Cross-Cultural Awareness Within the SPES Team

The Sepik Partnership and Engagement Strategy (SPES) team members had an intriguing multicultural workshop in the last week, dealing with their childhood family environment and how it has shaped their worldview of what is right and what is not.
Having team members from each of the four different cultural types (according to Mary Douglas’ Theory of Culture) creates a more challenging work environment indeed, but also a richness because of our diversity. Our team includes people from Australia, Finland, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan and the United States. We give God the praise for allowing Sheryl Takagi Sizler to facilitate this process of self discovery and appreciation of different cultures within SPES.
Mrs. Sizler is a multicultural consultant for SIL International and author of Biblical Multicultural Teams. Through her gifts, she has enabled us to talk about work related issues and how we interpret the Bible based on our cultural biases.
Together we have come up with a list of practical activities to work on. Knowing that God’s image is reflected in each of us is the first step to overcoming barriers that developed through our culturally-biased worldview.

Multi Cultural Workshop

The SPES team learning about culture.

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3 comments on “Cross-Cultural Awareness Within the SPES Team

    • One of the differences is that the US culture is very individual oriented. The individual makes the decisions and it is his individual choice if he wants to go to events. Papua New Guinea culture is very group and relational oriented and decisions are made by group consensus and some group events you are expected to be at and don’t really have the individual choice to stay at home. US culture rewards an individual for excelling while a PNG culture values equality and group advancement. The Finish, Australian, and Taiwan cultures are all very different in many aspects to both PNG and US cultures. We learned the predominate sins of the four culture types which are pride, greed, silence, and jealousy. Our actions, the way we relate to others, and our view of right and wrong are very strongly shaped by our culture, and this can lead to many misunderstandings and misinterpretations between cultures.

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