Notes on Intercultural Communication

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The Core of Hoftede’s Onion Model

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Approches to the Core (Values) of Hofstede’s Onion Model

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Onion Hofstede

Unfortunately, the nice intercultural website where I got the pic from was closed down: http://homepages.rtlnet.de/krkarwoth/priorities.html (retrieved 28.08.2009, disappearance noticed 22.11.2012). Sorry for this.

It is made of 3 layers around a core. The core stands for the values of a certain culture, which is not moving a lot. It mostly remains the same. Even if something seems to be outdated, it still can subconsciously play a role in the present. That includes individuals as well as groups.

Those values are laid in the early childhood and only change little. They mostly appear subconsciously. The outer layer appear more and more consciously. The Schemata – Theory was originally meant to describe mechanisms of learning, but can also be applied to cultures.

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Bartlett’s Schema Theory

“(…) Bartlett proposed that people have schemata, or unconscious mental structures, that represent an individual’s generic knowledge about the world. It is through schemata that old knowledge influences new information. (…) For example, consider the representation of a generic (typical) elementary school classroom. The frame for such a classroom includes certain information, such as that the room has walls, a ceiling, lights, and a door. The door can be thought of as a slot which accepts values such as wood door or metal door, but does not accept a value such as a door made of jello. If a person or a machine is trying to represent a particular elementary school classroom, the person or machine instantiates the generic frame with specific information from the particular classroom (e.g., it has a window on one wall, and the door is wooden with a small glass panel). If, for some reason, one does not actually observe the lights in the classroom, one can fill the lighting slot with the default assumption that they are fluorescent lights. This proposal gives a good account of a wide range of phenomena. It explains, for example, why one would be very surprised to walk into an elementary classroom and find that it did not have a ceiling, and it accounts for the fact that someone might recall that a certain classroom had fluorescent lights when it did not. (…)

Read more: Learning Theory – Schema Theory – Knowledge, Representation, Schemata, and Information – StateUniversity.com http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/2175/Learning-Theory-SCHEMA-THEORY.html#ixzz2elzT1rAf

 (retrieved 13.09.2013 at http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/2175/Learning-Theory-SCHEMA-THEORY.html#ixzz2elzT1rAf)

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Dr. John Medina gives an example by leaving out the core-information when describing an everyday issue. He describes the schemata as “(…) the way of organizing thoughts about some aspects of the world. We call those framework schemas, and you have them about people, situations, objects. This means that something profound. (…)”

John Medina Brain Rules Schema

(retrieved 12.09.2013 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=mzbRpMlEHzM)

Dr. Medina’s website Brain Rules! is definitely worth a visit http://www.brainrules.net/

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John Anderson on The Counsel Channel about Schemata

John Anderson Schemata

 Transcript:

“(…) they encompus the beliefs we encountered in childhood and the beliefs, (which) we developed as a result of those beliefs and the way we maintain them.

They in a sense give us brinks, because they also determine the way we perceive events in the world and structure our thinking. Schemata (…) are made up of unconditional beliefs laid down in very early childhood – the child’s view of themselves and the environment, at the people – and the future or goals – are they achievable or not achievable.

In slightly later childhood, when the child becomes a manipulator of a situation – or trying to be – then they use to be developing conditional beliefs. If I do this, then that may happen., and if I do that, then this may happens – which become rules – I must do this, I must do that. I ought to do this – and which is also applied to other people too. (…) . And then you get ways of maintaining these beliefs. So people either replay them or because they don’t like the negative beliefs, they go great length to avoid them. (…)”

(retrieved 13.09.2013 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMadzaLGP0M)

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(reviewed 13.09.2013)

Hofstede`s Cultural Onion

with 2 comments

Gerard (Geert) Hendrik Hofstede (born 3 October 1928) created the model of the „Cultural Onion“

Hofstede`s Onion Model of Culture


Unfortunately, the nice intercultural website where I got the pic from was closed down: http://homepages.rtlnet.de/krkarwoth/priorities.html (retrieved 28.08.2009, disappearance noticed 22.11.2012). Sorry for this.

It is made of 3 layers around a core. The core stands for the values of a certain culture, which is not moving a lot. It mostly remains the same. Even if something seems to be outdated, it still can subconsciously play a role in the present. That includes individuals as well as groups.

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The first layer around the core is described as rituals. A ritual can be the way of personal hygiene (most Asians shower in the evening, Europeans in the morning). German people like to shake hands often, Malay tenderly touch the fingertips and then point it to the heart. Those rituals are changing slowly.

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The second layer around the core are the „heroes“. A hero can be a fictive person, but has influence on the culture. A nice example is Dracula (written by Bram Stoker, published 1897). Since this book was published, many people in Western world developed a fear about Vampires, even if it never existed in their culture before. It also can be national heroes, photo-models or scientists – all people, who play a role-model in that society.

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The third layer is about the symbols. Nowadays most symbols appear as brands like BMW, Apple or Louis Vuitton. Those symbols usually move according to the momentary fashion.

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All three layers can be trained and learned through practices except for the core: the inner cultural values (Good vs. Bad, dirty vs. clean, ugly vs. beautiful, unnatural vs. natural, abnormal vs. normal, paradoxical vs. logical, irrational vs. rational).

For further information about the core, please refer to The Core of Hofstede’s Onion Model.

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Hofstede also developed the Model of the 5 Cultural Dimensions http://laofutze.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/hofstedes-cultural-dimensions-2/

Download an introduction to Hofstede`s theories as pdf here or see further info about Hofstede at http://laofutze.wordpress.com/category/hofstede/

Practical approaches of Hofstede’s theories see at http://laofutze.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/applications-of-hofstedes-theories/

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reviewed 13.09.2013

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