Uploaded by Caitlin Allan

Cross Cultural Adaptation Theory

What happens when a
person moves from one
culture to another?
Why do people move?
Immigrants and refugees
Sojourners (temporary travelers)
- Spend 5 minutes writing down a number of reasons why a
person may move from one culture to another (permanently or
Cross-Cultural Adaptation Theory
Cross-cultural adaptation is a complex process in which a
person becomes capable of functioning effectively in a
culture other than the one he or she was originally socialised
in. As people become immersed in foreign cultures their
whole being gets affected.
It helps us to understand the natural human tendency to seek
internal balance when facing adversarial environmental
conditions. It looks at the different variables and processes
that influence the degree to which a person adapts to a new
or unfamiliar culture
Cross-Cultural Adaptation Theory
Young Yun Kim (1995)
Describes the processes (what happens) when a person moves
from one culture to another. The theory considers different
variables that influence the degree to which individuals adapt to
new and unfamiliar cultures
Adaptation involves both internal (intrapersonal) and
external (social/environmental) variables
People have an inherent (built-in) desire to adapt and grow
Adaptation to new social environments happens through
Adaption is complex and has a number of stages
Cross-Cultural Adaptation Theory
Adaptation is the process of learning and becoming fluent in the
elements of a new culture. Adaptation occurs through a three
stage process:
1) STRESS: the balance we are used to is disturbed, this comes
in many forms but is commonly referred to as culture
shock. The stress within this stage motivates a person to
adapt in order to restore the balance
2) ADAPTATION: is accomplished through acculturation
(learning) and deculturation (unlearning). Adaption causes
a person to transform internally
3) GROWTH: this stage is not linear bur helical (rounded).
Growth occurs as a result of stress and adaptation. A number
of factors interact to effect growth, including the
environment, predisposition to accept change and grow, and
the communication processes between the individual and
their surroundings. Each of these factors will impact or
inhibit an individual’s ability to grow
Cross-Cultural Adaptation Theory
Conditions of
the Theory
Every person who moves from one culture to another is
motivated by his or her own unique story. One thing that all of
these people have in common is the need to develop stable
relationships within the host environment.
In order for the theory to be applicable to an individual, there
are three boundary conditions
1) An individual has been socialised in one culture and they
move to a different, unfamiliar culture
2) The new culture/environment must meet the personal and
social needs of the individual (to a certain extent)
3) The new culture has communication experiences that are
different from the individual’s original culture
Cross-Cultural Adaptation Theory
The theory uses a systems approach (interdisciplinary study),
this means it is useful for explaining complex relationships
The theory helps explain the manner in which a person
adapts to, and fits into, a new culture
The theory assumes that assimilation is positive (acquiring
the social and psychological characteristics of a group)
The experiment which forms the basis of the theory was
conducted on a relatively small sample of 81 participants
Adapting to a new culture
Rules (legal and moral)
Customs (religion, food, art)
Social Norms (individual’s behaviour in society)
I love you (English)
Watashi wa, anata o aishiteimasu (Japanese)
Je t’aime (French)
‘ahbak (Arabic)
Ich liebe dich (German)
Wo an ni (Chinese)
Bathroom Use
In Australia, North America and other places around the world
it is common place to throw soiled paper into the toilet and
flush. In South America spoiled paper gets thrown into a bin
next to the toilet due to a lack of adequate plumbing
Spitting on the Bride
In Greece spitting is a good luck charm that wards of evil.
Spitting on a bride and other special occasions is a common
practice. Now days people do not generally spit, but rather
make the sound ‘ftou, ftou’
Social Norms
Norwegians eat a burger with a knife and folk
The reverse peace sign is the equivalent of ‘flipping the bird’
in England
In India it is uncommon for someone to pass money over with
their left hand
Spitting is high acceptable in South Korea
Direct eye contact is an expected behaviour here in Australia
but considered a sign of disrespect in Japan
Legal and Moral Laws
Chewing gum is prohibited in Singapore
In Denmark there are 7,000 approved baby names, if you
want to give your child a name not on the list you are
required to gain governmental approval
Naked hiking is banned in Switzerland
Feeding the pigeons in Venice is prohibited and if caught,
you are fined $700
High heels are illegal at some ancient monuments in Greece
Culture Shock
The feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when
they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of
life, or set of attitudes
Public Nudity
Consider all of the examples we have gone through about
cultural adaptation and culture shock
In small groups, think about our culture here in Australia and
come up with a list of things that might “shock” a person from
a different culture
Applying theory
• Moved to Columbia for
• Culture Shock; language
(Spanish) is very
difficult, social norms
(toilet use & food)
• Develops stable
relationships with
• Acculturation /
• Personal relationships
and environment are
conducive to personal
• Generally positive
attitude and desire to
Review Questions
How many stages are involved in the adaption process?
Name and briefly describe each of these stages.
What is culture shock? Provide 2 examples
Random flashcards

39 Cards


20 Cards


30 Cards


17 Cards

Create flashcards