Misunderstandings

Misunderstandings

Culture includes the commonly shared values, beliefs, assumptions and habits of a people which result in expected or characteristic behaviors. Those values, beliefs and assumptions are “invisible” to the outsider or visitor at least initially. So in cross cultural encounters, there is plenty of room for misunderstanding!

The meaning of behaviors is not always understood by the outsider because the behavior is giving expression to common (but usually invisible) values, beliefs, assumptions and ways of thinking. So, the outsider assigns a certain meaning to an observed behavior in the new cultural context, but the cultural insider intends an entirely different meaning.

There is a collision of two different meanings assigned to the one behavior. A communication collision. A meaningful collision!