To what extent are you convinced by Tange’s (2005) position regarding cultural adaptation? Introduction It is widely known that in the period of globalization more and more people face the issue of intercultural communication. Communication for two people from different cultures is very challenging to some extent. The notion of culture is very sophisticated. In addition, many studies have been conducted which indicate that every person to some degree experiences ‘culture shock’. Culture shock itself depends on several factors, namely the distance between cultures, type of personality and previous experiences in intercultural communication.
This essay considers the work of Danish teacher of intercultural communication Hanne Tange (Tange 2005), who specifically focused on the area of acculturation process. It begins by providing a brief summary of Tange’s study. Secondly, the essay will evaluate and show some weaknesses as well as strong points of Tange’s research on the process of cultural adaptation. Summary of Tange’s research Tange aimed to unite theory and practice of the cultural adaptation process and to show how the business community could benefit from research based on the qualitative approach.
The methodology is primarily based on data collected by interviewing immigrants, as well as subjective observations of the intercultural environment. The study relies on empirical research of using immigrants and personal experience in intercultural communications. Tange highlights sojourners and pays attention to how companies can benefit from employee who acquired intercultural competence. Thus, it can be seen that the main audience of this research is people in the business area, namely, multinational companies, which have branches in foreign countries.
Tange gives a model of the process of cultural adaptation. This model provides three stages: arrival, the two-year crisis and the intercultural phase (3). In the end she has made a conclusion that cultural adaptation takes a long time. Also she questions the Lysgaard’s model of acculturation, which consists of four stages, in terms of that it fails to account for overlapping boundaries (8). Finally, Tange pointed out that companies could benefit more by stationing employees in a foreign country at least for two or three years. Evaluation
Several studies exist which provide some model of acculturation (Lysgaard 1955; Hofstede 2001). To the large extent the presented models of cultural adaptation are similar. Tange’s study is no exception. The difference between them could be primarily the chosen methodology. In order to obtain a relatively comprehensive knowledge of cultural adaptation, the approach which combines qualitative method with quantitative should be taken. One obvious weakness of Tange’s is the methodology taken. Her argument relies too heavily on qualitative analysis of data.
Moreover, only seven individuals in comparison Lysgaard’s more than 200 interviewees cannot represent the majority people, that is it is not convincible. Therefore, by means of raising the number of interviewees this work could be more reliable. Another limitation of her study as she acknowledges, is an absence of any recording of her discourses. First of all, there is every likelihood that Tange could intentionally or not omit important parties of the conversation and it resulted in the misrepresented overall picture. In addition, without some relevant quotations of her interviewees, it is difficult to perceive exact meaning.
Moreover, she did not provide information concerning the questions asked in the interviews. In order to find out the relevance of the questions, they should be given. Therefore it does not give an opportunity to replicate the study with different conditions. Also it may be the case that the nationality of the interviewer and interviewees may have affected the validity of the data, because of the interviews has took place in Denmark, and with native interviewer, so element of biased may have been introduced. Despite the weaknesses, there are some strong points, which have to be taken into consideration.
Firstly, from a perspective of samples, the range of chosen persons in terms of their diversity is quite persuasive. There were people with different backgrounds, occupation, and immigrant experience (3). It can be seen that in Lysgaard’s model there is merely representatives of education, namely students. Therefore, his model could be unable to make an objective and impartial appraisal of person’s adaptation process. Another example of Tange’s strength is that she aware of the ‘blurred boundaries’ in her model, in other words, it is not usually clear when one stage of the acculturation rocess is ends and another starts. In this case it occurs between the second stage, which is a culture shock, and the third, the acculturation phase (6). Furthermore, her points are supported with persuasive evidences and examples where appropriate. For example, she claims that cultural values are not permanent and gives consistent example of how Scottish immigrant, George noticed how his stand point concerning gender relations is conversely changed (7). Conclusion This essay has attempted to critically evaluate Tange’s study on the process of cultural adaptation. The main drawback of this paper is the chosen approach.
The study would have been far more persuasive if the author raised the number of samples. 900 words
Bibliography 1. Hofstede, G. 2001. Culture’s Consequences. 2nd edition, London: Sage. 2. Lysgaard, S. 1955. “Adjustment in a foreign society: Norwegian Fulbright Grantees Visiting the United States”. International Social Science Bulletin 7: 45-51. 3. Tange, H. 2005. In a cultural No Man’s Land – or, how long does culture shock last? Journal of Intercultural Communication, issue 10. 4. Ward, C. , S. Bochner and A. Furnham. 2001. The Psychology of Culture Shock. East Sussex: Routledge.