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Frequently Asked Questions about Culture Bump Approach

Q1: Why haven't I heard of Culture Bump?

Over the past decades, Culture Bump has been active through face to face trainings in global corporations and in ESL classrooms primarily in the United States. It is only recently that Culture Bump has grown its digital presence.

Follow Culture Bump on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to see updates on new digital products and resources.

Q2: Is the Culture Bump Approach research-based?

Yes, research of the Culture Bump Approach has been conducted for decades at institutions such as the University of Houston, Auburn University, and The University of California at Davis. It continues to be used in research in disciplines such as translation, linguistics and leadership development.

To see the list of publications resulting from this research, click here. 

Q3: Do I have to agree with people or accept their ideas to be connected or respect them?

No, in fact, Culture Bump Approach assumes that connection can happen even if you don’t agree with someone’s ideas or their actions. Archer (1996) writes that Culture Bump conversations…” do not imply acceptance or even agreement; they simply imply a mutually understood category in which the individuals can hold opposite points of view.” She gives the analogy of a brother and sister who disagree over the merits of vanilla ice cream versus chocolate ice cream; yet, never question their fundamental bond. The Culture Bump Approach leads you to connect not on a belief level, but on a deeper level. It means that people in different political parties, religions, sides of an argument or cultural ideas can still find the humanity that connects them.

Q4: Why is Culture Bump different from other cultural or diversity training approaches?

The critical difference lies in how knowledge is acquired. Culture Bump is unique in that it focuses on identifying specific behavioral differences and examining those behaviors in order to connect to others by bringing to light shared commonalities. As a result, cultural and individual distinctions are discovered in a more universal context. It is this specific protocol that ensures that relationships emerge from acknowledging our differences, not in spite of them. This micro-cultural approach eliminates group stereotyping while simultaneously acknowledging individuality and cultural variations.

Conversely, the macro-cultural approach of multicultural and diversity training defines and explains distinctive characteristics of various groups with the hope that the knowledge will create relationship. While this may occur from time to time, it also may lead to a overemphasis on group identity and stereotyping.

In other words, with multicultural and diversity training, knowledge comes from outside oneself about oneself and others, such as a book or instructor explaining your culture versus the other’s culture. With Culture Bump, knowledge is acquired organically through self-reflection and conversation, and focuses on understanding one’s own culture first and other cultures secondarily.

Q5: What if the other person doesn't have Culture Bump training? Will this still work?

Yes, because the Culture Bump Approach is skill-based. So when you are trained in the Approach, you learn to recognize the elements that are necessary in any interaction in order to form a human connection. The approach also teaches you how to add them when you recognize they are missing in any interaction. Therefore, you can control the outcome - even if the other person does not know anything about the approach or doesn't even want to connect with you!

Q6: Does finding common ground with Culture Bump mean that I must give up my own ideas?

No, Culture Bump conversations may include agreement but are far more likely to include curiosity, surprise, new self-awareness and other-awareness and even disagreement. In short, rather than standing on solid ground, common ground in these exchanges is much more like standing on shifting sand while maintaining eye contact.

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