Cultural Diversity in Perception: Alternative Views of Reality

1577 Words Jan 20th, 2011 7 Pages
CHAPTER FOUR

CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN PERCEPTION:
ALTERNATIVE VIEWS OF REALITY

UNDERSTANDING PERCEPTION

The physical mechanism of perception is pretty much the same in all people: sensory organs such as the eyes, ears, and nose permit us to sense our environment, and the sensations received by them are routed to our brains, where they are interpreted and accorded meaning in a two-stage sequence. The first stage is recognition or identification, in which a configuration of light or sound waves is identified. At the second stage, the interpretation and evaluation of that which has been identified take place. The result of this process is not the same for all people, however, because the process is learned and therefore influenced
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DIVERSE CULTURAL PATTERNS

Hofstede’s Value Dimensions

Geert Hofstede has identified four value dimensions that have significant impact on behavior in all cultures. These are the following:

1. Individualism-Collectivism Individual is the single most important unit in any social setting, regardless of the size of that unit, and the uniqueness of each individual is of paramount value. In individualism, an “I” consciousness prevails: competition rather than cooperation is encouraged; personal goals take precedent over group goals; people tend not to be emotionally dependent on organizations and institutions and every individual has the right to his or her private property, thoughts and opinions. In collectivism, a “We” consciousness prevails: identity is based on the social system; the individual is emotionally dependent on organizations and institutions; the culture emphasizes belonging to organizations; organizations invade private life and clans to which individuals belong; and individuals trust group decisions.

2. Uncertainty Avoidance At the core of uncertainty avoidance is the inescapable truism that the future is unknown. Uncertainty and avoidance indicate the extent to which a culture feels threatened by uncertain and ambiguous situations.

3. Power Distance It refers to the extent to which a society
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