Cultural Assimilation Study Draws Intense Interest

Business Professor’s Recent Paper is One of Journal’s Most Widely Read

June 20, 2008

Though recognized among “The 50 Most Frequently Read Articles” by the International Journal of Cross Cultural Management (IJCCM), Dr. Habte Woldu’s recent study actually sits in the Top 20.

Woldu, a faculty member in the UT Dallas School of Management, published “A Comparative Analysis of Cultural Value Orientations of Indians and Migrant Indians in the USA” in April.  Barely a month later, the study was garnering enormous attention.  It’s the 17th-most-read paper among the Top 50 published in IJCCM between 2003 and 2008.

“For the first time we are measuring cultural values using certain numbers—a quantitative approach,” Woldu said. “It’s a unique approach, trying to measure culture with numbers instead of words, or qualitative techniques.”

Habte explains the work with an example that, for him, hits close to home.

“Questions of culture are interesting for people like me,” Habte said.  “For example, I was born in Ethiopia and studied in Europe, but now I’m in Dallas.  So, what’s my culture?  Ethiopian, European or American, perhaps a mix?  There are questions like these for every first-generation immigrant to deal with.”

Unlike most cultural research works which deal mainly with cross-cultural differences, this paper looks into the cultural dynamics that take place within a country.

Habte and two other authors from Great Britain surveyed Indian professionals living in India and the United States.  They found that the groups of respondents shared cultural values.  But the study found overall that Indian migrants tend to be more culturally divergent (moving away from their native culture), while their colleagues in India, are converging culturally—or coming back together—more quickly.

Controlled for age, gender and occupation, the study shows that younger, female and professional Indian migrants demonstrate more cultural assimilation with the Western cultural value system.

“In a global economy, where people are moving faster from their own country to another, they want to find out whether their native culture and their new culture have converged,” Habte said.  “This research is really about people finding themselves. Part of the popularity of this paper—maybe what has pushed it into the Top 20 on the list of Top 50 most-read papers—is that scientists and non-scientists alike are interested in these questions.”


Media contacts: Brandon V. Webb, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, Brandon.Webb@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Habte Woldu

Dr. Habte Woldu

 

Study Authors

Habte Woldu
The University of Texas at Dallas

Emmanuel Ogbonna
Cardiff Business School, UK

Pawan S. Budhwar
Aston Business School, Birmingham, UK


Online

“A Comparative Analysis of Cultural Value Orientations of Indians and Migrant Indians in the USA” (Abstract)

International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, Vol. 8, No. 1 (2008)

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