Culture Schock

This essay has a total of 1211 words and 5 pages.

Culture Schock


By: Kathy G.


Culture in ancient times was defined as "the sum total of the equipment of the human
individual, which enables him to be attuned to his immediate environment on the historical
past on the other". It reflects in effect what humans have added to Nature. It comprises
the spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of a society and includes, in
addition to the arts and letters, the value systems, traditions, modes of life and beliefs
of the society. It also absorbs from other cultures and undergoes changes with time,
sometimes beneficial, sometimes regressive. (Barlas, 15). Culture shock is a severe
psychological reaction that results from adjusting to the realities of a society radically
different from one's own. The actual degree of culture shock may vary depending on the
differences and similarities between the society studied and the persons' own society. The
symptoms may range from mild irritation to surprise or disgust. (Scupin, 124). Usually
after the person experiencing culture shock learns the norms, beliefs, and practices of
the community, the psychological disorientation of culture shock begins to diminish. This
paper will be based upon culture shock and international business. There are three areas
where culture shock could affect you: 1. Emotions-you have to cope with the stress of
international work and keeping an emotional balance in order to perform in a business. 2.
Thinking style- you have to understand how your counterparts think and be able to develop
culturally effective solutions. 3. Social skills and social identity- you need effective
social skills to establish new business relationships. (Marx, 25). This differs from
manager to manager, some managers seem to adapt in an almost chameleon -like way to
different countries, whereas others cling desperately to their habits and their national
approaches. Working in a new culture can produce a variety of reactions, such as; ·
Confusion about what to do · Anxiety · Frustration · Exhilaration · Inappropriate
social behavior · Inability to get close to your business partner and clinch the deal ·
Feeling isolated · Becoming depressed All of the above are possible reactions to culture
shock, the shock we experience when we are confronted with the unknown the "foreign". The
term culture shock was coined by the anthropologists Oberg, who explained both the
symptoms and the process of adapting to a different culture. The experience of a new
culture is seen as an unpleasant surprise or shock- a shock that occur when expectations
do not coincide with reality. (Marx, 5). In his original article, Oberg lists six main
aspects of culture shock: 1. Strain caused by the effort to adapt. 2. Sense of loss and
feelings of deprivation in relation to friends, status, profession and possessions. 3.
Feeling rejected by or rejecting members of the new culture. 4. Confusion in role, values
and self-identity. 5. Anxiety and even disgust/anger about foreign practices. 6. Feelings
of helplessness, not being able to cope with the new environment. Culture shock in all its
diverse form is completely normal and is part of a successful process of adaptation. Oberg
also developed a model of adaptation that suggests that going abroad or working
internationally put you through or cycle of distinct phases on the way to final
adaptations. The first stage is the honeymoon phase, where all encounters in a new place
Continues for 3 more pages >>