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When Cultures Meet

Week 3: When Cultures Meet
Consider the following scenario:

A young girl is raised in Vermont, in the Northern part of the United States. During her childhood, she absorbs, among other attitudes and beliefs, the subtle teachings of her community that people from the South are not to be trusted. These teachings are never overt; she learns from the way people in her family and community discuss Southern visitors and the events taking place in the South.

When the girl grows up, she takes a job that includes regular travel to the South, where she works with a team of locals. Due to her upbringing, she has a bias against people from the South. Because that bias is implicit—or unconscious—she does not even know it is there. Nevertheless, she approaches her coworkers with skepticism and lack of trust. In this way, the culture’s beliefs persist in the woman long after her childhood has ended.

This week, you explore cross-cultural experiences like this and consider the extent to which you have or have not departed from the unconscious teachings of your own youth.

Learning Objectives
Students will:

· Apply ethics to scenarios involving cultural conflicts

· Describe approaches to address cultural conflicts in a professional setting

· Describe acculturation strategies

· Describe changes to early beliefs based on cultural exposure

Learning Resources
McCombs School of Business. (2018a, December 18). Ethics defined: Morals [Video]. YouTube.

McCombs School of Business. (2018b, December 18). Ethics defined: Values [Video]. YouTube.

TEDx Talks. (2017, September 18). Dushaw Hockett: We all have implicit biases. So what can we do about it? | TEDxMidAtlanticSalon [Video].

Document: Ethical Dilemma Scenarios (PDF)

Research and review the code of ethics for your profession. The following are representative examples but are not exhaustive:
American Counseling Association. (n.d.). Ethical and professional standards.

American Psychological Association. (2017, March). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct.

National Association of Social Workers. (n.d.). Read the code of ethics.

National Organization for Human Services. (n.d.). Ethical standards for human services professionals.

Document: Acculturation Strategies Worksheet (Word document)


Discussion: Cultural Conflicts and Dilemmas in Professional Settings
When cultures come together, naturally there can be conflicts due to different values, beliefs, and perspectives. Professional codes of ethics can provide guidance on how to navigate these conflicts and remain humble and open to the perspectives of others. In fact, many codes overtly refer to the cultural considerations professionals in the discipline must take into account.

For this Discussion, you analyze a scenario involving a clash of cultures in a professional setting and describe how your code of ethics could help address the issue.

To Prepare
· Access the code of ethics for your chosen profession using the links in the Learning Resources or researching them online.

· Examine the provided “Ethical Dilemma Scenarios” and select one to analyze for your initial Discussion post.

By Day 4

Identify what cultural socialization beliefs and practices seem to be in conflict in your chosen scenario and the unconscious bias that may be present. Then, explain what ethical standard in your profession might help support decision-making around the conflict, and why. Finally, describe how you would address the issue depicted in the scenario.

Last Updated on October 27, 2021

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