Culture and Values Organizer
|Competency||Describe the influence of culture on beliefs, values, and behaviors|
Your manager wants you to lead a brief presentation to your team about culture as part of the initiative to build a healthy and culturally aware workplace. To help organize your thoughts, answer all the questions below:
- Provide a detailed description of your own culture, beliefs, values, and norms.
|With which culture(s) do you identify, and what makes you a part of them? What culture or cultures are most important to you?|
|I identify myself with the Western culture. Western culture refers to the culture that originated from European countries. It dominates these (European) countries as well as the United States. Although culture has spread throughout the world, it is more concentrated in the US. I identify myself with the culture due to the wide range of values, norms, beliefs, and symbols that I share with a majority of the people from the culture. The Western culture is important to me since it influences my loyalties, values, hopes, views and even fears. I also value it as it gives me a sense of belonging.
|What are the material and non-material aspects of your culture (s)?|
| One material aspect of Western culture is the use of technology to develop machines and instruments that make work easier. Various technological innovations have been realized within the culture. For instance, people from the culture use computers to perform different functions both at home, in school and at work . The Western culture also promotes the aspect of self-defense hence most people possess guns. The culture also permits the establishment of churches and mosques to advocate for the freedom of worship. We build our houses using bricks or wood. Moreover, people tend to settle in neighborhoods that march their social classes. For instance, Suburban neighborhoods consist of people with higher incomes. Their homes are larger than those of other neighborhoods. The major industries include food processing, petroleum, telecommunications, mining, electronics, and motor vehicles. The main commercial activities include professional jobs, service industry, tourism, and advertising.
The non-material aspects, in contrast, include the beliefs, norms, values, and symbols that shape the way of life of people from Western culture. Most people from my culture are Christians. Only a small percentage belongs to the Jewish or Muslim religion. Additionally, the people care about the provision of equal opportunities to people, individual freedoms, and fair treatment of every person irrespective of their background, race, or religion (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2014). The culture also advocates for freedom of ownership of property. Leisure activities practiced by our people include soccer and tennis. The Western culture also values different artistic works ranging from music, paintings to carvings. Then people also believe in equal education for all.
|How do you believe your cultural affiliations are represented in the workplace?|
|The organization where I work has a number of practices and policies which reflect my cultural affiliations. The organization has an employment policy that requires the HR department to offer all people equal opportunities regardless of their background or physical disabilities. The organization also has a culture that promotes equality and cultural diversity and prohibits discrimination of any form. Moreover, the organization does not operate over the weekends, which gives me an opportunity to attend church services on Sundays. Lastly, the organization holds sports activities every twice a year. The activities that usually dominate the sports days are majorly soccer, athletics, and tennis. From all the named aspects, I believe the organization puts into consideration my cultural affiliations.|
Beliefs and Values
|What are some things that you believe based on your culture (s) and how those beliefs shape your actions? Does your culture share any beliefs with other cultures?|
|I believe in various things that are common in my culture. For instance, I believe in bodily and emotional restraint. Since I was a child, I have always had an unrelenting enthusiasm in everything I do. With this spirit, I believe in the ability to hide my emotions behind a smile and an enthusiastic spirit. I also believe in Christianity and its doctrines. In addition, I value biomedical medicine as the most effective means of treatment as compared to other traditional methods of cure. I also believe in the etiquette of giving thanks to people who help in any way. I value the concept of providing equal opportunities to all people regardless of their differences. Other beliefs which I hold on to include tipping, American holidays, greetings, introductory messages, and other common expressions that are common to my culture. I believe in the power of receiving or giving tips or gifts as an appreciation of the job or service offered. Additionally, I believe that greetings are an important part of my culture; hence, it is good etiquette to greet people. Lastly, I believe in going on holidays as part of Western culture.
These beliefs shape my actions in different ways. I always give thanks and even offer tips at different places whenever I receive good services. On the other hand, I always accept gifts from people who I serve. I also don’t show my emotions to people. Moreover, I greet the people that I meet within different contexts.
Comparing the beliefs that define my culture to those of other cultures, I can say that the former shares some of its beliefs with other cultures. For instance, several cultures believe in the practice of giving thanks and even tipping others after they receive good services.
|Which of your values are most important to you? How has your culture shaped your values?|
|I have a number of values which I deem important to me. My first value is the ability to work hard and take care of myself. I believe that independence and freedom are only achieved by the ability of a person to care for themselves . The belief makes me work harder at my workplace. The second value which I uphold and is important to me is resiliency. I always prevent myself from expressing my hardships to the world. Additionally, I always stretch my efforts to ensure I achieve my goals. I have always learned the aspect of successful competition which increases the energy that I commit to my work. The values within my culture include self-reliance, hard work, competition and equal opportunities for all. A greater percentage of people from my culture practice these values. As a result, I reflect on them to give me the energy and motivation to work harder. The belief in the American dream also makes me work hard to achieve the dream.
|How do your beliefs and values match those of the organizations you have worked for or been associated with?|
|My beliefs and values largely match with those of the organizations which I have worked for. My values of hard work and the achievement of set goals are consistent with my former workplace whose objective was to ensure employees work hard to achieve all the goals set by the end of the year. The workplace also valued the spirit of resiliency which enabled some of the employees to earn rewards due to their resilient spirits. The organization also provided equal opportunities to all people regardless of their physical disability, ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, and gender. The organization also gave everyone the freedom of worship by closing its operations on Fridays to give people time to worship. Lastly, the organization would respect my belief in biomedical medicine by providing hospital healthcare to employees.|
Norms/ Expected Behaviors
|What are some high-level norms or expected behaviors in your culture (s)|
|One of the cultural norms within Western culture is enforced informality. Most superiors expect to be called by their first names. The informality also applies to the mode of dressing. The Western culture enforces people, especially in different workplaces to put on casual dresses. Another norm is the ability to hide emotions and struggles behind constant smiles. People from the culture are not allowed to show the public their struggles. The culture also abhors any form of racial and gender discrimination. It is also a norm to tip waters or waitresses in restaurants as a form of appreciation. Americans are also expected to avoid talking about controversial topics such as politics, sexuality, and religion. When greeting other people, it is their norm to do that through a hug or a handshake.|
|What happens when members of your culture(s) do not follow these norms or expected behaviors?|
|When people do not adhere to the set norms, they are bound to be corrected publicly. For instance, a person showing the slightest form of sexual harassment may lead to public rebuke. Serious legal actions may also be taken against such a person. On the other hand, a person who raises a topic that is considered controversial may not get an audience to hold the conversation with. Not following some norms, however, may make people feel out of place or be ignored. For instance, failure to greet people creates a bad impression and the people may end up ignoring the person.|
|Do people in your culture typically believe that everyone, even those from other cultures, should follow these norms or expected behaviors?|
|Yes, people from my culture believe that everyone should behave in accordance with the cultural norms. For instance, they expect everyone to always put on a smile in all circumstances. They also expect all people to avoid any acts of racial or sexual discrimination. In addition, people from other cultures are expected to greet those they meet through handshakes or hugs even if the practice is not present in their culture.|
Houghton Mifflin Company. (2014). Culture of the United States. Retrieved from: https://www.eduplace.com/ss/socsci/books/content/ilessons/6/ils_gr6_c04_l4.pdf
Sibani, C. M. (2018). Impact of Western culture on traditional African society: problems and prospects. Journal of Religion and Human Relations, 10(1), 56-72.
Trustees of Boston University. (n. d). Values in American culture. Retrieved from: https://www.bu.edu/isso/files/pdf/AmericanValues.pdf
 Sibani, C. M. (2018). Impact of Western culture on traditional African society: problems and prospects. Journal of Religion and Human Relations, 10(1), 56-72.
 Trustees of Boston University. (n. d). Values in American culture. Retrieved from: https://www.bu.edu/isso/files/pdf/AmericanValues.pdf