Рефераты. Cultural Values

distinctions. Business is almost a universal value with us; it can be

discussed almost anywhere, except perhaps in church. One can even talk

business on the church steps going to and from the service. Politics is

only slightly more restricted in the places appropriate for its discussion.

In other parts of the world, there are decided place restrictions on

the discussion of business and politics. The American who is not conscious

of the unwritten laws will offend if he abides by his own rather than by

the local rules.

In India, you should not talk business when visiting a man's home. If

you do, you prejudice your chances of ever working out a satisfactory

business relationship.

In Latin America, although university students take an active interest

in politics, tradition decrees that a politician should avoid political

subjects when speaking on university grounds. A Latin American politician

commented to. anthropologist Allan Holmberg that neither he nor his fellow

politicians would have dared attempt a political speech on the grounds of

the University of San Marcos in Peru-as did Vice-President Nixon.

To complicate matters further, the student body of San Marcos,

anticipating the visit, had voted that Mr. Nixon would not be welcome. The

University Rector had issued no invitation, presumably because he expected

what did, in fact, happen.

As a final touch, Mr. Nixon's interpreter was a man in full military

uniform. In Latin American countries, some of which had recently overthrown

military dictators, the symbolism of the military uniform could hardly

contribute to a cordial atmosphere. Latin Americans need no reminder that

the United States is a great military power.

Mr. Nixon's efforts were planned in the best traditions of our own

culture; he hoped to improve relations through a direct, frank, and face-to-

face discussion with students-the future leaders of their country.

Unfortunately, this approach did not fit in at all with the culture of the

host country. Of course, elements hostile to the United States did their

best to capitalize upon this cross-cultural misunderstanding. However, even

Latin Americans friendly to us, while admiring the Vice President's

courage, found themselfes acutely embarrassed by the behavior of their

people and ours in the ensuing difficulties.


Like time and place, differing ideas of space hide traps for the

uninformed. Without realizing it, almost any person raised in the United

States is likely to give an unintended snub to a Latin American simply in

the way we handle space relationships, particularly during conversations.

In North America, the "proper" distance to stand when talking to

another adult male you do not know well is about two feet, at least in a

formal business conversation. (Naturally at a cocktail party, the distance

shrinks, but anything under eight to ten inches is likely to provoke an

apology or an attempt to back up.)

To a Latin American, with his cultural traditions and habits, a

distance of two feet seems to him approximately what five feet would to us.

To him, we seem distant and cold. To us, he gives an impression of


As soon as a Latin American moves close enough for him to feel

comfortable, we feel uncomfortable and edge back. We once observed a

Conversation between a Latin and a North American which began at one end of

a forty-foot hall. At intervals we noticed them again, finally at the other

end of the hall. This rather amusing displacement had been accomplished by

an almost continual series of small backward steps on the part of the

American, trying unconsciously to reach a comfortable talking distance, and

an equal closing of the gap by the Latin American as he attempted to reach

his accustomed conversation space.

Americans in their offices in Latin America tend to keep their native

acquaintances at our distance-not the Latin American's distance-by taking

up a position behind a desk or typewriter. The barricade approach to

communication is practiced even by old hands in Latin America who are

completely unaware of its cultural significance. They know only that they

are comfortable without realizing that the distance and equipment

unconsciously make the Latin American uncomfortable.


We would be mistaken to regard the communication patterns which we

observe around the world as no more than a miscellaneous collection of

customs. The communication pattern of a given society is part of its total

culture pattern and can only be understood in that context.

We cannot undertake here to relate many examples of communication

behavior to the underlying culture of the country. For the businessman, it

might be useful to mention the difficulties in the relationship between

social levels and the problem of information feedback from lower to higher

levels in industrial organizations abroad.

There is in Latin America a pattern of human relations and

unionmanagement relations quite different from that with which we are

familiar in the United States. Everett Hagen of MIT has noted the heavier

emphasis upon line authority and the lesser development of staff

organizations in Latin-American plants when compared with North American

counterparts. To a much greater extent than in the United States, the

government becomes involved in the handling of all kinds of labor problems.

These differences seem to be clearly related to the culture and

social organization of Latin America. We find there that society has been

much more rigidly stratified than it has with us. As a corollary, we find a

greater emphasis upon authority in family and the community.

This emphasis upon status and class distinction makes it very

difficult for people of different status levels to express themselves

freely and frankly in discussion and argument. In the past, the pattern has

been for the man of lower status to express deference to his superior in

any face-to-face contact. This is so even when everyone knows that the

subordinate dislikes the superior. The culture of Latin America places a

great premium upon keeping personal relations harmonious on the surface.

In the United States, we feel that it is not only desirable but

natural to speak up to your superior, to tell the boss exactly what you

think, even when you disagree with him. Of course, we do not always do

this, but we think that we should, and we feel guilty if we fail to speak

our minds frankly. When workers in our factories first get elected to local

union office, they may find themselves quite self-conscious about speaking

up to the boss and arguing grievances. Many of them, however, quickly learn

to do it and enjoy the experience. American culture emphasizes the

thrashing-out of differences in face-to-face contacts. It de-emphasizes the

importance of status. As a result, we have built institutions for handling

industrial disputes on the basis of the local situation, and we rely on

direct discussion by the parties immediately involved.

In Latin America, where it is exceedingly difficult for people to

express their differences face-to-face and where status differences and

authority are much more strongly emphasized than here, the workers tend to

look to a third party-the government-to take care of their problems. Though

the workers have great difficulty in thrashing out their problems with

management, they find no difficulty in telling government representatives

their problems. And it is to their government that they look for an

authority to settle their grievances with management.

Status and class also decide whether business will be done on an

individual or a group basis.

In the United States, we are growing more and more accustomed to

working as members of large organizations. Despite this, we still assume

that there is no need to send a delegation to do a job that one capable man

might well handle.

In some other parts of the world, the individual cannot expect to gain

the respect necessary to accomplish this purpose, no matter how capable he

is, unless he brings along an appropriate number of associates.

In the United States, we would rarely think it necessary or proper to

call on a customer in a group. He might well be antagonized by the hard


In Japan-as an example-the importance of the occasion and of the man

is measured by whom he takes along.

This practice goes far down in the business and government


Even a university professor is likely to bring one or two retainers

along on academic business. Otherwise people might think that he was a

nobody and that his affairs were of little moment.

Even when a group is involved in the U.S., the head man is the

spokes man and sets the tone. This is not always the case in Japan. Two

young Japanese once requested an older American widely respected in Tokyo

to accompany them so that they could "stand on his face." He was not

expected to enter into the negotiation; his function was simply to be

present as an indication that their intentions were serious.


One need not have devoted his life to a study of various cultures to

see that none of them is static. All are constantly changing and one

element of change is the very fact that U.S. enterprise enters a foreign

field. This is inevitable and may be constructive if we know how to utilize

our knowledge. The problem is for us to be aware of our impact and to learn

how to induce changes skillfully.

Rather than try to answer the general question of how two cultures

interact, we will consider the key problem of personnel selection and

development in two particular intercultural situations, both in Latin


One U.S. company had totally different experiences with "Smith" and

"Jones" in the handling of its labor relations. The local union leaders

were bitterly hostile to Smith, whereas they could not praise Jones enough.

These were puzzling reactions to higher management. Smith seemed a fair

minded and understanding man; it was difficult to fathom how anyone could

be bitter against him. At the same time, Jones did not appear to be

currying favor by his generosity in giving away the firm's assets. To

management, he seemed to be just as firm a negotiator as Smith.

The explanation was found in the two men's communication

characteristics. When the union leaders came in to negotiate with Smith, he

would let them state their case fully and freely-without interruption, but

also without comment. When they had finished, he would say, "I'm sorry, We

can't do it." He would follow this blunt statement with a brief and

entirely cogent explanation of his reasons for refusal. If the union

leaders persisted in their arguments, Smith would paraphrase his first

statement, calmly and succinctly. In either case, the discussion was over

in a few minutes. The union leaders would storm out of Smith's office

complaining bitterly about the cold and heartless man with whom they had to


Jones handled the situation differently. His final conclusion was the

same as Smith's-but he would state it only after two or three hours of

discussion. Furthermore, Jones participated actively in these discussions,

questioning the union leaders for more information, relating the case in

question to previous cases, philosophizing about labor relations and human

rights and exchanging stories about work experience. When the discussion

came to an end, the union leaders would leave the office, commenting on how

warmhearted and understanding he was, and how confident they were that he

would help them when it was possible for him to do so, They actually seemed

more satisfied with a negative decision from Jones than they did with a

hard-won concession from Smith.

This was clearly a case where the personality of Jones happened to

match certain discernible requirements of the Latin American culture. It

was happenstance in this case that Jones worked out and Smith did not, for

by American standards both were top-flight men. Since a talent for the kind

of negotiation that the Latin American considers graceful and acceptable

can hardly be developed in a grown man (or perhaps even in a young one),

the basic problem is one of personnel selection in terms of the culture

where the candidate is to work.

The second case is more complicated because it involves much deeper

intercultural adjustments. The management of the parent V.S. company

concerned had learned-as have the directors of most large firms with good-

sized installations overseas-that one cannot afford to have all of the top

and middle-management positions manned by North Americans. It is necessary

to advance nationals up the overseas-management ladder as rapidly as their

abilities permit. So the nationals have to learn not only the technical

aspects of their jobs but also how to function at higher levels in the


Latin culture emphasizes authority in the home, church, and community.

Within the organization this produces a built-in hesitancy about speaking

up to one's superiors. The initiative, the acceptance of responsibility

which we value in our organizations had to be stimulated. How could it be


We observed one management man who had done a remarkable job of

building up these very qualities in his general foremen and foremen. To

begin with, he stimulated informal contacts between himself and these men

through social events to which the men and their wives came. He saw to it

that his senior North American assistants and their wives were' also

present. Knowing the language, he mixed freely with all. At the plant, he

circulated about, dropped in not to inspect or check up, but to joke and to

break down the great barrier that existed in the local traditions between

authority and the subordinates.

Next, he developed a pattern of three-level meetings. At the top, he

himself, the superintendents, and the general foremen. At the middle level,

the superintendents, general foremen, and foremen. Then the general

foremen, foremen, and workers.

At the top level meeting, the American management chief set the

pattern of encouraging his subordinates to challenge his own ideas, to come

up with original thoughts. When his superintendents (also North Americans)

disagreed with him, he made it clear that they were to state their

objections fully. At first, the general foreman looked surprised and

uneasy. They noted, however, that the senior men who argued with the boss

were encouraged and praised. Timorously, with great hesitation, they began

to add their own suggestions. As time went on, they more and more accepted

the new convention and pitched in without inhibition.

The idea of challenging the boss with constructive new ideas gradually

filtered down to the second and third level meetings. It took a lot of time

and gentle handling, but .out of this approach grew an extraordinary

morale. The native general foremen and foremen developed new pride in

themselves, accepted new responsibilities, even reached out for more. They

began to work to improve their capacities and to look forward to moving up

in the hierarchy.


Also, it is necessary to note that food is one of the most enjoyable

ways to experience another culture.


Every culture has staple foods. A staple food is a food that is rich

in carbohydrates, that is eaten daily, and that is a primary source of

calories and life energy. Rice is the staple food of much of Asia: from

China & Japan to Sri Lanka & India. For example, many Japanese eat rice

three times a day — with breakfast, lunch and dinner. If there is no rice,

diners feel dissatisfied: the meal simply is not complete.

Cuisine and Etiquette in Zambia

In traditional families, mothers eat together with the girls and the

small boys. Boys age seven and older eat with the father. This is because

all of the children below the age of seven live under the guidance of their

mother and much learning takes place through daily activities in the home.

Ibis is changing, however, especially in towns and cities. The new trend1

is that all members of the family eat together.

Before eating, everybody washes hands in order of the status of the

members of the family: father first, then mother, and the children follow

according to their ages. If a visitor happens to have a meal with the

family, he or she is given the honor of washing first.

It is rude to talk very much or loudly while eating. After eating, the

family members wash their hands again in the same order. The wife and the

young ones clear the table. Burping after a meal is a traditional

compliment, but it is not quite so common nowadays.

Zambia's staple food is maize (corn), and the inhabitants eat maize in

several ways. When the corn is new, it can be roasted or boiled. When it is

dry, it can be fried or boiled, either by itself or mixed with beans or

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