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Cross-Cultural Differences: Review

Executive Summary

Cross-cultural differences dictate the way companies and individuals pursue their goals or address the challenges they face. A person moving from one region to another should be prepared for the potential social, work, and religious changes and experiences that might emerge. The discussion presented below gives a detailed analysis of Paula Peters’ woes after her family moved from Africa to settle in Australia. Such a decision resulted in new predicaments that transformed Paula’s experiences, personality, and moods. The analysis examines some of the unique antecedents to her culture shock and the unique changes she had to cope with. It also examines how the dimensions of self-awareness apply to Paula’s strengths and expectations.

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Human beings experience diverse challenges after relocating from one region to another. This outcome is inevitable because every cultural group has its unique values, norms, practices, and behaviors that impact interpersonal relationships. Specific attributes will also emerge due to the established practices in a particular society, such as strategies for completing specific tasks, career goals, and strategies for coping with stress. People need to be aware of these issues in an attempt to be prepared for potential problems that might emerge when interacting with colleagues with diverse backgrounds. The discussion presented below uses the case of Paula Peters, who migrated from Africa to live in Australia, to describe culture shock and its impacts on an individual’s personality.

Antecedents to Paula’s Culture Shock

Paula’s case reveals that there are some unique antecedents to her culture shock. First, she had grown up and lived in a society that promoted a collective form of lifestyle. After the family moved to Australia, she had no option but to analyze and embrace the concept of individualism practiced in this new society (Madson and Trafimow, 2001). Second, the notion of family had a greater meaning back in Africa since she completed her work without taking additional assignments home. However, the situation changed significantly in Australia since she lacked adequate time for meeting the demands of her family members (Wintergerst and McVeigh, 2010). Third, the family’s finances became strained simply because the acquired funds had to be used to pay school fees and purchase the required resources. This was a shock because she were used to different activities back in Africa.

Fourth, Paula was always hardworking and ready to tackle every emerging obstacle. This kind of personality made it possible for her to get a better career in the field of education and achieve her goals. However, she affirmed that everything had changed significantly after settling in Australia. This was true since she had to start her career afresh and consider new ways of achieving additional goals. She had to accept a junior position and think of new ways of overcoming the new challenge (McSweeney, Brown and Iliopoulou, 2016). Fifth, a flat hierarchy became a new challenge in her workplace since she was always used to a bureaucratic type of leadership whereby individuals had to follow the presented orders and instructions. She found herself spending more time at the workplace, something she was unused while in the African society.

Culture and Paula’s Personality

Paula remained focused and considered additional strategies to achieve most of her goals and succeed in life. However, the family’s decision resulted in additional outcomes that changed her personality, emotions, and moods completely. In terms of personality, she became less motivated due to the issue of culture shock (Deresky, 2014). This meant that it was no longer possible to produce positive results. She was now spending more time on work that the activities she had been used to before. She also became anxious after thinking about the financial challenges the entire family had to go throughout due to the new exchange rate in this foreign country.

From the studied case, it is evident that Paula was no longer happy or willing to engage in meaningful conversations with her family members. The position of her children in her life changed significantly after migrating to Australia (Steers, Sanchez-Runde and Nardon, 2013). Consequently, her moods were affected negatively because she never expected her experiences to change so fast. Her anger continued to increase because most of the situations were proving to be impractical or incapable of meeting her expectations. Nonetheless, she remained steadfast and focused on the best approaches to achieve her aims in such a challenging environment.

Paula’s emotions deteriorated significantly after finding work in this new society. While trying to fit in most of the scenarios and roles, it became clear that things would never be the same again. She continued to think negatively about her situation and the roles she had to complete. The option of going back to Africa came to her mind because of the challenges she was experiencing (Velo, 2012). Some of the activities that used to be enjoyable became meaningless to her. Her levels of anger and sadness increased significantly. She was surprised and incapable of predicting how her persistence could deliver positive results. She harbored most of these thoughts because she had to spend most of her time at work without focusing on the changing needs of her family members.

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Five Dimensions of Self-Awareness

Paula’s situations and coping strategies can guide analysts and scholars to examine her abilities using the five dimensions of self-awareness. In terms of emotional intelligence, Paula would rate positively because she was able to accept and manage her emotions efficiently. Although she found it hard to control her anger, she did not let other people around her realize that she was about to give up. She even indicated to her husband that things were quite different in the new country. A high score or degree is evident because she always remained aware of how her cultural shock could affect her future experiences and goals (Browaeys and Price, 2015). Paula also acknowledged that her emotions were capable of affecting the members of her family in a negative way. Such an outcome was unavoidable since she was not getting adequate time for them.

Paula would rate high or positively using the dimension of personal values. The studied case has indicated that he was always courageous and hardworking. She understood and appreciated her obligations as a member of the African culture. She went further to develop new ways of coping and sharing her challenges after the family moved to Australia. The third dimension notable in Paula’s achievements is that of learning style (Caliguiri, 2012). She could rate high since she was always ready to identify the practices recorded in every environment or workplace. Her observations made it easier for Paula to make informed decisions and develop a superior strategy to purse her goals. She could learn and unlearn depending on the nature of her current situation.

In terms of orientation towards change, Paula would score highly or positively because she remained optimistic and realized that any transformation was not a reason to stop working hard and pursuing her goals. She guided her colleagues and kept her family members updated (Bowe and Martin, 2014). Such a practice made it easier for her to adjust and focus on the new culture. She even indicated that going back to Africa was not an option. She had to remain resolute and focus on additional ways of overcoming the recorded challenges.

The concept of dimension of self-evaluation is evident in this case since Paula scores extremely high. After finding herself in Australia, she thought of the changes she had gone through and the realities that she had to overcome. She evaluated her career development and the anticipated goals (Bell, 2012). She merged her abilities with the available job opportunities in an attempt to record meaningful personal growth and support members of her family. She evaluated her experiences and contrasted them what the achievements recorded back in Africa. She went further to focus on the identifiable differences to find a new reason to remain focused and eventually recorded meaningful results in her life.


The above discussion has identified culture shock as a unique predicament many people have to go through after relocating to a new country or culture. The case of Paula reveals that such a change can disorient or transform an individual’s personality, emotions, and moods. Affected residents can go further to embrace the power of the five dimensions of self-awareness to learn more about their strengths and consider additional ways to cope. Such an evidence-based practice will guide them to realize their personal and professional goals while living in regions with diverse cultural practices.

Reference List

  1. Bell, M.P. (2012) Diversity in organizations. 2nd edn. Ohio: South-Western College.
  2. Bowe, H. and Martin, K. (2014) Communication across cultures: mutual understanding in a global world. 2nd edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  3. Browaeys, M. and Price. R. (2015) Understanding cross-cultural management. 3rd edn. Harlow: Pearson Education.
  4. Caliguiri, P. (2012) Cultural agility: building a pipeline of successful global professionals. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  5. Deresky, H. (2014) International management: Managing across borders and cultures. 8th edn. Harlow: Pearson Education.
  6. Madson, L. and Trafimow, D. (2001) ‘Gender comparisons in the private, collective, and allocentric selves’, Journal of Social Psychology, 141(4), pp. 551-559. doi: 10.1080/00224540109600571
  7. McSweeney, B., Brown, D. and Iliopoulou, S. (2016) ‘Claiming too much, delivering too little: testing some of Hofstede’s generalisations’, Irish Journal of Management, 35(1). Web.
  8. Steers, R.M., Nardon, L., Sanchez-Runde, C.J., Samaratunge, R., Ananthram, S., Fan, D. and Lu, Y. (2017). Management across cultures. Port Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.
  9. Velo, V. (2012) Cross-cultural management. New Work: Business Expert Press.
  10. Wintergerst, A.C. and McVeigh, J. (2010) Tips for teaching culture: practical approaches to intercultural communication. New York: Pearson Education.

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