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Culture and Activity Orientations

Culture and Activity Orientations

The term “activity orientation” refers to the way a culture views activity. The Kluckhohns and Strodtbeck list three common categories of activity expression. A “being” orientation describes “spontaneous expression of the human personality” , and emphasizes working for the present. The “being-in-becoming” orientation stresses personal growth and understanding, and is often closely linked to spirituality. Finally, in the “doing” category, personal success is often measured by visible standards, and there is a need for constant motion. Examples of each of these orientations can be seen in different cultures.
"People in being-orientated cultures accept people, events, and ideas as flowing spontaneously. They stress reliance, indulgence of existing desires, and working for the moment." Individuals often treasure interaction with family and friends above other forms of achievement or entertainment. The simple act of “being” is an important goal and joy in life. Many Latin cultures exhibit this activity orientation.
The “being-in-becoming” activity orientation is very holistic and often connected to spirituality. The spiritual life of the individual is held in higher esteem than earthly accomplishments. Also, more weight is placed on truth and enlightenment than material acquisitions. Many Eastern religions such as Taoism and Buddhism demonstrate this.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.” The “doing” activity orientation describes “activity in which accomplishments are measurable by standards external to the individual.” Constant motion is emphasized. A culture that practices this orientation values instant gratification as well as long-term accomplishments. A society based on this could be very business-oriented. The collection of material items—such as a new sports-car or big-screen...

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