Cultures and Value Orientations

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Cultures and Value Orientations

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 Cultures and Value Orientations

        Value orientation

Value orientation method serves as a tool to understanding the different cultures of the world. It helps us understand human organizations (Carter, 2000; Gallagher, 2000b). Value orientations of the dominant culture give our institutions their organizational culture. The Value adjustment method -VOM provides a similar method to Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (Keirsey, 1998) for describing types of cultures.

Native older Americans, believe human nature is a mixture, they think that people are not bad but rather good (Russo, 2000a). They aspire to be in harmony with nature; they are past oriented, they concentrate on doing and put emphasizes on collateral or group relations. Their counterparts, Euro-American cultures, who are dominant in the United States, believe that human nature is a mixture- some people are wrong while other people real (Carter, 1990). They are future oriented; they put emphasizes on individualism, they are focused on doing and have an aspiration to be dominant over nature. Older Americans believe in the past, we should draw lessons from history, and we should propagate traditions into the future. The best mode of activity for older Americans is becoming. They believe that the primary reason for existence is for own inner development. They also believe that the best way to be organized is to collateral. It is the best social organization where one is not supposed to make important decisions alone but includes other people.

Factors affecting the functioning of older Americans

Older Americans are affected by the different factors in life other than just biological factors. These factors alter their lives in a variety of ways. Some of the factors are bio-psycho-social, economic and environmental factors (Drewnowski Evans 2001)

Bio-psycho-social factors

These are factors that combine the body, mind and social elements and explain how they influence the being of a person. Each factor, be it the body, mind or social, contributes and change a person’s life with different magnitude. The older generation accounts for nearly 15% of the total population. The aged Americans population is increasing. Life expectancy varies by race. White people’s expectancy is 1.1 years more than African Americans. A lot of diseases begin to manifest in older Americans, and these diseases are mainly chronic health conditions. It is perhaps due to the narrowing of physical activity among older people in America. Older people mostly report lower intensity activities which include walking, and golfing rather than aerobics, and running for example. Many older Americans suffer neglect by their loved ones, and this social impact scores an adverse effect on their health as they lack people to take care of them. Most elderly Black Americans, for example, consider it expensive to provide for elder care. Most of these older people are affected by stress and depression mostly due to neglect.

Economic factors

Even though the numbers of more elderly citizens in America living below the poverty line has reduced significantly, most of the older Americans still live under the poverty threshold. It is especially the case with more aged people from non-Euro-America cultures. Most of their income is from social security, and this plays an enormous role in them falling short of proper medication and health care in general. Most of them have housing problems, especially those old Americans that head their homes. Older Americans face more economic struggles than average regular citizens. It is because they have less income and also due to reduced revenue sources.


With the fast changing environment, most elder people in America are inhibited by these changes in their day to day functioning of their lives. Most cannot drive at night, they use most of their time in the fixed locations that are, at home mostly, and there is a limit in attending social events or visiting a friend. The environment they live in also has a significant impact on their health, with pollution everywhere, their bodies will only grow weak by bad air quality for example for those who live in poor neighborhoods due to economic constraints.

Culture structures

Differences in outcomes of stress in cultures in the US is in connection to marginalized groups status factors and cultural differences (Aranda Knight 1997). (Some cultural groups are into consideration as minority groups, and these include: the African Americans, Asian Americans, Latin Americas and the Native Americans (Greene, 1994). These groups are considered inferior due to their way of life and are barred from equal access to power and this, therefore, lives them disadvantaged. Since they have less access to power, they have less economic muscle, limited access to health care and hence less access to opportunities and ultimately live a miserable life. Their cultures are past oriented. Some of the other culture like the Euro-American culture has a superior way of life and access to opportunities such as education, better health care, and better income. It gives them access to power and hence influences. Their cultures believe in dominance over nature, they believe in individualism and in doing, and they are future oriented, this creates for them space to do more- to believe in education, to work towards becoming financial stable to be more than just what there is.

Culture Clusters

Culture clusters are groups of cultures of nations that share a religion, economic development, geographical proximity, history and other factors. It is helpful to group cultures so as to obtain a summary of similarities and differences among societies. It provides a tool for learning about cultural differences and at the same time manages cultural diversity (“Cultural Clusters: Mapping Cultural Distance,” 2017). Nations in each cluster are similar on approximately three cultural value orientations. It does not, however, mean that individuals in a group conform to all the cultural values of the society, people vary within each nation in the extent of adopting dominant emphasis of culture in their country. Some of the clusters are as follows:

Anglo group, which has a strong focus on doing, individualism, indulgence and being assertive, they are exploitive of nature and the environment. Americans have a majority in the Anglo cluster that is dominant politically and economically (“Culture of United States of America – history, people, clothing, traditions, women, beliefs, food, customs, family,” 2017). Most of this cluster’s nations include; Great Britain, Australia, English-speaking Canada, United States, Ireland, South Africa (White) and New Zealand.

The dominant language is English. Spoken English for older Americans has many dialects; The different linguistic expression is a reflection of the immigration history of Americans.

One of the identities of older Americans is the US flag. It symbolizes patriotism to the nation and many Americans display the flag in their homes. Older Americans expressed nationalism and solidarity through sports, with the most common sports being the American Football. It reflects sex and gender ideals. Competitiveness, individualism, and determination are in expression in the form of games.

The United States constitutes immigrants combine to produce a standard American. Americans take coffee in the morning while alcohol during social occasions. Hamburgers, hot dogs and beer mark the most common food among the Americans. The fundamental unit of currency for Americans is the dollar. The economy is advanced industrially and highly mechanized. The service industry is at the helm regarding commercial activities in the US.

Cultural coping systems like families and marriages for the older Americans are far much better than modern Americans. The family is valued, in particular among the Whites in America. Nuclear families are considerable, but cases of extended families caring and taking care of children are common among immigrant groups like the African Americans. Child-rearing practices are different among older Americans; wealthy families put their children under the care of nannies or day care programs. Family network among the Americans is unique. There exists a non-family and non-friends network; this is restricted networks (Fiori, Antonucci, & Cortina, 2006).

Education was scarcely available for groups such as African-Americans and Latin Americans. Most people attain the level of high school in America. The dominant religion is Christianity. Catholicism closely follows it as the largest single denomination; Judaism and Islam also take root in America. Most cities are considered dangerous and have a high prevalence rate of crimes. The country has the largest prisoners in the industrialized world (“Culture of United States of America – history, people, clothing, traditions, women, beliefs, food, and customs, family,” et al. 2017).). Most old people in America do not commit a crime though they are fearful of crimes. There are severe penalties for violent crime in America; these sanctions are for example death penalty. Imprisonment is the fundamental unit for correcting a wrong.

Cultural arts among Americans include music, like country music, traditional music which covers: rock ‘n’ roll, rap, and hip-hop. Graphic arts for the older generation were imitative of European art. Other culture clusters related to the American or Anglo group which is the dominant cluster in the United States are as outlined below.

Latin America nations share unique Latin Culture which includes Catholicism, the Roman law and mostly speaks Spanish and Portuguese. Some of the countries in this bracket include Chile, Peru, Mexico-Colombia Brazil and Argentina. They exhibit high scores for Power Distance and Collectivism. Societies in Latin America take life as it comes, the unpredictability of life is a living fact, and people do not worry too much of themselves and life in general. Some of the nations in this cluster are Peru and Bolivia who showcase higher power Distance and are less exposed to the European culture hence reflecting weak economic development.

Middle East group is a reflection of Arab Muslim culture. Societies in this region believe the future unfolds according to God’s will (Allah’s will). Male’s dominance is high, and males have the function of offering security. The history of these nations is marked with Europe influence and struggles to join the West. A family is a crucial unit in these societies; it forms a security against influence from foreigners.

Sub-Saharan Africa includes communities that suffered from slavery and have a history of Christian missionary effort and different shared thought on humaneness. They have a highlight of Humane Orientation and lead challenging rural lives.


Aranda, M. P., & Knight, B. G. (1997). The influence of ethnicity and culture on the caregiver stress and coping process: A sociocultural review and analysis. The Gerontologist37(3), 342-354.

Carter, R. T. (1990). Cultural value differences between African Americans and White Americans. Journal of College Student Development, 31,71-79.

Cultural Clusters: Mapping Cultural Distance. (2017). The Culture Plus Blog. Retrieved from

The culture of United States of America – history, people, clothing, traditions, women, beliefs, food, customs, family. (2017). Retrieved 4 March 2017, from

Drewnowski, A., & Evans, W. J. (2001). Nutrition, physical activity, and quality of life in older adults summary. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences56(Suppl 2), 89-94.

Drewnowski, A., & Evans, W. J. (2001). Introduction. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences56(Suppl 2), 5-6.

Fiori, K., Antonucci, T., & Cortina, K. (2006). Social Network Typologies and Mental Health Among Older Adults. The Journals Of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences And Social Sciences, 61(1), P25-P32.

Gallagher, T. (2001). The value orientations method: A tool to help understand cultural differences. Journal of Extension39(6), 165-17.

Greene, R. (1994). Human behavior theory: A diversity framework. New York: Aldine de Gruyter

Keirsey, D. (1998). Please understand me II: Temperament, character, intelligence. Del Mar, CA: Prometheus Nemesis Book Co.

The Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. (2010). Older Americans 2010: Key indicators of well-being. Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics.

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