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I need an example to describe objectively one situation (work or otherwise) where a...

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egordon6 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted February 25, 2013 at 11:37 PM via web

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I need an example to describe objectively one situation (work or otherwise) where a behavior that might have been attributable to cultural differences may have come across as peculiar.

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 26, 2013 at 5:42 PM (Answer #1)

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Examples of cultural peculiarities that may be misunderstood or “awkward” when transferred from one culture to another are abundant, of course, on a national cultural level, in gender relationships, for example; in intercultural situations, the awkwardness appears when two parties in the same large cultural group (both Americans, both male, both wealthy, for example) are living their lives and making their decisions based on differing ethical standards.  For example, one person may be “old money” and make decisions based on tradition, conservativism, and “class,” while the other person may be “new money” and base his conduct on innovation, risk, and cultural high-visibility activities.  So it would be peculiar, as a concrete instance, for an “old rich” mentality to see a “new rich” person drive an expensive, impractical foreign sports car; at the same time, the “new rich” mentality might see a chauffeur-driven limousine Cadillac as a peculiar way to get around a city.  Ethical behavior is based on one’s values, not on some universal set of criteria like commandments or legal “rules.”  “Peculiar” is a judgment call on the part of an observer of someone else’s set of values.  I might think my neighbor’s choice of parking his car on his driveway and using his garage for a storage space is peculiar, while he may see my driving in and out of my garage even in good weather as peculiar behavior.  Our “values” differ, so we see each other’s behavior as “peculiar” when set against our personal priorities.

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