Strengths & Weaknesses of Cultural Approach

Written by steven gardner
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Strengths & Weaknesses of Cultural Approach
Those from different backgrounds can find common ground. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

The cultural approach involves finding solutions to problems that satisfy the desires and needs of people raised differently. Often the conversation comes about as a result of immigration, or when two nations attempt to make an agreement out of a challenge. The approach seems to be positive on its face, but it does bring problems with it. In particular, providing too much of a cultural approach may inhibit assimilation into the dominant culture. That very conversation tends to stir up emotions on both sides of the issue over accommodation versus assimilation.

Acquiring Understanding

Eye contact in western culture means attentiveness, but in some eastern cultures it's a sign of intimidation. The basic concept of a cultural approach is to communicate in a way the listener can understand. If basic methods, such as eye contact, are misunderstood, it will get in the way of creating understanding. A communicator, to be effective, must know some of the major differences between communication styles from one culture to the other. Acquiring that understanding pays off in the long run when more issues arise.

Creating Results by Making Allowances

A hospital finding it difficult to offer health care to people from a distinct culture may see a positive difference by allowing for things that were societal norms elsewhere. Especially in the case of an illness that is a public health threat, this can be an obviously positive benefit to society at large. Most often this involves for allowing practices that are not illegal, but just are not demanded on a large scale locally.

The Challenge of Assimilation

There is a potential that allowing for too much can make it difficult for someone to assimilate into a new society. In a sense it becomes the locals adapting to the newcomers more than the newcomers adapting to their new home. That can be difficult to accept for those who were born in an area or who moved to an area and adapted. Most would argue that newcomers must be willing to adapt to the way things are done in a locality. Where that line is drawn, however, is where the debate lies.

Competing Cultures

In some cases, the way cultures interact leave both at odds with each other. In such cases, a newcomer trying to make it in a new location might either reject one culture in favour of the other, or in a child's case be confused by both and succeed at neither. The best scenario is someone who is capable in both cultures, but for some it might be too difficult to accomplish.

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