Values for Americans

In: English and Literature

Submitted By rsluys
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The Values Americans Live by: A Summary
University of San Diego
MSGL 510: Cohort 54

The Values Americans Live by: A summary It doesn’t matter if you are a foreigner coming to America to live or an American moving abroad, culture shock is an important issue. To be successful in another culture, one has to understand their values. In looking at the United States, Kohls (1988) determined that there are 13 values that Americans live by and he discussed those in an article.

Commentary on the List of Basic American Values

1. Personal Control over the Environment/Responsibility

Americans believe they have control over nature and that this is part of their natural destiny and that there are few things man cannot achieve. Americans believe that everyone should look out for their own self-interests and not depend on others (Kohls, 1988).

2. Change Seen as Natural and Positive

Kohls (1988) talks about the fact that many cultures view change as not always something positive. These cultures value stability, continuity, tradition, and a rich and ancient heritage (Kohls, 1988).

3. Time and Its Control

Time is critically important to Americans. Time is the given and people are the variable. To people from other countries Americans may be a little obsessed about being on time, scheduling their time, and making the best use of their time (Kohls, 1988).

4. Equality/Fairness

The general premise is that people should be treated as equals on most dimensions, although, in fact, equality is actually better described as an equal opportunity. This equality for everyone equal can be seen as rude to high ranking foreigners who are used to being treated deferentially. Foreigners should be aware of this and not be offended by what can be perceived as undue familiarity (Kohls, 1988).
5. Individualism/Independence…...

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