Cultural Boundaries

Inevitable Element

The people from different cultures aren’t just randomly different from one another, they differ in very specific, even predictable, ways. This is because each culture has its own way of thinking, its own values and beliefs, and different preferences placed on a variety of different factors (Trompenaars and Hamden-Turner, 1997).

The way we are conditioned to see the world in our own culture seems so completely obvious and commonplace that it is difficult to imagine that another culture might do things differently. It is only when you start to identify what is typical in your culture, but different from others, that you can begin to open a dialogue of sharing, learning, and ultimately understanding (Meyer, 2014).


In cross-cultural researches revealed that the social structures like individualist vs collectivist, tight vs loose, low-context vs high-context, expecting different behaviour and adaptations from the child in the society. For example, in East Asia, peoples’ behaviours are driven by the situations vs in the US where behaviour is driven by the emotions. In Japan, which is a collectivist, tight, non-verbal culture, psychoanalysis as therapy is not more wide-spread. Showing emotions and even talking about them is considered very immature behaviour.

In this globalised world, what counts as developed and matured personality? If we coach a Japanese executive in the US, should we coach them for adaptation to the environment or do we have to attend to their different culture and try to make that stronger and not create more cognitive dissonance in them? What is more important, the internal balance or the external, if you must choose? Is there a middle-ground?

These are core questions at multi-national companies where countless cultures are allying. For the best outcome, we have to consider cultural boundaries and make them aware to work with us. 

It would be irresponsible to deny the existence of cultural boundaries as it plays a dominant role in Diversity & Inclusion. 

Diversity & Inclusion are hot topics, and not only at multi-national companies. Diversity & Inclusion are not interpretable without cultural boundaries. 

Cornelis Consulting has several tailor-made courses, workshops and individual coaching opportunities to make the situation manageable for all stakeholders.