is the ultimate cure for the cultural differences (Sinha 2014.).

Conclusion:

It can thus bee concluded that the cultural conflict caused by the priority of  a collective self over an individual self.  The values of an individual that encompass the entire existential importance of the person entail confliction against the same values of the other. Establishment of the value in different modes and defending approach to the same of one’s culture during the crisis period reflects vehement cultural clash between two or more people belonging to different cultural background. In the aforementioned incident, my Japanese friend tried to defend his own culture in a different country from a different person.  The cultural conflict in that case was caused due to the mockery and disregard which was not expected at all.

 

Reference:

Avruch, K., 2009. Cross-cultural conflict. Conflict Resolution, 1, pp.45-57.

Boubakri, N., Guedhami, O., Kwok, C.C. and Saffar, W., 2016. National culture and privatization: The relationship between collectivism and residual state ownership. Journal of International Business Studies, 47(2), pp.170-190.

Sinha, J.B., 2014. Collectivism and Individualism. In Psycho-Social Analysis of the Indian Mindset (pp. 27-51). Springer India.

Trueba, H.T., Jacobs, L. and Kirton, E., 2014. Cultural Conflict & Adaptation. Routledge.

Choudhury, B., 2016. Amitav Ghosh: Critical Essays. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd..

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