Discussion: What Should I Wear Today?: Cultural Patterns
Can a leopard change his spots? Can a tiger change his stripes? In some ways the coat patterns of the big cats are like the observable human behavior patterns that identify different cultural groups. Like the coat patterns of big cats, we can identify human groups based on the appearance of the clothing being worn. The choice of dress varies from culture to culture and is an observable human behavior pattern. Group behaviors reveal preferred ways of responding to the world and have been transmitted to individual members of a group.
In order to understand cultural patterns and gain insights into the underlying beliefs, values, norms, and social practices that inform these patterns, researchers developed cultural taxonomies. Cultural taxonomies provide a way to compare characteristics and understand differences in cultural patterns.
Photo credit: Microsoft Corporation. (Producer). MP900441082 [Leopard]. Retrieved January 17, 2014, from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=Nature#ai:MP900441082
Photo credit: Microsoft Corporation. (Producer). MP900441080 [Tiger]. Retrieved January 17, 2014, from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=tiger&ex=1#ai:MP900441080
To prepare for your Discussion :
- Review Hall’s, Hofstede’s, and the GLOBE cultural taxonomies in Chapter 5 of the course text.
- Reflect on how the cultural taxonomies measure your culture. Of all the characteristics listed for each of the taxonomies, which quality do you believe is the most applicable and useful for understanding cultural differences? Why do you believe this to be so? How effective are these taxonomies for helping you to understand cultural differences?
Note: One of the goals of this course is to promote a wide variety of views. You are encouraged to present your honest personal viewpoint while at all times reflecting a respectful tone for the views of others.
By Day 3
Post a 2- to 3-paragraph explanation of how a cultural taxonomy you select from this week’s Learning Resources can be used to facilitate understanding of cultural differences. Identify specific examples to support your position.
Be sure to support your ideas by connecting them to at least one of this week’s Learning Resources. Additionally, you may opt to include an outside academic resource that you have identified.
Instructions from my instructor for more information
Happy Monday, students!
There are so many possible options for you to choose from this week as far as taxonomies that I expect to see varied and interesting discussions.
A taxonomy is not simply one component of one. For example, Hall’s taxonomy is not just high-context/low-context. Within his taxonomy, he talks about the characteristics of these cultures (oritentation to time, direct and indirect messages, etc). So you are not choosing one component but a whole taxonomy to talk about. So choose your taxonomy, tell us which one, but then use the multiple aspects of it to give examples and illustrations of how it can help you understand, communicate, relate to other cultures (that’s what facilitate understanding means).
As you read through the directions I want you to pay particular attention to the directions that ask you to describe HOW the taxonomy you chose can help you in understanding cultural differences. In other words, I want you to describe the taxonomy briefly but focus on how understanding this particular taxonomy can help you communicate and understand people from a different culture. Remember to give specific examples. I’m all about specific examples! Don’t just say: “It can help me communicate better.” How? Give me a real life example and you will be golden!
I hope that helps. I look forward to reading them!
Week 3: Cultural Patterns and Taxonomiess
The life history of the individual is first and foremost an accommodation to the patterns and standards traditionally handed down in his community
– Ruth Benedict, American anthropologist and folklorist
How do you recognize culture? Is culture the visible group behaviors such as celebrations of life events and holiday observances? Or is culture the underlying ethos and orientation of a society? How is culture solidified and shared with new group members? Making sense of the overwhelming amount of cultural information available to you might seem to be a daunting task. Fortunately, complex cultural information can be managed through various tools and frameworks. These tools and frameworks provide an organized way to compare the cultural patterns and standards of specific communities.
In the last week, you examined how humans understand groups through stereotypes and how stereotypes could influence an individual’s cultural perceptions. You also explored frameworks to build cultural competence. In this week, you apply cultural taxonomies as tools for identifying cultural characteristics and understanding cultural pattern differences.
Photo credit: Microsoft Corporation. (Producer). MH900442228 [Photo of colorful striped blanket]. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=fabric&ex=1#ai:MP900442228
- Appraise the effectiveness of cultural patterns and taxonomies for understanding cultural differences
- Evaluate the role of cultural patterns in intercultural communication
- Predict outcomes of intercultural communication experiences
Photo Credit: [Abel Mitja Varela]/[E+]/Getty Images
Lustig, M. W., & Koester, J. (2013).
Intercultural competence: Interpersonal communication across cultures (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
- Chapter 4, “Cultural Patterns and Communication: Foundations” (pp. 77–99)
- Chapter 5, “Cultural Patterns and Communication: Taxonomies” (pp. 100–128)
Culture Active Introduction. (n.d.). Introducing
The Lewis Model and Culture Active: A web-based learning resource. Retrieved from
Note: This resource is for information purposes. You do not have to take the suggested quiz at the end.
globalEDGE: Your source for global business knowledge. (2013). Retrieved August 20, 2013, from
The Culturosity Group. (2013). Retrieved from
Document: Cultural Patterns Continuum (Word document)
Note: In addition, review your colleagues’ annotated bibliographies in the Doc Sharing area.
Walden Writing Center. (n.d.). CARP design principles for creating an effective PowerPoint presentation. In
The non-designer’s design & type books: Design and typographic principles for the visual novice. Berkeley, CA: Peach Pit Press. Retrieved from