How Do Cultural Values Affect Decision-Making?

People with different cultural backgrounds have different expectations, norms and values, which in turn have the potential to influence their judgments and decisions, as well as their subsequent behavior, according to the Newsletter of the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong China. Cultural values also determine what is considered right or wrong for an individual and how an outcome of a situation in interpreted.

Cultural values are transmitted from generation to generation through a shared understanding of beliefs, attitudes, meanings and hierarchies. When faced with a decision, individuals use cultural values to determine the appropriate course of action. People tend to make decisions in a manner that conforms with culturally mediated beliefs about morality. If a person’s cultural values encourage traits such as honesty and integrity, that individual is more likely to follow ethical decision-making tactics when compared to person who’s cultural values don’t stress the importance of those traits.

Although cultural values play an important role in decision-making, recent research shows that cultural norms and values are not the only criteria to influence behavior. The situational environment also has an effect on the extent to which cultural values and norms affect the decision-making process. In addition, when people work closely together on a project, individuals tend to take on the core values of the group.