Cultural Adaption Process

Abstract 

Culture plays an important role in defining how people learn and behave in their social settings. The Hofstede six dimensions models identified areas where countries differ in their cultural practices and which impact the way people learn. The coming of technological advancement and global trends has added up the paradox to learning and course designers are expected to develop courses that meet the needs of the learners in different social environments. Brazil and America have differences in the six dimensions that would impact the design of course content with respective to the scores of each country in the Hofstede’s dimensions. The purpose of the current paper is to identify the appropriate adaptations to course content with respect to the six dimensions in the two countries.

Introduction

The current Cultural Adaptation Process task is involving the evaluation of the course adaptations based on the differences in cultural practices in Brazil and America. This project is part of the requirements of my course to understand the corporate culture in various countries and will be focused on highlighting the areas of differences and convergence between the selected countries in terms of their culture and practice. Culture is an important element of a people’s behavior and defines the many ways in which people of one country may distinguish themselves from the rest of the people. In this project, the culture of the American and Brazilian people is contrasted and compared with the view of identifying areas where adaptation may be done (Keengwe, 2014). The ultimate purpose is to develop an understanding and appreciation of the perspectives with the aim of addressing the issues surrounding the need for adaptation. 

Cultural Dimensions for Brazil

Brazil is a diversified country that is composed of people from different races and cultural backgrounds. The country’s demography consists of majority young people who are well versed with the modern lifestyle and trends. It is a developing country that has achieved much of its economic and social development in the recent past (Central Intelligence Agency, 2008). As a result, the Hofstede dimensions are applied appropriately in response to the social strata of the country. To enhance its position as a fast developing country, Brazilians have adapted a form of culture that mixes the modern lifestyle of behavior with the conventional way of behavior. The adaptation of cultural practices in the country is influenced by the global trends facilitated by the easy access to the global culture through the internet and other social media. 

On the other hand, the American cultural practices provide the citizens and people an environment that is highly individualized, meaning that the self image of most Americans is defined in terms of the “I”. It is most likely that the American people will first take care of themselves and their immediate family as opposed to trying to take care of the whole society. There is a tendency of having in groups where care is exchanged for unquestionable loyalty. While the power distance in the country is low compared to Brazil, America is a highly individualized country with the implications of promotion of justice and liberty for everyone. It also promotes establishment of hierarchical convenience in organizations and frequent sharing of information between the managers and their juniors. The country also cherishes the use of informal communication and direct participation in decision making process and has loosely knit society, a high degree of geographical mobility and custom to interacting with strangers more freely than in Brazil (Tan, 2007). 

 

As a result, the American and Brazil culture complements each other when it comes to offering support for learning of the current course. Whatever is missing in the American culture will be offset in the Brazilian culture and vice versa. The form of relationship is likely to provide an environment that is supportive of the learners who wish to learn in a globally inclined culture but also who want to experience dynamism and change in the way they are used to learning. The exposure is resonance with the fact that the two countries are highly structured when it comes to provision of the resources to support learning as well as the methods to overcome the cultural barriers to learning. In essence, the American culture in welcoming of the foreign students, as evidenced by the fact that the country has the highest number of foreign students in the world. 

The cultural distinction between the learners in Brazil and American is not much exhibited in terms of their exposure to modern and contemporary lifestyle. Learners in Brazil are as much exposed to technology as those in America with a presence of technology savvy learners and computer culture. The trend is not just a national culture but a way of life that promotes the way young people endeavor to acquire knowledge and interact with others from different social and cultural backgrounds. The course content developed for this group of learners will thus be enforced with the need to integrate a cross-cultural approach that espouses global trends and cultural practices that can easily be accepted by the majority of the young people in America and Brazil. The way people learn in the two cultures is highly depended on their exposure to technology and the opportunities they have to put forward their best learning capabilities (Pauleen, 2007).

The cultural practice in Brazil is an embodiment of the social belief that distribution of power should be done is such a way that inequalities exists between the people. The balance of power is accepted by the majority of Brazilians with the justification that the individuals in power ought to benefit from their position than those without power. To this end, young people are expected, by default, to show respect to the elderly in a way that demonstrates the hierarchy of power. As a progressive country, Brazil formation of culture overflows into the social and corporate practice with identifiable leaders who are responsible for decisions made. Power is used as a status symbol and indicates the social position occupied by the holder as well as the ability to communicate and direct others (Hofstede, 2010). 

National Level Cultural Dimensions and Critical Cross-Cultural Dimensions

Hofstede (2010) revealed that Brazilian six dimensions are somehow a mix of modern and traditional practices. Its proximity to the United States makes the six dimensions in Brazil to be closely linked. Owing to the fact that the two countries are both Americas, there is a tendency to share much of their cultural dimensions. As a result, there is an almost similar trend in the way the two score on the Hofstede six dimension scales. 

Following the practice in Brazil, it is evident that the people in the country are pragmatic, socially integrated with a high power distance practice. They are also intermediate in terms of the feminine and masculine preference with a high tendency to avoid uncertainty. Thus, while the people are expected to live in social groups and organize themselves in a manner that encourage interdependence, they still view those in power positions as having a kind of privilege to enjoy the best things in the society (Pauleen, 2007). The Brazilian society encourages individuals to care for themselves but also for others in their social groups, promote enjoyment of social life between men and women, and encourage equal access to opportunities between men and women. 

However, preference is given to merit as workplaces are rife with leaders who are qualified to hold leadership positions as well as the mutual benefits that go into the larger society. The conflict transformation process of the Brazilian people is arrived at through agreements, negotiations, and compromise. As a highly dynamic society, the people in the country are able to adjust to the emerging demands in their society to address the challenge, operate in different circumstance while working towards improving their lifestyle (Tan, 2007). The current course provides a message that would easily resonate with the people of Brazil. It provides opportunities for everyone to learn in order to achieve their personal and professional aspirations.  

National Level Cultural Dimensions of Learners and Assistive Cross-Cultural Dimensions of Course

The Brazilian culture is supportive of cross-cultural learning with the United States. Despite the language divide that may be a barrier to this form of learning, learners from the two countries can be building on their previous knowledge in line with the course’s content. It also allows for group learning that encompasses both males and females. The course provides numerous examples that could assist the learner to differentiate the techniques of learning in an everyday Brazilian or American culture. It also provides an opportunity for learners to experience universal design of their understanding of the course content and help to bridge the gap between the two cultures. The diversity of language means that the learners will need to accelerate their learning capabilities by integrating the six dimensions in their approach to the learning environment in which they are taking their course.

It is worthwhile to note that most of the Brazilian people ascribe to the Portuguese language. However, the English language is also becoming popular in the country and much of the learning material and course resources can be provided in this universally spoken language. However, in some cases there will be a need to adapt the resources in the widely used language. it should be done as a way of trying to accommodate the other people who may not be conversant or confident with the language of instruction.

The cultural practices in the US and Brazil stands in total contrast with each other. America is a highly developed and progressive country, where liberty and freedom are mixed with the individualistic approach to learning and social interactions. On the other hand, Brazilian culture is supportive of social integration. It presents a binge of value for experience, and a multifaceted approach to accommodation of individual differences in many areas (Pauleen, 2007). Also, the user activity is generative in the sense that it flows from the social perceptions about the concept in question. In order to thrive in the Brazilian culture, foreign learners coming from the US will need to understand the power distance that exists among the people of Brazil, for instance, the tendency to view those in power as occupying a privileged position that comes with a lot of benefits. This will be essential in delivering the much needed assistance during learning as learners will be able to seek for this help with a clear mind. They will also be exposed to an environment that is supportive and appreciative of their needs to have assistance. It is unlike the American culture where individualism dominates the public interactions in social space and may sometimes hinder the effort to learn by strangers who want to learn (Tan, 2007). However, this form of misgiving is offset in some areas where, for example, most learners are able to approach the concepts learned with an environment mind, instead of having to go through societal bureaucracies.

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Cultural Adaptation Process Model to Propose Adaptations

The two societies exhibit a number of cultural differentiations that can present challenges to the learners. However with adaptation, the course designers can incorporate a number of aspects during the design process to align the course to the needs of the learners in each environment. It is especially important when it comes to developing a course that avoids course conflicts and is able to accommodate the learning variations between the learners and the environment in which the learning is taking place. In terms of the content, the course designers can consider developing content that promotes social integration, allows for a highly structured power distance, and dwells on uncertainty avoidance in the case of the Brazilian situation (Rau, 2014). The training approach to be adapted for each cultural setup will be reflective of the practices exhibited in the learning environment. As a practice, technological aids and media have become among the most revered tools to support learning. It is because apart from narrowing down the cultural variation among learners, they are also at a position to provide an opportunity to the learners to use a variety of materials. Thus, they are at a position to access the materials needed for learning.

In terms of delivery considerations, it is important to adapt a method that utilizes the existing six dimensions in terms of power distance, individualism, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity, long term orientation, and indulgence as presented in Brazil and America. The course instructors will need to adapt to the prevailing social and cultural practices with the priority to empower learners to grasp the concepts they are taught. In this case, individualism is a critical cultural dimension that will influence the acquisition of knowledge and the learning process (Keengwe, 2014). The reason for this is that learners are able to get assistance benefit from interaction with their instructors and fellow learners. However, it will depend on whether or not the each one of them is willing to seek for assistance and offer assistance in return. 

The cost of this adaptation will be matched with the existing needs of learners and course instructors. The cultural dimension in this case is static in the sense that it cannot be changed to suit the needs of the learners. Rather, it provides a balanced ground where the cost of adaptation is tweaked to reflect the needs of the society. Individualism means that the process of executing the course in the environment will be reinforced by the adaptation of the course to suit the needs of the learners (Edmundson, 2007). Brazilian learners, for instance, will be expected to adapt to the American culture of individualistic approach to learning as opposed to the integrated social approach practiced in Brazil. It might call for changing some habits and behaviors of the learners as an adaptation mechanism in order to succeed in learning. 

Substantiate Proposed Adaptations

The proposed adaptation will be undertaken apropos to the existing resources. There must be a review of the entire process of adapting the course content to the existing conditions to ensure that the resultant course content addresses the needs of the learners. It is also instructive to develop prototype course content in the name of a pilot test that will help to identify the imminent challenges and put in place the contingencies to addressing these challenges. More importantly, the development of the course content will be done in collaboration with the stakeholders both in the Brazilian and American context. This will help identify areas that require adaptation and to promote mechanisms for adapting to the new course content. The proposed adaptations thus provide an effective way of learning by ensuring that the course content is not only effective but also works within the available resources. 

In establishing cross-cultural course content, there is a need to examine different Hofstede dimensions within the various cultural contexts. This will help the course instructors and the learners to appreciate the role of technological advancements and the globalized culture as a means of relying on human interactions to provide learning. The Brazilian situation means that learners will be willing to explore new opportunities and take advantage of the existing social interaction to learn from others and also help them to learn where they are not proficient. The feminine characterization of the Brazilian people means that they are able to give way to those who want to learn. Brazil scores intermediate on the masculinity dimension which puts in a better position for people to compete, achieve, and succeed in their learning process (Rau, 2014). This value system is embraced from the learning environment and flows into other parts of life. The sign for success is likely to stand out and is appreciated by the society as a milestone in the quest for motivation and liking what is done. 

Redesigning the Course Content

Edmundson (2007) argued that cross-cultural learning requires the course designers to consider the ingenuity of their approach to learning by introducing creative and original content in their material. The main purpose for such an undertaking would be to close the gap between the cultural perspectives of the two countries by having a uniformly developed course content to address the needs of the learners. In this way, they will be able to address the sharp contrasts in the Hofstede dimensions and allow for development of a learning environment that promotes the diversity of learners in their perceptions (Hofestede, 2010). Moreover, the course content material should be developed and designed in such a manner that it considers the relational perspective as developed within the cultural context and therefore supports the cultural dimensions existing in the given country. According to Edmundson, this might be challenging at best, but if offers an opportunity to tweak the content to suit the needs of the learners. 

Even though the Brazilian situation presents a challenge in terms of language and social perspectives of learning, the country is most progressive when it comes to designing a learning environment that supports diversity of learning. This is likely going to be beneficial especially when developing an environment that is supportive of the two countries learners.  The content developers will also need to address the indulgence aspects of the Brazilian culture to determine how majority of the young people are socialized and molded into responsible human beings. This is important especially when it comes to defining how these young people are going to control their impulses and desires based on the social formation that they are undergoing. The extent to which the youth are able to restrain themselves of negative aspects of the society will be important in achieving the objectives of learning going forward.

Conclusion

The above project provides the analysis of the cultural dimensions of the Brazilian and American societies in terms of Hofstede analysis. The two countries have almost the same cultural dimensions and therefore adaptation of a course program to suit learners in each context will go a long way in assisting them to have an exciting learning experience. The adaptations are designed with consideration of cost and language differences to allow the instructors and content designers to capture the most important aspects to learners in the two environments. The cross-cultural learning environment is affected by the many factors that are influencing the way things are done. It also presents an opportunity for the learners to experience the beauty of the other cultural practices during learning and appreciate what is available on the other side. Globalization will continue to play a critical role in the influence of learning and course content development to the extent that the formation of a universal culture will be unstoppable in most cases.

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Jul 10, 2019 in Socioligy
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