As a communication trainer, I worked with people from different cultural background and sometimes I had to work in remote places. In one of them, my team and I met a villager from the same tribe with the country leader. He could commit all sorts of extortions in the name of his belonging to the President’s tribe.
Unfortunately for him, he was caught by the law and lost his job. But deep in his misery, he could still boast that he his better than people from other cultural groups.
Why does some cultural group think they are superior to others? How to solve the cultural shock caused by cultural differences?
The view presented in this article may not cover the whole topic but open the doors for more research and deeper analysis.
The following reasons can explain why some group perceive themselves higher than others:
• History. The most dangerous source of cultural shock is history. Our past experiences with people from other cultures are the primary element that determines how we perceive ourselves compared to others. The experience could come from school, readings, media or professional milieu and we may not be conscious of how much they impact our perception of others.
• The authority figure. People from the same cultural background with the leaders perceive themselves better or superior to other who are not. It’s, therefore, important for these leaders to be impartial and relates with everybody in the multicultural group without stereotypes, prejudices or discriminations.
Based on the example stated above, I suggest two strategies to help build stable interactions in a multicultural group:
• Setting lawful boundaries. In every multicultural milieu, regulations protect each and every one from abuses. Everyone in a multicultural environment must know his rights and duties. And people in charge of watching over these regulations should be impartial when it comes to defending justice.
• Focus on the task. Just answer the question: What am I here to do? After understanding the task to do, Communication constitutes the priority for successful cross-cultural interaction. When people are trained on how to better express ideas without prejudice and discrimination, greater is the possibility to solve the cultural shock.
In growing cross-cultural situations, it’s important to develop a new paradigm to solve cultural shocks between cultures. According to cross-cultural communications experts, cultural shocks happen eight months after two cultures interact for the first time. When the above principles are applied, it can take up to 2 years to reach a stable position of respect, good communication, and growth; Otherwise, the cultural shock will lead to the termination of the relationship.
The following Video will help you discover 11 Culture Shocks Around The World You NEED to Prepare For. Watch it! Share it!
I would like to hear from your experience on how you fixed cultural shock when you encountered people of other cultures.