Cultural Norms By Mr Daniel Hansson
Important Definitions • Culture: A shared, learned, symbolic system of values, beliefs and attitudes that shapes and influences perception and behavior • Cultural dimension: A construct to explain and compare norms for a specific type of behavior in cultures • Social norms: Expected behaviours and attitudes in smaller social group • Cultural norms: Expected behaviours and attitudes in a society or culture
Important Definitions • Emic: relates to the intrinsic values of the society or culture specific behavior that are important to its members • Etic: relates to extrinsic (measurable) properties of a society that are important for comparison and scientific observation
Questions for Discussion Think of all cultures that you have had experiences of. Think of behavior that you think are very unique for the culture (emic). Think of behaviors that more or less exist in many cultures (etics)
A Study with an Emic or an Etic Approach? • Chiao & Blizinsky (2010): Found that depression is more common in countries with high levels of individualism. In addition, individualism is negatively correlated with a high frequency of a short allele in the 5-htt gene
A Study with an Emic or an Etic Approach? • Conway et al. (2005): 194 participants from Japan, China, Bangladesh, England and the United States recalled and dated specific autobiographical memories. A comparison between Chinese and U.S. participants showed that memories of Chinese subjects had more of a social orientation than those of American participants that were more events oriented to the individual. The study did however also demonstrate the universality of a phenomenon called the reminiscence bump; the tendency to recall more personal events from adolescence and early adulthood than from other lifetime periods.
A Study with an Emic or an Etic Approach? • In 1959, John Howard Griffin disguised himself into a black man in order to experience the "black world", i.e., the social milieu of southern U.S. blacks.
A Study with an Emic or an Etic Approach? • Evans & Schamberg (2009): conducted a long term study of cognitive development in 195 American lower and middle class students. Participants were measured on their levels of stress, such as amount of stress hormones in the blood and their blood pressure between ages of 9 to 13. Later, at the age of 17, the researchers measured the participants’ working memory. Participants were asked to remember a sequence of items. The teenagers who had grown up in poverty averaged about 8.5 items compared to middle class students who averaged about 9.44 items.
A Study with an Emic or an Etic Approach? • Margaret Mead (1973): Investigated adolescents in Samoa, and found that they had gender roles similar to adults and that puberty was not a traumatic experience
Studies with Emic or Etic Approaches? • • • •
Ekman (1973) Yuki (2005) Cole and Scribner (1974) Bond and Smith (1996)
Hofstede’s (1973) Cultural Dimensions Survey • A survey on 100.000 employees from the multinational company IBM from 50 countries about morale in the workplace • Identified key cultural differences between countries • The different trends were called dimensions
Individualism-Collectivism • How people define themselves and the relationships with others • Individualistic cultures: Self interest prevails before the interest of the in group • Collectivistic cultures: The group interest prevails before self interest
Power Distance • “The extent to which less powerful members of institutions and organizations within a culture expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.” –Hofstede • Is also a measure of how cultures deal with inequalities
Masculinity-Femininity • Masculine cultures stress assertiveness, competition, and material success. • Feminine cultures permit more overlapping social roles for the sexes, place high value on feminine traits, stress quality of life, interpersonal relationships, and concern for the weak.
Uncertainty Avoidance • Cultures strong in uncertainty avoidance are active, aggressive, emotional, compulsive, security seeking, and intolerant • Cultures weak in uncertainty avoidance are contemplative, less aggressive, unemotional, relaxed, accepting of personal risks, and relatively tolerant
Long term-short/term orientation • Also called confucian dynamism because it measured Confucian values of perseverance, patience, social hierarchy, thrift, and a sense of shame • Is a measure of the time orientation of a culture • Long-term orientation encourages thrift, savings, perseverance toward results, and a willingness to subordinate oneself for a purpose. • Short-term orientation is consistent with spending to keep up with social pressure, less savings, preference for quick results, and a concern with face
Questions for Discussion Relate to the cultural dimensions when answering these questions 1. Imagine that you are starting a company in Guatemala with Guatemalan employees. What do you need to be aware of and how should you treat the employees? 2. How would you have to act in order to be adapted to Japanese society in terms of values, behavior? 3. What cultural differences may cause conflict in a relationship between an American and a South African?
Strengths, Hofstede • The study has been replicated six times. Last time 2005 • A large sample from many countries • Usefulness – to understand cultural differences in work ethics and behaviour, to compare cultures
Weaknesses, Hofstede • Use of self report (validity problems) • Generalisability problem: only IBM employees, only certain countries • Generalisation/stereotyping risk: there are large individual differences within cultures, as well as subcultures within a culture • Culture is non-static and ever-changing