The phenomenon of culture shock is seldom dealt with directly. In scientific literature, it is relegated to intercultural studies. In popular scientific literature, there are experts such as Chen (see below) who always have difficulty describing a culture without sounding cliché. The risk of doing so is normal and cannot be avoided. However, those who know how to approach the topic without taking it all too seriously – instead pointing towards the potential difficulties – can benefit greatly.
Here we have collected a list of interesting literature and further reading. Of course, this list is not exhaustive and we have not read everything. In some cases, we have only studied parts of the literature to a certain degree, or the literature was recommended to us, but was not pursued any further.
For those who want to jump right in and need some help, the best place to start is Wikipedia. In addition to online resources, there is also Hanne Chen 2003 in German, Geert Hofstede 1991 in English, or Touzani 2013 in French.
One of my advisors, as a young student, once said, “A good tutor provides you with three suggestions for reading about your topic; a bad one gives you 25”. In keeping with this motto, we provide no more than two to four suggestions here.
We always appreciate any additions to these if you think it is necessary.
Wikipedia, general overview: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kulturschock
Hubert Ertl, Culture Shock und Qualifizierungsprozesse – Überlegungen zum Umgang mit dem Phänomen Kulturschock, In: Wirtschaftspädagogische Beiträge Paderborn, Heft 7, 2003.
(This is a very scientific explanation in sophisticated language, but provides some new and good ideas.)
Kumbler, Dagmar / Schulz von Thun, Friedemann (2006): Interkulturelle Kommunikation: Methoden, Modelle, Beispiele. Reinbek bei Hamburg: rororo. 352 pp.
(An abridged version of the communication model of Schulz von Thun, which is always very helpful even though it does not cover all details. However, there are some further articles from an international perspective with many examples to learn from.)
Chen, Hanne (2003): KulturSchock: mit anderen Augen sehen: Leben in fremden Kulturen [Ägypten, China/Taiwan, Deutschland, Indien, Italien, Kalifornien, Mexiko, Russland, Tansania, Thailand, Türkei]. Bielefeld: Reise-Know-How-Verlag Rump. 264 pp.
(There are 14 separate volumes about the topic of culture shock in various countries. Readers in each location would need to decide whether or not these are helpful. This overview volume has proved popular despite the fact that the layout is a matter of taste.)
Oberg, Kalervo: Culture Shock and the Problems of Adjustment to New Cultural
Environments, Washington, 1958.
(This is a classic – a definite must for in-depth study and it is good! Those who are only looking for an overview or simply want practical help should steer clear of the scientific endeavors described here.)
Foster, G.: Traditional Cultures, New York, 1962. (see comment for Oberg; the same applies for Foster.)
Hofstede, Geert (1991): Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. New York: McGraw-Hill. 279 pp.
(This is also standard reading, but much more recent. It is recommended especially for those who work in large multicultural organizations. It is relatively complex and scientific, but not always easy to put into practice.)
Hofstede, Geert (1980): Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values. Beverly Hills, CA, and London: Sage. 475 pp.
(Interesting for all those who know how to handle statistics and clichés about countries. Not always helpful from a practical point of view, but provides ideas and suggestions for everyday life.)
(Interesting page with many resources, some are not so obvious, but definitely worth reading.)
Wikipedia overview: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choc_culturel
Touzani, Lilia (2013): Le rôle central du choc culturel dans les experiences d’hospitalite touristique. Business administration. Universite de Grenoble, 2013.
(This dissertation resulted from a Tunisian-French collaboration, so this in itself is a multicultural piece of work. There are some interesting aspects, for example, a list of which researchers have defined the term “culture shock” over the years.)
Short Canadian introduction:
(Some tips and good ideas, but a very short presentation that is focused on French-speaking Quebec and is mainly geared towards students.)