Type and Culture

I didn’t learn about cultural differences until after arriving to live and work in my fifth country. Sure, Riding the Waves of Culture* was mandatory reading during my HR studies, and while the words resonated and sounded fascinating at the time, they didn’t actually make sense until I actually lived them.

People from different countries behave in different ways according to their cultural “programming”.

Culture is “the software of the mind”. Geert Hofstede

Our attitude to uncertainty, rules, relationships, and time are often informed by socially acceptable behaviors. These cultural norms were formed to ensure survival of the species, and as such are carried on and taught to new generations.

Cultural differences explain a lot when it comes to communication and leadership styles, as well as general outlook on life and the world. They don’t account for individual complexities.

If culture can be called “software” that is taught, our personality preferences can probably be called ” hardware” that is innate.

As Carl Gustav Jung explored in the early 20th Century, people gain energy either from their internal worlds (an attitude he called Introversion), or from the external world, aka Extraversion. They take in information either by Sensing (using their five senses, present-focused) or by Intuiting (finding patterns and themes, future-focused). They make decisions either by Thinking (objective, logic-driven) or Feeling (subjective, values-driven). Jung noticed these differences in his clients and concluded from his research that they appear so early on that they can in many cases be called inborn.

Taking both personality and cultural preferences into account, we are now much better able to understand what drives us, what motivates our colleagues, or how to most effectively communicate with our new neighbors.

During our last ECA call, we explored the subject of type and culture in a little more detail:

You can listen to the ECA Type & Culture Call recording and review the ECA Type & Culture slide presentation.

Looking forward to your comments and questions!


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About the Author

Doris Füllgrabe

Doris Füllgrabe

Hello! I have been an expat for nearly 20 years, I'm a certified MBTI® Master Practitioner, and also hold certifications in the Neuroscience of Personality, and the Berens CORE™ Approach. After a decade in executive coaching and training and volunteering at the ECA, I've decided to pursue more creative endeavors. I'm happy to keep in touch with this community and hear from new expat coaches, so feel free to contact me, or browse my archived blogs on www.buildingthelifeyouwant.com, and use the resources provided on this page. If you'd like to commission a unique piece or hand lettering or calligraphy, please visit www.dorisfullgrabe.com. Thanks for visiting and all the very best wishes! :-)

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