Costs and benefits of cultural value mismatch in the globalising era: A commentary on the special issue “cross‐cultural value mismatch: A by‐product of migration and population diversity around the world” (IJP, December, 2018)

Michael Shengtao Wu
Published Online:
26 Nov 2019

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In this commentary, the author first seeks to counterbalance the current focus on the cost of cultural value mismatch by calling attention to ample evidence in the literature that value mismatch can produce cultural adaptation and resilience in the long run, besides promoting cultural innovations and individual creativity. Second, we propose three factors that differentiate the benefits from the costs of cultural value mismatch. Personal orientation towards integrating heritage and host culture, accurate perception of cultural value differences, and supportive multicultural environments are associated with benefits. In contrast, dichotomous orientation towards one or the other culture, exaggeration of value differences between heritage and host culture, and assimilationist social environments are associated with costs. Third, our analysis of the decoupling between cultural values and ecological niches in the special issue led to observation of bidirectionality in cultural value mismatch: Whereas most articles in the Special Issue focus on the cross‐cultural value mismatch that occurs when people move from a more rural, low‐resource, less technological ecology into a more urban, high‐resource, more technological ecology, we were able to document the effects of value mismatch when movement occurs in the opposite direction.

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