Reducing Cultural Shock
October 3, 2012
“Corporate culture is the water in the fishbowl of any business. Employees are immersed in it, inundated with it, but unconscious of it- at least, until things change” (Featherly & Chang, 2006). Employees who move to new job locations usually experience cultural shock to some degree. Cultural shock is a feeling of confusion, insecurity, and anxiety which stem from the new environment (Newstrom, 2011). Individuals may experience cultural shock when moving to a different nation, they may experience it if they are moving to the other side of the country they currently reside in, or they could even experience it when returning home from an assignment (Newstrom, 2011). But in any instance, there are various ways in which to minimize the effects of cultural shock on employees. What causes Cultural Shock?
There are five basic causes for culture shock. Cultural shock is caused by confronting a new environment or situation. The ineffectiveness of intercultural or interpersonal communication can also cause people to misunderstand another’s behavior. This misperception is another cause of cultural shock. The third cause of cultural shock is a threat to the emotional well-being of the traveler (Dongfeng, 2012). Most travelers are already concerned about not knowing how to act, so there is a dramatic effect to their self-confidence when the wrong response or decision is made (Newstrom, 2011). The need to modify behavior adequately and to regain positive reinforcement from the new environment is also a cause for cultural shock. And finally, culture shock is caused by a “growth experience.” This growth explanation of culture shock demonstrates that culture shock is a universal experience (Dongfeng, 2012). How to Reduce It
Organizations can take steps to reduce the impact of cultural shock on the employees. Some of the most useful actions are...
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