American culture
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Who am I  Laura Mendoza Born and raised in Espoo, Finland Studied and worked in Seattle, USA for 10+ years English lecturer (Language Centre, TKK) Finland  USA  Mexico  Finland. American culture. Objective:. To deepen our understanding of the American culture

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American culture

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American culture

Who am I Laura Mendoza

Born and raised in Espoo, Finland

Studied and worked in Seattle, USA for 10+ years

English lecturer (Language Centre, TKK)

Finland  USA Mexico  Finland

American culture


Objective

Objective:

To deepen our understanding of the American culture

  • What do we think we know about Americans?

  • 13 American values (Robert Kohls)


American culture

Groupwork:

ListfivestereotypicalcharacteristicsthatdescribeAmericans. Usedescriptiveterms and notevaluativeterms (uninterested in worldpolitics vs. ignorant)

  • ………………………

  • ………………………

  • ………………………

  • ………………………

  • ………………………

  • Whatdoyoubasetheseobservations on?


The iceberg model of culture

The Iceberg Model of Culture


American culture a surprise

American culture: a surprise

  • Multicultural: food, traditions, friendships

  • Varies from region to region

  • Quite liberal and tolerant (coastal regions)

    • Is it possible to describeAmerican culture as it is so diverse and vast?


American culture

  • RoberthKohls(Washington International Center) has conducted research on American cultural values

  • He found 13 values according to which almost every American lives


American culture

“If the foreign visitor really understood how deeply ingrained these 13 values are in Americans, he or she would then be able to understand 95% of American actions

– actions which might otherwise appear strange, confusing, or unbelievable when evaluated from the perspective of the foreigner’s society.”

Robert A. Kohls


Groupwork

Kohl’s 13 Values that Americans live by

Groupwork:

  • Work in groups of two to three people (teacher assigns)

  • Take a look at the list of the 13 American values.

  • As a group, discuss what each value could represent by elaborating examples of behavior you may have observed in Americans (by visiting, through media, from hearsay, etc.)


Kohl s 13 values that americans live by

Kohl’s 13 Values that Americans live by

1. Personal control over environment

  • Do not believe in fate

  • Do not accept limitations!“The sky is the limit”

    Space exploration, moon

  • Nature can be controlled

    Hurricane Catrina: who was blamed?


Kohl s 13 values that americans live by1

Kohl’s 13 Values that Americans live by

2. Change seen as natural andpositive

  • Change = Progress = a good thing

  • Stability, continuity, tradition, & ancient heritage are not as important.

  • “Think outside the box”

  • Old concepts thrown out easily in business and replaced by new methods

  • Workers are comfortable and used to more change


Kohl s 13 values that americans live by2

Kohl’s 13 Values that Americans live by

3. Time and its control

  • Time can be saved, wasted, spent, killed,used wisely, managed

  • More concerned with getting things done on time not with developing deep relationships

  • Productivity is important

  • Being late is unforgivable

  • Agendas – organizational skills valued


Kohl s 13 values that americans live by3

Kohl’s 13 Values that Americans live by

4. Equality and fairness

  • Given equality a religious basis: “All men are created equal”

  • All people have an equal opportunity to succeed in life, but disagreement about putting this ideal into reality.


Kohl s 13 values that americans live by4

Kohl’s 13 Values that Americans live by

5. Individualism / Independence

  • Americans see selves as highly individualistic in their thoughts and actions(independent thinker)

  • Resist being considered representatives of any homogeneous group. (“I am different from those guys…”)

  • Express “different” opinions anywhere and anytime.

  • Individualism leads to privacy, which Americans see as desirable!


Kohl s 13 values that americans live by5

Kohl’s 13 Values that Americans live by

  • One’s own efforts determine the outcome of your life (not luck)

  • “Make your bed and lie in it”

  • Concept of “self-made man”

  • “From rags to riches

  • Ideal of the ”self-made man or woman” → quantities of words with ”self” (self-expression, self-improvement, self-interest…)

  • Their own sacrifice and hard work will bring success!

  • American system allows people to move up the ladder.

6. Self-help/ Initiative


Kohl s 13 values that americans live by6

Kohl’s 13 Values that Americans live by

7.Competition

  • Competition brings out the best in the individual (starts in elementary school)

  • Free enterprise is best.

  • Competition is seen in the job market, education, and ideas.

  • Competition of ideas  the art of using language to communicate effectively and persuasively

  • Poor listening skills?

  • Debate is OK – playing the devil’s advocate


Kohl s 13 values that americans live by7

Kohl’s 13 Values that Americans live by

8.Future Orientation

  • Less focus on past or present, more focus on future

  • The future will bring even more happiness…

  • Like new technologies and ideas


Kohl s 13 values that americans live by8

Kohl’s 13 Values that Americans live by

9.Action / Work Orientation

  • Action superior to inaction (Don’t just stand there – do something!)

  • What do you do?

  • Kehityskeskustelu = ?

  • Holidays?

  • ”Work to live” vs. ”Live to Work”

  • Retirement age

Performanceappraisal


Kohl s 13 values that americans live by9

Kohl’s 13 Values that Americans live by

10.Informality

  • First names (boss, professor)

  • Casual Dress (work, opera, etc.)

  • Rank and position not important!

  • → service industry attitude “casual”

  • → informal and casual speaking OK no matter who


Kohl s 13 values that americans live by10

Kohl’s 13 Values that Americans live by

11.Directness / Openness/ Honesty

  • Direct in delivering negativeevaluations.

  • Anything other than direct approach to be dishonest and insincere.

  • Causes problems in face-saving cultures

  • Can be viewed as confrontational.

  • Can directly say no.


Kohl s 13 values that americans live by11

Kohl’s 13 Values that Americans live by

12.Practicality / Efficiency

  • Practicality has highest priority in decision-making.

  • Not interested in theories or philosophies – applied / practical.What do I gain from it?

  • What problem does it solve?

  • Academic world: emphasis on the practical


Kohl s 13 values that americans live by12

Kohl’s 13 Values that Americans live by

13.Materialism / Acquisitiveness

  • Benefits of hard work: “I deserve the best.”

  • Material existence benefits man more than spiritual improvement.

  • Higher priority given to obtaining, maintaining, and protecting material objects.

  • Because value newness means they throw away old possessions and replace with new.


Kohl s 13 values that americans live by13

Kohl’s 13 Values that Americans live by

Reflecting on the stereotypes

Let’s take a look at the stereotypes generated in the beginning of the class

Which value(s) help explain the stereotypes?

Is there a quality you would now take off the list?


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