My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: VI. Cultural Differences and the Intercultural Encounter
We need to be careful not to over-generalize the effect of culture on individual’s values, since within cultures large variances were found between individuals on the basis of factors like age (Roccas et al., 2002)), personality (Bilsky & Schwartz, 199; Sawyerr et al., 2005) and gender (Church, 2010; Sawyerr et al., 2005; Schwartz & Rubel, 2005; Struch et al., 2002). Socio-economic status was found to affect value structures as well; however, it needs to be noted that findings on value structures may be affected by sampling practices (Fischer et al., 2011). There has been a long history of the study of values among social scientists, yet we do not have a clear view of values (Bachika & Schulz, 2011). Many aspects, and specially the link between individual and national (country-level) values requires more investigation (Knafo et al., 2011; Schwartz, 2011).
Much of the behavior people find different – and hard to deal with – when meeting those from a foreign culture may be accounted for by their divergent value system. It was suggested that one needs preparation in order to prepare for the encounter with different value systems (Ward et al., 2001). In order to understand the differences between cultures we need to look at different cultural patterns, also named value orientations, around the globe. There are several classifications of these cultural patterns or value orientations that can contribute to the understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the intercultural friendship (Samovar et al., 2009). After briefly reviewing four of the best-known classification systems (Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck; Hall & Hall, Inglehart; and Schwartz), I will focus on Hofstede’s classification and demonstrate how it will be applied to this study.