The above article is about a western suburb of Sydney, called Greenacre. The article, aptly named “What happened to the suburb I used to know” is a reflection and analysis of the past and current status of the suburb and how, over time it has changed from what was described as a “home” to “a minefield, or a battlefield, or a refuge of drug dealers, criminals, drive-by shooters and terror” (Roberts, 2013). This report will discuss and explore a number of theoretical principles and topics of cross-cultural management in the everyday life of Australian’s living in this suburb, through such theories and topics as Oberg’s six-month cycle of culture shock, Cultural dimensions- Ethnocentrism/stereotyping/parochialism, Hofstede’s value dimensions theory, as well as Harris’s and Moran’s cultural profiles. Oberg’s six-month cycle of culture shock
Oberg’s theory identifies 4 major stages of cultural shock and explains the “typical” transition process for a foreigner adjusting to a new county/culture. Below is a list of the stages and a brief description for each-
1. Honeymoon- minor problems will be over looked, with the excitement and anticipation of learning new things. This phase can last from a few days, up to a month. 2. Crisis/hostility- the new environment begins to seem less idealistic and can therefore lead to focusing upon the negative aspects of the host country. This period is characterised by frustration, and confusion and typically lasts up to two/three months. 3. Adjustment/humour- a respect, understanding and a further adjustment to the local culture occurs, and with this a change in attitude toward the new environment- occurs around the four/five month mark. 4. Mastery/honour- acceptance of the new culture, a sense of eagerness to help other integrate and even absorbs the habits of the new society which in turn makes him feel secure and develops a sense of dual cultural identity (biculturalism)- occurs in the 6-12 month time frame.
The article focuses on the perspective of the writer and his experiences, however it does explore some of the above stages. In particular, it is apparent in Roberts recount of his memories of his parents, in the way that they stereotyped the foreigners to be “wogs, unless they were Asian… which were dirty” (Roberts, 2013). This stereotype has evidently been infused in the culture and attitude towards the “foreigners” and due to this it appears that the people seem to be stuck in the crisis/hostility stage of Oberg’s culture shock. Roberts recounts that they were just told this hostility was “multiculturalism (and this) was the justification of all things hard to accept” (Roberts, 2013).
Furthermore, they were told that this was just “…part and parcel of the greater good, of the New Australia, of the emergence of alternative cultures - it's just a settling-in process” (Roberts, 2013)- potentially moving toward the adjustment period. However, this was over 50 years ago and it appears not a lot has changed with this “drive-by shooting” culture, which seemingly still has a firm grasp on the suburb, with “local residents living in permanent fear of reprisals” (Roberts, 2013). Cultural dimensions/effects
Culture is made up of a number of dimensions and each has its effect on the culture as a whole. Below is a list of dimensions that collectively make up a culture-
- Economic system
- Social stratification
The prominent religion in Greenacre is Islam, with 38.9% of the surveyed population identifying that as their religion. Furthermore, 73.6% of the population was born overseas and 42.2% of the population speaks Arabic as their first language (statistics gathered from Census 2011). These statistics are indicative of the overall population within Greenacre and as a result of this, the impending culture that was formed because of it- “little Lebanon, with all the worst features from a...