Culture Shock

DEFINITION of 'Culture Shock'

A feeling of uncertainty, confusion or anxiety that people experience when visiting, doing business in or living in a society that is different from their own. Culture shock can arise from a person's unfamiliarity with local customs, language and acceptable behavior, since norms can vary significantly across cultures.

BREAKING DOWN 'Culture Shock'

The feeling of culture shock can dissipate over time. Visitors to a new country, for example, will at first be unfamiliar with the nuances of local culture, but will learn how to adapt as interactions with people continue. Culture shock can be daunting for those who do business abroad due to the added pressure of maintaining or developing a profitable business relationship. Many international companies provide cultural training to help reduce cultural gaffes by employees, which can affect business.