Introduction: Identify the scenario and its context, the role you are providing, and the purpose of your report
XBR Minerals is a global mining company that has experienced a decline in productivity because of arising challenges in cooperation between their Japanese and Australian staff. The video illustrates the challenges arising from the different culture, common sense and worldviews that impacted on the interaction between the staff. This report aims to identify and analyse the existing cultural competence issues in the clip.
Analysis of the cultural competence issues present in this scenario, using relevant theory and literature to discuss the problems
In analysing this clip, several cultural competence issues may be found. Australian staff Sandi Edwards displays a lack of cultural awareness as she has failed to align her actions with Hiromitsu’s values and expectations of her as the welcoming staff member. The clip exhibits her failures on being punctual, understanding and respecting Hiromitsu’s gesture and prompting communication. As explained by Dr Nick Cooling (2019, p. 1), values and expectations are part of the different layers of culture, which are built upon worldview as the centre. It is highly implied that Hiromitsu values punctuality and formality and has expectations of Sandi as his chauffeur which stems from his worldview and culture.
As everyone has a tendency of interpreting and evaluating the world according to one’s own worldview (Anderson 2014, p. 16), this can elicit unreasonable subjective expectations and assumptions towards others. If Sandi and Hiromitsu had however, become aware of their own worldview and reflected on them, they would have been able to mediate each other’s perspective and acquire tolerance and comprehension towards others with a dissimilar worldview.
The scenario reveals that both the Japanese and Australian staff acted in an ethnocentric way, which sociologists defined as occurring when a person uses his or her own culture to judge another culture (Carl & Baker 2014, p. 220). Ethnocentrism in Sandi is further established by her monolingual mindset which is viewing everything based on one language (Clyne 2008, p. 348). It is detrimental for cultural competence to be cultivated when a monolingual mindset is set, because it hinders the awareness of how languages affect people’s thoughts. Differences in the way of thinking are larger for languages that are structurally further apart (Hofstede 1991, p. 27), a fact that is especially true between Japanese and English language. It may be wise for Sandi to learn some Japanese phrases or use simpler words and structures when trying to engage Hiromitsu to communicate.
Another concern lies in not grasping the notion of common sense as culturally-based, as discussed by University of Tasmania lecturer Dr Kaz Ross (2019, p. 4). For Sandi, it is common sense in her culture to be laid-back and exchange pleasantries between colleagues. In contrast, it is common sense for Hiromitsu to be formally respectful between co-workers and adhere to a certain rule of business exchange. Both had flawed assumption of their own common sense being shared and universal, resulting in misconception when one doesn’t act according to the ‘obvious’ common sense. Common sense is only common for those who share a given culture, thus it is more appropriate to call it ‘cultural sense’ (Saphiere 2014). Having an understanding that common sense as an unspoken rule is not sensible for others objectively will prevent future misunderstandings.
These issues highlight the staff’s lack of cultural competence, which is the ability to understand, communicate with and effectively interact with people across cultures (Rhonda 2014). Being culturally competent means being aware of a person’s own worldview and acknowledging other people’s worldview, values, and expectation which may or may not align with one’s own. It is interesting to note that the executive of the company is culturally competent, although at first failing to greet Hiromitsu properly, he is quick in observing culturally-appropriate behaviours and adapt. The problem is then shifted to the matter of XBR Minerals not providing the appropriate briefing and training to develop the company’s overall cultural awareness that could lead to cultural competence in the end.
Conclusion: Sum up what you have discussed, and the main findings.
Before XBR Minerals can attain a smooth collaboration between Japanese and Australian staff members, it would be wise to tackle several cultural competence issues shown in the scenario by cultivating cultural awareness. Staffs need to be aware of their own worldview that would lead them to an understanding of their own values and expectations, allowing them to accommodate others with different worldviews. Stripping away from ethnocentrism and monolingual mindset to attain understanding of different cultures and language and comprehending the concept of common sense as a cultural sense which is relative will further aid in the cultivation of cultural awareness and competence.
- Anderson, JN 2014, What’s your Worldview?, Crossway, Illinois, USA.
- Carl, JD, & Baker, S, et al 2011, Think Sociology, Pearson Education, Australia.
- Clyne, M 2008, The Monolingual Mindset as an Impediment to the Development of Plurilingual Potential in Australia, Sociolinguistic Studies 2(3).
- Cooling, N 2019, Worldview, University of Tasmania, Hobart.
- Hofstede G 1991, Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values, 7th edn, SAGE Publications, Newbury Park, California.
- Ross, K 2019, Common Sense, University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay.
- Saphiere DH 2014, There is no such thing as common sense, Culture Detective, viewed 15 August 2019,
- We Hear You 2014, What does it mean to be culturally competent?, ACECQA, viewed 12 August 2019,