Blended Culture

The term "blended culture" is used to describe individuals who, by birth and/or upbringing, hold multiple frames of cultural reference within themselves. These individuals include; 1) those who have extensive international life experience, including internationally-assigned employees and their families, immigrants and refugees, 2) those who have grown up as members of ethnic minority communities within a dominant culture, and 3) people raised by parents of different cultural backgrounds.

While recognizing the vast differences among the life paths and cultures involved, this Cultural Detective presents the common core values of third culture individuals such as contextual flexibility and creative negotiation. It also speaks to the ways in which third culture individuals may reference and access their multiple cultural perspectives, and how these influence their behaviors as they navigate their lives.

Cultural Detective Blended Culture contains the following stories and critical incidents:

  • Attending a Conference:

    A Blended Culture organizational consultant suggests to a group of Canadian consultants that al-Qaeda might serve as an interesting case study.

  • Bizarre Behavior:

    Two Brazilian NGO workers are unsettled by the behavior of their new Blended Culture deputy representative.

  • Blended Teamwork:

    Magic can happen when team members intentionally take a Blended Culture approach to their work.

  • Complement or Conflict:

    A Dutch employee complains to his Blended Culture supervisor about the colleague with whom he is assigned to work.

  • Making Decisions:

    A Danish supervisor gives a Blended Culture employee a negative performance review.

  • On What Grounds, Authority?:

    A Blended Culture staff member and his New Zealander supervisor travel to China to establish a new educational-exchange relationship.

  • Paying for Staying:

    A German woman wants her Blended Culture husband to reimburse his Syrian cousin at the end of their visit.

  • Rules of Engagement:

    A Blended Culture consultant assumes his Japanese client is also Blended Culture and interacts with him accordingly.

  • Sharing an Apartment:

    A U.S.-American woman and her Blended Culture employee have difficulty sharing the company apartment.

  • Who is She Really?:

    A Blended Culture woman sings a song that confuses her Canadian colleague.

  • Talking with the Client:

    An Indian supervisor and his Australian client have different expectations of a Blended Culture employee.

  • Wild-Card Employee, The:

    An African-American woman new to the organization becomes the supervisor of a Blended Culture employee.

Cultural Detective Blended Cultures is authored by Barbara F. Schaetti, Heather Robinson and Dianne Hofner Saphiere.

Many professors and teachers use Cultural Detective materials in their classes. We thought one student movie about this package was especially interesting. Click here to view it.

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