My Friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: VI. Cultural Differences and the Intercultural Encounter

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.


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About the Author

Daniel WeishutDaniel J.N. Weishut, born in the Netherlands but living in Jerusalem, is a professional with a diverse background. He holds an MA in Clinical Psychology and an MBA in Integrative Business Administration, both from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a PsyD in Clinical and Organizational Psychology from the Professional School of Psychology (Sacramento). He has about thirty years of experience in consultation and therapy with a wide variety of clients and issues, more than twenty years of practice in group facilitation, and over fifteen years of know-how in governance and management in various organizations. Daniel Weishut offers his services as a "Partner on the Way", while taking a world-view that people are diverse but equal. He works with a variety of clients, but his special interest is in work with those who have found themselves persecuted or otherwise in conflict with their social environment, because of their culture, identity or belief system. For example: migrants, expats, refugees, Holocaust survivors, soldiers, pacifists, and individuals from religious, cultural or sexual minorities. Daniel Weishut is a social activist and in this capacity he volunteers as Chairperson of the Israeli Association of Group Psychotherapy, as Member of the Membership Appeals Committee of Amnesty International and as forensic expert for the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. He also is involved in raising awareness about the situation of Bedouins around Jerusalem; awareness which led among others to the writing of his dissertation "My friend is a Palestinian Bedouin: Challenges and opportunities in intercultural friendship".

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