Exploring the Clash of Cultural Values Vs Personal Values

Exploring the Clash of Cultural Values Vs Personal Values

Cultural values refer to the norms, beliefs, and practices that define a particular society or community. Personal values, on the other hand, are beliefs that individuals hold about what is right and wrong. While cultural values are often inherited, personal values vary between individuals and can be shaped by life experiences. It’s not uncommon for these two to clash, leading to conflicts and misunderstandings. In this article, we delve into the differences between cultural values and personal values and the impact of their clash.

The Differences Between Cultural and Personal Values

Cultural values are often deeply ingrained in the societies that practice them. They shape the behavior, decision-making, and way of life of society members. For instance, societies that uphold collectivist cultural values consider the welfare of the group more important than individual aspirations. In comparison, societies that uphold an individualist cultural approach value personal independence and autonomy.

Personal values, on the other hand, are shaped by an individual’s personality, experiences, and environment. They are often a reflection of what an individual considers as morally right or wrong. For example, a person who prioritizes honesty and integrity can consider these as their personal values.

The Clash of Cultural and Personal Values

When cultural values and personal values clash, individuals experience cognitive dissonance, causing conflict, and moral stress. For instance, a person who values family more than anything else can clash with the collectivist cultural value that prioritizes the community’s welfare. Similarly, an individual who values independence may feel conflicted in a society that values conformity and obedience to authority.

In businesses, the clash of cultural and personal values can lead to employee dissatisfaction, reduced morale, and conflict between co-workers. For instance, a company that upholds a teamwork culture may clash with an employee who values working alone and taking credit for their work.

Examples of Cultural vs. Personal Value Clash

An excellent example of cultural vs. personal value clash is the use of corporal punishment. In traditional African societies, corporal punishment was used to instill discipline and respect for authority in children. However, in Western societies like the United States and Canada, the use of corporal punishment is discouraged because it’s considered abusive.

Another example is the clash between the values of modesty and individualism. In some cultures, modesty and self-effacement are highly valued and considered polite. In contrast, individualistic cultures consider self-promotion and asserting oneself as necessary for success.


In conclusion, cultural values and personal values are often at odds, leading to conflicts and misunderstandings. Recognizing that these differences exist and understanding why they occur can help bridge the gaps when a clash arises. In businesses, it’s essential to create a culture that values diversity and inclusivity, taking into account employees’ different cultural and personal values. By doing so, we can create a harmonious environment where everyone feels valued and respected.

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