Cultural Schock

Topics: Culture, Cultural assimilation, Anthropology Pages: 9 (1351 words) Published: November 14, 2012
Sabrina Monforte
Essay 2
Critical analysis

‘To what extend are you convinced by Tange’s (2005) position regarding cultural adaptation?’

Regarding the topic of cultural adaptation there are many theories. This essay,

essentially, will analyse in depth the opinion of a Professor in the Department

of Language and Business communication - Hanne Tange - , whos major is inside the

field of Intercultural communication, in opposite cultural and shock adaptation proposed by

Sverre Lysgaard in 1995.

At first, Tange illustrates in her article ‘In a cultural No Man’s Land – or, how long does

culture shock last?’ the meaning of sojourn, a key word in her study, to understand

that it represents a short stay in another country, usually between a couple of months and

a few years, to conduct an international project or a general work in order to

expanded the company’s view over the world, in order to gain a greater successful income

for it. However, cultural shock has not been analysed from both sides, Tange’s and

Lysgaard, because of the fact that Tange’s has been too subjective by taking in

consideration this theme. So that, I can not be extended to one of those theories.

Anyway, let’s introduce the argument by saying that cultural adaptation is relevant to

employees to gain the maximum result from their tasks. During their stay, in the

host country, so that they can acquire international competence to benefit their


According to Tange, to gain the best from a sojourn it is important that also the company

should be involved in all the process of adaptation, by following the sojourn, and not to

leave the employee on his own. So that the gain of high international qualified skills,

can be elaborated as resources for international business. But Tangle introduces the

definition of another author by saying that, ‘the process of acculturation rarely moves

beyond the level of onstage culture’ (Varner and Beamer 2005: 3), which starts during the

process of involvement at the beginning in their own country and it ends there.

However, to support the conception of cultural adaptation beyond their own national

borders, there are two quite distinct approaches: Lysgasrd’s and Tange’s model.

According to Lysgard’s model which is related to the 50’s, cultural adaptation follows a U

shape curve. Indeed, ‘at the beginning of the stage, adjustment is felt

to be easy; than follows a ‘crisis’ in which one feels less well adjusted, somewhat lonely

and unhappy; finally one begins to feel better adjusted again,

becoming more integrated into the foreign community’ ( Lysgaard cited in Tange, 2005).

To arrive at this explanation, one survey has been conducted by analysing Norwegians

visiting The United States of America.

On the other hand, against the previous theory, we have Tange who states that cross

cultural adaptation is divided in three steps: arrival, two years crisis, intercultural


In this case, the finding into the research of ‘intercultural business communication benefit

from a qualitative method development in the anthropology and ethnology’ ( Tangle, 2005).

Furthermore, to make this survey more reliable, she has taken seven people which they

had to move from Scotland to Denmark, aged between 25 and 44 years old, and she has

assessed the interviewees through an informal dialogue. Due to this reason it is hardly to

think that her methodology can be thought reliable, because of the lowest number of interviewees.

It is reasonable to ‘distinguish between the concept of sojourners and immigrants’ (Tangle,

2005). Tangle refers to Stella Ting-Toomey to explain that the main differences are more

based on a intercultural encounter rather then the natural experience of itself. This is due

to the reason of a different point of view.

Immigrants are...

References: Lysgaard S., 1995. “ Adjustment in a foreign society: Norwegian Fulbright Grantees Visiting The United States” in International Social Science Bulletin 7: 45-51.
Tange H., 2005, ‘In a cultural No Man’s Land – or, how long does culture shock last?’, Journal of Intercultural Communication, issue 10.
Ting-Tomey S., 1999. Communication Across Cultures. New York: The Guliford Press.
Varner, I. and L. Beamer, 2005. Intercultural Communication in the Global Workplace. 3rd ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
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