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Beyond cultural boundary: An empirical study of the third culture theory
Unformatted Document Text:  Third Culture Theory 7 bridging role of members in the third culture. As the third culture is the interactional commonality beyond the original cultures, the members of the third culture can function as a facilitator or catalyst between cultures. The third culture can free people from their ethnocentric bias. In summary, the fundamental assumptions of third culture theory are: (1) It is open-ended. Not only is it capable of absorbing additional elements, but it also has the potential for instant growth. (2) It is expansive. It can enlarge its contextual boundaries to include individual, organizational, institutional, and mediated communication situations. (3) It is responsive to new demands emerging from constant adjustments and readjustments in order to realign the participants’ own perceptions and expectations of each other and of the situation. (4) It is future-oriented in that a third culture marks the beginning instead of the end of a joint venture that may continue over time (Casmir & Asuncion-Lande, 1989). Based on these assumptions, Starosta (1991) presented the third culture building models: (1) a chronological model of development and (2) an intervention model of facilitation. The chronological model is focused on the process of building a third culture between two individuals. The intervention model is focused on a third-party’s inputs helping bring the third culture into being. The intervention model has implications similar to Bochner’s (1973) “mediating man” or Adler’s (1974) “multicultural man.” This study focuses on the interpersonal level of third culture building, not on the intervention model by a third party. Culture in this study is defined as national-level culture, not as other levels of sub-cultures.

Authors: Lee, Suman.
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Third Culture Theory
7
bridging role of members in the third culture. As the third culture is the interactional
commonality beyond the original cultures, the members of the third culture can function
as a facilitator or catalyst between cultures. The third culture can free people from their
ethnocentric bias.
In summary, the fundamental assumptions of third culture theory are: (1) It is
open-ended. Not only is it capable of absorbing additional elements, but it also has the
potential for instant growth. (2) It is expansive. It can enlarge its contextual boundaries to
include individual, organizational, institutional, and mediated communication situations.
(3) It is responsive to new demands emerging from constant adjustments and
readjustments in order to realign the participants’ own perceptions and expectations of
each other and of the situation. (4) It is future-oriented in that a third culture marks the
beginning instead of the end of a joint venture that may continue over time (Casmir &
Asuncion-Lande, 1989).
Based on these assumptions, Starosta (1991) presented the third culture building
models: (1) a chronological model of development and (2) an intervention model of
facilitation. The chronological model is focused on the process of building a third culture
between two individuals. The intervention model is focused on a third-party’s inputs
helping bring the third culture into being. The intervention model has implications similar
to Bochner’s (1973) “mediating man” or Adler’s (1974) “multicultural man.”
This study focuses on the interpersonal level of third culture building, not on the
intervention model by a third party. Culture in this study is defined as national-level
culture, not as other levels of sub-cultures.


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