!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: Cross-Cultural Relations Between US Marines and Arabs

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cross-Cultural Relations Between US Marines and Arabs

The July issue of the Proceedings of the US Naval Institute contains an interesting report of research Thomas Affourtit, a retired US Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel, carried out to learn about differences between the motivational profiles of the average US Marine selected for duty in the Middle East and the average Arab male.

The Proceedings article is available online only to members of the Naval Institute, but you can read an earlier version of Affourtit's article here (pdf).

Affourtit used the Edwards Personal Preference Schedule (EPPS) as his assessment tool. The EPPS, first published in 1959, measures the strength in an individual person of 15 needs or motives:

Achievement (ACH) — A need to accomplish tasks well.

Dominance (DOM) — A need to be a leader and influence others.

Deference (DEF) — A need to conform to customs and defer to others.

Endurance (END) — A need to follow through on tasks and complete assignments.

Orderliness (ORD) — A need to plan well and be organized.

Autonomy (AUT) — A need to be free of responsibilities and obligations.

Change (CHG) — A need to change activities to maintain interest. (Note that all online listings I found give a wrong definition for this item.)

Exhibition (EXH) — A need to be the center of attention in a group.

Affiliation (AFF) — A need to form strong friendships and attachments.

Intraception (INT) — A need to analyze behaviors and feelings of others.

Aggression (AGG) — A need to express one's opinion and be critical of others.

Succorance (SUC) — A need to receive support and attention from others.

Abasement (ABA) — A need to accept blame for problems and confess errors to others.

Nurturance (NUR) — A need to be of assistance to others.

Heterosexuality (HET) — A need to be associated with and attractive to members of the opposite sex.

Affourtit's surveys of Marine advisers and Arab college men in Jordan yielded the results summarized in the chart below.

(click to enlarge)

Source: Thomas D. Affourtit (pdf)

Affourtit's key findings are summarized below. It is important to bear in mind that all of the summary statements are expressed in terms of averages, meaning that one should make no automatic assumptions about any individual based on these group findings.
  • Marines are more achievement-oriented than Arabs.

  • Marines are more intent on assuming leadership roles than Arabs. Conversely, Arabs are more deferential and willing to take orders. In terms of need for autonomy, Marines are at the US male norm (represented by the horizontal red line at the 50th percentile level), while Arabs are several percentiles lower.

  • Arabs score well above Marines on endurance.

  • Arabs have a stronger need for orderliness than Marines.

  • Arabs and Marines score similarly on need for change, and in fact are above the US male norm for this characteristic.

  • Marines have a markedly higher need to be the center of attention than Arabs.

  • Arabs are more inclined to be gregarious and generally friendly than are Marines.

  • Arabs and Marines are similar in their levels of intraception, i.e., need for understanding differences between themselves and others (and are at about the norm for US males).

  • Both Arabs and Marines score high in aggression.

  • Arabs score higher than Marines on need for succorance, abasement, and nurturance.

  • There is an extreme difference between Marines and Arabs on the need for expression of heterosexual interest, with Marines well above the US male norm, and Arabs quite low.
The summary of Affoutit's findings given above leaves out his interpretative commentary, which is highly recommended in order to more fully appreciate what can be learned from his research.


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