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Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Social and Cultural Norms Part IV.

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1 Sociocultural Level of Analysis: Social and Cultural Norms Part IV

2 Cultural Norms There are many definitions of culture, and it is a very complex concept. – The term “surface culture” is used to describe visible aspects like food, eating habits, clothing, rituals, communication patterns, religion, and behavior). – The term “deep culture” is related to beliefs, attitudes and values that underpin culture manifestations. – Kuschel (2004) claims that culture should not be used to explain behavior. It should be used to understand how people have survived in their environment, how they organized their life, and how their beliefs influence behavior.

3 Cultural Norms – Lonner (1995) describes cultures as common rules that regulate interactions and behavior in a group as well as a number of shared values and attitudes in the group. – Hofstede (2002) described culture as “mental software,” meaning cultural schemas that have internalized so that they influence thinking, emotions, and behavior.

4 Cultural Norms Matsumoto (2004) describes culture as “dynamic system of rules, explicit and implicit, established by groups in order to ensure their survival, involving attitudes, values, beliefs, norms, and behaviors.” – Culture is dynamic because it changes over time due to environment and social changes. cultural norms – behavior patterns that are typical of specific groups. They are often passed down from generation to generation by observational learning by the groups gatekeepers – parents, teachers, religious leaders, and peers. Cultural norms include how people choose marriage partners, attitudes toward alcohol consumption, and acceptance (or rejection) of spanking children.

5 Cultural Norms The etic approach to psychology compares human behavior across specific cultures. Etic study involves drawing on notion of universal properties of cultures, which share common perceptual, cognitive, and emotional structures. The emic approach looks at behaviors that are culturally specific. Emics have challenged psychologists to re-examine their ideas

6 Cultural Dimensions of Behavior dimensions- the perspectives of a culture based on values and cultural norms. Hoefstede (1973) study involved asking employees of the multinational company IBM to fill in surveys about morale in the workplace. He then carried out content analysis on the responses he received, focusing on key differences submitted by employees in different countries. His research looked at the 40 most represented countries in the surveys. The trends he noticed he called “dimensions.”

7 Cultural Dimensions of Behavior Hoefstede argues that understanding cultural dimensions will help facilitate communication between cultures. This is important in international diplomacy as well as international business.

8 Cultural Dimensions of Behavior Types of dimensions: – Individualism: in individualist societies the ties between individuals are loose. Everyone is expected to look after himself or herself and his or her immediate family. – Collectivism: in collectivist societies from birth onwards people are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, often extended families( with uncles, aunts, and grandparents), which provides them with support and perfection. Not living up to norms, very severe punishment.

9 Cultural Dimensions of Behavior Types of dimensions: – Uncertainty vs. avoidance- deals with the societies tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity. It indicate to what extent a culture programs its members to feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations: unstructured situations are novel, unknown, surprising.

10 Cultural Dimensions of Behavior Types of dimensions: Bond (1988) argues that Chinese culture replaces the uncertainty-avoidance dimension with Confucian work dynamism: instead of focusing on truth, some countries focus on virtue. China and other countries have a long-term orientation. These cultures value persistence, loyalty, and trustworthiness. They need to protect the collective identity and respect tradition – what is called “saving face.”

11 Cultural Dimensions of Behavior Types of dimensions: Hoefstede found that Finland, Germany, and the US have a short-term orientation. In contrast to the Confucian work dynamism, these cultures value personal steadiness and stability. There is a focus on the future instead of the past, and innovation is highly valued. Hoefstede warns against the ecological fallacy, meaning when one looks at two different cultures, it should NOT be assumed that two members from two different cultures must be different from one another, or that a single member of a culture will always demonstrate the dimensions which are the norm of that culture.

12 Cultural Dimensions of Behavior Anthropologist, Edward T. Hall’s norms that define culture. – proxemic theory (1966) is based on a culture's need for “personal space.” Different cultures have different perceptions of the amount of personal space that is required to be comfortable. People only allow their closest, most intimate friends into this bubble of space. – Time consciousness – there is a distinction between monochronic cultures and polychronic cultures. Monochronic – focus on one thing at a time, high amount of scheduling, and punctuality, meeting deadline highly valued. Polychronic – many things happen at once, more focus on relationships and interactions. Interruptions are expected as a part of life, little frustration when things are postponed or late.

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