Between Two Worlds: Dynamics and Integration of Western and Chinese Values in Hong Kong

By Chi-yue ChiuHo-Ying Fu
2001| Working Paper No. 1683

The present research investigated how host and foreign cultures impacted on multiply enculturated individuals, specifically on how they integrate values from foreign cultures. We argued that whether foreign values are integrated into an individual’s host cultural meaning system depends on the compatibility of the values with implicit beliefs in the host culture. Hence some parts of a foreign culture are more likely to be embraced than others. Specifically with regard to Western achievement versus moral values, we contend that because Western achievement values are relatively more compatible with implicit beliefs in Hong Kong society, they are more cognitively accessible than Western moral values. We investigated the cognitive accessibility of cultural values to contemporary Hong Kong students by measuring the associations triggered by role models. Study 1 found that Chinese moral values were relatively more accessible than other values when Chinese role models were presented whereas competence values were more accessible than other values when Western role models were presented. In studies 2 to 5, participants generated examples of role models; the Chinese role models generated tended to exemplify Chinese moral values best whereas Western role model generated tended to exemplify Western competence values better than Western moral values. This implied that impact of Chinese culture on contemporary Hong Kong students occurs mainly in moral domain, whereas that of Western culture was mainly in competence domain. Implication for the dynamic use of values from different cultures by bicultural individuals is discussed.

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