Sometimes, when people try to correct the feelings of ethnocentrism and practice cultural relativism, they swing too far to the other end of the spectrum. Xenocentrism is the opposite of ethnozentrism and refers to the belief that another culture is superior to one`s own. (The Greek root word xeno, pronounced “ZEE-no,” means “stranger” or “foreign guest.”) An exchange student returning home after a semester abroad, or a sociologist returning from the field, may find it difficult to associate with the values of their own culture after experiencing what they consider to be a more upright or noble way of life. The way cuisines vary between cultures fascinates many people. Some travelers are proud of their willingness to taste unknown dishes, such as the famous author of food Anthony Bourdain, while others return home and express gratitude for the taste of their culture of origin. Often in the United States, people express their disgust for cooking from other cultures and think it is disgusting to eat from the flesh of a dog or guinea pig when they do not question their own habit of eating cows or pigs. These attitudes are an example of ethnocentrism or the evaluation and evaluation of another culture based on how it is compared to its own cultural norms. Ethnozentrism, as described by sociologist William Graham Sumner (1906), involves the belief or attitude that one`s culture is better than all others and should therefore serve as a standard frame of reference. Almost everyone is a bit ethnocentric. For example, Americans tend to say that people in England drive on the “wrong” side of the road, rather than on the other side. Someone from a country where dog meat is a standard food might find it a deterrent to seeing a dog in a French restaurant – not on the menu, but as a pet and companion of another benefactor. A good example of ethnocentrism is the reference to parts of Asia as the “Far East”.

One might ask, “Far east from where?” While maintaining respectful boundaries, learn the unique experiences that each of your employees brings to the workplace. If you understand the background of everyone on your team, you can explore their cultural norms and prepare to take them into consideration. The concept of culture combines a number of elements of education, history and community of people. This means that there are many characteristics that can create cultural differences in the workplace.