This questionnaire has been developed based on the Cultural Orientations Framework (COF) by Philippe Rosinski described in his book Coaching Across Cultures (Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2003, www.CoachingAcrossCultures.com).
The COF is an integrative framework designed to assess and compare cultures. It includes a range of cultural dimensions/orientations grouped in seven categories of practical importance to leaders, professional coaches and anyone striving to unleash human potential in organizations: sense of power and responsibility, time management approaches, definitions of identity and purpose, organizational arrangements, notions of territory and boundaries, communication patterns, and modes of thinking.
The COF builds upon the findings of anthropologists, communication experts, and cross-cultural consultants, including Florence Kluckhohn and Fred Strodtbeck, Edward Hall, Geert Hofstede, and Fons Trompenaars, among others.
A cultural orientation is an inclination to think, feel or act in a way that is culturally determined. For example, in the United States, people tend to communicate in a direct fashion, saying what they mean, and meaning what they say. The message is clear, but it can also be perceived as offensive. Their cultural orientation, then, is “direct communication,” in contrast with Asians’ typical indirectness. Asians don’t necessarily spell out what they mean, at the risk of being misunderstood, because they wish to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.
Cultural orientations are not black-and-white. In other words, no one is totally direct or indirect, but individuals and cultures lie somewhere on a continuum bounded by the extreme on both ends. For example, you may be inclined to be direct 75 percent of the time and indirect in the remaining 25 percent. In other words, your cultural orientation, on the “direct-indirect communication” cultural dimension, is primarily “direct communication.”