Cultural Adaptability

Cultural Adaptability.


Module 3 Background

Cultural Adaptability

Case Background

The adaptability theory by Denison and Mishra (1989) asserts an organization must hold a system of norms and beliefs which support the capacity of an organization to receive, interpret, and translate signals from its environment into internal behavioral changes that increase its chances for survival, growth, and development. Denison and Mishra (1989) note three aspects of adaptability that have a likely impact on an organizations effectiveness:

1. The ability to perceive and respond to the external environment.

2. The ability to respond to internal customers.

3. The capacity to react to either internal or external forces by restructuring, and re-institutionalize a set of behaviors and process that allows the organization to adapt.

Thus, adaptability appears to be key for organizational success and the basis for other theories across a wide spectrum of topics, such as the model for organizational change mentioned by Horwath and Morrison (2000), mental health transformation studied by LeRoy, Heldring, and Desjardins (2006), and evolution researched by Pitsios (2006).

Session Long Project Background


Sub-constructs of this domain are:

· Meaning of food

· Common foods

· Rituals

· Deficiencies

· Limitations

· Health Promotion

Food plays a central role in virtually every culture. To see an example of this, you do not have to look much further than your own family. What meals are prepared at important or significant times? Whether its turkey for Thanksgiving or cake at a wedding or birthday celebration, different cultures do have some degree of unifying theme in terms of common foods and special meals. The following link will provide you with more information: Ethnic and cultural resources .

In some countries, food is not readily available. Additionally, poverty and famine result in malnutrition, a problem that occurs in both developed and undeveloped countries.

The decline in physical activity (replaced by sedentary activities, like computer use) has contributed to the rise of obesity in the United States. Poverty may also cause obesity, as poor people tend to purchase cheaper foods which have higher processed sugar content and lower nutritive value.

A comprehensive study of culture demands that we consider the role and challenges associated with food.

High-Risk Behaviors

Sub-constructs of this domain are:

· Tobacco

· Alcohol

· Recreational drugs

· Physical activity

· Safety

Risk-taking behaviors are those behaviors that put an individual at risk for disease, injury, or even death. Examples of this can be seen in every culture. In some parts of the world, prostitution is an important part of the local economy. This behavior, however, is associated with pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Tobacco use, alcohol, and recreational drug use are other examples of risk-taking behaviors. Recreational drug use continues to be a major problem in many parts of the world. Lack of physical activity, coupled with a sedentary lifestyle, has resulted in obesity and increased risk of heart disease and diabetes for many cultural groups.

Death Rituals

Sub-constructs of this domain are:

· Death rituals

· Bereavement

Death is a phenomenon that is universal to all cultures. In some cultures, death is equated with loss,” whereas other cultures view death as a time for celebration of life and transcendence.” In this modules background reading, we will explore these concepts a bit further.


Sub-constructs of this domain are:

· Religious practices

· Use of prayer

· Meaning of life

· Individual strength

· Spirituality and health

Many people often confuse the terms religious” and spiritual.” Certainly, religion may be an important part of a persons spirituality; however spirituality may encompass some, all, or none of the practices of an organized religion. Depending upon the persons background, beliefs, preferences, ideology, and personal philosophy, rituals such as prayer, meditation, contemplation, or other practices may be used to help them connect” with his or her spiritual self. There are many different organized” and unorganized” religions in the world today. Learn more about these religions at

Required Reading

Irish, J. S. (2000). Mourning in rural Japan [Electronic version]. Japan Quarterly, 47(4), 73-81.

Purnell, L. (2005). The Purnell model for cultural competence [Electronic version]. Journal of multicultural nursing & health, 11(2), 7-15.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (2006, August 23). Ethnic and cultural resources. Retrieved from

University of California-Berkeley (2010). Guide to managing human resources: Chapter 12: Managing diversity in the workplace. Retrieved from

World Religions Index (n.d.). World religions index. Retrieved from

Optional Reading

Akbaba, Y. (2006). Understanding ethnoreligious conflict: The state, discrimination and international politics. University of Missouri-Columbia.

Chattopadhyay, S. & Simo, A. (2008). East meets West: Cross-cultural perspective in end-of-life decision making from Indian and German viewpoints. The American Behavioral Scientist, 46(2), 204-223.

Omeri, A. (2008) Pathways of Cultural Awareness. Advances in Contemporary Transcultural Nursing, 28: ix-xi.

Samandari, G., Speizer, I. (2010). Adolescent sexual behavior and reproductive outcomes in Central America: Trends over the past two decades. International Perspective on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 36(1), 26.

Optional Resources

Purdue Online Writing Lab. (2018). General format. Retrieved from

Purdue Online Writing Lab. (2018). In-text citations: The basics. Retrieved from

Purdue Online Writing Lab. (2018). Reference list: Basic rules. Retrieved from

Cultural Adaptability

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