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Friendship differences between cultures in the workplace

friendship differences between cultures in the workplace

Abstract. Friendship may help to bridge differences between people, such as between age-diverse employees. Oftentimes, age diversity in. 70 percent of employees say friends at work is the most crucial element to a happy working life, and 58 percent of men would refuse a. This makes friendship relationships different than, say, a family relationship, in which networks are built on irreversible connections of. GTA ONLINE BETTING NOT WORKING

Ask people questions about their cultures, customs, and views People, for the most part, want to be asked questions about their lives and their cultures. Many of us were told that asking questions was nosy; but if we are thoughtful, asking questions can help you learn about people of different cultures and help build relationships. People are usually pleasantly surprised when others show interest in their cultures.

If you are sincere and you can listen, people will tell you a lot. Read about other people's cultures and histories It helps to read about and learn about people's cultures and histories. If you know something about the reality of someone's life and history, it shows that you care enough to take the time to find out about it.

It also gives you background information that will make it easier to ask questions that make sense. However, you don't have to be an expert on someone's culture to get to know them or to ask questions. People who are, themselves, from a culture are usually the best experts, anyway. Don't forget to care and show caring It is easy to forget that the basis of any relationship is caring. Everyone wants to care and be cared about. Caring about people is what makes a relationship real. Don't let your awkwardness around cultural differences get in the way of caring about people.

Listen to people tell their stories If you get an opportunity to hear someone tell you her life story first hand, you can learn a lot--and build a strong relationship at the same time. Every person has an important story to tell. Each person's story tells something about their culture. Listening to people's stories, we can get a fuller picture of what people's lives are like--their feelings, their nuances, and the richness of their lives.

Listening to people also helps us get through our numbness-- there is a real person before us, not someone who is reduced to stereotypes in the media. Additionally, listening to members of groups that have been discriminated against can give us a better understanding of what that experience is like.

Listening gives us a picture of discrimination that is more real than what we can get from reading an article or listening to the radio. Exercise: You can informally ask people in your neighborhood or organization to tell you a part of their life stories as a member of a particular group. You can also incorporate this activity into a workshop or retreat for your group or organization. Have people each take five or ten minutes to talk about one piece of their life stories. If the group is large, you will probably have to divide into small groups, so everyone gets a chance to speak.

Notice differences in communication styles and values; don't assume that the majority's way is the right way. We all have a tendency to assume that the way that most people do things is the acceptable, normal, or right way. As community workers, we need to learn about cultural differences in values and communication styles, and not assume that the majority way is the right way to think or behave.

Example: You are in a group discussion. Some group members don't speak up, while others dominate, filling all the silences. The more vocal members of the group become exasperated that others don't talk. It also seems that the more vocal people are those that are members of the more mainstream culture, while those who are less vocal are from minority cultures.

How do we understand this? How can this be resolved? In some cultures, people feel uncomfortable with silence, so they speak to fill the silences. In other cultures, it is customary to wait for a period of silence before speaking. If there aren't any silences, people from those cultures may not ever speak.

Also, members of some groups women, people of low income, some racial and ethnic minorities, and others don't speak up because they have received messages from society at large that their contribution is not as important as others; they have gotten into the habit of deferring their thinking to the thinking of others. When some people don't share their thinking, we all lose out. We all need the opinions and voices of those people who have traditionally been discouraged from contributing.

In situations like the one described above, becoming impatient with people for not speaking is usually counter-productive. However, you can structure a meeting to encourage the quieter people to speak. For example, you can: Have people break into pairs before discussing a topic in the larger group. At certain times have each person in the circle make a comment.

People can pass if they want to. Follow a guideline that everyone speaks once, before anyone speaks twice. Invite the quieter people to lead part of the meeting. Talk about the problem openly in a meeting, and invite the more vocal people to try to speak less often. Between meetings, ask the quieter people what would help them speak, or ask them for their ideas on how a meeting should be run. A high school basketball team has to practice and play on many afternoons and evenings.

One team member is a recent immigrant whose family requires her to attend the birthday parties of all the relatives in her extended family. The coach is angry with the parents for this requirement, because it takes his player away from the team. Families have different values, especially when it comes to family closeness, loyalty, and responsibility. In many immigrant and ethnic families, young people are required to put their family's needs first, before the requirements of extra-curricular activities.

Young people from immigrant families who grow up in the U. As community workers, we need to support and respect minority and immigrant families and their values. It may already be a huge concession on the part of a family to allow a teenager to participate in extracurricular activities at all. We need to make allowances for the cultural differences and try to help young people feel that they can have both worlds--instead of having to reject one set of values for another. As community builders, it helps to develop relationships with parents.

If a young person sees her parents have relationships with people from the mainstream culture, it can help her feel that their family is accepted. It supports the teen in being more connected to her family and her community--and also, both relationships are critical protective factors for drug and alcohol abuse and other dangerous behaviors.

In addition, in building relationships with parents, we develop lines of communication, so when conflicts arise, they can be more easily resolved. Risk making mistakes As you are building relationships with people who have different cultural backgrounds than your own, you will probably make mistakes at some point. That happens. Don't let the fear of making mistakes keep you from going ahead and building relationships.

If you say or do something that is insensitive, you can learn something from it. Ask the affected person what bothered or offended them, apologize, and then go on in building the relationship. Don't let guilt bog you down. Learn to be an ally One of the best ways to help you build relationships with people of different cultures is to demonstrate that you are willing to take a stand against discrimination when it occurs.

In the sections below, we provide a short introduction to the country-level factors that we focused on in the current study. With improvements in national GDP, citizens benefit from decreased child labor, lower rates of unemployment, increased school attendance, upgrades in transportation and healthcare services, and other improvements in infrastructure Moniruzzaman and Andersson, ; Muazzam and Nasrullah, Greater GDP is associated with country-level health indicators, including reductions in child and all-cause mortality rates Ward and Viner, , as well as increases in the amount and variety of opportunities for individuals to attain their personal goals and pursue their interests Clark and Senik, Importantly, GDP is positively associated with life engagement, one of the indicators of subjective well-being Hill et al.

On the one hand, because lower GDP often portends several life difficulties e. On the other hand, social networks are a protective factor against stress for people living in low- and middle-income countries Perkins et al. Therefore, we expect that lower GDP might be associated with people valuing friendships less.

However, among people who do value friendship, lower GDP might have a less negative impact on life outcomes because valuing friendships might offset the negative effects of local economic conditions. Overall, quality of life is higher in countries with lower levels of inequality: people are happier, more satisfied, and report greater purpose in life Oishi et al. Income inequality is associated with increased all-cause and communicable disease mortality Ward and Viner, It may be that, in unequal societies where differences in social status, power, and wealth are more prominent and many social relations are vertical, people value horizontal relationships like friendship more for its focus on reciprocity and sharing Wilkinson, Alternatively, it could be the case that societies with more inequality value friendships less—the salient financial inequality might alter the things that people value in their lives e.

In close relationships, power differences between relational partners oftentimes predict commitment to a relationship, how they make decisions in various domains, and how they express dominance behaviors while interacting with each other Dunbar and Burgoon, ; Farrell et al. However, it is unclear whether PDI would predict how much people value friendships and whether PDI enhances or diminishing the positive effects of valuing friendships. As a result, people from individualistic cultures rated the lack of interaction with friends as their main source of loneliness, and people from collectivist cultures rated the poor quality of familial relationships and communication as the main sources of their loneliness Lykes and Kemmelmeier, However, this is not to say that collectivism would be linked with lower friendship importance.

People from individualistic cultures tend to report having more friends, show less caution toward friends, and feel sorry for those without friends, which might imply a positive association between individualism and valuing friendships Adams, Masculinity vs. Femininity Masculinity corresponds to being more assertive, more interested in the acquisition of status and resources, and a lower focus on the care and affection of others Holleran et al.

Assertiveness is a social skill that allows people to communicate directly with others about their desires Arrindell and Van der Ende, and indirectly leads to increases in subjective well-being and general positivity Argyle and Lu, ; Lauriola and Iani, For example, self-reliance and independence are associated with fewer medical checkups, which may translate into poorer health outcomes Calasanti, ; Springer and Mouzon, In the context of friendship, people in masculine societies might be more self-reliant and do not depend on or value friendships as much.

Societies that tend to avoid uncertainty are characterized by more anxiety and aggression aimed at achieving stability and predictability in their society. On the one hand, higher levels of uncertainty avoidance may be associated with lower levels of health, happiness, and well-being due to countries having characteristically higher levels of anxiety Voshaar et al.

Because friends provide support for individuals, valuing friendships may alleviate concerns about uncertainty by leading people to seek support from friends that may provide some certainty Hitlin and Piliavin, Therefore, high uncertainty avoidance may be associated with valuing friendships because they serve this comforting role.

As a result, friendships might not be particularly important for or linked with UAI. Long-Term Orientation Long-term orientation refers to the set of beliefs and behaviors aimed at cultivating long-term desirable outcomes Hofstede, Several studies suggest that resistance to consumption and valuing long-term goals lead to greater well-being among individuals and more sustainable societies Sheth et al.

In addition, people are usually more willing to sacrifice for and cooperate with their friends when they expect reciprocity from their friends in the future Van Lange et al. Maintaining long-term committed relationships strengthens physical and psychological well-being Dush and Amato, ; Loving and Slatcher, Given the long-term benefits of friendships, we might expect long-term orientation to be linked with placing higher importance in friendships. Indulgence vs. Restraint Indulgence refers to the extent to which societies allow for the gratification of basic and natural human desires Hofstede, A more indulgent society allows for free expression and engagement in these desires; a more restrained society imposes social norms as a means to restrict the gratification of these desires.

Research in marketing suggests that indulgent consumption is one source from which people derive pleasure and happiness Haws and Poynor, ; Hagtvedt and Patrick, On the other hand, indulgence sometimes activates negative emotions, such as guilt and regret Kivetz and Simonson, ; Keinan et al. A country high in indulgence may encourage individuals to engage in pleasurable activities, which would result in reduced stress and better health Petersen et al. To our knowledge, no research to date has examined indulgence versus restraint predicting friendship characteristics.

However, individuals who feel free to engage in pleasurable activities i. The Current Study The current study assessed the importance people place on friendships, health, happiness, and subjective well-being in a sample of , participants from 99 countries. We focused on two questions: first, which individual- and country-level factors are associated with variation in friendship importance across countries?

Second, what individual and country-level factors might interact with friendship importance to predict health and well-being? Is valuing friendships particularly beneficial in some countries compared to others? Many of our questions were exploratory—little research existed to guide our hypotheses beyond a select few studies examining differences between individualistic and collectivistic countries and comparing two countries Keller et al.

The results from the current study can shed light on how cultural contexts affect friendships and the benefits that individuals accrue from them. Materials and Methods Participants and Procedure Participants were , individuals Since , the WVS has interviewed representative national samples of several different countries all around the world.

For the current study, data from waves 1 to 5 of the WVS were aggregated, and 99 different countries are represented in the current report see Figure 1 for country coverage. Each decade of life was well represented e. Ratings of friendship importance from 99 countries. Hofstede et al. Power Distance PDI measures the degree to which a culture is accepting of inequality.

Long-Term Orientation LTO assesses the outlook of a culture; countries with a long-term orientation place more importance on the future. Country-level scores on all of the dimensions were available for 57 countries in the current analyses and for a total of 83 and 85 countries for long-term orientation and indulgence vs. Friendship Importance Participants were asked to indicate how important friends were in their lives on a scale ranging from 1 very important to 4 not at all important.

Scores were recoded such that higher values reflected more importance placed on friendships. Worth noting, participants were asked about relational values only in waves 2—5. Responses were reverse-scored so that higher values reflected better self-rated health. Numerous studies have shown that self-rated health measures are strong predictors of mortality Idler and Benyamini, ; Schnittker and Bacak, Responses were reverse scored so that higher values reflected more happiness.

The country-level standing on friendship importance can be seen in Figure 1. Results from this multilevel model are presented in Table 1. Older adults valued friendship less compared to younger adults. Women, people with higher levels of education, and people from countries low in inequality and high in indulgence placed higher importance on friendship in their lives.

Multilevel models predicting friendship values. All continuous individual and country-level variables were grand-mean centered for these analyses. Results from these multilevel models are presented in Table 2 for health , Table 3 for happiness , and Table 4 for subjective well-being.

Multilevel models predicting health. Multilevel models predicting happiness. Multilevel models predicting subjective well-being. Health Valuing friendship was associated with better health across cultures see Table 2. People reported worse health if they were older, women, less educated, and from countries lower in GDP, lower in indulgence, and higher in uncertainty avoidance.

There were many instances in which the link between valuing friendship and health was moderated by individual- or country-level variables. Specifically, there were significant two-way interactions between friendship importance and age, gender, education, power distance, individualism, masculinity, and long-term orientation.

Friendship importance was more strongly related to health among older adults, women, people with less education, and people from countries higher in power distance, individualism, femininity, and long-term orientation. Analyses decomposing the effect of friendship importance at 1 SD above and below the mean of a moderator. Happiness Valuing friendship was associated with greater happiness across cultures see Table 3.

People reported lower happiness if they were older, male, less educated, and from countries lower in GDP, higher in individualism, higher in uncertainty avoidance, more restrained, and higher in long-term orientation. There were many instances in which the effects of friendship importance on happiness were moderated by individual- or country-level variables. Specifically, there were significant two-way interactions between friendship importance and age, gender, education, power distance, and individualism.

Friendship importance was more strongly related to happiness among older adults, women, people with less education, and people from countries higher in power distance and individualism. Subjective Well-Being Valuing friendship was associated with higher levels of subjective well-being across cultures see Table 4.

People reported lower subjective well-being if they were younger, male, less educated, and from countries lower in GDP, higher in inequality, higher in power distance, higher in individualism, higher in uncertainty avoidance, and higher in long-term orientation. There were many instances in which the effects of friendship importance on subjective well-being were moderated by individual- or country-level variables.

Specifically, there were significant two-way interactions between friendship importance and age, gender, education, inequality, individualism, uncertainty avoidance, long-term orientation, and indulgence. Friendship importance was more strongly related to subjective well-being among older adults, women, people with less education, and people from countries higher in inequality, individualism, uncertainty, in long-term orientation, and restraint.

By analyzing data from the WVS, we captured a considerable number of individuals from a considerable number of countries from all around the world. The current report is the most comprehensive examination to date of how cultural factors affect the importance people place on friendships and how they benefit from them. Older adults, women, people with higher levels of education, and people living in countries high in indulgence and lower income inequality placed a higher value on friendship.

Several country-level factors—GDP, power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, and long-term orientation—did not predict how much value people placed on friendship. Similar to previous work, placing importance on friendships was strongly associated with better health, greater happiness, and higher levels of subjective well-being. Several individual- and country-level factors interacted with friendship importance to predict each outcome.

Across all the outcomes, friendship importance was more strongly related to health and happiness among older adults, women, people with lower levels of education, and people living in individualistic cultures. A few additional moderators were also present, suggesting greater effects of friendship importance on the outcomes in countries higher in power distance, femininity, uncertainty, restraint, and long-term orientation.

However, these moderation effects were not as consistent across the outcomes. Although we took a largely exploratory approach in the current study, our findings have the potential to create a great deal of discussion and future research about how friendships, and social relationships more generally, vary across cultures. Naturally, our findings have many implications for theories in social and relationship sciences, including those that make hypotheses about the formation and maintenance of relationships Rusbult, , how the self varies across contexts—and the social implications of this variation Kitayama et al.

In the current study, we provided important, basic descriptive information about how much—and some specific ways in which—cultures vary in the importance they place on friendships. As a result, researchers can begin to create more formalized models for why friendships are influential for health and well-being and the conditions under which these associations can be maximized Hartup and Stevens, ; Sandstrom and Dunn, In the sections below, we provide a summary of our results, intentionally link the results to extant theory and research, and highlight the many remaining unknowns for how friendships—and the degree to which people value them—vary across cultures.

We found that several individual- and country-level factors were significantly associated with variation in friendship importance. Some of these factors also interacted with valuing friendships to predict health and well-being. Below, we focus on discussing the factors with significant interactions. Individual-Level Factors Across cultures, women experienced greater well-being benefits when they rated friendships as important.

This may be why women value friendships more and yield greater benefits for their mental and physical well-being. That older adults who valued friendships were happier suggests that placing high importance in social relationships can serve as a successful coping strategy that enhances well-being when encountering the adversity of older adulthood Keller and Wood, ; Dykstra, ; Hutchinson et al.

A great deal of work is dedicated to how older adults fulfill their need to connect with others, which is a critical factor for preventing loneliness at this age Charles, ; Masi et al. When older adults place low importance on friendship, they may be less likely to receive emotional and practical help from friends—leaving them exposed, with no buffers, to the negative emotions stemming from changes in their lives e.

For younger adults, the contribution of friendship importance may not be as strong. People who reported higher levels of education were happier, healthier, and reported higher levels of subjective well-being. However, people with lower levels of education benefited the most from placing a high importance on friendships.

In other words, friendship importance partially compensated for many negative consequences associated with lower levels of education. For instance, friend networks might provide additional social resources to people with lower levels of education, possibly narrowing the inequalities between them and highly educated individuals Adler and Newman, ; Mirowsky and Ross, Country-Level Factors Valuing friendships was more strongly related to subjective well-being among people living in countries high in income inequality.

Like the effects of education for individuals , it could be that friendships buffer against negative societal pressures and conditions of living in a highly unequal society. However, ultimately, it is unclear why economic-related variables like education and income inequality modulate the benefits of social relationships on health and well-being.

Future research can take a more holistic approach by examining the specific stressors that income inequality at the country-level causes for individuals and how friendship might ameliorate some of these stressors. In general, we found that individualism predicted lower happiness and subjective well-being. However, placing higher importance on friendship was associated with particularly better health and happiness in countries high in individualism.

Given that people from individualistic countries are more vulnerable to loneliness when they lack interactions with friends Lykes and Kemmelmeier, , it is not surprising that our study found a stronger association between friendship importance and health and well-being. The social arrangement of collectivistic cultures promotes interdependence and cherishes the well-being of the group over the individual , which may result in obtaining more benefits from kin networks. In individualistic cultures, people might receive these benefits more from friendship networks.

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