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Cultural Values

 «Urals State Technical University - UPI»
                         Foreign language department

                              «Cultural Values»

                                      Student: Zaitseva S.V.
                                      Group: PÏ-4

                                      Supervisor: Hramushina Zh.A.


                             Table of contents:


Key words


1. Definitions: beliefs, values

     The value / belief puzzle

     Contrastive orientations

     Japanese interpersonal norms

2. Japanese and American patterns of social behavior

     The                national                status                image

     A          Cultural           model           of           interaction

     Seven statements about Americans                                   31

     3.              Factors               influencing               values

     Intercultural   communication:   a   guide   to    men    of    action

     Cuisine,         etiquette         and         cultural         values

     Patterns                           of                           speech

     4.             Contrast             Russian’s              stereotypes

     Nine              statements              about               Russians

     Middle             Eastern             interview             responses

     5.  American’s  view  of   Russian.   Russian’s   view   of   American

     American                      interview                      responses

     Russian                      interview                       responses




      A diploma work contains 80 pages, 2 tables, 1 figure, 4  books  are  a
source of it.
      Key words: cross-cultural communication,  values,  beliefs,  clusters,
      In detail it is  said  about  concept  "values",  factors  influencing
values,  the  meaning  of  values   in   intercultural   communication   and
understanding between different nations.
      In brief it is mentioned differences between beliefs, values.
      The actuality and novelty of a theme consist in the following points.
      Problems of the intercultural communications and cultural values are
"young". Scientists started to consider them rather recently. In Russia
researches have begun only in the 80th years. In such a way, there is not
enough literature and materials on the given questions. Therefore any new
works and researches make the significant contribution to studying these
      So in my work I tried: to research the influence of cultural values to
attitude one country to another; to explore  and  to  compare  Japanese  and
American patterns of social behavior; to understand the factors  influencing
values; to discover stereotypes between different countries.
      In conclusion it is noted that excellent knowledge of language is only
half-affair for successful  cooperation  with  other  country.  Also  it  is
necessary to know features of people of  other  country  in  negotiating  or
their attitude to business. Also  it  is  necessary  to  take  into  account
features of dialogue, etiquette, relations with  grown-ups  and  many  other

          KEY WORDS

   Cross-cultural communication is  the  information  exchange  between  one
person and any other source transmitting a message displaying properties  of
a culture different to the one of the  receiver’s  culture.  The  source  of
such a message can be either a person,  in  an  interpersonal  communication
process, or any form of mass media or other form of media.

   Values. A value is something that is important to people — like  honesty,
harmony, respect for elders, or thinking of  your  family  first.  They  are
represents what is expected or hoped for, required or forbidden. It  is  not
a report of actual conduct but is the inductively  based  logically  ordered
set of criteria of evaluations by which  conduct  is  judged  and  sanctions

   Beliefs are generally taken to mean a mental acceptance or conviction  in
the truth or actuality of something. A belief links an object or  event  and
the characteristics that distinguish it from others. The degree to which  we
believe that an event or object possesses certain  characteristics  reflects
the level of our subjective  probability  (belief)  and,  consequently,  the
depth or intensity of our belief. The more certain we are in a  belief,  the
greater is the intensity of that belief.
   Clusters  are  groups  of  inter-related  industries  that  drive  wealth
creation in a region and provides a richer  more  meaningful  representation
of local industry drivers and  regional  dynamics  trends  than  traditional
methods and represents the entire value chain of a broadly defined  industry
from  suppliers  to  end  products,  including   supporting   services   and
specialized infrastructure.
   Stereotype is a fixed set of ideas about what a particular type of person
or thing is like, which is (wrongly) believed to be true in all cases.

      The subject of my diploma work is cultural values.

      Our perception of foreign cultures  is  usually  based  not  on  their
complex reality, but on the simplified image they project. The  clearer  and
more sharply defined that image is, the more convinced we will  be  that  we
are intimately acquainted with it: it is  a  mere  outward  confirmation  of
knowledge we already possess.

     All cultures have been designed to meet  universal  human  needs:  for
shelter - for love — for friendship.  While  they  have  commonalties,  they
have great variety too! Values - universal  feature  of  culture,  how  they
might vary within and between cultures.

     One universal feature of culture is values. A value is something  that
is important to people — like  honesty,  harmony,  respect  for  elders,  or
thinking of your family first.

     We can't see values  directly,  but  we  can  see  them  reflected  in
people's ordinary, day to day behavior. What we value shapes what we do.  If
respect for elders is important to me, I  might  listen  very  patiently  to
grandmother's stories and not argue with her. In fact, I might turn  to  her
for valuable and wise advice. If I  value  honesty,  I  will  hope  that  my
friends will tell me the truth and not what they think I want  to  hear.  If
harmony is more important to me, I prefer to say  things  that  make  people
happy, even if those things are not exactly true.

     In the course of human interaction, evaluations are assigned to  given
types of behavior, attitudes, and kinds of social  contact.  Taken  together
they  form  the  belief  and  value  system,  the  cultural   premises   and
assumptions, and the foundation for law, order, and the world view of  given
cultural groups. These systems embrace a number  of  assumptions  about  how
the world is put together. Some  values  and  norms,  differentiate  between
good and evil, right and wrong. Some of these assumptions are made  explicit
in the beliefs and myths of the people. Beliefs, value  systems,  and  world
view often combine with other features of social and  cultural  organization
to provide shared cultural symbols.
      The actuality and novelty of a theme consist in the following points.
      Problems of the intercultural communications and cultural values are
"young". Scientists started to consider them rather recently. In Russia
researches have begun only in the 80th years. In such a way, there is not
enough literature and materials on the given questions. Therefore any new
works and researches make the significant contribution to studying these
      Objects of research in my diploma  work  are  behavioral  samples  and
cultural clusters.


     It is useful at  this  juncture  to  make  some  distinctions  between
beliefs and values.


     Beliefs are generally taken to mean a mental acceptance or  conviction
in the truth or actuality of something. A belief links an  object  or  event
and the characteristics that distinguish  it  from  others.  The  degree  to
which we believe that an event or object possesses  certain  characteristics
reflects  the  level   of   our   subjective   probability   (belief)   and,
consequently, the depth or intensity of our belief. The more certain we  are
in a belief, the greater is the intensity of that belief.

     This is well attested to in the power of religious beliefs. There  are
three types of beliefs, all  of  which  are  of  concern  to  us.  They  are
experiential, informational,  and  inferential.  Experiential  beliefs  come
from direct personal experience, of  course;  they  are  integrated  at  the
intrapersonal  level.  The  second  type  involves  information.   This   is
transferred on the interpersonal level and shows great  cultural  variation.
Here cultural beliefs  are  stated,  transferred,  learned,  and  practiced.
Informational  beliefs  are  connected  with  what  are  called   "authority
belief," or credible information sources. If  a  group  of  people  believes
that exercising increases the individual's physical and  mental  well-being,
these believers may also be willing to accept athletes as authority  figures
even though the testimonies of  these  idols  range  beyond  their  physical
prowess. Witness the selling  success  of  Olympic  champions  and  football
stars in promoting breakfast food or panty hose.

     Inferential beliefs are those which go beyond direct  observation  and
information. These concern rules  of  logic,  argumentation,  rhetoric,  and
even establishment of  facts  (the  scientific  method).  Although  internal
logic systems differ from one individual to another within a  culture,  they
differ more from one culture to another. The  most  dramatic  difference  in
cultural variance in thinking lies between  Western  and  Eastern  cultures.
The Western world has a logic system  built  upon  Aristotelian  principles,
and it has evolved ways of thinking that embody  these  principles.  .  .  .
Eastern cultures, however, developed  before  and  without  the  benefit  of
Athens or Aristotle. As a consequence, their  logic  systems  are  sometimes
called non-Aristotelian, and they can often lead to quite different sets  of


     Values bring affective force to beliefs.  Some  of  these  values  are
shared with others of our kind some are not. Thus, we all adhere to some  of
the beliefs and values generally accepted within  our  cultures;  we  reject
others. Values are  related  to  what  is  seen  to  be  good,  proper,  and
positive, or the opposite. Values  are  learned  and  may  be  normative  in
nature. They change through time and  are  seldom  shared  in  specifics  by
members of different generations, although certain themes will prevail.  For
example,   the   positive   attributions   placed   upon    competitiveness,
individualism, action, and other general principles that pervade the  belief
and value orientation of members  of  the  North  American  culture  of  the
United States remain.  They  include  the  constitutionally  guaranteed  and
socially valued "unalienable rights to life, liberty,  and  the  pursuit  of
happiness" in individualistic, action-oriented, and competitive ways.  These
values have endured their expression varies from generation  to  generation.

     A cultural value system "represents what is  expected  or  hoped  for,
required or forbidden." It is not a report of  actual  conduct  but  is  the
inductively based logically ordered set of criteria of evaluations by  which
conduct is judged and sanctions applied.


     Value and belief systems, with their  supporting  cultural  postulates
and world  views,  are  complex  and  difficult  to  assess.  They  form  an
interlocking system, reflecting  and  reflective  of  cultural  history  and
forces of change. They provide the bases  for  the  assignment  of  cultural
meaning and evaluation. Values are desired outcomes as  well  as  norms  for
behavior; they are dreams as well as reality, They are embraced by some  and
not others in a community; they may be the foundations  for  accepted  modes
of behavior, but are as frequently overridden as  observed.  They  are  also
often the hidden force that sparks reactions and fuels  denials.  Unexamined
assignment of these  characteristics  to  all  members  of  a  group  is  an
exercise in stereotyping.


     Often  values  attributions  and  evaluations  of  the  behaviors   of
"strangers" are based on the value and  belief  systems  of  the  observers.
Have you heard or made any of the following statements? Guilty or not?

     Americans are cold.

     Americans don't like their parents. Just look, they put their  mothers
and fathers in nursing homes.

     The Chinese are nosy. They're always asking such personal questions.

     Spaniards must hate animals. Look what they do to bulls!

     Marriages don't last in the United States.

     Americans are very friendly. 1 met a nice couple on a  tour  and  they
asked me to visit them.

     Americans ask silly questions, they think we all  live  in  tents  and
drink nothing but camel's milk! They ought to see our airport!

     Americans just pretend to be friendly; they really aren't.  They  say,
"Drop by sometime" but when I did, they didn't seem very happy  to  see  me.
Of course, it was ten o'clock at night!

     How should such statements be received? With anger? With  explanation?
With understanding and anger? Should  one  just  ignore  such  patent  half-
truths stereotypic judgments, and oversimplifications? Before  indulging  in
any  of  the  above  actions,  consider  what  can  be  learned  from   such
statements. First, what do these statements reveal? The speakers  appear  to
be concerned about families, disturbed by statistics, apt to  form  opinions
on limited data (friendliness),  given  to  forming  hasty  and  unwarranted
generalizations (Spanish bullfighting), and  angered  by  the  ignorance  of
others. No one cultural group has a corner  on  such  behavior.  Second,  we
might be able to guess  how  certain  speakers  might  feel  about  divorce,
hospitality, or even animals. Third, the  observations,  while  clearly  not
applicable to all members of the groups about which the comments were  made,
represent the speakers' perceptions. To many, Americans  are  seen  as  cold
and uncaring. Because perceptions and native value and belief  systems  play
such important roles in communication, it  is  important  to  recognize  and
deal with these perceptions-correct or incorrect, fair or unfair.

     In  the  following  part  of  this  chapter  the  concept   of   value
orientations will be explored. This will be followed  by  a  review  of  the
major value orientations associated with  people  from  the  United  States.
These orientations will be contrasted with those of  other  culture  groups.
Such an approach to cross-cultural variations in values and beliefs  is  far
more productive than flat denial  or  even  anger,  as  we  form  evaluative
frames of reference for ourselves and hold them up to the frames  of  others
we shall, at the very least, learn a great deal about ourselves.


     Compiling  a  list  of  cultural  values,  beliefs,   attitudes,   and
assumptions would be an  almost  endless  and  quite  unrewarding  endeavor.
Writers in the field of intercultural communication have  generally  adopted
the concept of value orientations suggested by Florence Kluckhohn  and  Fred
Strodtbeck (1961).

     In setting  forth  a  value  orientation  approach  to  cross-cultural
variation, Kluckhohn and  Strodtbeck  (1961:10)  pointed  out  that  such  a
theory was based upon three assumptions:

     1. There are a limited number of human problems to which all  cultures
must find solutions.

     2. The limited number of solutions may be charted  along  a  range  or
Continuum of variations.

     3. Certain solutions are favored by members in any given culture group
but all potential solutions are present in every culture.

      In their schema,  Kluckhohn  and  Strodtbeck  suggested  that  values
around five universal human problems involving  man's  relationship  to  the
environment, human  nature,  time,  activity,  and  human  interaction.  The
authors further proposed that the  orientations  of  any  society  could  be
charted along these dimensions. Although variability could be  found  within
a group,  there  were  always  dominant  or  preferred  positions.  Culture-
specific  profiles  could  be  constructed.  Such  profiles  should  not  be
regarded as statements about individual behavior, but rather  as  tendencies
around which social behavioral norms rules values, beliefs, and  assumptions
are clustered. As such, they might influence individual  behavior  as  other
cultural givens do; like other  rules,  they  may  be  broken,  changed,  or

     In the Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck classification, three focal points  in
the range of variations are posited for each type  of  orientation.  In  the
man-to-nature continuum variations range from a position  of  human  mastery
over nature,  to  harmony  with  nature,  to  subjugation  to  nature.  Most
industrialized societies represent the  mastery  orientation;  the  back-to-
nature counterculture of young  adults  during  the  1960s  and  1970s,  the
harmonious  stance;  and   many   peasant   populations,   the   subjugation

     The time dimension offers stops at  the  past,  present,  and  future.
Human nature orientation is charted along a continuum stretching  from  good
to evil with some of both in the  middle.  The  activity  orientation  moves
from doing to being-becoming to being. Finally, the  relational  orientation
ranges from the individual to the group with concern with  the  continuation
of the group, as an intermediate focal point.

     Value orientations only represent" good guesses" about why people  act
the way they do. Statements made or scales constructed are only part  of  an
"as if" game. That is to say, people act as if they believed in a given  set
of value. Because the  individuals  in  any  cultural  group  exhibit  great
variation, any of the orientations suggested might well be found  in  nearly
every culture. It is the general pattern that is sought. Value  orientations
are important to us as intercultural communicators  because  often  whatever
one believes, values, and assumes are the crucial factors in communication.


     Let us take some American cultural patterns that have been  identified
as crucial in cross-cultural communication and  consider  what  assumptions,
values, and attitudes support them. Edward  C.  Stewart  was  a  pioneer  in
examining such American behavior in a cross-cultural perspective.  His  book
- American Cultural Patterns. This book describes  dominant  characteristics
of  middle  class  Americans.   Stewart   distinguishes   between   cultural
assumptions and values and what he called  cultural  norms.  Cultural  norms
are explicit a repeatedly invoked by people to  describe  or  justify  their
actions. They represent instances  in  which  the  behavior  and  the  value
attached to it seem at odds. Stewart writes,  “Because  cultural  norms  are
related to behavior as cliches, rituals  or  as  cultural  platitudes,  they
provide inaccurate descriptions of behavior”. He points out  that  Americans
are devoted to the concept of  self-reliance  but  accept  social  security,
borrow money, and expect a little help from their friends.  Culture  bearers
are usually more aware of their cultural norms than their systems of  values
and  assumptions.  As  Stewart   explains,   "being   fundamental   to   the
individual's outlook, they [the assumptions and values]  are  likely  to  be
considered as a part of the real world and therefore remain unquestioned".

     Table 1, illustrates some of the general value orientations identified
with North Americans. The left-hand column indicates what  the  polar  point
of the orientational axis might  represent.  The  Contrast  American  column
does not describe any particular culture, but rather represents an  opposite
orientation. Of course, the American profile is drawn in broad  strokes  and
describes the mainstream culture; ethnic diversity is of  necessity  blurred
in this sweeping treatment.

     Thus, with the reservations noted above, it can be said  that  in  the
relationship of human beings and nature, Americans  assume  and  thus  value
and believe in doing something about environmental problems. Nature can  and
should be changed.  In  addition,  change  is  right  and  good  and  to  be
encouraged. That toe pace of change has increased to a bewildering point  in
the United States at the  present  time  presents  problems,  but,  as  yet,
change has not been seen as particularly detrimental.

     Equality of opportunity is linked  to  individualism,  lack  of  rigid
hierarchies informality, and other cultural  givens.  It  is  manifested  in
American laws regarding  social  conduct,  privacy,  and  opportunity.  This
contrasts with an ascriptive social order in which class and  birth  provide
the bases for social control and interaction.

     The  achievement  orientation  calls  for   assessment   of   personal
achievement, a latter-day Horatio Alger (Lee Iacocca) orientation. A  future
orientation is joined to the positive  value  accorded  change  and  action.
Directness and openness are contrasted to a more consensus-seeking  approach
in which group harmony is placed above solving problems.

     Cause-and-effect logic joined to a problem-solving orientation  and  a
pragmatic approach to problems defines the much-vaunted  scientific  method.
Intuition  and  other  approaches  to  evidence,  fact,  and   "truth"   are
associated  with  being  orientations  and   philosophical   approaches   to
knowledge and knowing. Competition and a  do-it-yourself  approach  to  life
are well served by a future orientation, individualism, and the  desire  for

     The statements above simply point out some very  general  orientations
that have driven and, to some degree, still guide  North  American  society.
Change is always in the air. Many  have  pointed  out,  as  Stewart  himself
does, that these orientations represent white middle class American  values.
They do. They serve the purpose, however, of providing a frame of  reference
for cross-cultural comparison.

     Table 2 offers a  contrastive  look  at  some  American  and  Japanese

     Such culture-specific contrast alerts us to the need  to  examine  our
cultural values and assumptions from  the  perspective  of  others.  As  one
studies the dimensions of contrast,  one  cannot  help  but  marvel  at  the
communication that  does  take  place  despite  such  diversity.  Okabe,  in
drawing upon Japanese observations about some  well-known  American  values,
reveals a new perspective to us. For example, the bamboo whisk  and  octopus
pot metaphors refer to a reaching out  tendency  in  the  United  States  as
opposed to the drawing inward of the Japanese.

      Omote means outside and omote / ura  combines  both  the  inside  and
outside  world.  In  the  heterogeneous,  egalitarian,  sasara-type,  doing,
pushing culture of the United States, there is no  distinction  between  the
omote and the ura aspects of culture. In  the  hierarchical  takotsubo-type,
being, pulling culture of Japan, a clear-cut distinction  should  always  be
made between the omote and the ura dimensions of culture, the  former  being
public, formal, and conventional, and  the  latter  private,  informal,  and
unconventional. The Japanese tend to conceive of  the  ura  world  as  being
more real, more meaningful.

     Interpersonal relationships contrast on the basis of the role  of  the
individual and group interaction. Japanese  patterns  are  characterized  by
formality  and  complementary  relationships  that  stress  the   value   of
dependence or amae. Amae is the key to understanding Japanese  society.  The
concept of amae underlies the  Japanese  emphasis  on  the  group  over  the
individual, the acceptance of  constituted  authority,  and  the  stress  on
particularistic   rather   than   universalistic   relationships.   In   the
homogenous, vertical society of Japan the dominant value  is  conformity  to
or identity with the group. The Japanese insist upon the  insignificance  of
the individual.  Symmetrical relationships  focus  on  the  similarities  of
individuals; complementary relationships exploit differences  in  age,  sex,
role and status.  There  are  many  ways  in  which  the  Japanese  publicly
acknowledge  a  social  hierarchy-in  the  use  of  language,   in   seating
arrangements at social gatherings, in bowing to one another and hundreds  of
others. Watch Japanese each other  and  the  principles  will  become  quite
apparent. Notice who bows lower, who waits for the other to  go  first,  who
apologizes more: (1) younger defers to older; (2)  female  defers  to  male;
(3) student defers to teacher; (4); the  seller's  bow  is  lower  than  the
buyer's; and (6) in a school club or organization  where  ranks  are  fixed,
the  lower  ranked  is,  of   course,   subordinate.   These   features   of
interpersonal relationships lead to an emphasis on the public  self  in  the
United States and on the private self in Japan, Americans  being  more  open
in the demonstration of personal feelings and attitudes than the Japanese.

     Let us look to this question in detail.


     Numerous studies by social scientists of national character or culture
have appeared in recent years, initially as  a  response  to  the  need  for
knowledge of enemy countries in World War II. Most of these studies have  is
asked a substantive question: what is the nature of the behavior  shared  by
all, or a majority, of the members of a national society? Once  this  shared
behavior is "discovered," its written description becomes an outline of  the
national culture  of  that  country.  This  approach  has  been  extensively
criticized on the grounds that the behavior of the members  of  any  complex
society is so variable  that  any  attempt  to  describe  the  shared  items
results in superficial generalization. Critics have also  pointed  out  that
descriptions of national cultures frequently consist of statements of  norms
only, and do not denote actual behavior.

     At this point in the account of our own research it  is  necessary  to
raise questions about the nature of national  cultures.  However,  we  shall
not attempt to claim that our answer to these will be valid for all  members
of the Japanese nation. We do claim validity for our own  subjects  and  are
also willing to guess that much of what we say will apply  to  the  majority
of Japanese men who were socialized in prewar and wartime Japan in  families
of the middle and upper  income  brackets.  We  shall  not  claim  that  our
subjects necessarily behaved in the manner suggested,  for  the  description
itself pertains to norms or principles and not to behavior. In a  subsequent
section we shall provide a description and analysis of the behavior  of  our
subjects with reference to these norms.

     This procedure implies the concept of a "cultural model":  essentially
a highly generalized description of principles, shared by a large number  of
people and maintained in the form of personal values. To some  degree  these
principles or norms constitute  guides  or  rules  for  behavior:  sometimes
followed literally, sometimes not, but always  available  as  a  generalized
protocol for use by  the  individual  in  finding  his  way  through  social
relationships and in judging the acts of others.

     The first half of  the  model  we  shall  construct  pertains  to  the
patterns  of  interpersonal  relations  in  the  two  societies,  Japan  and
America. We recognize  that  as  representatives  of  the  class  of  modern
industrial nations, these two countries have cultures very similar  in  many
respects. The Japanese are, in fact, often  called  the  "Americans  of  the
Orient," a phrase referring to their  industrious  orientation  toward  life
and nature; their interest in  mass-cultural  pursuits  like  baseball;  and
their  success  with  capitalist  enterprise  in   a   collectivist   world.
Similarities in all these areas are a fact— but it is equally apparent  that
some significant differences have existed in other aspects  of  social  life
in the two countries. Among these differences  the  norms  and  patterns  of
interpersonal behavior are probably the greatest.  Thus,  while  a  Japanese
and an American may share an interest in baseball which brings  them  closer
together that either one might be to a member of some other nation, the  two
may differ so widely in their habits of behavior in social  situations  that
communication between them may be seriously impeded.

     Studies of Japanese social norms have revealed the  following  general
features: articulate codification of the norms; strong tendencies  toward  a
face-to-face,  or  "primary  group"  type  of  intimacy;  an  emphasis  upon
hierarchical  status  positions;  concern  for  the  importance  of  status;
elative permanence of status once established; and "behavioral  reserve"  or
discipline. These will be discussed in order.

     articulate codification of rules

     During the long Tokugawa period  of  centralized  feudalism,  Japanese
patterns    of    interpersonal    behavior    underwent    an     elaborate
institutionalization. The Shogunate attempted to fix the  position  of  each
class with respect to the others and established written rules  of  behavior
for  its  members.  The  family  system  had  developed  historically  along
patrilineal lines, and during Tokugawa  times  such  patterns  of  relations
between kin were proclaimed as an official  social  code.  After  the  Meiji
Restoration, the samurai class in control of  the  nation  maintained  these
formalized rules and even elevated  them  to  the  status  of  an  idealized
spiritual expression of the Japanese ethos. The reason for this  enhancement
of the Tokugawa code after the Restoration lay in the need to  preserve  and
strengthen  national  discipline  and  unity  as  a  practical   policy   in
industrialization and other aspects  of  modernization.  Thus,  Japan  moved
into her modern era in possession of a system of rules  of  social  behavior
based on feudal and familial principles.

     It is necessary to  note  that  this  system  of  codified  rules  was
consistently adhered to in  actual  behavior  by  only  a  minority  of  the
population: the samurai  and  nobility.  The  remainder  of  the  population
followed the rules in  part,  or  only  in  "public"  situations  where  the
pressure for conformity  was  strong.  In  the  decades  subsequent  to  the
Restoration a generalized version of the code was adopted by the  developing
business and official classes, and this is the situation which continues  to
prevail in  Japan  today  (although  since  the  Occupation  a  considerable
liberalization of social behavior can be found in all classes  and  groups).
Since the student subjects of-the research project were persons from  upper-
and middle-class groups socialized in prewar and wartime Japan, we  can  use
the gross aspects of this social code as a backdrop for  the  interpretation
of their behavior.  The  strength  and  the  influence  of  this  code  were
enhanced further by the fact that up to the period  of  the  Occupation,  no
large migration to Japan of  Westerners  had  occurred.  In  this  situation
relatively few Japanese were presented with the need to learn the  modes  of
interaction of other societies—particularly the  more  "open"  type  of  the
Western nations. This  isolation  was  intensified  during  the  militarist-
nationalist epoch of the 1930s and 1940s,  in  which  the  social  code  was
given renewed emphasis as a  counter-measure  against  liberal  trends.  The
codified norms— on or ascribed obligation; giri or  contractual  obligation;
chu or loyalty to one's superior; ninjo or humane sensibility; and enryo  or
modesty and reserve in the presence of  the  superior—were  incorporated  in
the school curriculum as ethical doctrine, and exemplified  in  a  multitude
of cultural expressions.

     primary associative qualities

       An important aspect of Japanese social norms  may  be  described  in
Western sociological terms as that of "primary association."  Emphasis  upon
personal  qualities,  obligations  between  subordinate  and  superior,  and
distinctions based on age or sibling birth-order are features suited to  the
atmosphere of a small, highly interactive social group, like the  family  or
a feudal manor. It goes without saying that in the modern  mass  society  of
Japan these rules have not always been observed, but the fact is that to  an
extraordinary degree the Japanese have succeeded in  organizing  present-day
society into  small,  cell-like  groupings,  in  which  highly  personalized
relationships are  governed  by  an  explicit  code  of  behavior.  Even  in
impersonal  situations,  as  in  labor  organizations,  rules  of    primary
associative type  have  been  used  at  least  symbolically  as  models  for
interaction and responsibility.


     If Japanese social norms present an image of society in the  character
of a primary group, it  is  at  least  a  hierarchically  organized  primary
group—one in which there are explicit gradations of status from superior  to
inferior.  The  family  is  ideally  organized  on   patrilineal-patriarchal
principles, with the father as dominant, the  eldest  son  superordinate  to
the younger, and so on. Primogeniture was the law  of  the  land  until  the
Occupation period, and, even though no longer so, it is still followed in  a
great many cases.

     Japanese business firms, government bureaus, and many universities and
schools are organized in ways reminiscent of this familial model;  or  their
organization may be more closely related historically  to  feudal  or  lord-
vassal principles. In such cases the employee and the  employer,  chief  and
underling, or teacher and pupil  occupy  positions  which  carry  with  them
defined and ascribed rights and duties,  in  which  the  superior  generally
occupies a paternalistic and  authoritarian  role.  The  term  sensei  means
teacher, or mentor, but its  wide  application  to  people  outside  of  the
teaching  profession  suggests  its  connotation  of  benevolent  but  stern
authority and superiority. Likewise  the  term  oyabun  ("parent-status"  or
"parent-surrogate"), while strictly appropriate only for  certain  types  of
economic groups, is often applied to any highly paternalistic superior.

     concern for status

     All this would imply, of course, very considerable preoccupation  with
matters of social status. It is necessary or at least  desirable  for  every
Japanese to know his own status in the interaction situation,  since  it  is
in status that one finds the cues for reciprocal behavior. To  put  this  in
sociological terms, there exists a very close tie between status  and  role:
the role behavior expected of one in a  given  status  position  is  clearly
defined and there are relatively few permitted  alternatives  or  variations
from the pattern (when alternatives are present, they, too, are  often  very
clearly defined). Thus the behavior of a person  of  a  given  status  in  a
social relationship, can constitute familiar and unmistakable cues  for  the
appropriate behavior of a person of another status.

     Concern with status is evidenced further by the incorporation into the
Japanese language of a multitude of  forms  expressing  varying  degrees  of
politeness, levels of formality and respect, and subservience or  dominance.
This type of language dramatizes status differences between persons  by  the
use of such  devices  as  honorific  suffixes,  special  verb  endings,  and
differing pronouns. To  mention  only  the  most  commonly  used  forms  for
designating the  second  person  singular,  there  are  anata,  omae,  kimi,
kisama, and temai. The proper use of each of these forms  depends  upon  the
relative status of the speaker and the particular  situation  in  which  the
conversation or interaction takes place. Status  in  language  depends  upon
age, sex, and class differences, as well as on the degree  of  intimacy  and
the extent of formal obligation existing between those communicating.

     relative permanence of status

     Once status positions are clearly defined, the parties  holding  these
statuses are expected to occupy them for very long periods—often  throughout
life. A superior, for  example  one's  professor,  retains  strong  symbolic
hierarchical precedence throughout the life of both parties, even  when  the
student has become a professional equal  in  productivity,  rank,  and  pay.
Subtle changes in status of course occur, and we do not  wish  to  make  too
sweeping a generalization. However, as  compared  with  the  fluid  patterns
typical of Western society,  Japanese  society-possesses  considerably  more
orderly and predictable allocations of status—or at least  the  expectations
of this.

     behavioral reserve and discipline

     A "tight"  social  organization  based  on  concern  with  status  and
hierarchy is by necessity one in which social behavior tends to be  governed
more by norms, or public expectancies, and less by  free  or  idiosyncratic-
response to a given situation. At the same  time,  a  system  of  this  kind
requires institutional  outlets  in  the  event  that  obligations,  duties,
status relationships, and the like,  for  one  reason  or  another,  may  be
unclear or not yet defined. The Japanese have utilized,  for  this  purpose,
the concept of enryo, loosely translatable as “hesitance” or "reserve."  The
development of this pattern in Japanese culture is of particular  importance
for our problem here.

     The original meaning  of  enryo  pertained  to  the  behavior  of  the
subordinate in hierarchical status relations. The subordinate  was  expected
to show compliant obsequiousness toward the superior:  he  should  hold  his
temper, check any aggressive response to frustration (and  of  course,  bide
his time). This pattern of behavior may be manifested by Japanese when  they
interact with persons of their own  or  any  society  whom  they  regard  as
superior in status. Whenever the  presumption  is  that  a  superior  person
occupies the "alter" status, enryo is likely to be observed by "ego".

     Now, as  Japan  entered  the  stage  of  industrialization,  with  its
expanded opportunities for individual enterprise  and  mobility  (a  process
still  under  way),  social  situations  became   more   complicated,   more
ambiguous, and more  violative  of  the  traditional  rules  and  behavioral
prescriptions. Since at the same time the basic hierarchical,  primary-group
character of the norms prevailed, there emerged strong needs  for  adjustive
behavior. Enryo became the escape-hatch: in the  new  ambiguity,  behavioral
reserve and noncommitment became the frequent alternative, and the  Japanese
manifested such  withdrawn,  unresponsive  behavior  in  the  event  that  a
particular interpersonal situation lacked clear designation of the  statuses
of ego and alter. Much  the  same  situation  holds  when  the  Japanese  is
overseas. Here, too, his behavior  is  frequently  characterized  by  enryo—
often concealing confusion and  embarrassment  over  his  ignorance  of  the
social rules  of  the  foreign  society.  Thus  the  "shyness"  or  reserved
behavior often found in Japanese on the American campus can  be  due  either
to the fact that the Japanese views  Americans,  or  certain  Americans,  as
superior people; or to the fact that he is simply not sure how to behave  in
American social situations,  regardless  of  status.  The  rule  goes,  when
status is unclear, it  is  safest  to  retreat  into  enryo.  This  form  of
response is most typical of persons socialized in prewar and wartime  Japan;
the postwar generation, many of whom have  grown  up  in  the  more  liberal
atmosphere  of  the  Occupation  and  after,  are  much  more  tolerant   of


     We may now view these normative patterns from a  comparative  cultural
perspective. A detailed description  of  the  American  norms  will  not  be
required,  since  it  may  be  presumed  that  the  reader  has   sufficient
familiarity  with  them.  We  shall   select   those   American   rules   of
interpersonal behavior that are "opposites" to the  Japanese  patterns  just
described. In a later section we shall discuss cases of similarity.

     There is among Americans a  tendency  toward  an  initial  egalitarian
response oil the part of "ego": two persons are presumed to be equal  unless
proven otherwise. (The Japanese norms  contain  an  opposite  premise:  when
status is vague, inequality  is  expected.)  In  practice  this  egalitarian
principle in American interpersonal behavior  leads  to  what  the  Japanese
might perceive as fluidity and unpredictability of behavior-in  interaction,
and highly variable or at least less apparent  concern  for  status.  Things
like wealth, public versus private situations, and a host of other  features
may all in the American case, influence the behavior of  ego  and  alter  in
ways which are not subject to  predicate  codification,  Allowance  is  made
continually for subtle changes in roles of those interacting, with a  strain
toward equalization if  hierarchical  differences  appear.  Thus,  while  in
social situations the Japanese may find it difficult to  communicate  unless
status differences are clear, the  American,  in  view  of  his  egalitarian
preference, may point to and actually  experience  status  difference  as  a
source of interpersonal tension and difficulty in  communication.  Thus  the
Japanese may see the free flow of communication as enhanced by clear  status
understandings; the American  may  view  it  instead  as  requiring  maximal
intimacy and freedom of expression.

     Finally, reserve or discipline is in some cases much less apparent  in
American  social  behavior.  Initially,  outward  display  of   feeling   is
encouraged,  and'  reserve  may  develop  after   status   differences   are
recognized.  Once  again  the  Japanese  may  proceed  on  an  approximately
opposite  principle:  behavioral   freedom   and   expressivity   become   a
potentiality  after  statuses  are  clearly  differentiated—especially  when
equality is achieved— but not  before.  Moreover,  even  when  statuses  are
clear to the Japanese participants in social  relations,  interaction  often
continues  to  be  hesitant  and   guarded.   (Important   institutionalized
exceptions to the general rule of avoidance are found in the frank  behavior
tolerated in sake parties,  behavior  of  the  male  guest  and  his  geisha
partner, and a few others.)

     In   American   interpersonal   behavior   the   patterns   of   tact,
obsequiousness, and other forms of retiring behavior are  seen  continually,
but they are often much more situational and idiosyncratic.  Americans  lack
a concept with the generalized cultural meaning of enryo; reserve may  be  a
useful form of behavior  for  some  people,  but  not  others,  or  in  some
situations; it may be associated with status differences,  or  it  may  not.
And when this reserve is  associated  with  status  positions  (and  in  the
presence of  hierarchical  patterns  generally),  Americans  are  likely  to
express attitudes  of  guilt  or  regret,  or  are  likely  to  conceal  the
existence of such patterns by verbally reaffirming  egalitarian  principles.
Moreover,  some  American  normative  attitudes  frown   on   "manipulative"
tendencies; frankness, openness, and humility  are  valued  highly,  if  not
always  observed.  Quotations  from   interviews   with   student   subjects
(sojourners and returnees) may serve to indicate  the  Japanese  perspective
on their own and the American patterns of interpersonal behavior.

     Q.: What did you like about America that you didn't about Japan?

        A.: Well, it's hard to give concrete examples,  but  mainly  I  was
satisfied with what you might call the smartness of life— the modernness  of
things. And also the simplicity and frankness of life.  You  don't  have  to
worry about gimu-giri-on [obligations] over there ... In the  United  States
you have to visit relatives too, but such visits  are  more  personal,  more
real— more meaningful. Here in Japan they are  for  the  sake  of  girt  and
righteousness and all that stuff.

        Q.:  Could you define the term "Americanized"  as  it  is  used  by
Japanese students?

        A.: Well, to be Americanized means  to  be  indifferent  to  social
position-indifferent to social formality — such as in formal  greetings.  It
concerns points about how one acts socially.

     This is about human relations — it  didn't  surprise  me  but  it  did
impress me very much to find that relations with others  are  always  on  an
equal plane in the U.S. In Japan I automatically used polite  language  with
seniors so that this just seemed natural— and if  I  used  polite  words  in
Japan I didn't necessarily feel that this was feudalistic— though  some  do.
At first in the U.S. when young

people, like high school  students,  talked  to  me  as  an  equal,  I  felt
conflicted, or in the dormitory it surprised me to see a boy of 20  talk  to
a man of 45 as an equal.

     In Japan, my father and some of my superiors often  told  me  that  my
attitude toward superiors  and  seniors  was  too  rude.  Here,  though,  my
attitude doesn't seem rude— at least it doesn't appear  as  rude  as  I  was
afraid it would. It is easier to get along with people in  America,  because
for one thing, Americans are not so class conscious  and  not  so  sensitive
about things like status. In Japan, my conduct  to  superiors  seemed  rude,
but the same behavior isn’t rude here. For instance here  it  is  all  right
simply to say "hello" to teachers, while in Japan I  would  be  expected  to
say “ohayo gozaimasu" [polite form of "good morning"] with a  deep  bow.  In
Japan I did things like this only when I really respected somebody.

     A main problem with me is the problem  of  enryo,  or  what  you  call
modesty. Even in life in America you have to be modest, but in  a  different
way from the so-called Japanese enryo. But the trouble is that I don't  know
when and where we have to show enryo in American  life.  You  never  can  be

     The good thing about associating with Americans is  that  you  can  be
friendly in a light manner. Not so in Japan. Japanese  are  nosey  in  other
peoples' business—they rumor, gossip. It gives you a crowded feeling,  after
you get back. Of course in Japan friendships are usually deep—  it  is  good
to have a real friend to lean  on—  you  know  where  you  stand  with  your
friends; it is the opposite of light associations.

     I have few American friends— those I have are  usually  Americans  who
have been to Japan. I think the reason is  that  my  character  is  somewhat

     I don't try to speak first, but let the other fellow  open  up.  Those
who have been to Japan know about this and speak first, and  that  makes  it
easier to start an association.

     From the information on contrasting  cultural  norm  and  cue  systems
supplied  thus far,  it is  possible  to predict  in  a  general  way   that
I   when a  Japanese  interacts  with  an  American,  certain  blockages  to
communication and to the correct assessment of status  behavior  may  occur.
Japanese  are  likely  to  confront  Americans  with  unstated   assumptions
concerning status differences, while the American may be inclined to  accept
the Japanese at face value—that is, as  a  person,  not  a  status.  In  the
resulting confusion it may be anticipated that  the  Japanese  will  retreat
into what he calls enryo, since this form of behavior  involving  attenuated
communication is appropriate toward persons of unclear or superior status.


     For reasons usually found in the cultural background  of  the  peoples
concerned, and in the historical relations of nations, there is  a  tendency
on the part of some to view other nations and  peoples  much  as  one  would
view persons in  a  hierarchically  oriented  social  group.  Modernization,
which brings an increased need for knowledge of other peoples,  has  brought
as well a strong sense of competition—a desire to know where one stands,  or
where one's nation stands relative to other  nations  in  technological  and
other areas of development. This desire  to  know  one's  position  and  the
tendency to view other nations hierarchically are  probably  found  to  some
degree in all modern societies, but may be exaggerated among  those  nations
that are in the middle ranks in the competitive race  for  modernization—and
particularly in those societies  which  have  incorporated  into  their  own
culture a strong hierarchical conception of status.

     Thus, in  societies  with  hierarchical  patterns,  there  will  occur
certain  established  techniques  which  are  defined  as  appropriate   for
governing behavior toward the nationals of countries  judged  either  to  be
higher or lower than that of the actor. On the  other  hand,  for  societies
with egalitarian ideals of social relations, while there may be  a  tendency
in the national popular ideology to view  other  nations  hierarchically  in
terms of power and progress, there will be no ready  behavioral  pattern  to
follow  toward  individual  members  of  these  other  societies.   Ideally,
regardless of national origin, individuals  will  be  considered  as  "human
beings," theoretically equal. Such theoretical equality  is  often  violated
in practice, of course, but the  violations  are  based  not  on  systematic
hierarchical conceptions, but on  transitory  and  situationally  determined

     The Japanese tendency to locate other nations on a hierarchical  scale
is well known, and is observable even at  the  level  of  formal  diplomatic
interchange. With  respect  to  the  Japanese  attitude  toward  the  United
States, the tendency toward a superordinate status percept  is  very  strong
—although qualified and even reversed in  certain  contexts  (American  arts
and literature have been viewed as of questionable merit, for  example)  and
in certain historical periods. The historical basis for this generally high-
status percept may be found in America's historic role  in  the  opening  of
Japan; in the use of America as a model for much of  Japan's  modernization;
and in the participation and guidance of the United  States  in  reform  and
reconstruction during the Occupation. America, though not always  a  country
for which the Japanese feel great affection, has come  to  be  a  symbol  of
many of Japan's aspirations, as well as a  "tutor"  whom  the  "pupil"  must
eventually  excel  (or  even  conquer).  Therefore,  whatever  the  specific
affectual response, we have found that the Japanese student  subjects  often
perceived America as deserving of  respect  or  at  least  respect-avoidance
(enryo), and were further inclined to project this image onto  the  American
individual. Evidence of these  views  available  in  our  research  data  is
sampled at the  end  of  this  section,  in  the  form  of  quotations  from

     Within tolerable limits of generally, America may be  specified  as  a
society in which  egalitarian  interpersonal  relationships  are  the  ideal
pattern and, in tendency at least, the predominant pattern of behavior.  But
in the United States, especially  as  the  country  emerges  from  political
isolation, there also has appeared a tendency to rate  other  nations  in  a
rough hierarchical order. Thus, some European  nations  in  the  spheres  of
art, literature, and the manufacture of sports cars would  be  acclaimed  by
many Americans as superior, and Americans are increasingly  concerned  about
their technological position vis-a-vis Russia.  However,  this  tendency  to
rate other nations hierarchically does not  automatically  translate  itself
into code of behavior for Americans to follow toward  the  people  of  other
countries, as is the case  for  many  Japanese.  It  may  leave  the  social
situation a little confused for the Americans,  but  in  the  background  of
thinking for  many  individual  Americans  is  the  notion  that  in  social
relations people should be treated initially as equals.


     When a person from a national  society  with  hierarchical  tendencies
encounters  a  person  from  a  society  with  egalitarian  tendencies,  and
moreover when  the  country  of  the  latter  is  generally  "high"  in  the
estimation of the former, the idealized paradigm as shown in Figure 1  would
be approximated. In  this  diagram,  X,  the  person  from  a  country  with
egalitarian views, behaves  toward  Y,  the  person  from  a  hierarchically
oriented  country,  as  if  he  occupied  the  same  "level";  that  is,  in
equalitarian terms.

     Figure 1.

     But Y perceives X in a high-status position X1, "above" X's  image  of
his own status in the relationship. Since from Y's point of view X does  not
behave as he "ought" to—he behaves as an equal rather than as  a  superior—Y
may be expected to feel confusion and disorientation. The confusion  can  be
resolved readily only by Y's assuming an equal status  with  X,  or  by  X's
assuming the position X1 assigned to him by Y; i.e., either  by  closing  or
by validating the "arc of status-cue confusion" shown by the arrow.

     The reader will note  that  in  effect  we  have  already  substituted
"average American" for X, and "average Japanese" for Y. We have  found  that
the diagram has been meaningful as  an  ideal  model  for  the  analysis  of
interaction patterns between Japanese  and  Americans.  In  many  cases  the
conditions denoted by the diagram were actually found: Americans  do  behave
toward Japanese as equals, while the Japanese  perceive  the  Americans  as,
and in some cases expect them to  behave  like,  superiors.  In  this  ideal
situation since the Japanese is generally not able to respond as  an  equal,
and since withdrawal and  distant  respect  are  proper  behavior  both  for
interaction with superiors and for interaction in  situations  where  status
is ambiguous, he simply retires into enryo and  communication  is  impaired.
This model does much to explain what  many  educators  and  foreign  student
counsellors have come to feel as "typical" behavior of the shy,  embarrassed
Japanese student on the American campus.

     A revealing interchange on the matter of status imagery by some twelve
Japanese sojourner students was recorded during a two-hour group  discussion
planned by the project but not attended by Americans. A translation of  part
of this interchange follows.

     M: As I see it, Japanese think of Americans as  nobility.  So,  it  is
hard to accept invitations because of the status difference.

     K: I don't agree fully. Americans are not nobility to us, but they  do
have a higher social status, so that it is hard to accept  invitations.  But
there is a "category" of persons  who  are  known  and  placed  as  "foreign
students," and we can take advantage of this general foreign student  status
and go to American homes and places.

     N: During foreign student orientation we came and went as  we  desired
as "foreign students." But here, as an individual person,  I  have  felt  it
necessary to return invitations which are extended to me, and  this  I  find
very difficult since I have no income and must return the  invitation  in  a
manner suited to the status of the person.

     M: Only if the invitation is from  Americans  who  we  can  accept  as
status equals to us should it be returned. . . . American table manners  are
difficult to learn, and it is a  problem  similar  to  that  encountered  by
anyone who attempts to enter a higher social class in Japan. . . .  Japanese
just can't stand on an equal footing with Americans. ... I wouldn't want  an
American janitor to see my house in Japan. It is so miserable.

     N: Why? That seems extreme.

     M: Because I have social aspirations. I am  a  "climber."  A  Japanese
house in Tokyo is too dirty to invite an American to—for  example,  could  I
invite him to use my poor bathroom? (General laughter)

     At a later point in the discussion, the following emerged:

     Mrs. N: I have watched American movies in  Japan  and  in  the  United
States I have seen American men—and they all look  like  Robert  Taylor.  No
Japanese men look like Robert Taylor.

     M: Again I say it is not a matter of beauty, but one of status.

     Mrs. N: No, it is not status—not  calculation  of  economic  worth  or
anything —but of beauty. Americans are more beautiful—they look  nicer  than

     U: It is the same in other things. Americans look nice,  for  example,
during an oral examination in college. They look more  attractive.  Japanese
look down, crushed, ugly.

     At a still later point, one of the  discussants  embarked  on  a  long
monologue  on  the  ramifications  of  the  status  problem.  Part  of  this
monologue runs as follows:

     A high-status  Japanese  man  going  out  with  American  girls  knows
something of what he must do—for example, he must be polite—but he does  not
know the language so he can be no competition to American men, who  will  be
superior. In an emergency, for  example,  the  Japanese  male  regresses  to
Japanese behavior. Great Japanese professors are embarrassed for  the  first
few months in the United  States  because  they  can't  even  beat  American
college juniors in sociable behavior or  expression  of  ideas.  They  don't
know the language, they feel inferior. These people,  forgetting  that  they
were unable "to defeat America, become highly  antagonistic  to  the  United
States. . . .They reason that Japan must be superior, not  inferior  to  the
United States, because they are unable to master it. While  in  America,  of
course, they may write home about their wonderful times  and  experiences  —
to hide their real feelings. Actually while they are in the U.S.  they  feel
as though they were nothing.

     Some quotations from two different interviews with another subject:

     Before I came to the States, I expected that whatever I  would  do  in
the U.S. would be observed by Americans and would  become  their  source  of
knowledge of Japan and the Japanese. So I thought I had to  be  careful.  In
the dormitory, there is a Nisei boy from whom I ask advice about my  manners
and clothing! I asked him to tell me any time when  my  body  smells  or  my
clothing is dirty. I, as a Japanese, want to look nice to Americans.

     In general, I think I do less talking than the others in  my  courses.
I'm always afraid that if I raise questions  along  the  lines  of  Japanese
thinking about  the  subject—or  simply  from  my  own  way  of  looking  at
something—it might raise some question on the  part  of  .the  others.  When
talking to a professor I can talk quite freely, but not in class. I am self-

     These specimen quotations help  to  show  that  quite  frequently  the
perspective of many  Japanese  students  toward  America  has  some  of  the
qualities of the triangular model of  interaction.  Regardless  of  how  our
Japanese subjects may have behaved, or learned to behave, they harbored,  as
a picture in the back of their minds, an image of the Americans as people  a
notch or two "above" Japan and the Japanese. Thus even while a Japanese  may
"look down" on what he calls "American materialism," he may "in the back  of
his mind" continue to "look up" to the United States and  its  people  as  a
whole, as a "generalized other." Our cultural model of interaction  is  thus
felt to be a very fundamental and highly generalized component  of  imagery,
as well as a very generalized way of describing  the  behavior  of  Japanese
and Americans in certain typical interactive situations.

     Quite obviously the model, taken by  itself,  would  be  a  very  poor
instrument of prediction of the actual behavior  of  a  particular  Japanese
with Americans. It is apparent that there would have to  be  a  considerable
knowledge of situational variability, amount of social  learning,  and  many
other factors before all the major variants of Japanese social  behavior  in
America with respect to status could be understood. While there is  no  need
to seek complete predictability of individual behavior, some attempt may  be
made to show how the social behavior of the Japanese  subjects  of  research
did vary in actual social  situations  in  America,  and  to  see  if  these
variants followed a consistent pattern.

     Here is a list of values that some visitors from other  cultures  have
noticed are common to many Americans:

     Informality  (being  casual  and  down-to-earth)  Self-reliance   (not
looking to others to solve your problems) Efficiency  (getting  things  done
quickly  and  on  time)  Social  equality  (treating  everyone   the   same)
Assertiveness (saying what's on your  mind)  Optimism  (believing  that  the
best will always happen)


     Here is a  list  of  comments  a  non-American  might  make  about  an

     1.    Americans are always in such a hurry to get things done!

     2.    Americans insist on treating everyone the same.

     3.    Americans always have to say what they're thinking!

     4.    Americans always want to change things.

     5.    Americans don't show very much respect for their elders.

     6.    Americans always think things are going to get better. They  are
so optimistic!

     7.    Americans are so impatient!

     Reasons some cultural anthropologists  have  offered  to  explain  why
Americans may appear the way they do to people from other cultures.

     1. Americans are always in such a hurry to get things done!

     Americans often seem  this  way  because  of  their  tendency  to  use
achievements and accomplishments as a measure of a person's  worth.  They're
in a hurry to get things done because it's only then  that  they  feel  they
have proven their worth to other people. The more Americans accomplish,  the
more they feel they are respected.

     2. Americans insist on treating everyone the same.

     Americans do this because of our  cultural  roots  as  a  free  nation
(e.g., "All  men  are  created  equal").  Americans  have  a  deep  cultural
instinct toward social equality and not having a class  system.  Ibis  is  a
reaction to the European class system as well  as  the  feudal  system  that
existed in Europe. In cultures where inequality between  social  classes  is
more accepted, American insistence on egalitarianism,  or  social  equality,
may be annoying.

     3. Americans always have to say what they're thinking!

     Americans believe that being direct  is  the  most  efficient  way  to
communicate. It's important to "tell it like it is" and "speak your mind"  —
to say what you mean and mean what you say. Being  direct  is  often  valued
over "beating around the bush." Americans value  "assertiveness"  and  being
open and direct about one's droughts and feelings.  Not  all  cultures  have
this same value. In some cultures, the "normal" way to disagree  or  to  say
no is to say nothing or be very indirect.

     4. Americans always want to change things.

     Americans mink things can always  be  better,  and  that  progress  is
inevitable. The United States is just a little more than 200 years old,  and
American culture tends to be an optimistic  one.  Older  cultures  are  more
skeptical because they have been around longer, have experienced  more,  and
have been in situations in which progress was not always made.  In  American
businesses, being open to change is a strong value,  because  things  really
do change quickly, and it is necessary to adapt. Many Americans  believe  it
is "good" to initiate change and "bad" to resist it.

     5. Americans don't show very much respect for their elders.

     Americans believe people must earn by their actions whatever regard or
respect they are given. Merely attaining a certain age or holding a  certain
position does not in itself signify achievement.

     6. Americans always think things are going to get better. They are  so

     America, because of its resources and  successes,  has  always  had  a
culture of optimism. Americans believe that they are  in  control  of  their
own destinies, rather than being victims of fate.  Many  Americans  tend  to
believe that "the American dream" can be achieved by anyone who  is  willing
to work hard enough. Many Americans believe mat the only obstacle to  things
getting better is "not trying hard enough." Americans also  believe  that  a
personal lack of determination or effort can be "fixed." Other cultures  may
believe more in fate ("what will be will be"). When something  bad  happens,
some members of these cultures believe it  was  fated  to  happen,  must  be
accepted, and cannot be changed.

     7. Americans are so impatient!

     Americans believe that if things take a long time to do, they won't be
able to do enough of them. Many Americans believe that more  and  faster  is
better. They do not like to stand in line  and  wait,  and  they  originated
"fast food." Americans believe that "getting things done"  (and  doing  them
quickly) may be more  important  than  other  things.  Many  other  cultures
believe  that  slower  is  better  and   that   building   and   maintaining
relationships takes priority over "getting things done" at  the  expense  of

     Americans are. . . (students of different countres)

     What response would you give to these students? Do you consider  their
observations biased? naive? limited? unfair? interesting? useless?

     Student No.1-from Saudi Arabia: "I have learned three important things
about Americans since I came to the United States.  First,  I  have  learned
that all Americans are lively; they move and speak quickly, because time  is
very important to them. Second, Americans are the same as the machine,  they
do their  work  worthily  but  without  any  thinking,  they  just  use  the
instructions even if it is not completely right. Finally, they do  not  know
anything except their job, they do  not  know  what  is  happened  in  their

     Student No.2-from Venezuela:  "I  have  observed  that  Americans  are
polite, pragmatic, and organized. Wherever you are in the United States  you
can hear words of  friendship  and  cordiality  like,  "May  I  help  you?",
"Excuse me", "Have a nice day.",  "Thank  you",  and  many  others.  Another
characteristic is their pragmatism. Along years,  Americans  have  worked  a
lot in order to  create  many  devices  which  have  made  their  life  more
comfortable. These devices not only save time  but  they  also  make  things
easier. Last, but never least, Americans are very  organized.  Perhaps,  for
the same fact that they are  very  pragmatic  people,  they  have  developed
different ways of organization that assure them better services. "

     Student No.3-from Japan: "I have been learning about Americans since I
came here last September. First, Americans don't care what other  people  do
or what happened. For example, when I come out of my room my roommate  never
ask me where you are going or where I went. Second, Americans  are  friendly
and open-minded. When I went to my roommate's home, I was  welcomed  by  her
family. Her mother said to me immediately: "Help yourself to  everything  in
my home," and I  was  surprised  to  hear  it.  I  thought  that  the  words
indicated friendliness. In Japan we  never  open  refrigerators  or  use  my
friend's things without permissions, because to serve  is  a  virtue  in  my
country. Third, Americans  like  cards,  sometimes  I  can  find  cards  are
delivered to my American friends without special reasons. As far as  I  look
at Americans, they seem not to care what other people do as a  whole,  while
they think it's important to keep  relation-ships  between  them  and  their
friends and them and their parents."



     Mary Rathbun, 57, spent a restless night in  the  San  Francisco  jail
thinking about the "magical cookies" that she baked  to  add  to  her  fixed
income. "The police wouldn't let me have one before I  went  to  jail,"  she
said. "I might have slept better if they had." Mary started her home  baking
business six months ago after a back injury forced her to quit her job as  a
grave-yard shift waitress. "I was a waitress for 43 years.  I  was  good  at

     Mary's dozen  magical  brownies,  which  were  baked  with  a  lot  of
marijuana, were taken Wednesday night from  her  apartment,  along  with  20
pounds of pot and large amounts of sugar, margarine  and  flour.  Mary,  who
has no previous criminal record, admitted doing a great business out of  her
home selling her "health food cookies." She  said  that  she  wouldn't  give
away her special recipe.

     Mary advertised her "original recipe brownies" for $20 a  dozen.   Her
lack of carefulness, especially taking orders over  the  phone  from  anyone
amazed and amused the police officers who arrested her. "Life is a gamble.

      I played by the rules for 57 years. Then I gambled and lost."

     True, Americans enjoy money and the things it can buy. But in  defense
of the so-called materialistic American,  one  expert  in  American  culture
points out, ". . . however eager we are to make money, we are just as  eager
to give it away. Any  world  disaster  finds  Americans  writing  checks  to
relieve distress. Since the war we have seen the  spectacle  of  the  United
States  sending  billions  and  billions  of  dollars'  worth  of  goods  to
countries less fortunate than we. Write some of it off, if you  will,  to  a
desire to buy political sympathy; there is still  an  overplus  of  goodwill
strictly and uniquely American.  Generosity  and  materialism  run  side  by

     The average American is also accused of being "rough around the edges"
-that is, of lacking sophistication in manners and understanding  of  things
cultural. He tries hard to polish those edges through education and  travel.
But no matter how much he learns and sees, his interests are less  with  the
past than with the present and future, less with the  decorative  than  with
the functional. He may be bored by medieval art  but  fascinated  by  modern
engineering. Foreigners will find him  always  ready  to  compare  cultures,
though he  may  conclude  that  American  methods  are  more  efficient  and
therefore better. In expressing his views, he may be blunt to the  point  of
rudeness. He admires efficiency and financial success. Eager to get as  much
as possible for his time and money, he is sometimes  impatient,  tense,  and
demanding. Often, he is in a  hurry  and  unable  to  relax.  His  intensely
competitive outlook is probably his greatest fault. But one  must  give  him
credit for his virtues: he is friendly, spontaneous,  adaptable,  efficient,
energetic, and kindhearted. All things considered, he is a likable guy.

     Whose American Dream?

     "All men are created equal," says the Declaration of Independence.

             This statement does not mean that all human beings  are  equal
in ability or ambition.  It  means,  instead,  that  all  people  should  be
treated  equally  before  the   law   and   given   equal   privileges   and
opportunities, insofar as government can control these.  In  practice,  this
ideal often does not work perfectly. There have always been those who  would
deny the rights of others for their own self-interest. There are times  when
the American people need to be reminded that any denial of basic  rights  is
a weakening  of  the  total  system.  However,  equal  treatment  and  equal
opportunity for all are ideals toward which American society is moving  ever

     The American belief in equality of opportunity is illustrated  by  the
Horatio  Alger  myth.  Horatio  Alger  was  a  nineteenth-century   American
novelist who wrote stories about poor boys who became successful. His  books
told about the little newsboy or bootblack who, because he was  hardworking,
honest, and lucky, grew up to  become  rich  and  respected.  These  popular
"rags-to-riches" stories exemplified the American Dream-the belief that  any
individual, no  matter  how  poor,  can  achieve  wealth  and  fame  through
diligence and virtue.

     The "American Dream"

     In the United States there is a belief that people  are  rewarded  for
working, producing,  and  achieving.  Many  people  believe  that  there  is
equality of opportunity  that  allows  anyone  to  become  successful.  This
belief is illustrated by stories written by  a  nineteenth-century  American
novelist, Horatio Alger, who  wrote  about  the"  American  Dream."  In  his
stories he described poor people who  became  rich  because  of  their  hard
work,  honesty,  and  luck.  The  stories  reinforced  the  idea  that   all
individuals, no matter how poor, were capable of becoming  wealthy  as  long
as they were diligent and virtuous. For  many  Americans,  however,  Horatio
Alger's  "rags-to-riches"  stories  do  not   represent   the   reality   of
opportunity. Many poor immigrants who came  to  the  United  States  in  the
nineteenth and twentieth centuries were able  to  rise  on  the  social  and
economic scales. Today, however, the poor  generally  do  not  rise  to  the
middle and upper classes. The" American Dream" is now described as  a  myth;
it is still difficult for several million Americans to "get ahead."

     Which Kind of University?

     These  excerpts  provide  two  versions  of  life  on  North  American
University  campuses.  Which  version  would  be  most  helpful  to  foreign
students in general? Should a choice be made?

     A college community is  an  interesting  and  lively  place.  Students
become involved in  many  different  activities-extracurricular,  religious,
social and  athletic.  Among  the  extracurricular  activities  are  college
newspapers' musical organizations, dramatic  clubs,  and  political  groups.
Some of these have faculty advisers. Many religious groups  have  their  own
meeting places where services and social activities  can  be  held.  Student
groups run  parties  of  all  types-from  formal  dances  to  picnics.  Most
colleges have a student union where students can  get  together  for  lunch,
study sessions, club meetings, and socializing.

     At many schools, campus life revolves around fraternities (social and,
in some cases, residential clubs for men) and sororities (similar clubs  for
women). These organizations exist on more than 500 campuses. The best  known
are national groups with many chapters at schools  throughout  the  country.
Their names are Greek letters such as Alpha Delta  Phi.  These  groups  have
been much criticized for being cruel and prejudiced  because  membership  is
limited and selective. A student must be invited to  join.  There  is  often
great competition among freshmen and sophomores who want to join. Those  who
seek membership must go through rush  (a  period  when  prospective  members
visit different houses to meet and be evaluated  by  current  members).  The
whole experience can be very painful if a  student  goes  through  rush  and
then is not asked to pledge (become a trial member of) any of the houses  he
or  she  has  visited.  Sororities  and  fraternities  also  tend  to  limit
membership to one particular racial and religious group,  thereby  depriving
its members of the wonderful opportunity that college offers for  broadening
social contacts. However, these groups do  help  students  find  friends  of
similar backgrounds; thus, they help combat loneliness for those  away  from

     Student life at American universities is chaotic during the first week
of each quarter or semester.  Registering  for  classes,  becoming  familiar
with the buildings on campus, buying books,  adding  and  dropping  classes,
and paying fees are confusing for everyone. During this  busy  period  there
is little time for students to anticipate what they will later encounter  in
the classroom.

     International students, accustomed  to  their  countries'  educational
expectations, must adapt to new classroom norms  in  a  foreign  college  or
university. Whereas in one country prayer may be acceptable in a  classroom,
in another it  may  be  forbidden.  In  some  classrooms  around  the  world
students must humbly obey their teacher's  commands  and  remain  absolutely
silent during a class period. In others, students may talk, eat,  and  smoke
during lectures as well as criticize a teacher's methods or  contradict  his
or her statements. It is not always easy to  understand  a  new  educational

     Diversity in Education

     There is considerable variety in university classrooms in  the  United
States. Because of diverse teaching methods and non-standardized  curricula,
no  two  courses  are  identical.  Undergraduate  courses  are  considerably
different from graduate courses.  The  classroom  atmosphere  in  expensive,
private universities may differ from that in community  colleges  which  are
free  and  open  to  everyone.  State-funded  universities  have   different
requirements and expectations  than  do  parochial  colleges.  Nevertheless,
there are shared features in  American  college  and  university  classrooms
despite the diversity of educational institutions of higher learning.

     The differences between cultures are leaded  to  misunderstandings  in
many points.



     Anyone who has traveled abroad or dealt at all extensively  with  non-
Americans learns that punctuality is variously interpreted. It is one  thing
to recognize  this  with  the  mind;  to  adjust  to  a  different  kind  of
appointment time is quite another.

     In Latin America, you should expect to spend hours  waiting  in  outer
offices. If you bring  your  American  interpretation  of  what  constitutes
punctuality to a Latin-American  office,  you  will  fray  your  temper  and
elevate your blood pressure. For a forty-five-minute  wait  is  not  unusual
-no more unusual than a five minute wait would be in the United  States.  No
insult is intended, no arbitrary pecking order is being established. If,  in
the United States, you would not be outraged  by  a  five-minute  wait,  you
should not be outraged by the Latin-American's  forty-five-minute  delay  in
seeing you. The time pie is differently cut, that's all.

     Further,  the  Latin  American  doesn't  usually  schedule  individual
appointments to the exclusion of other appointments. The informal  Clock  of
his upbringing ticks more slowly and he rather enjoys seeing several  people
on different matters at the same  time.  The  three-ring  circus  atmosphere
which  results,  if  interpreted  in  the  American's  scale  of  time   and
propriety, seems to signal him to go away, to tell him that h~ is not  being
properly treated, to indicate that his dignity is under attack. Not so.  The
clock on the wall may look the same but it tells a different sort of time.

     The cultural error may be compounded by' a further miscalculation.  In
the United States, a consistently tardy  man  is  likely  to  be  considered
undependable, and by our cultural clock this  is  a  reasonable  conclusion.
For you to judge a Latin American by your scale of time values is to risk  a
major error.

     Suppose you have waited forty-five minutes and there is a man  in  his
office, by some miracle alone in the room with you. Do you now get  down  to
business and stop "wasting time"?

     If you are not forewarned by experience or a friendly advisor, you may
try to do this. And it would usually be a  mistake.  For,  in  the  American
culture, discussion is a means to an end: the deal. You  try  to  make  your
point quickly, efficiently, neatly. If  your  purpose  is  to  arrange  some
major affairs, your instinct is probably to settle the major  issues  first,
leave the details for later, possibly for the technical people to work out.

     For the Latin American, the discussion is a part of the spice of life.
Just as he tends not  to  be  overly  concerned  about  reserving  you  your
specific segment of time, he tends not as rigidly to separate business  from
non-business. He runs it all together and  wants  to  make  something  of  a
social event  out  of  what  you,  in  your  .culture,  regard  as  strictly

     The Latin American is not alone in this. The Greek businessman, partly
for the same and partly for different reasons,  does  not  lean  toward  the
"hit-and-run" school of business behavior,  either.  The  Greek  businessman
adds to the  social  element,  however,  a  feeling  about  what  length  of
discussion time constitutes go09 faith. In America, we show  good  faith  by
ignoring the details. "Let's agree on the  main  points.  The  details  will
take care of themselves."

     Not so the Greek. He signifies good will and good faith  by  what  may
seem to you an interminable  discussion  which  includes  every  conceivable
detail. Otherwise, you see, he cannot help  but  feel  that  the  other  man
might be trying to pull the wool over his eyes. Our habit, in what  we  feel
to be our relaxed and  friendly  way,  of  postponing  details  until  later
smacks the Greek between the eyes as a maneuver to flank him.  Even  if  you
can somehow convince him that this is not the case, the meeting  must  still
go on a certain indefinite-but, by our standards, long-time or he will  feel

      The American desire to get down to business and on with other  things
works to our disadvantage in other parts of the world, too; and not only  in
business. The head of a large,  successful  Japanese  firm  commented:  "You
Americans have a terrible weakness. We Japanese know about  it  and  exploit
it every chance we get. You are impatient. We have learned that if  we  just
make you wait long enough, you'll agree to anything."

       Whether this is  literally  true  or  not,  the  Japanese  executive
singled out a trait of American culture which most of us  share  and  which,
one may assume from  the  newspapers,  the  Russians  have  not  overlooked,

       By acquaintance time we mean how long you must know a  man  be  fore
you are willing to do business with him.

        In the United States, if we know that a salesman represents a  well
known, reputable company, and if we need his product, he may walk away  from
the first meeting with an order in his pocket. A  few  minutes  conversation
to decide matters of price,  delivery,  payment,  model  of  product-nothing
more is involved. In  Central  America,  local  custom  does  not  permit  a
salesman to land in town, call on the customer and walk away with an  order,
no matter how badly your prospect  wants  and  needs  your  product.  It  is
traditional there that you must see your man at  least  three  times  before
you can discuss the nature of your business.

     Does this mean that the South American businessman does not  recognize
the merits of one product over another? Of course it  doesn't.  It  is  just
that the weight of tradition presses him to do business within a  circle  of
friends. If a product he needs is not available within his circle,  he  does
not go outside it so much as he enlarges the circle itself to include a  new
friend who can supply the want.  Apart  from  his  cultural  need  to  "feel
right" about a new relationship, there is the logic of his business  system.
One of the realities of his life is that  it  is  dangerous  to  enter  into
business with someone  over  whom  you  have  no  more  than  formal,  legal
"control." In the past decades, his legal system  has  not  always  been  as
firm as ours and he  has  learned  through  experience  that  he  needs  the
sanctions implicit in the informal system of friendship.

     Visiting time involves the question of who sets the time for a  visit.
George Coelho, a social  psychologist  from  India,  gives  an  illustrative
case.  A  U.S.  businessman  received  this  invitation   from   an   Indian
businessman: "Won't you and your family come and see  us?  Come  any  time."
Several weeks later, the Indian repeated the invitation in the  same  words.
Each time the American replied that he would certainly like to  drop  in-but
he never did. The reason is obvious in terms of our culture. Here "come  any
time" is just an expression of friendliness. You are not really expected  to
show up unless your  host  proposes  a  specific  time.  In  India,  on  the
contrary, the words are meant literally-that the host is putting himself  at
the disposal of his guest and really expects him to come. It is the  essence
of politeness to leave it to the guest to set a time at his convenience.  If
the guest never comes, the Indian naturally assumes that he  does  not  want
to come. Such a misunderstanding can lead to a serious rift between men  who
are trying to do business with each other.

     Time schedules present Americans with another problem in many parts of
the world. Without schedules,  deadlines,  priorities,  and  timetables,  we
tend to feel that our country could not  run  at  all.  Not  only  are  they
essential to getting work done, but they also play an important role in  the
informal  communication   process.   Deadlines   indicate   priorities   and
priorities signal the relative importance of people and the  processes  they
control. These are all so much a part of our lives that a day hardly  passes
without some reference to them. "I have to be there by 6: 30." "If  I  don't
have these plans out by 5:00 they'll be useless."  "I  told  J.  B.  I'd  be
finished by noon tomorrow and now he tells me to  drop  everything  and  get
hot on the McDermott account. What do I do now?"

     In our system, there are severe penalties for not completing  work  on
time and important rewards for holding to  schedules.  One's  integrity  and
reputation are at stake.

     You can imagine the fundamental conflicts that arise when  we  attempt
to do business with people who are just as strongly oriented away from  time
schedules as we are toward them.

     The Middle Eastern peoples are a case in point. Not only is  our  idea
of time schedules no part of Arab life but the mere mention of a  dead  line
to an' Arab is like waving a red flag in front of a bull.  In  his  culture,
your emphasis on a deadline  has  the  emotional  effect  on  him  that  his
backing you into a corner and threatening you with  a  club  would  have  on

     One effect of this conflict of  unconscious  habit  patterns  is  that
hundreds of American-owned radio sets are  lying  on  the  shelves  of  Arab
radio repair  shops,  untouched.  The  Americans  made  the  serious  cross-
cultural error of asking to have the repair completed by a certain time.

     How do you cope with this? How does the Arab get another  Arab  to  do
anything? Every culture has  its  own  ways  of  bringing  pressure  to  get
results. The usual Arab way is one which Americans avoid as  "bad  manners."
It is needling.

     An Arab businessman whose car broke down explained it this way:

     First, I go to the garage and tell the mechanic what is wrong with  my
car. I wouldn't want to give him the idea that I didn't know. After that,  I
leave the car and walk around the block. When I come back to the  garage,  I
ask him if he has started to work yet. On my way home from lunch I  stop  in
and ask him how things are going. When I go back to the  office  I  stop  by
again. In the evening, I return and peer over his shoulder for a  while.  If
I didn't keep this up, he'd be off working on someone else's car.

     If you haven't been needled by an Arab, you just haven't been needled.


     We say that there is a time and place for everything, but compared  to
other  countries  and  cultures  we  give  very  little  emphasis  to  place
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
peanuts. Sometimes maize is ground to a size a little bigger than  rice  and
is cooked like rice. Finally, we have the  fine  cornmeal  which  is  called
mealie-meal in Zambia. This is used for making nsima, the most  popular  way
of cooking maize. Nsima is steamed cornmeal.

     Meat from cows, goats, sheep, and fish are used in sauces over  nsima.
There are also a lot of vegetables put in sauces, such as leaves  from  bean
plants, okra,  peas  and  pumpkins.  Other  vegetables  eaten  almost  daily
include onions and tomatoe. Nsima is usually prepared for lunch  and  dinner
and not for breakfast. All the cooking is done by the wife.

     Cuisine & Etiquette in Uganda

     In Uganda, the staple food is matoke (a variety of semi-sweet  bananas
with green peels used in cooking). Other food crops include  sweet  potatoes
or yams, white potatoes, beans, peas, peanuts,  cabbage,  onions,  pumpkins,
and  tomatoes.  Some  fruits,  such  as  oranges,   papayas,   lemons,   and
pineapples, are also grown.

     Most people, except for a few who live in the  city  centers,  produce
their own food. The responsibility of preparing the family's  meals  belongs
solely to the women and the girls in the family. Men and boys of age 12  and
above are not even expected to sit in the kitchen, which  is  separate  from
the main house.

     Most families eat two meals a day. The two meals are lunch and supper.
Breakfast is just a cup of tea or a bowl of porridge.

     When a meal is ready, all members of the household  wash  their  hands
and sit down on floor mats. Hands have to be washed  before  and  after  the
meal. At mealtime everybody is welcome; visitors and neighbors who  drop  in
are expected to join the family at a meal.

     Food is served by the women. "Sauce" — a stew with vegetables,  beans,
butter, salt, and curry powder — is  served  to  each  person  on  a  plate.
Sometimes fish or beef stew is served.

     Normally a short prayer is  said  before  the  family  starts  eating.
During the meal, children talk  only  when  asked  a  question.  It  is  bad
manners to reach for salt or a spoon. It is better to  ask  someone  sitting
close to it to pass it. It is also bad  manners  to  leave  the  room  while
others are still eating. Everyone respects the meal by staying seated  until
the meal is over. Leaning on the left hand or stretching ones legs while  at
a meal is a sign of disrespect and is not tolerated.

     People usually drink water at the end of the meal.  It  is  considered
odd to drink water while eating.

     When the meal is finished, everyone in turn gives a compliment to  the
mother by saying, "Thank you for preparing the meal, madam." No  dessert  is
served after the meal. Fruits like papaya, pineapple, or sweet  bananas  are
normally eaten as a snack between meals.

     Cuisine & Etiquette in Sierra Leone

     In Sierra Leone, the staple food is rice. "If I haven't had my rice, I
haven't really eaten today," is a popular saying of this  people.  They  eat
rice at least twice a day. Only women and girls prepare the food.

     If you visit a there friend, he or she will almost always  invite  you
to stay and eat. Sharing is an important  part  of  life  in  Sierra  Leone!
Everyone washes their hands before they eat,  and  then  they  gather  in  a
circle with a huge dish of food placed in the middle.

     The oldest males get the choicest food, the best  pieces  of  meat  or
fish. Then the young males take the next best pieces, and then  finally  the
women and girls get any meat or fish that is left. Sometimes the  women  and
girls wait until the men and boys have had all they want before they eat.

     Rice is eaten with the hands by squeezing or rolling it into  a  ball,
dipping it into the  sauce,  and  then  popping  it  into  the  mouth.  When
everyone finishes eating, they wash their hands and thank the cook.

     When you are eating, you usually don't talk. Talking shows a  lack  of
respect for the food. It is rude to lean on your left  hand  while  you  are
eating. People usually drink water only after a meal is over.

     Many ingredients go into sauces or stews to go  with  rice.  The  most
popular sauces are made of greens. Other  common  ingredients  include  palm
oil, onions, tomatoes, yams,  and  red  peppers.  Sometimes  peanut  oil  or
coconut oil are used. Sources of protein that go  into  the  sauces  include
peanuts and beans, as well as fish, chicken, goat meat,  or  pork.  Seafood,
such as oysters, lobster, and crab, may also be used. Most of the  calories,
however, come from rice, which is eaten in large quantities.

     Fruits  include   oranges,   bananas,   papayas,   lemons,   avocados,
watermelon, mangoes, and pineapples. Fruit is  usually  eaten  as  a  snack.
Plantains (cooking bananas) are sometimes sliced and fried as  chips  for  a
snack. Tea and coffee are drunk in some parts of the country for  breakfast.
Coke and beer are popular with people who can afford them.


     A language is more than the sum of its words,  its  grammar,  and  the
expressive quality of its melody.

     Language =Words+ Grammar + Melody +   "?"

     Every cultural group has unique patterns  of  speech  —  patterns  for
doing things like giving and  responding  to  compliments,  saying  no,  and
forming business relationships. And even the most elementary of speech  acts
— the greeting — is more complex than you might think!

     THE U.S.A

     Many visitors to  the  United  States  are  perplexed  every  time  an
American flashes one of those famous smiles, looks you straight in the  eye,
exclaims "How are you?" —and then  disappears  without  waiting  to  hear  a
word.  These  visitors  must  feel  like  Alice  in  Wonderland,  trying  to
communicate with the White  Rabbit.  That's  because  they  are  taking  the
question "How are you?" literally, as a request for information  about  ones
health and well-being. "How are you?" (when said in passing or  as  part  of
an everyday greeting) may be a question according to the rules  of  grammar,
but in practice it is not a question at all! It is  a  friendly  and  polite
greeting. No one expects to give or hear a long answer. A one  or  two  word
answer will do. In fact, it's considered rude to tell a long story.

     When Americans are not simply greeting you and truly want to know  how
you are, they may put a small emphasis on the word "are." How ARE  you?  Or,
to make the message absolutely clear, they might say "How ARE you,  REALLY?"
Then you can tell a very long story indeed.


      In Moroccan Arabic, people greet each other with the words "Salaam Oo-
allay-kum." Ibis greeting means "Peace be with you." The  response  is  "Oo-
allay-kum salaam" — "And with you peace." But  the  greeting  does  not  end
there! Greetings in Morocco may continue for many  minutes  -  sometimes  as
long as half an hour — as people ask about each  other's  health,  faith  in
Allah, families, work, etc.

     Moroccans shake hands when greeting, touching  the  heart  immediately
after the handshake to show that the greeting is sincere. Sometimes  instead
of touching the heart, they will kiss their own hand after the handshake  as
a sign of particular esteem or affection. In the case of family  members  or
close friends, women greeting women and men  greeting  men  will  kiss  each
other's cheeks back and forth a few times. In the north, it's  right  cheek-
left cheek-left cheek. In other parts of the country,  it  could  be  right-
left-right, or right-left only. How many times you kiss cheeks also  depends
on how much you like the person, or how long it's  been  since  you've  seen
them. The longer it's been, the more kisses are exchanged.


     A  stereotype  is  a  statement  that  simplifies  human  and   social
realities. For example, a single quality is said to belong to  every  member
of a group: "Men hate to cook."

     Prejudice is to prejudge: to form an opinion, usually negative,  about
someone before you know many facts. "Richard can't cook - he's  a  guy!"  If
you have seen the film Shrek, about  an  ogre  who  falls  in  love  with  a
princess, you may remember Shrek's lament — his  sad  complaint  that  "They
judge me before they even know me!"

     Stereotypes  and  prejudice  are  based  on   incomplete   or   faulty
information. They get in the way of knowing people  as  individuals  and  of
understanding the world in a complex and sophisticated way; they can  offend
& hurt people; and they can lead to serious misunderstandings.


     The nine comments a non-Russian might make about Russians:

     1.     Russians are dreamers and not doers.

     2.    Russians are not materialistic. They consider other people  more
important than what you can buy.

     3.    Russians value familiar faces and distrusts those  they  do  not

     4.    There is a right and a wrong way  to  do  almost  anything,  and
Russians will not hesitate to tell you when you are doing something wrong  —
or "nyekulturno."

     5.    Russians don't think about the future  —  they  don't  plan  far
ahead. If they have money today, they spend money today.

     6.    Russians are certain that they are right, they know everything &
they have all the answers.

     7.    Russians are fatalistic — they feel nothing  they  can  do  will
make a difference.

     8.    Russians disapprove of people who are  different  or  who  break
social conventions (like Tattoo).

     9.    Russians are "lazy" — if you don't tell  them  what  to  do  and
supervise them carefully they will do as little as possible  or  nothing  at

      If we can understand what lies behind the stereotypes, we are able to
politely challenge or correct others' misperceptions if  we  so  choose.  We
all stereotype others sometimes

     —and it can be a shock to hear about how others  stereotype  us.  Just
think of a time you have stereotyped someone, as we all  have,  and  imagine
their reaction if they heard your words!

     For an explanation of each of the nine notions, we  shall  learn  some
reasons that some observers and scholars might give as to why  Russians  may
appear to others the way they do.

     1.     As a general rule Americans are oriented  towards  doing.  They
measure their own value, and that of others, by what &  how  much  they  do.
Ideas are not valued as highly as the practical  application  of  ideas  and
results. Russians are more oriented towards contemplating ideas and  valuing
ideas in and of themselves.  A  Russian  who  attended  an  American/Russian
conference described the different ways each group  would  spend  conference
evenings. "The Russians would sit all night  drinking  tea,  discussing  and
reflecting upon the events and ideas of the day, while the  Americans  would
be dunking of what they had to do the next day and preparing for it."

     2.    "It's better to have 100 friends than 100 rubles." Russians have
very close bonds with and depend upon a close  network  of  friends,  family
and familiar faces — people they know they can trust. Government,  banks,  &
bureaucracies are not trusted or depended upon. Friends, however, can  trust
each other and depend upon one other.

     3.    Again, many Russians belong to close-knit  groups  of  family  &
friends. Within these groups, there is great trust and  a  strong  sense  of
closeness — however strangers and outsiders are not immediately trusted  and
are kept at a greater social and emotional distance.

     4.     Russian  culture,  more  than  many  others,  emphasizes  clear
cultural norms, rules and scripts (what people should  say).  Many  Russians
expect others to conform to  these  social  or  cultural  rules  and  freely
correct those who "stray." They may feel that they  are  being  helpful  and
saving others from future trouble or embarrassment

     5.    Russians may believe that planning for the future and living for
tomorrow is sinful and contradicts Christian teachings. One Russian  student
quoted the Bible as proof that this belief is sacred:  "Now  listen  to  me,
you that say, 'today or tomorrow we will travel to a certain city, where  we
will stay a year and go into business and make a lot of  money.'  You  don't
even know what your life tomorrow will be! You are like  a  puff  of  smoke,
which appears for a moment and then disappears." Making  the  most  of  each
day, living 'it to the  fullest,  and  facing  only  the  hardships  of  the
current day are valued.

     Many Russians appear to prefer a consensus on truth to a plurality  of
opinions or truths. Some writers trace this preference to the early  Russian
Empire - when Russia was  "ruled  by  an  autocratic  dynasty  with  a  holy
mission to defend its faith against the  barbarians  of  the  East  and  the
heresies and pluralism of the West" "The pluralism of the West was  seen  by
Russia as chaotic, without harmony, a  disunity  or  thought  and  purpose."
Historically, Russia has held to a vision of a single, unifying truth —  the
truth as told by the Communist party and Communist ideology;  or  a  Russian
Orthodox vision of an absolute truth with no room for conflicting  opinions.
Russian Orthodoxy, according to one writer, was envisioned as "a  fellowship
uniting all souls under  a  single  and  correct  religious  rite"  actively
agreed upon and shared by all. The faithful were envisioned  as  members  of
one big family -  just  as  the  15  Soviet  republics  were  envisioned  as

     7.    It is a general  Russian  cultural  belief  that  people  cannot
necessarily or easily change things or influence events. The goal is  to  be
patient & persevere. Some writers say this may be because  of  the  physical
hardships of Russian life — from the long winters to shortages of goods.

     8.    Again, Russians appear to prefer dear cultural norms  and  rules
and to easily judge and criticize those who break them.

     9.    Russian workers and Russian students appear to  prefer  detailed
and precise instructions from supervisors or teachers. Decisions about  what
should be done, and how, appear to be made at the top.  Supervisors/teachers
appear to know best. People may  prefer  to  follow  clear  directions  from
above rather than risk errors or innovations that may harm their careers.


When your first arrived in Russia, what stood out the most?

           . The forests, the vast number of green  trees  I  saw  from  the
             airplane window.

           . It was my dream to study in Russia. It's a  great  country  and
             there are many opportunities for study. I love the writings  of
             Gorky, and through reading Gorky  I  got  the  impression  that
             Russians are clever and patient- it's a great country, as great
             as the US.

What  stereotypes  did  you   hear   about   Russians   before   coming   to

           . People are poor. They have to wait in line for bread.

           . It's liked a military zone, closed to most people.

           . People are hospitable. You can knock on your  neighbor's  door.
             There is brotherly love.

What stereotypes do Russians have of your part of the world?

           . Everyone is very rich.  There  is  lots  of  oil.  (They  don't
             differentiate among countries).

           . Women wear veils.

           . People ride camels.

           . Men marry four or five women.

           . Everyone is Muslim. (They don't know about other religions).

           . They don't know our history.

           . Terrorists

           . Not much knowledge, they only know the name Arafat.

Russian perceptions of Arabs/Southerners

           . Southerners are called "black." There is  discrimination  based
             on skin color. There are unpleasant encounters on  the  street.
             Many international students have  been  assaulted.  Flats  have
             been  broken  into.  Almost  everyone   has   been   assaulted,
             especially in bars, nightclubs, and discos. Students go out  in
             groups for safety in numbers.

           . One student had two brothers who came to  Russia.  One  brother
             was beaten and had a severe head  injury.  Another  had  a  leg

           . Some babushki yell "Chechens go  home!"  One  interviewee  says
             that he doesn't pay attention- he understands that they are old
             and he understands the psychological reasons. Another says they
             have no right to say those things. We  are  students  here.  We
             have come here for our education. We  are  spending  money  and
             adding to the Russian economy. We are not troubling anyone.

           . Overall crime rate is high,  but  foreigners  are  particularly
             victimized. There is no police protection. There seems to be no
             law. There are police document checks  and  bribes.  There  has
             been a big change in the past ten  years.  Now  there  is  more
             economic disorder, corruption, violence, and crime.

     Why Questions

Why are women streetcar drivers? Why do  they  do  manual  and  construction

           . Why are young Russians rude to older people?

           . Why don't young men don't give up seats on the trolley bus  for

           . Why do young people sometimes yell or shout bad  words  at  old

Your Perceptions of Russia and Russians Now

           . The people are friendly and sympathetic. Teachers are  friendly
             and sympathetic. Sympathy is the key to understanding.

           . Russian women are very beautiful. They are patient,  they  work
             hard, they are good housewives, they are always loyal, and they
             dress nicely.

           . There are a high number of educated people, especially  in  the
             sciences. They are able to  work  under  difficult  conditions.
             It's a  wonder.  It's  not  about  equipment.  That's  Russia's

Major differences between cultures

           . Alcohol — many Muslims do not drink.

           . Families at home are bigger —5-10 people

           . In Russia, people don't know their neighbors' names. They don't
             greet each other on the street and communicate.

           . Clothes — women dress more modestly than Russian women.

           . Women don't smoke, drink, or dress revealingly as  they  do  in

           . Families support each other more. Brothers and sisters  support
             each other. Russian families seem more isolated and


           . The divorce rate at home is very low.

           . Men respect women more at home, there is not so  much  domestic
             violence as in Russia.




When you first arrived in Russia, what stood out the most?

           . People are very thin.

           . How many people actually walk. There are lots of cars and  good
             public transportation, but there are lots of pedestrians too.

           . How dirty the cities are. I knew they would look a  little  run
             down, but there's more litter and trash than at home.

           . People don't smile.

           . Russians are not materialistic. They consider other people more
             important than what you can buy.

           . To some degree, they are  less  culturally  aware.  Russia  was
             dosed off to the rest of the world and Russians are not used to
             seeing people of color.

           . Men with machine guns at the airport A woman  with  big,  black
             poufy hair, a frilly white blouse, an  army-issue  green  mini-
             skirt, black stiletto heels, frosty pink lipstick and  a  scowl
             It was like a scene from a John Waters movie.

           . In 1978 I arrived in St. Petersburg from Sweden.  It  was  like
             going from color to black and white. There  were  shortages  of
             food. It was drab; it was dark. I came back in 1998. Ibis  time
             I noticed a washed-out drabness. People wore dark clothes,  not
             much color. There were things to buy in the  shops  this  time,
             but somehow everything looked faded. The  communist  experience
             was unique. The whole world moved on,  and  Russia  was  closed
             off. There are some good things and some bad things in this. It
             was like being dropped off in the 1950s, when I  was  a  child.
             There was still not much tourism, but the attitudes  of  people
             changed. This first time it was  less  friendly,  people  spoke
             less English, and there were millions of  forms  to  fill  out,
             scattered all over the place. You had to  be  precise,  because
             the authorities were hypervigilant.

           . Crazy drivers everywhere, incredibly long waits for  trams  and
             buses, no timetables for buses and trams, people going  out  of
             their way to help you find a destination

Stereotypes You Were Aware of Before Coming to Russia

           . Lines everywhere (though I knew it was thing of the past)

           . No freedom of speech

           . Few products

           . Pervasive presence of Mafia

           . Young people getting rich very quickly

           . Prostitution (from news exposes about dark  side  of  big  city

           . Prejudice against people of Southern nationalities

           . Russians drink vodka

           . Russians are poor, suffered a lot, are very serious, have bread

           . Never smile

           . Bureaucracy is infamous

           . Churches with onion domes, great literature

           . Russian women dress up, but it doesn't matter so much what  men

           . Every woman is looking to marry an  American,  there  are  mail
             order brides, women want to get out

           . I remember bomb scares in American during the 50s and  60s  and
             hiding under desks. The Russians wanted to come and

             conquer the USA, we were told. They had the same message as us.

           . Russians tend to be paranoid.

           . Russians don't think in or about the  future.  Americans  think
             about the future, but not the past or present. Americans

             pay for classes so they can  learn  to  live  in  the  present!
             Russians don't plan so far ahead. If  they  have  money  today,

             spend money today.

           . Russians are quite rigid about teachers being authoritative and
             strong disciplinarians.

Advice family & friends gave you before you left home

           . Don't drink tap water.

           . Advice to women: be prepared that girls here dress differently:
             Russians dress for fashion and Americans for comfort

           . Be careful, you can't trust people there.

           . Be careful. Russia is not safe because of  worries  about  war,
             bombings  in  Moscow,  unrest,  crime,  civil  strife.  General

           . Bring toilet paper and jeans. You can sell your jeans.

           . You need to have good health insurance and be prepared  to  fly
             back to the US if you need  treatment  Hospitals  are  bad  and
             doctors aren't very good. In fact, doctors run the  gamut  from
             very dedicated to indifferent.

Why questions

           . Why is shopping a three  step  process?  It's  so  inefficient.
             Maybe it prevents shoplifting.

           . Why is only one person doling out money?

           . Why is only one door open?

           . Why is service so bad? Is it because there is no tipping and so
             no motivation?

           . Why can we sit in a cafe all day without buying very much?

           . Why do women wear such high heels?

           . Why do people crowd others and cut in line?

           . Why do shop attendants go on so many breaks or just close down?

           . Why are things so unpredictable? Nothing is consistent.

           . There are no schedules at school. I arrive at school  to  teach
             and I'll be told "there is no fourth grade today." Why can't

             people tell me in advance?

           . Why are restaurant workers so indifferent or outright rude?

           . Why do Russian  women  think  they  need  a  man  for  anything
             technical or physical?

           . Why must everyone sit at a party?

           . Why can't people put bags on the floor?

           . Why do men carry purses (for women)?

           . Who does everything break so easily?

           . Why does everything need to be stamped?

           . Why are there so many forms?

           . Why do women dress like hookers (prostitutes)?

           . Why do women wear see-through trousers with thongs and stiletto

           . Why is everything so dirty?

           . Why do people spit and blow their noses onto the street?

           . Why are people so mean to each other  (at  stores,  yelling  at

           . Why do people push in front of others?

           . When a husband beats his wife in public, why doesn't anyone  do
             anything? Why are people so reluctant to stop and help?

           . Why are there  no  public  toilets  even  approaching  American
             standards? Why do people accept such things?

           . Why do toilets have no seat covers? Is there a shortage?  Can't
             they find them somewhere?

           . Why do Russians drink so much tea? Why don't they drink  during

           . Why do Americans say "excuse me1 when they bump into  strangers
             and Russian don't?

           . Why are Russians so formal when you first meet them?

Things that frustrate

              . People always on the make

           . Large injustices in society, for example, why are teachers paid
             so little and then expected to buy their own textbooks

           . I'm annoyed at people looking and making an instant judgment

           . Russians are emotional, prejudiced and xenophobic.

           . The Russian sense  of  personal  space,  especially  in  public
             sphere: people stand much closer, pressing up against each

             other, pushing

Why questions Russians asked you about Americans

           . Why do you want to come to Russia? (most consistent question)

           . Why are Americans fat? Why do they all have cars? Why are  they
             so loud?

           . Why do Americans drink so much water?

           . How can you believe men and women are equal when  they  are  so

           . Why don't Americans lock their doors at night?

           . Why do Americans smell like soap? - What  interviewee's  mother
             taught him: "If your clothes smell like you, they're dirty."

           . Why do Americans smile all the time?

           . Why are Americans so informal about everything?

           . Why do Americans ask so many questions?

           . Why  don't  you  speak  English  correctly?  It's  your  native
             language, isn't it?

Stereotypes Russians You Met Had of Americans

           . Americans are rich. "You can afford to pay that  price,  that's
             nothing for you at home!"

           . Americans have cars — are fat - are loud.

           . Americans are rich, noisy, lazy, and unworldly.

           . Americans always smile.

           . All American women hate men.

           . American women are drab, dull and unfeminine.

           . American women want to do everything themselves.

           . American women are ambitious and individualistic.

           . American women are not afraid to speak their minds or  confront

How are Americans viewed?

           . Russians are accepting of American music, movies, and  clothing
             but still have anti-American sentiments. It's a kind of  guilty
             pleasure - a sense they are letting  themselves,  their  roots,
             and  their  standards  down.  They  accept  American   cultural
             products while remaining anti-American.

           . They think we're rich; even our poor, compared to  their  poor.
             Retirees  on  cruises  set  this  stereotype,   with   Russians
             misunderstanding that some people must save for a long time for
             such a trip. Also, Russians  on  exchange  programs  stay  with
             middle-class,  educated  families.  They  don't  see   American

How has living abroad changed your original view or expectations about  what
life in Russia would be like?

           . Some stereotypes were borne out. People can be very rude in the
             public sphere— in restaurants, airports, trains. On  the  other
             hand, if you're invited to people's homes you'll  find  they're
             the most hospitable people you've ever  met.  I  didn't  expect
             warm hospitality though I was prepared for inhospitality in the
             public sphere.

           . I tend to try not to have too many set expectations before I go
             to a different culture. Sure, I have  some,  but  part  of  the
             experience is seeing what is there and seeing how you can adapt
             to these circumstances.

Gestures that are different, etc.

           . I always speak with my hands and  show  facial  gestures.  Most
             people here don't gesture much when they speak. Ibis is true of
             facial gestures too. My face always betrays my feelings.

           . The Russian gesture for being drunk.

           . Helping women put their coat on; other women can't do this.

           . Men NEED to carry things and pay. I met  a  male  friend  at  a
             cafe, and he HAD to pay, to be a gentleman, even though I  know
             he doesn't earn a lot of money. No Dutch treat.

           . The weight of swear words is stronger here than in the  US.  In
             the States I use obscenities every day. Now that  I'm  here,  I
             use them maybe once a month.

           . Banging the fist again the palm

           . Thumb between the middle and index fingers

           . Touching: there's more  same  sex  touching  in  Russia,  women
             walking down the street arm in arm or holding hands

           . Shaking hands is not common practice  in  Russia  where  it  is
             automatic and unconscious behavior for most Americans. (Said by
             a woman)

What are the most positive things that happened to you in Russia?

           . I met my wife and made some very  close  friends  from  another
             culture. Human contact. You realize you can make close  friends
             and find similarities. I also improved my Russian.

           . I had an opportunity to live with a family and be  included  in
             family  life-  crises  and   arguments   included.   I   really
             experienced normal Russian life in more depth than many.

           . Positive things: meeting very friendly people/ hospitality  and
             the  nurturing  manner  of  Russian  women.  The  sincerity   I
             -have felt from the sympathy expressed by  Russians  about  the
             attacks in the U.S.

What is the worst thing that happened to you?

           . The first week I was  living  in  my  flat,  and  felt  like  a
             stranger in my landlady's home, my  landlady  and  her  husband
             would share nothing with me. I had to buy my own  dish  washing
             liquid and toilet paper. They would not allow me to wash my own
             clothes and wanted to charge me 20 rubles per shin. (While this
             may not be typical, this incident it is a true story.)

           . In St Petersburg, I got ripped off. 60 or 70 dollars in a money
             exchange on the street It can happen anywhere, though,  and  it
             didn't change my feelings; but there are nasty rip-offs  in  St
             Petersburg and Moscow.

           . Negative things: indifference to issues of  lateness  and  when
             things don't work or something goes wrong. How things  tend  to
             be more black / white or how things are taken  more  literally.
             How certain some Russians are about certain issues.

If you were to compare Russian and American culture, what are  some  of  the
broad distinctions you might draw?

           . Economics. In the  US  everything  is  about  money.  Sometimes
             Russians are very concerned about money and  talk  about  money
             because it's a necessity. They have no qualms about asking  how
             much money you make. That's a taboo question in the States.

           . Russians are more traditional, especially the way women want to
             be treated by men. Feminism doesn't seem to exist. (Said  by  a

           . Russians drink more. There  are  few  laws  about  drinking  in
             public. You can drink  beer  in  public  but  not  vodka.  It's
             strange, in the springtime, to be the only sober person walking
             down the street.

           . Russians are less tolerant of racial differences and of  sexual
             orientation. Russian men are very homophobic.

           . There is no one word or phrase for "cultural identity," vanity,
             or privacy in Russian language; you would have to explain  your
             intention in order to be understood.

Can you describe some situations/incidents in  which  cultural  expectations
caused a misunderstanding?

           . American men are not expected to be  as  attentive  as  Russian
             men. Men pour drinks for women, carry packages for women, etc.

           . If I'm silent, people see me as standoffish.

           . Americans separate business and pleasure

By living in Russia, have you learned anything new about yourself  and  your
native culture?

           . I learned a lot of about myself as an American. There are  some
             things I feel proud about. I stopped taking things for granted,
             things I would have demanded in the past.

           .  I value independence and self-reliance.

           . I notice consumerism in the US more.  Everything  is  packaged,
             everything is for sale.  There's  more  media  and  advertising
             everywhere. People  need  things  NOW:  fast  food,  quick  and
             efficient customer service.

           . Shallow, superficial friendliness and customer service.  But  I
             like it anyway! Maybe  it's  not  so  shallow.  Maybe  it  says
             something about egalitarianism.

           . The number of trashcans and the amount of waste produced in the
             US. In Russia there's no place to put trash and there are  lots
             of wrappers and litter on the streets.  In  America  there  ate
             lots  of  receptacles  because  we  produce   lots   of   waste
             -packaging, wrappers, etc. We even sell special 10-gallon trash

           . The main thing I noticed and was  overwhelmed  by  was  by  the
             amount of choice in everything- it was great but  too  much  to
             handle sometimes, whether I was shopping or  trying  to  decide
             what to eat in a restaurant.

           . I can live in an arctic climate but I'm still not a fan of long

           . Americans value individualism and  the  right  to  speak  their
             minds freely

           . Some Americans can be as ethnocentric as some Russians  can  be
             and more concerned with events at home, but what culture isn't?


When you first arrived in the USA, what stood out?

           . The traffic system is orderly and well organized.  Drivers  are
             polite and stop for pedestrians.

           . How Americans are relaxed, they have a  relaxed  posture,  free
             behavior, a relaxed way of dressing, usually sports clothes

           . Aged parents very seldom live with  their  grown  children  and
             prefer living alone or moving to a nursing home

           . Americans prefer to live in suburbs in  their  own  houses  and
             thus a car play a very important role in one's life  and  there
             might be several cars in the family

           . They use computers a lot in everyday life

Stereotypes of Americans You Were Aware Of

           . Pragmatic

           . Rich

           . Overweight

           . Always smile

           . Body conscious and fond of healthy life styles

           . American women are too independent

How do you think Americans viewed Russian culture, in general terms?

           . As far as  I  remember,  everyone  I  met  was  very  friendly,
             considerate and helpful and  eager  to  get  to  know  Russians
             better and learn more about our culture.

Advice friends or family members gave you

           . To find some things they wanted

           . To set up an aim you want to achieve in this country and to  do
             it. For example, to visit all the museums.

           . Try to make new friends and make the most of your stay

           . My mother told me to try every kind of food I can

Why questions you asked

           . Why do Americans love their cars so much?

           . Why do they never dress up?

           . Why do they mingle at parties?  Why  do  they  invite  so  many

           . Why do they leave their nests? Why  do  they  so  often  change

           . Why are university professors so informally dressed in class?

           . Why do children prefer to live  separately  from  parents  when
             they complete high school and almost never come back to

             live with the parents again?

Why questions others asked you

           . Why do Russians stay at one place (at a table) at a party?

           . Why do Russians have more long lasting friendships?

           . Why do you prefer jeanswear: is it because  you  like  American
             style clothing or do  you  find  this  kind  of  clothing  more

           . Do people in Russia know foreign languages?

Stereotypes of Russians You Discovered

           . Russians are poor.

           . Russians dance very well. They like to dance.

           . There is Mafia in Russia.

           . Russian women do a lot of work at home.

           . Russians don't know how to work.

           . Russian women do too much work for  the  family.  They  do  not
             respect themselves.

           . Russians are strong and hard working.

           . The new generation will change the country.

           . Russians don't know foreign languages.

           . Starving and wearing shabby clothing

           . Russians don't smile on the street.

           . One young American guy mentioned he wouldn't be  interested  in
             meeting a Russian woman because Russian women are

             hairy and don't shave.

           . There are few cars in Russia.

           . All women are prostitutes because that's the only way to earn a

How has your experience changed your original view or expectations?

     I don't think Americans  are  rich.  They  get  more  money  but  they
economize and spend more rationally.

If you were to compare Russian and American culture, what are  some  of  the
broad distinctions you might draw?

           . Russian culture belongs to the eastern type and American to the
             western type.

           . Americans are more matter-of-fact and business-like;  they  are
             more active; they are not afraid of making severe life changes.

Can you describe some situations/incidents in  which  cultural  expectations
caused a misunderstanding?

           . When you are in Russia, invited  to  someone's  home,  you  are
             asked to have tea or some food. In America this does not happen
             in every house.

What things stood out the most or what things  did  you  most  notice  about
Russia when you returned home?

           . The one thing that pleased me is that my family was so glad  to
             see me.

           . People not smiling. Not helpful.

           . Gloomy people on the streets; impolite shop  assistants;  dirty
             public places; no adaptation of public places for disabled

           . People are less polite; there is garbage everywhere; there  are
             no non-smoking areas

By visiting the USA, have you learned anything new about yourself  and  your
native culture?

           . Russians are hospitable, collective.  They  discuss  things  in
             groups before making decisions. They are always ready to share.

           . Russians are more family oriented.

           . I learned that I should  not  feel  inferior  to  other  people
             because of being physically disabled.

           . Being in the US I am conscious of being Russian  and  proud  of
             it. I don't that I stand  out  in  American  culture  and  most
             Americans can't say I am from a different country unless I tell
             them, but somehow I always "feel" Russian and tell people I  am
             from Russia with a sense of pride.

      Let's sum up everything considered above.

      Now there is a problem of misunderstanding among people of the
different countries. This misunderstanding is shown owing to different
attitudes to life, to business, to family, to fellow workers. Also because
of ignorance of traditions, customs, etiquette of other countries.

      Excellent knowledge of foreign language is not a guarantee of
successful cooperation of firms or pleasant dialogue of people from
different continents. To know language is only half-affair. The most
important is to understand priorities of other people, to try to look at
the world by their eyes.

      If the country is more advanced in economic, political, social
spheres, it gives more attention  to studying other cultures for successful
cooperation (for example, the USA, Japan).

      It is important to note, that the closer cultures to each other, the
fewer problems arise at their interaction. If cultures are opposite, then
the essence of intercultural dialogue is reduced to understanding of
different values.

      For greater success in relations between the countries it is necessary
to take into account all these features.


           1. «Communication  and  Culture»  /  Alfred  G.  Smith  //  Hold,
              Rinehart and Winston, Inc., the United States of America,1966

           2. «Crossing Cultural Borders - Russia» / Julie  E.  Zdanoski  //
              Petrozavodsk, 2003

           3.  «Culture  Learning:  The  Fifth  Dimension  in  the  Language
              Classroom» / Louise Damen

           4. «Culture Matters. How Values Shape Human Progress» /  Lawrence
              E. Harrison, Samuel P. Huntington // Basic Books, A Member  of
              the Perseus Books Group, the United States of America, 2000



     When a person from a national  society  with  hierarchical  tendencies
encounters  a  person  from  a  society  with  egalitarian  tendencies,  and
moreover when  the  country  of  the  latter  is  generally  "high"  in  the
estimation of the former, the idealized paradigm as shown in Figure 1  would
be approximated. In  this  diagram,  X,  the  person  from  a  country  with
egalitarian views, behaves  toward  Y,  the  person  from  a  hierarchically
oriented  country,  as  if  he  occupied  the  same  "level";  that  is,  in
equalitarian terms.


     Figure 1.


    North American (USA)
Personal control of the environment
Change inevitable and desirable
Equality of opportunity
Future orientation
Action orientation
Directness and openness
Practicality; pragmatic; rational
Problem-solving orientation
Cause-and-effect logic
DO-it-yourself approach to life
                              Contrast American
Nature dominating man
Unchanging; traditional
Class structure dominant; hierarchical Interdependence but individuality
Present or past orientation
Being orientation
Suggestive; consensus-seeking; group orientation
Feeling orientation; philosophical
Inactive; enduring; seeking help from others Knowing
Group progress

                              Values concerning

1. Nature and Culture vertically

(octopus pot)(draws in)


2. Interpersonal Relationships

                                Unated States

Heterogeneity; horizontal society guilt sasara (bamboo wisk)

Omote predominates

Independence; I/you clash symmetrical relationships informality
Achieved status


Homogeneity; shame takotsubo


We over I; amae complementary
Ascribed status

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