Dingemans & Janssen model of cultural identity
A practical guide to Universal Understanding: ‘How do I make myself understood’ and ‘Why do people behave like that?’
The Dingemans & Janssen model of cultural identity is the newest addition to the field of interculturality. It combines the best insights of intercultural research of the past century with the demands of a globalized world. It offers concrete, practical advice for everybody who comes into regular contact with people from other (sub)cultures and wants to improve the effectiveness of these interactions. The goal of Anne-Marie Dingemans en Patrick T.H.M. Janssen is to provide a model for understanding cultural differences that helps people communicate effectively across cultures. It is specifically designed to be practically applicable in the workplace and in higher education.
The aim is to give people practical solutions that can be directly applied in their day-to-day lives. This is done by first measuring the standard cultural profile of the average people of a specific culture or country by means of literature research and measuring cultural profiles of individual people. With this data one can compare: (1) two cultures/countries, (2) two or more individual persons (e.g. within a team) and (3) an individual persons and a culture/country.
In these comparisons the similarities and differences are immediately visible. This creates insight and also gives a practical guidelines and tips on how to deal with these differences in cultural profiles.
A measuring tool is developed in order to guide individuals and organizations in their efforts to achieve an inclusive organizational culture and improve organizational effectiveness by giving advice on each of the sixteen aspects of culture. This tool can be found on www.culturetest.org. It provides personal cultural assessments where people can compare themselves with other individuals and or countries. Practical information is given on the differences in cultural factors.
To be able to provide people with trustworthy practical solutions, it is imperative that these are founded on scientific grounds. To create a cultural profile, the main theoretical variable ‘cultural profile’ has been operationalized with the help of the onion of culture and iceberg of culture which are basically the same structural models: depicting culture as layered. Dingemans & Janssen added two more layers, four layers/groups in total: 1. visible communication styles, 2. hidden communication styles, 3. professional values and 4. basic values.
- Those communication styles that are instantly observable and therefore clearly visible communication styles compose the first group.
- Then, there are forms of communication that can be observed but require a certain amount of interaction to be distinguished. These are the ‘hidden communication styles’.
- As explained with the onion model and the iceberg model, there are types of values that are closer to the surface than others. Those are the ones that are learned in school and in a professional environment. The Dingemans & Janssen model has adopted the same distinction and make up the third group: ‘professional values’.
- At the basis of all values, norms, beliefs and expressions of culture, are the basic assumptions that are placed at the foundation of the model, in the group ‘basic values’.
To be able to have detailed cultural profiles with practical applications, the model contains 16 universal cultural factors (4 per group). These factors are the measuring variables and are derived from an extensive literature research. In this literature research the theories / models of Hall, Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck, Trompenaars, Schwartz, Hofstede, GLOBE, Schein, Meyer and Lewis were analyzed and those 16 cultural factors were the result. These 16 cultural factors are:
- (Group 1) Speaking and listening, directness, body language, use of emotions
- (Group 2) confrontation style, expressing truth, doing or being, use of time
- (Group 3) leadership style, power display, negotiating, organizational corporation
- (Group 4) financial orientation, status, meaning of a good life, fairness.
Measuring a cultural profile
The cultural factors to create a cultural profile are universal in nature, meaning every culture in the world has a certain way of expressing those universal cultural factors. Most researchers choose a linear scale such as the 100-point index scale of Hofstede. Others, such a Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck, choose a ternary scale. To provide a practical and visual model -and for validity reasons- Dingemans & Janssen also opted for a ternary scale as a measuring method representing 3 different synthetic theoretical cultural outcomes. The 3 theoretical cultural scales are:
- Task-oriented: Cultures that focus on the completion of particular tasks as a measure of success and fulfilment. They are considered ‘Doing’ or ‘individual’ cultures. (blue)
- Relationship-oriented: Cultures that seek to establish meaningful relationships with the people in their life (family, friends, co-workers, network) and aim to utilize this emotional connection to maximize performance. They are considered ‘Being’ or ‘collectivistic’ or cultures. (red)
- Purpose-oriented: Cultures that derive their fulfillment from the usefulness their work, roles, relationships and performance have in the society they live in. They are considered ‘Controlling’ or ‘hierarchical’ cultures. (yellow)
For each of the 16 cultural factors a culture has a standard communication style or value that is either blue, red or yellow.
Example: the Netherlands can score 3 options on the communication style ‘directness’. The average score in the Netherlands is a ‘blue’, or task-oriented outcome, i.e. a to-the-point communication style. The average score in Egypt would be a more considerate or ‘red’ communication style while in Japan the standard score would be a more respectful or ‘yellow’ communication style.
With this method of measuring a pattern of the 3 colors emerges. Each country has a standard pattern based on personal assessments of people from those countries. The standard cultural profile per country is constantly being improved as more and more people worldwide use the assessment of the Dingemans & Janssen model (see: culturetest.org).
The Dingemans & Janssen model is tailored to application in a professional environment. Specifically group 2, the ‘hidden communication styles’, and group 3, the ‘professional values’, are developed to be used in a professional situation.