Basics for effectively cooperating with people in and from other nations:
(1) speaking or having learned a shared language
(2) acting according to shared rules and standards
Everybody speaks and acts with an accent
When speaking a language, you and I each speak it each with our own local accent, acquired when and where we grew up
Equally true but less evident: we also think, feel and act with local “accents”, acquired when and where we grew up. We call this our national culture .
Gaining an international perspective
Becoming conscious of our own culture amidst the variety of cultures we may meet in people from elsewhere
There is no substitute for personal international experience
We can acquire knowledge about differences in national cultures in our present day world
We should develop skills for “translating” between cultures
When in another culture, in a way we become children again
Basics of national culture differences
All countries in the world share the same basic problems , but each national society has over time developed its own answers
Six basic problems for each society (outcome of my research):
1. How much (in)equality should there be among us?
2. How afraid are we of unknown people, ideas and objects?
3. How dependent are we on our (extended) family?
4. How should a man feel, how a woman?
5. Do we focus on the future, the present or the past?
6. May we have fun or is life a serious matter?
These can be seen as six different and separate dimensions of national cultures