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Carrying Cultural Baggage: the contribution of socio-cultural anthropology to cross-cultural coaching

B St Claire-Ostwald International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring 2007

This study examines the cultural awareness of professionals working in organisations. Given the multicultural nature of today’s workforce, it is becoming increasingly important for companies and coaches alike to take into account how cross-cultural differences may affect daily working practices. The study draws on a review of current research into cultural dimensions and looks at the complex relationship between personality and culture – our ‘cultural baggage’. In order to explore the opinions and cultural awareness of participants, a questionnaire was developed. The purpose of the questionnaire was to identify themes and orientations to cross-cultural issues in terms not only of communality but also of paradoxes. The results highlighted a high level of recognition of cultural dilemmas and a perceived need and willingness to address and reconcile them. However, the diversity of opinions about the potential benefits of specific methods of addressing cultural dilemmas suggested considerable uncertainly about dealing with cross cultural issues.

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