Shelby Bates
Annalisa Day
Chelsi Delgado
Jessica Denis
Sarah Hart
Tye Jones
Travis Marlar
Zach Williams
Crossing Cultures
Relativism and Universalism
Generic Cultures and Ethics
Expatriate Paradoxes
Understanding Cross-Cultural Interactions
Reentry Into the Home Culture
Effective Cross-Cultural Communication
Culture Shock
◦ Natural response that an individual has when
attempting to react and control the new stimuli,
perceptions, and feelings a visitor experiences
6 months
U-Shaped Culture Shock Pattern
Discuss 3 Issues Related to Culture Shock
◦ Paradoxes of culture-based ethical systems
◦ Paradoxes of long-term expat manager
◦ Reverse culture shock
Paradox 5.1: Are ethical norms and standards
universal or relative to the situation?
◦ But, of course, there are exceptions to both!
◦ Hard to do business where ethics are all relative
◦ Ex: terminating contracts, bribery, etc.
Donaldson’s ethical algorithm:
◦ Would we do it under the same economic
 Ex: Harmful pesticides
◦ Is it required to conduct business successfully and
doesn’t violate a fundamental human right?
 Ex: Right to property, freedom from torture
Spread of Universal Norms
Always exceptions
◦ Russia
Paradox 5.2: Are there universal ethics across
generic cultures?
4 Types of Generic Cultures
◦ Community Sharing
◦ Authority Ranking
◦ Equality Matching
◦ Market Pricing
How is it scaled?
◦ Nominal scaling
 Only entities receive names
◦ In-group and Out-group
 One set or norms for each group
How is it scaled?
◦ Ordinal
 There is no common unit of measurement.
◦ Individual A, B, and C
 Societal advantages but no scaling advantages
 Authority prevails
 Japan and Korea
How is it scaled?
◦ Ratio
 There is a zero point (zero money) and common unit
of measurement.
 Enables one to transform all dimensions of culture and
compare them monetarily.
◦ Pay for performance
Your town decided to buy an expensive fire truck
but who should receive protection?
Only the community receives protections and outsiders do
All members receive protection (those who contributed
monetarily) but the high-status individuals receive special
Everyone in the town and those who live close to it receive
Only those that contributed to the trucks purchase should
receive protection
Any ethical system would have to fit inside
one of the four generic cultures.
European Union Phenomena
◦ The more mature and powerful the EU becomes the
more individuals are identifying themselves with the
EU rather than individual cultures.
◦ Could this mean one world culture in the near
Joyce and Asbjorn Osland
4 independent areas
Cultural intelligence
Cautious optimism
Paradox 5.3: Is the general stereotype of the host
country valid?
Cultural Intelligence
◦ “The social acuity necessary to decode behavior in the host
culture and respond flexibly”
Expats believe general stereotypes are valid, but
realize that many host-culture nationals don’t fit the
Many exceptions can occur
As globalization brings the world together, the
number of exceptions will increase
Jungles and wild animals
High crime rates (rape/murder)
Paradox 5.4: How can the expat manager be
simultaneously powerful and powerless?
Expat managers typically powerful
◦ Expected to accomplish goals with authority from
home country
To operate in host culture’s framework, must
rely/depend on locals for cultural knowledge
& contacts
◦ This reliance makes them “powerless”
If host country emphasizes participative
decision-making, expat must adjust so longterm goals can still be accomplished
South Africa
◦ Multi-ethnic country, 11 national languages
(recognized in their Constitution)
◦ Easy to make mistakes in a nation so diverse
◦ Expat reliance on locals: absolutely necessary
Paradox 5.5: How can the expat manager be
simultaneously free of home-country norms and
restrained by host-country norms?
Freedom from home country norms/predictable
behavior: “exhilarating” to most expats
◦ Freedom to respond differently than they would in U.S. to
new situations
However, to be fully accepted, expat must conform to
host culture norms/expectations at home/work
Authority-ranking cultures: expat must act as distant
superior; require special treatment while staying
sensitive to everyone’s needs
Expats must conform to cultural dictates in
authority-ranking cultures; many grow
accustomed to prestigious feeling when doing so
◦ Others prepare their meals, take care of their tasks in
the house, handle routines, & are available 24/7
◦ Difficulty readjusting to U.S.
South Africa
◦ Unacceptable to present gifts with left hand; must use
either right or both hands
◦ Odd norms such as this differ from U.S.; restrain expats
Paradox 5.6: How can the expat manager simultaneously
accept the ideal cultural values of the home culture and
realize that they do not exist in the home culture or exist
only in attenuated form?
Tension between the ideal and actual values
Expat is representative of the general American
Pressure to act as good ambassadors even though some
values are not always followed at home
Cultural values of American expats vs. South African
Paradox 5.7: How can the expat manager resolve the conflict
between contradictory demands of the home and the host-culture
created by the contradictory demands of the home office
and the host-culture nationals
Completion of goals
◦Offices in the US demand the completion of goals in a short and
constricted time frame
◦Pace of business in South Africa is reasonably slow and
Problems arise when expats follow only the dictates of the home
Paradox 5.8: How can the expat manager
simultaneously give up some home-country
values and strengthen our home-country values?
Expat manager can simultaneously give up some
home-country values and strengthen other
home-country values
Expat learns values of host culture rapidly
Allows expats to develop great insight into home
country values
Expat gives up some home country values
◦ Some go to the extreme
Majority will give up some noncore values
while strengthening others
◦ Example: Become less extroverted and informal
60% of expats surveyed have experienced this
Paradox 5.9: Is it possible for the expat manager to
become more cosmopolitan and more idiosyncratic
Visitors become more cosmopolitan
Cultural practices change
Expats become more accepting to norms of the host
◦ Ex. Food Preferences
◦ Ex. “Work to live”
Expats become more idiosyncratic
Paradox 5.10: How can the expat manager simultaneously
think well of the host culture and avoid being taken
advantage of?
Paradox 5.10 and 5.11 fall into the category of cautious
Many Americans do not like to bargain in any situation
◦ However, “The act of bargaining indicates to the
representatives of the host culture that you are indeed
becoming knowledgeable about the local culture, which
increases their respect for you.”
◦ U.S. expats can save a substantial amount of money by
bargaining in the host country
◦ The most common issue confronting expat managers when
dealing with host-culture nationals
◦ “U.S. managers are required by law to adhere to strict
guidelines in the area of small gifts, which are allowed, and
major bribes, which are not.”
Competing for Business
◦ European and Asian multinationals are legally free to offer
major bribes
◦ This puts U.S. companies at a perceived disadvantage
Paradox 5.11: How can the expat manager be simultaneously
at home anywhere in the world and fit comfortably nowhere?
“A common experience among expats is the feeling of being
at home anywhere in the world yet not being completely
comfortable anywhere.”
◦ Some expats remain as permanent residents for the rest of
their lives
◦ Even though, they will never be completely accepted in the
host culture
◦ Many expats grow so comfortable in the host culture that
they become uneasy when returning to their home cultures
“Global firms tend to require 5-10 years’ experience outside
of the home culture for those competing for senior and top
management positions.”
◦ The globalized world is now borderless with few boundaries
◦ Firms are now representing their home cultures while also
representing the global cultures in which they operate
◦ The expat may feel at home anywhere but fit in nowhere
 This is problematic for those seeking a sense of stability
and community
It is helpful to understand ethical systems of
the host culture
Joyce Osland and Allan Bird developed a
model for understanding cross-cultural
◦ Framing (Structuring) Situations
◦ Making Attributions
◦ Selecting a Script
Most expats return home
Many find they have given up some of their
values, and strengthened others
Others at home do not identify with experiences
and may not receive new ideas well
Reacclimatization of the expat’s spouse and
children can be difficult
In the long run, the expat experience will
probably prove beneficial

Crossing Cultures - Texas Tech University