- Give three compelling examples of how cultural issues affect your project.
Due to the required travel of our project, there will be cultural issues that affect our project. Since I was born in America and I have lived here my entire life there will be the potential for issues to arise once I travel to the Philippines. Before arriving I should make sure to educate myself on their culture and mold my behaviors by the time I arrive. If I do not at least demonstrate an apparent attempt to assimilate to the culture I could accidentally do something that is shameful within the Filipino culture. First of all, it is important that I am respectful to the people there, for example, showing the utmost respect for people for anyone that is older than me. Their culture is keen to respect their elders and it would reflect poorly on me and our group and potentially cause tensions that could hinder the project’s success. The communication with the locals will also affect our project due to the language barrier. It would be important for me to make sure I am speaking slowly and refrain from using slang terms to ensure clarity. Not being respectful of the fact that English is their second language would be rude and might cause even more communication problems. Another potential cultural issue could come from the fact that copra has a very traditional production process. Copra has been made for over 100 years in the Philippines and most farmers have likely grown very accustomed to producing it that way. It may be difficult to persuade a copra farmer to change his ways to a more effective method for this reason. Unfortunately, there are also rules with copra how copra is made that might not be followed due to some corruption within the Philippines. It will be important for me to do all of my work within the rules and keep myself in line. Lastly, being American can cause issues in itself. Right now, a large portion of the world does not respect us due to political decisions made by our president. He has most notably generated some turmoil with Iran who the Philippines has diplomatic relations to. This could impose some negative connotations about my character regardless of my personal views. On top of that, the difference in wealth could cause a barrier through resentment. It will be important to understand I am from a place of privilege and I am not their “savior”. Making the farmers feel as though this project is a partnership and not a rescue mission would make this trip more successful.
- Have you experienced or observed any of these social situations at home? Describe at least three such situations.
I have experienced some of these aforementioned cultural issues at home due to the diversity of America. Many people within this country approach others in an ignorant manner on a consistent basis. The disconnect that exists between the different cultures within modern America accounts for the vast majority of our cultural issues. One situation I have experienced is a lack of respect for elders. Growing up I could never talk back to my mom let alone any other adult. This is a big difference from some people on campus that will talk back to their professors. Another issue I mentioned earlier that I have been in involves communication. The speed of many, but not all, Hispanic people talking is much faster compared to Americans. The language itself flows much faster and when they speak English their words still have a zip to them and I find myself asking them to repeat themselves sometimes because it can be challenging to distinguish their words. A final example of the cultural issues that I have observed are companies that are traditional refuse to change with the times. There are some famous examples of this like Blockbuster and Kodak which both happened in my lifetime. These are some huge companies that flourished in their market but couldn’t adjust to a digital age so they fell off.
- Give three examples of cultural practices that can be leveraged to address community/market problems.
Cultural practices that can be used to address community problems are respecting and giving back to your elders, sharing among the poor and having a positive persona. The Filipino culture respects their elders which would help to bring communities together in the long run. Additionally, it is common for Filipino people to take what they are wearing and give it to a less fortunate person that is seen on the street. If we applied this with the farmers producing copra, the farmers could potentially donate to the poor. This would shine the copra industry in a good light and potentially increase the investment in the product. Making more people happy and establishing more connections while allowing more people to participate in the market would definitely be good for business. In the Philipines, it is unusual to speak negatively or complain and is highly frowned upon. Other countries should adopt this philosophy in an effort to build better communities.