Welcome to the Gaining Cultural Insight Module
Gaining Cultural Insight is an extension of the Leading with Insight module in the Growing The Servant Heart on-line programme for Christian leaders. You can read about the course here.
Previously in Leading with Insight we looked at the issue of insight into ourselves and into others so that we might choose, manage and improve how we relate to other people.
The issue of our national cultural background is also a significant factor in determining both how we understand and apply the Bible and how we relate to other people, especially in cross-cultural situations. Considering the nature of national cultures will also help us to understand how we relate to the “Kingdom’s culture” as we seek to live as Christians in the environment of our situations in the world.
As this lesson will show, the natural culture of our birth countries, and that of our parents, determines the way we look at the world and what we believe is an appropriate way of living. For the vast majority of people, wherever they live in the world, this influence is hidden in that we are brought up with cultural values which are so “normal” to us that we are completely unaware of them. Recall the Ladder of Inference and how values and beliefs of which we are unaware affect how we respond to situations and people; thus it is important to gain insight into the dynamics of national culture.
Our exploration provides the necessary groundwork that allows us to begin to understand the difference between how we think from the world’s perspective and how we should think from a Kingdom perspective. It will also help us see that the Biblical Kingdom perspective is quite different to any worldly culture. It will, therefore, help us apply what we are learning about leadership to ourselves and those we lead, in which ever country we may live.
It is highly likely that this exploration will challenge the way you think. Not so much because you understand the Kingdom better but because you better understand yourself and the world you live in, and how this affects what seems normal and appropriate.
Growing the Servant Heart is about gaining insight into the Kingdom of God and how leadership that is faithful to the Kingdom ought to work. The course content has been prepared with an international audience in mind and is derived from material used successfully around the world in many cultures. Because it is about modelling our leadership on the character of Jesus it has proven insightful and helpful. However, this is an on-line course with no direct human interaction which makes it more difficult to explore and work out the cross-cultural issues that are normally addressed through discussion. The hope is that this introduction to national cultures will, to some extent, make up for that lack and challenge you to think through these issues for yourselves in your daily life, as well as how to apply the perspectives on leadership being explored in Growing the Servant Heart.
About the Lesson
At the end of this lesson, as the student, you will have:
- Been introduced to six factors that help describe human, national cultures.
- Considered these factors in comparison to the Kingdom of God.
- Been challenged to consider how this affects your leadership style as a Christian leader.
For convenience the module has been split into 5 topics
Completion of The Jesus Model and Leading through Insight modules of the Growing the Servant Heart on-line leadership programme. These can be found at academy.christian-leadership.org
Cultures and Organisations Software of the Mind: G Hofstede, G.J. Hofstede and M Minkov. (2010) McGraw Hill ISBN978-0-07-166418-9
This is fascinating, very easy to read book is essential reading. It considers the nature of national culture and examines 6 factors that can successfully be used to describe and compare them. The book is based on the outcomes of many sound, parallel research projects which are used to verify and expand our understanding of culture. The test is that as one reads the book, various aspects of national behaviour and cross-cultural interactions and attitudes begin to make sense. There are many of these “light-bulb” moments. Having said that one must remember it is a secular book and so it provides an accurate secular view of the world and how it works. It seeks to report not make judgements. Where it falls down is its lack of true spiritual insight and Biblical understanding of the world.
Its exploration of culture is foundational and is the basis for our study, which provides an overview of national culture and so really only scratches the surface. Reading this book is highly recommended. It is available in Kindle format but I would recommend the normal book as you will want to move backwards and forwards at will to refer to the various tables of information, which is normally a difficult process in the Kindle format.