The Cultural Detective Model is about communication. When a person says or does something, the words and actions are perceived by another. When that person’s perception of the message is different than the communicator’s intended meaning, misunderstandings occur.
A good detective is adept at observation, able to describe people’s behavior in a non-judgmental way, consciously filters out cultural biases, and uses emotional reactions as clues for understanding.
A good detective also analyzes potential motives, looking at possible reasons that people may have behaved the way they did. A Cultural Detective investigates another’s values, beliefs, and "cultural sense"—and explores possible underlying motivations of another’s behavior.
Why not say “common sense” instead of "cultural sense"? Organizations want to hire people with common sense. Schools want to graduate students with common sense. The key to common sense, however, is that it is shared; thus, it is really “cultural sense,” common among a certain group of people. My common sense may not be yours, and Japanese common sense surely is not Mexican common sense.