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How to Write an Essay About Cultural Differences

How to Write Research Papers From Start to Finish

How to Write Research Papers From Start to Finish

Starting your cultural differences essay can be a challenging undertaking. After all, the traditions and social expectations of any culture are so broad that it can be difficult to find a starting point. Choosing a specific aspect of two cultures to research narrows down the topic, leaving you one or two issues to focus on in detail.

Pick Your Topic

When writing an essay on cultural differences, the first question to address is which cultures to write about. The assignment you are given may ask you to compare and contrast two different cultures, or to compare your own culture to a culture with which you are unfamiliar. Pick a culture you are interested in, within the constraints of your assignment. This could be a culture that exists side by side with yours in your town or city, or a culture that exists on the other side of the world. If you are already partially familiar with that culture, pick an aspect of the culture you would like to know more about to ensure that you are engaged in your research.

Conduct Your Research

An encyclopedia may be a good place to begin your search. While an encyclopedia does not go in-depth into the particulars of a culture, it provides a general picture of topics you might want to investigate. These reference books often direct you to more specific references on your topic of interest, such as books, journal articles and online sources. You are likely to find, for example, a variety of sources about different levels of formality expectations in two cultures.

While doing your research, try to note whenever an aspect of a culture strikes you as strange, and ask yourself whether it is a bias based on your own assumptions. This is especially important if you are writing about the differences between your culture and another culture; you do not want your biases to creep into your writing. If possible, interview a member of the culture you are studying to get input on perceived differences.

Structure Your Paper

The next step is writing a thesis statement -- a sentence that expresses the argument of your paper. Since you are writing about a cultural difference, your thesis statement should mention what difference you want to highlight or explain in your paper. For example, if you are an American comparing your social norms of privacy to those of British culture, your thesis statement might go like this:

"The differences in British and Americans standards of privacy are evident in each culture's approach to personal openness and humor."

Once you have your thesis statement, you can plan out the rest of your paper. Outline paragraphs that compare and contrast the two cultures in regard to the issues stated in your thesis. Describe and explore similarities and differences. If possible, provide an explanation for what about the two cultures causes the differences to exist.

Write Your Paper

Begin your paper with an introduction paragraph that includes your thesis statement and additional sentences that define specific topics your paper addresses. Think of your introduction as a way of letting your reader know the topics your paper will cover. Following a well-argued body with strong supporting examples, end your essay with a conclusion paragraph that restates your thesis and the most important points of your cultural comparisons. Ensure that you cite your sources according to the style guide requested by your instructor.

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Jon Zamboni began writing professionally in 2010. He has previously written for The Spiritual Herald, an urban health care and religious issues newspaper based in New York City, and online music magazine eBurban. Zamboni has a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies from Wesleyan University.

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How to Write a Cultural Diversity Essay

December 14, 2016

Understanding Cultural Diversity

To write an effective cultural diversity essay, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of what cultural diversity truly means. Cultural diversity refers to the coexistence of different cultures, values, and traditions within a society. It encompasses differences in language, religion, beliefs, customs, and practices. Understanding cultural diversity involves recognizing and appreciating the unique perspectives and experiences that each culture brings.

When writing an essay on cultural diversity, it is important to explore the reasons behind its importance in today’s globalized world. This includes examining how cultural diversity promotes tolerance, understanding, and inclusivity. Additionally, understanding cultural diversity entails acknowledging the challenges and barriers faced by different cultural groups and examining strategies for achieving cultural harmony. By grasping the concept of cultural diversity, you can effectively convey your thoughts and insights in your essay, providing a comprehensive understanding to your readers.

Choosing a Topic for the Essay

Selecting the right topic is vital when writing a cultural diversity essay. With such a broad subject, it is important to narrow down your focus to a specific aspect or issue related to cultural diversity that interests you. Consider topics such as the impact of immigration on cultural diversity, the role of education in promoting cultural acceptance, or the influence of globalization on cultural identity.

When choosing a topic, ensure that it is researchable and allows for a comprehensive exploration of different perspectives. It is important to select a topic that you are passionate about, as this will help you maintain motivation and produce a well-written essay. Furthermore, consider the relevance and significance of your chosen topic in today’s society to ensure that your essay contributes to the discussion and provides valuable insights.

Possible Cultural Diversity Essay Topics:

  • The Impact of Immigration on Cultural Diversity
  • Cultural Assimilation versus Cultural Preservation
  • Cultural Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits and Challenges
  • Cultural Stereotypes and their Effects on Society
  • Exploring Cultural Identity in a Globalized World
  • The Role of Education in Promoting Cultural Acceptance
  • Cultural Appropriation: Understanding the Controversy
  • Gender Roles and Cultural Diversity
  • Traditional versus Modern Practices in Different Cultures
  • Cultural Diversity and Social Justice: Addressing Inequality

Organizing Your Thoughts

When writing a cultural diversity essay, it is crucial to organize your thoughts effectively to ensure a coherent and logical flow of ideas. Start by brainstorming and jotting down all the ideas, examples, and arguments that come to mind. Once you have a list of key points, group them into categories or themes that relate to your chosen topic.

Next, create an outline that includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The introduction should provide a brief overview of cultural diversity and present a clear thesis statement. Each body paragraph should focus on a single idea or argument, supported by evidence and examples.

Consider using a logical structure such as comparing and contrasting different perspectives, discussing the historical context, or analyzing the impacts of cultural diversity. Finally, conclude your essay by summarizing your main points and reinforcing the significance of cultural diversity in contemporary society. By organizing your thoughts effectively, you will create a well-structured and impactful cultural diversity essay.

Writing an Effective Introduction

The introduction of a cultural diversity essay is the first opportunity to capture the reader’s attention and provide a clear direction for the essay. To craft an effective introduction, follow these tips:

  • Start with a hook: Begin your introduction with an attention-grabbing statement, question, or anecdote that relates to cultural diversity. This will engage the reader and make them curious to learn more.
  • Provide background information: Offer a concise background on the topic of cultural diversity, highlighting its significance and relevance in today’s society. This sets the stage for the essay and helps the reader understand the context.
  • State the thesis statement: Clearly state your main argument or position on cultural diversity. The thesis statement should be concise, specific, and arguable. It establishes the purpose of the essay and gives the reader a roadmap of what to expect.
  • Outline the main points: Briefly mention the main points or arguments that you will discuss in the body of the essay. This gives the reader an overview of the essay’s structure and keeps them engaged.

Remember, the introduction should be concise, captivating, and informative. It should set the tone for the essay and create a strong first impression for the reader. By following these guidelines, you can write an effective introduction that engages the reader and lays the foundation for a compelling cultural diversity essay.

Developing the Main Body

The main body of your cultural diversity essay is where you delve into the key arguments, ideas, and evidence that support your thesis statement. To effectively develop the main body of your essay, consider the following:

  • Start with a clear topic sentence: Begin each paragraph with a concise and focused topic sentence that introduces the main point or argument you will discuss. This helps guide the reader through your essay and ensures a coherent flow.
  • Provide evidence and examples: Support your arguments with relevant evidence and examples. This can include statistics, research findings, case studies, personal experiences, or cultural anecdotes. Use a mix of primary and secondary sources to strengthen your claims.
  • Explore different perspectives: Cultural diversity is a complex and multifaceted topic. Consider discussing different perspectives or contrasting viewpoints within your essay. This demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of the subject and enriches your analysis.
  • Use logical transitions: Ensure a smooth transition between paragraphs by using logical transitions. Connect ideas between paragraphs to maintain a cohesive and logical flow of thoughts.
  • Consider counterarguments: Address potential counterarguments to your thesis statement. Acknowledge and refute opposing viewpoints to strengthen your own arguments and demonstrate critical thinking.

Remember to maintain a balanced approach, provide sufficient evidence for your claims, and avoid generalizations. By developing a well-structured and evidence-based main body in your cultural diversity essay, you can effectively present your ideas and engage the reader in a thought-provoking discussion.

Avoiding Stereotypes

When writing a cultural diversity essay, it is important to avoid stereotypes and generalizations that can perpetuate prejudice and discrimination. Instead, focus on presenting a nuanced and accurate portrayal of cultural diversity that acknowledges the complexity and diversity of different ethnic, racial, and cultural groups. To avoid stereotypes in your essay, consider the following:

  • Avoid using sweeping generalizations or attributing traits to entire groups of people based on their cultural background.
  • Use specific examples and evidence to illustrate your points and avoid assumptions.
  • Acknowledge the diversity within cultures and avoid treating them as monolithic entities.
  • Respect and consider multiple perspectives on cultural diversity, acknowledging that cultural experiences are complex and nuanced.

By avoiding stereotypes, you can present a thoughtful and objective analysis of cultural diversity that recognizes the complexity of the subject and contributes to a more informed and inclusive society.

Including Personal Experiences

When writing a cultural diversity essay, incorporating personal experiences can add depth, authenticity, and a unique perspective to your writing. Personal experiences allow you to connect with the topic on a deeper level and provide firsthand insights into cultural diversity. Here’s how to effectively include personal experiences in your cultural diversity essay:

  • Choose relevant experiences: Select personal experiences that directly relate to the topic of cultural diversity. This could include encounters with different cultures, cross-cultural friendships, or experiences that highlight the impact of cultural diversity in your own life.
  • Reflect on the significance: Share why these experiences are meaningful to you and how they have shaped your understanding of cultural diversity. Reflecting on your experiences adds a personal touch and demonstrates your engagement with the topic.
  • Connect to broader themes: Situate your personal experiences within broader themes or issues related to cultural diversity. This could involve discussing the challenges and benefits of embracing cultural differences or sharing examples that highlight the importance of cultural understanding and acceptance.
  • Maintain objectivity: While incorporating personal experiences, it is important to strike a balance between personal perspective and objective analysis. Avoid generalizations and ensure that your personal experiences are grounded in critical thinking and supported by evidence and research.

By including personal experiences, you can add a unique dimension to your cultural diversity essay, fostering a deeper connection with readers and enhancing the overall impact of your writing.

Analyzing Cultural Conflict and Harmony

Cultural diversity can often lead to conflicts or misunderstandings between different groups with different beliefs and values. It is important to analyze these conflicts and seek ways to promote harmony and understanding in your cultural diversity essay. Here are some tips for analyzing cultural conflict and harmony in your essay:

  • Identify causes of conflict: Explore the underlying factors that contribute to conflict between different cultures. This could include issues such as cultural stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, or misunderstanding.
  • Discuss potential solutions: Consider ways to promote cultural harmony and understanding. This could include cultural education, intercultural communication, or promoting inclusive policies that support cultural diversity.
  • Highlight success stories: Share examples of cultural harmony or success stories where cultural diversity has been successfully embraced and celebrated.
  • Acknowledge challenges: Recognize the challenges involved in achieving cultural harmony, including power imbalances, political and economic factors, and historic tensions.

By analyzing cultural conflict and harmony, you can develop a more nuanced understanding of the complexities and opportunities that arise from cultural diversity. This can lead to meaningful insights and solutions that promote a more inclusive and harmonious society.

Writing the Conclusion

The conclusion of your cultural diversity essay should summarize the key points made in the main body and restate the thesis statement in a clear and concise way. Here’s how to write an effective conclusion for your essay:

  • Summarize the key arguments: Begin by summarizing the main arguments or findings presented in the main body of your essay. This reminds the reader of the main points and demonstrates the coherence of your writing.
  • Restate the thesis statement: The thesis statement should be restated in the conclusion, using different words to maintain interest and reinforce the message.
  • Provide final thoughts: Use the conclusion to provide final thoughts or insights on the topic of cultural diversity. This could include a call to action, a prediction, or a reflection on the implications of the topic.
  • Avoid introducing new information: The conclusion is not the place to introduce new information or arguments. Ensure that all ideas presented in the conclusion have been discussed in the main body.
  • End with impact: End your conclusion with a lasting impact. This could involve a memorable quote, a thought-provoking question, or a powerful statement.

By following these guidelines, you can write a conclusion that reinforces the main message of your cultural diversity essay and leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

Diversity Essay Example

In today’s globalized world, cultural diversity is an undeniable reality. As I reflect upon my own experiences, I am reminded of the profound impact that cultural diversity has had on my life. Growing up in a multicultural neighborhood, I had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the richness that arises from the coexistence of different cultures.

One particular experience stands out in my memory. During a school project, my classmates and I were tasked with creating a presentation about a culture different from our own. I chose to explore the traditions and customs of an indigenous tribe from my country. Through extensive research and engaging conversations with members of that community, I gained a deeper understanding of their unique way of life.

This project taught me a valuable lesson about cultural diversity. It showed me that diversity is not limited to external appearances or superficial differences. It encompasses a wealth of knowledge, traditions, and perspectives that can enrich our lives and broaden our horizons.

Furthermore, this experience highlighted the importance of cultural respect and empathy. I realized that by approaching cultural diversity with an open mind and genuine curiosity, we can foster meaningful connections with individuals from different backgrounds. Rather than viewing diversity as a challenge or obstacle, it should be seen as an opportunity for growth and understanding.

In conclusion, my personal experiences have provided me with profound insights into the importance of embracing cultural diversity. This diversity essay example demonstrates the transformative power that cultural exchange can have on individuals and communities. By sharing our stories and celebrating our differences, we contribute to a more inclusive and harmonious society that values and respects the richness of cultural diversity.

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Tolerance and Respect for Cultural Differences Essay

Introduction, organization of the essay, tolerance and respect in relation to cultural diversities, reasons why tolerance and respect solve societal challenges, recommendations and conclusion, works cited, background information.

Conflict is the most common form of challenge facing the human population today. An in-depth analysis of interactions between people from different backgrounds reveals that the said conflict is as a result of societal diversities. The diversities include differences in, among others, social status, race, affiliations to ethnic groups, and political beliefs. According to Agius and Ambrosewicz (1), the diversities in any given society are brought about by cultural variations.

In this essay, the author seeks to provide a solution for these conflicts in a bid to promote peaceful coexistence among people from different cultural and social backgrounds.

Thesis Statement

Tolerance and respect help to reduce conflicts in multicultural societies .

Most contemporary societies are characterized by cultural diversities. The differences are increased by globalization, where physical and geographical borders have reduced and movement of people increased. Tolerance and respect for these diversities is the only way through which people from different backgrounds can live peacefully. The author of this paper bases their arguments on the sentiments held by Basso (7). Basso provides solutions on how to deal with diversity in a society. The author relies on Basso to support the thesis statement in light of the readings specified for this course. A number of factors that support tolerance and respect for diversity are clearly outlined in this essay. In addition, the author of this essay illustrates how the said respect and tolerance can be realized.

The essay is divided into three major sections. The first section constitutes the introduction where an overview of the essay is outlined. The second section is made up of the body of the essay. The definition of terms, position of the author on the subject matter, and justifications for the arguments made is contained in this section. The author concludes the essay in the third section by revisiting the thesis statement and highlighting the various approaches used to develop attitudes that promote respect and tolerance. The conclusion borrows heavily from the course readings as outlined by Basso (4).

Definition of Terms

Tolerance draws its philosophical meanings from the accommodation of divergent behaviors in a given society. Agius and Ambrosewicz (11) argue that this concept can be regarded as the formula required for the peaceful coexistence of a socially and culturally divergent people. The two scholars point out that diversity in a society can be brought about by many factors. For instance, the society today is characterized by individuals from various ethnic backgrounds. Such individuals come together to form groups that exhibit diversities with regards to race and ethnicity. Religion is also another reason that brings about divergence in a society.

For example, the American society is made up of people from Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and other religious groups. Tolerance can be viewed as the adhesive that holds people together and helps them to live harmoniously despite their cultural differences. It averts conflicts, which may lead to societal disintegration. Conflicts consume a lot of resources that could have been used to promote the society economically and socially. For example, money, time, and human resources are used to resolve disagreements that arise among people in the society.

Tolerance is closely related to the concept of universal equality. Agius and Ambrosewicz (11) argue that a single group in a society can claim superiority over others. For example, the whites can hold the opinion that they are superior to blacks, Hispanics, and other minority groups. Tolerance comes in to address these issues. It promotes the acceptance of other people’s rights to exist regardless of the cultural differences. Basso uses the narrative Number Our Days to illustrate this notion.

Respect and cultural diversity

Respect refers to the way an individual regards other people in the society. In the opinions of Agius and Ambrosewicz (17), this concept is considered as the conduct of an individual with regards to the ethical traits of another person or group. In the matrix of a multicultural society, there are bound to be differences in behavior owing to varying cultural backgrounds. Under such circumstances, respect is seen as the manner in which one party in the society treats their counterparts. It overlooks the biases that would result from the diversity in the community.

Respect and Tolerance

From the definitions provided above, it is evident that the two terms are closely related, especially with regards to cultural diversity. Agius and Ambrosewicz (19) argue that tolerance results from the respect that an individual has towards the diversities evident in the society. Similarly, respect relies on the understanding that people are entitled to their behaviors. The author of this essay relies on this relationship to make arguments in support of development of attitudes that enhance respect and tolerance for diversity.

Solving Societal Challenges in Light of Cultural Diversities

In the previous sections of this essay, the author suggested that attitudes that promote respect and tolerance can solve many of the challenges threatening cohesion and coexistence in the society. As envisaged by Agius and Ambrosewicz (12), conflict is the most common challenge facing a multicultural civilization. The central argument in this essay agrees with the notion that the attitudes supporting respect and tolerance go a long way in solving societal problems, including conflicts. In this regard, several cases of intolerance and disrespect are examined to outline their negative impacts on the society.

A multicultural civilization can be regarded as one that is defined by the existence of people from different racial and cultural backgrounds. By virtue of their ethnic diversity, the individuals are likely to hold clashing schools of thought. For example, the natives may hold religious and political views that are different from those promoted by the whites. The variations are likely to create frictions between these two groups. The demographics of the various racial and ethnic groups vary. In light of these demographics, the dominant group tends to feel superior to the minority class. Agius and Ambrosewicz (13) give an example of racial profiling in Europe and America, some of the most advanced nations in the civilized world. Caucasians are the dominant race in these two societies. As a result, people from other races have received prejudicial treatment in these communities.

Racism is one of the major effects of ethnic diversities in a society. The phenomenon is brought about by the perception that Caucasians are superior to other races, such as the blacks and Hispanics. The act is a classic example of disrespect and intolerance with regards to diversity (Basso 29). Based on the definition of tolerance, it is evident that intolerance is the direct opposite of this concept. A group of people may consider others as unworthy of certain privileges. An example of such kind of intolerance exhibited itself in America where African Americans were denied several rights owing to the color of their skin. The result was a bloody struggle for freedom.

History is replete with several accounts and cases where tolerance and respect for diversity provided solutions to many conflicts. Agius and Ambrosewicz (21) make reference to the gradual decline of sexism. For a long time, most societies believed that men were superior to women. Religions like Christianity and Islam had doctrines that suggested women were inferior to men. Consequently, women were denied certain rights. For instance, in Europe, women were not allowed to vote. However, through dialogue and respect for equality, the group was eventually allowed to exercise this right.

Discrimination is often a manifestation of intolerance and disrespect. Societies that do not embrace tolerance are torn apart by conflicts (Basso 43). Racism and sexism are some of the attitudes that have changed significantly over the years. The shifts in attitudes have led to various changes in the society. For instance, it is now common for an African American to take a Caucasian woman for a wife without societal uproar. Such are the ‘attitudinal’ changes that made it possible for the United States of America to elect a black president for two terms.

The peaceful coexistence between people from different backgrounds is better than conflict. In their analysis of tolerance, Agius and Ambrosewicz (11) argue that conflict is resolved by changes in attitude. The two argue that human existence can be traced back to more than 3000 years ago. However, societies have spent more time in conflicts than in actual peaceful coexistence. That notwithstanding, many of the conflicts were resolved with the help of dialogues. In The Spirit Catches You , Basso (45) suggests that dialogue is an attribute of respect towards others.

As a societal challenge, conflict is not attractive. The many wars experienced in the past support this assertion by Agius and Ambrosewicz (4). It is expensive for a society to comfortably enjoy life amidst conflicts. During was, for instance, basic amenities become scarce. To achieve these social amenities, peaceful coexistence is a requirement. A look at attitudinal shifts reveals that very few resources are spent to achieve coexistence. As such, attitudes that enhance respect and tolerance are inexpensive ways of resolving conflicts.

Another reason why these attitudes are a solution to societal challenges is the importance of peaceful coexistence. Agius and Ambrosewicz (18) argue that an increase in the size of global population highlights the need for coexistence. Land is not increasing. It remains static as population size rises. As such, it is important for people to coexist in harmony. Through tolerance, people are able to appreciate their diversity and share the available resources without bias. However, in the absence of tolerance and respect, chaos would reign and nobody stands to benefit. Basso (45) makes a similar assertion in the narrative The Spirit Catches You.


The discussions in this essay have expounded on the challenges facing humanity. The illustrations about the negative effects of conflict have made it necessary to address attitudinal changes in the society. Agius and Ambrosewicz (23) argue that tolerance and respect are the responses needed to address the problems associated with multicultural societies. Globalization comes with diversities, making it necessary for people to adjust their attitudes. In light of this, the report makes the following recommendations:

Future generations require peace if they are to enjoy their life. The thesis statement envisages tolerance and respect as the key to ending conflict. Education can be used to promote tolerance and respect (Agius and Ambrosewicz 23). People should be taught about the importance of equality. A comprehensive form of education is needed to help the public understand the benefits of diversity. The education should be viewed as beneficial, not as a threat.


The author of this essay finds that intolerance may be brought about by legal loopholes. It is important for societies to ensure that intolerance and disrespect are treated as crimes. According to Agius and Ambrosewicz (24), punitive measures are important in phasing out criminal activities. As such, if intolerance and disrespect are criminalized, individuals may begin to appreciate each others’ diversity.

Conflict is one of the problems facing people in a multicultural society. Depending on the background of different individuals, biases are bound to occur when there are divergences in terms of culture (Basso 47). Tolerance and respect are attitudes that can help people appreciate their diversity. Rather than viewing people from different cultures as threats, tolerance and respect helps to illustrate the benefits of the same. Diversity in a multicultural society has a lot of benefits. However, the only way to exploit these benefits is by allowing tolerance and respect to thrive.

Agius, Emmanuel, and Jolanta Ambrosewicz. Towards a Culture of Tolerance and Peace, Montreal: International Bureau for Children Rights, 2003. Print.

Basso, Keith 1984, Course on Language and Thought in Native American Cultures , Yale University, School of Social Sciences. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2020, May 18). Tolerance and Respect for Cultural Differences.

"Tolerance and Respect for Cultural Differences." IvyPanda , 18 May 2020,

IvyPanda . (2020) 'Tolerance and Respect for Cultural Differences'. 18 May.

IvyPanda . 2020. "Tolerance and Respect for Cultural Differences." May 18, 2020.

1. IvyPanda . "Tolerance and Respect for Cultural Differences." May 18, 2020.


IvyPanda . "Tolerance and Respect for Cultural Differences." May 18, 2020.

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Research: How Cultural Differences Can Impact Global Teams

  • Vasyl Taras,
  • Dan Caprar,
  • Alfredo Jiménez,
  • Fabian Froese

thesis statement for cultural differences

And what managers can do to help their international teams succeed.

Diversity can be both a benefit and a challenge to virtual teams, especially those which are global. The authors unpack their recent research on how diversity works in remote teams, concluding that benefits and drawbacks can be explained by how teams manage the two facets of diversity: personal and contextual. They find that contextual diversity is key to aiding creativity, decision-making, and problem-solving, while personal diversity does not. In their study, teams with higher contextual diversity produced higher-quality consulting reports, and their solutions were more creative and innovative. When it comes to the quality of work, teams that were higher on contextual diversity performed better. Therefore, the potential challenges caused by personal diversity should be anticipated and managed, but the benefits of contextual diversity are likely to outweigh such challenges.

A recent survey of employees from 90 countries found that 89 percent of white-collar workers “at least occasionally” complete projects in global virtual teams (GVTs), where team members are dispersed around the planet and rely on online tools for communication. This is not surprising. In a globalized — not to mention socially distanced — world, online collaboration is indispensable for bringing people together.

  • VT Vasyl Taras is an associate professor and the Director of the Master’s or Science in International Business program at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, USA. He is an associate editor of the Journal of International Management and the International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management, and a founder of the X-Culture, an international business competition.
  • DB Dan Baack is an expert in international marketing. Dan’s work focuses on how the processing of information or cultural models influences international business. He recently published the 2nd edition of his textbook, International Marketing, with Sage Publications. Beyond academic success, he is an active consultant and expert witness. He has testified at the state and federal level regarding marketing ethics.
  • DC Dan Caprar is an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney Business School. His research, teaching, and consulting are focused on culture, identity, and leadership. Before completing his MBA and PhD as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Iowa (USA), Dan worked in a range of consulting and managerial roles in business, NGOs, and government organizations in Romania, the UK, and the US.
  • AJ Alfredo Jiménez is Associate Professor at KEDGE Business School (France). His research interests include internationalization, political risk, corruption, culture, and global virtual teams. He is a senior editor at the European Journal of International Management.
  • FF Fabian Froese is Chair Professor of Human Resource Management and Asian Business at the University of Göttingen, Germany, and Editor-in-Chief of Asian Business & Management. He obtained a doctorate in International Management from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and another doctorate in Sociology from Waseda University, Japan. His research interests lie in international human resource management and cross-cultural management.

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Senior Theses

Understanding the impact of cross-cultural communication between american and japanese businesses.

Scott Jenkins , University of South Carolina Follow

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Type

Moore School of Business

Director of Thesis

Shunko Muroya

First Reader

Harrison Howell

Second Reader

This thesis aims to investigate the cultural differences between American and Japanese society most relevant to successful business collaboration in relation to SIOS Technology Group. First, by providing an examination of the issues SIOS Technology Group has experienced as a company with businesses in both Japan and the United States, this case will provide context for the use of relevant frameworks for researching cultural differences. Second, this thesis analyzes relevant theories of cross-cultural research such as the CAGE Distance Framework, Hall’s Cultural Elements, Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions, and Schwartz’s Cultural Values in order to apply their concepts to SIOS Technology Group’s experience. In doing so, this paper attempts to identify what basis of understanding in cross-cultural communication American firms need in order to successfully do business with Japanese companies.

Recommended Citation

Jenkins, Scott, "Understanding the Impact of Cross-Cultural Communication Between American and Japanese Businesses" (2020). Senior Theses . 374.

© 2020, Scott Jenkins

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Cultural Relativity and Acceptance of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

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There is a debate about the ethical implications of using human embryos in stem cell research, which can be influenced by cultural, moral, and social values. This paper argues for an adaptable framework to accommodate diverse cultural and religious perspectives. By using an adaptive ethics model, research protections can reflect various populations and foster growth in stem cell research possibilities.


Stem cell research combines biology, medicine, and technology, promising to alter health care and the understanding of human development. Yet, ethical contention exists because of individuals’ perceptions of using human embryos based on their various cultural, moral, and social values. While these disagreements concerning policy, use, and general acceptance have prompted the development of an international ethics policy, such a uniform approach can overlook the nuanced ethical landscapes between cultures. With diverse viewpoints in public health, a single global policy, especially one reflecting Western ethics or the ethics prevalent in high-income countries, is impractical. This paper argues for a culturally sensitive, adaptable framework for the use of embryonic stem cells. Stem cell policy should accommodate varying ethical viewpoints and promote an effective global dialogue. With an extension of an ethics model that can adapt to various cultures, we recommend localized guidelines that reflect the moral views of the people those guidelines serve.

Stem cells, characterized by their unique ability to differentiate into various cell types, enable the repair or replacement of damaged tissues. Two primary types of stem cells are somatic stem cells (adult stem cells) and embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells exist in developed tissues and maintain the body’s repair processes. [1] Embryonic stem cells (ESC) are remarkably pluripotent or versatile, making them valuable in research. [2] However, the use of ESCs has sparked ethics debates. Considering the potential of embryonic stem cells, research guidelines are essential. The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) provides international stem cell research guidelines. They call for “public conversations touching on the scientific significance as well as the societal and ethical issues raised by ESC research.” [3] The ISSCR also publishes updates about culturing human embryos 14 days post fertilization, suggesting local policies and regulations should continue to evolve as ESC research develops. [4]  Like the ISSCR, which calls for local law and policy to adapt to developing stem cell research given cultural acceptance, this paper highlights the importance of local social factors such as religion and culture.

I.     Global Cultural Perspective of Embryonic Stem Cells

Views on ESCs vary throughout the world. Some countries readily embrace stem cell research and therapies, while others have stricter regulations due to ethical concerns surrounding embryonic stem cells and when an embryo becomes entitled to moral consideration. The philosophical issue of when the “someone” begins to be a human after fertilization, in the morally relevant sense, [5] impacts when an embryo becomes not just worthy of protection but morally entitled to it. The process of creating embryonic stem cell lines involves the destruction of the embryos for research. [6] Consequently, global engagement in ESC research depends on social-cultural acceptability.

a.     US and Rights-Based Cultures

In the United States, attitudes toward stem cell therapies are diverse. The ethics and social approaches, which value individualism, [7] trigger debates regarding the destruction of human embryos, creating a complex regulatory environment. For example, the 1996 Dickey-Wicker Amendment prohibited federal funding for the creation of embryos for research and the destruction of embryos for “more than allowed for research on fetuses in utero.” [8] Following suit, in 2001, the Bush Administration heavily restricted stem cell lines for research. However, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005 was proposed to help develop ESC research but was ultimately vetoed. [9] Under the Obama administration, in 2009, an executive order lifted restrictions allowing for more development in this field. [10] The flux of research capacity and funding parallels the different cultural perceptions of human dignity of the embryo and how it is socially presented within the country’s research culture. [11]

b.     Ubuntu and Collective Cultures

African bioethics differs from Western individualism because of the different traditions and values. African traditions, as described by individuals from South Africa and supported by some studies in other African countries, including Ghana and Kenya, follow the African moral philosophies of Ubuntu or Botho and Ukama , which “advocates for a form of wholeness that comes through one’s relationship and connectedness with other people in the society,” [12] making autonomy a socially collective concept. In this context, for the community to act autonomously, individuals would come together to decide what is best for the collective. Thus, stem cell research would require examining the value of the research to society as a whole and the use of the embryos as a collective societal resource. If society views the source as part of the collective whole, and opposes using stem cells, compromising the cultural values to pursue research may cause social detachment and stunt research growth. [13] Based on local culture and moral philosophy, the permissibility of stem cell research depends on how embryo, stem cell, and cell line therapies relate to the community as a whole. Ubuntu is the expression of humanness, with the person’s identity drawn from the “’I am because we are’” value. [14] The decision in a collectivistic culture becomes one born of cultural context, and individual decisions give deference to others in the society.

Consent differs in cultures where thought and moral philosophy are based on a collective paradigm. So, applying Western bioethical concepts is unrealistic. For one, Africa is a diverse continent with many countries with different belief systems, access to health care, and reliance on traditional or Western medicines. Where traditional medicine is the primary treatment, the “’restrictive focus on biomedically-related bioethics’” [is] problematic in African contexts because it neglects bioethical issues raised by traditional systems.” [15] No single approach applies in all areas or contexts. Rather than evaluating the permissibility of ESC research according to Western concepts such as the four principles approach, different ethics approaches should prevail.

Another consideration is the socio-economic standing of countries. In parts of South Africa, researchers have not focused heavily on contributing to the stem cell discourse, either because it is not considered health care or a health science priority or because resources are unavailable. [16] Each country’s priorities differ given different social, political, and economic factors. In South Africa, for instance, areas such as maternal mortality, non-communicable diseases, telemedicine, and the strength of health systems need improvement and require more focus [17] Stem cell research could benefit the population, but it also could divert resources from basic medical care. Researchers in South Africa adhere to the National Health Act and Medicines Control Act in South Africa and international guidelines; however, the Act is not strictly enforced, and there is no clear legislation for research conduct or ethical guidelines. [18]

Some parts of Africa condemn stem cell research. For example, 98.2 percent of the Tunisian population is Muslim. [19] Tunisia does not permit stem cell research because of moral conflict with a Fatwa. Religion heavily saturates the regulation and direction of research. [20] Stem cell use became permissible for reproductive purposes only recently, with tight restrictions preventing cells from being used in any research other than procedures concerning ART/IVF.  Their use is conditioned on consent, and available only to married couples. [21] The community's receptiveness to stem cell research depends on including communitarian African ethics.

c.     Asia

Some Asian countries also have a collective model of ethics and decision making. [22] In China, the ethics model promotes a sincere respect for life or human dignity, [23] based on protective medicine. This model, influenced by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), [24] recognizes Qi as the vital energy delivered via the meridians of the body; it connects illness to body systems, the body’s entire constitution, and the universe for a holistic bond of nature, health, and quality of life. [25] Following a protective ethics model, and traditional customs of wholeness, investment in stem cell research is heavily desired for its applications in regenerative therapies, disease modeling, and protective medicines. In a survey of medical students and healthcare practitioners, 30.8 percent considered stem cell research morally unacceptable while 63.5 percent accepted medical research using human embryonic stem cells. Of these individuals, 89.9 percent supported increased funding for stem cell research. [26] The scientific community might not reflect the overall population. From 1997 to 2019, China spent a total of $576 million (USD) on stem cell research at 8,050 stem cell programs, increased published presence from 0.6 percent to 14.01 percent of total global stem cell publications as of 2014, and made significant strides in cell-based therapies for various medical conditions. [27] However, while China has made substantial investments in stem cell research and achieved notable progress in clinical applications, concerns linger regarding ethical oversight and transparency. [28] For example, the China Biosecurity Law, promoted by the National Health Commission and China Hospital Association, attempted to mitigate risks by introducing an institutional review board (IRB) in the regulatory bodies. 5800 IRBs registered with the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry since 2021. [29] However, issues still need to be addressed in implementing effective IRB review and approval procedures.

The substantial government funding and focus on scientific advancement have sometimes overshadowed considerations of regional cultures, ethnic minorities, and individual perspectives, particularly evident during the one-child policy era. As government policy adapts to promote public stability, such as the change from the one-child to the two-child policy, [30] research ethics should also adapt to ensure respect for the values of its represented peoples.

Japan is also relatively supportive of stem cell research and therapies. Japan has a more transparent regulatory framework, allowing for faster approval of regenerative medicine products, which has led to several advanced clinical trials and therapies. [31] South Korea is also actively engaged in stem cell research and has a history of breakthroughs in cloning and embryonic stem cells. [32] However, the field is controversial, and there are issues of scientific integrity. For example, the Korean FDA fast-tracked products for approval, [33] and in another instance, the oocyte source was unclear and possibly violated ethical standards. [34] Trust is important in research, as it builds collaborative foundations between colleagues, trial participant comfort, open-mindedness for complicated and sensitive discussions, and supports regulatory procedures for stakeholders. There is a need to respect the culture’s interest, engagement, and for research and clinical trials to be transparent and have ethical oversight to promote global research discourse and trust.

d.     Middle East

Countries in the Middle East have varying degrees of acceptance of or restrictions to policies related to using embryonic stem cells due to cultural and religious influences. Saudi Arabia has made significant contributions to stem cell research, and conducts research based on international guidelines for ethical conduct and under strict adherence to guidelines in accordance with Islamic principles. Specifically, the Saudi government and people require ESC research to adhere to Sharia law. In addition to umbilical and placental stem cells, [35] Saudi Arabia permits the use of embryonic stem cells as long as they come from miscarriages, therapeutic abortions permissible by Sharia law, or are left over from in vitro fertilization and donated to research. [36] Laws and ethical guidelines for stem cell research allow the development of research institutions such as the King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, which has a cord blood bank and a stem cell registry with nearly 10,000 donors. [37] Such volume and acceptance are due to the ethical ‘permissibility’ of the donor sources, which do not conflict with religious pillars. However, some researchers err on the side of caution, choosing not to use embryos or fetal tissue as they feel it is unethical to do so. [38]

Jordan has a positive research ethics culture. [39] However, there is a significant issue of lack of trust in researchers, with 45.23 percent (38.66 percent agreeing and 6.57 percent strongly agreeing) of Jordanians holding a low level of trust in researchers, compared to 81.34 percent of Jordanians agreeing that they feel safe to participate in a research trial. [40] Safety testifies to the feeling of confidence that adequate measures are in place to protect participants from harm, whereas trust in researchers could represent the confidence in researchers to act in the participants’ best interests, adhere to ethical guidelines, provide accurate information, and respect participants’ rights and dignity. One method to improve trust would be to address communication issues relevant to ESC. Legislation surrounding stem cell research has adopted specific language, especially concerning clarification “between ‘stem cells’ and ‘embryonic stem cells’” in translation. [41] Furthermore, legislation “mandates the creation of a national committee… laying out specific regulations for stem-cell banking in accordance with international standards.” [42] This broad regulation opens the door for future global engagement and maintains transparency. However, these regulations may also constrain the influence of research direction, pace, and accessibility of research outcomes.

e.     Europe

In the European Union (EU), ethics is also principle-based, but the principles of autonomy, dignity, integrity, and vulnerability are interconnected. [43] As such, the opportunity for cohesion and concessions between individuals’ thoughts and ideals allows for a more adaptable ethics model due to the flexible principles that relate to the human experience The EU has put forth a framework in its Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being allowing member states to take different approaches. Each European state applies these principles to its specific conventions, leading to or reflecting different acceptance levels of stem cell research. [44]

For example, in Germany, Lebenzusammenhang , or the coherence of life, references integrity in the unity of human culture. Namely, the personal sphere “should not be subject to external intervention.” [45]  Stem cell interventions could affect this concept of bodily completeness, leading to heavy restrictions. Under the Grundgesetz, human dignity and the right to life with physical integrity are paramount. [46] The Embryo Protection Act of 1991 made producing cell lines illegal. Cell lines can be imported if approved by the Central Ethics Commission for Stem Cell Research only if they were derived before May 2007. [47] Stem cell research respects the integrity of life for the embryo with heavy specifications and intense oversight. This is vastly different in Finland, where the regulatory bodies find research more permissible in IVF excess, but only up to 14 days after fertilization. [48] Spain’s approach differs still, with a comprehensive regulatory framework. [49] Thus, research regulation can be culture-specific due to variations in applied principles. Diverse cultures call for various approaches to ethical permissibility. [50] Only an adaptive-deliberative model can address the cultural constructions of self and achieve positive, culturally sensitive stem cell research practices. [51]

II.     Religious Perspectives on ESC

Embryonic stem cell sources are the main consideration within religious contexts. While individuals may not regard their own religious texts as authoritative or factual, religion can shape their foundations or perspectives.

The Qur'an states:

“And indeed We created man from a quintessence of clay. Then We placed within him a small quantity of nutfa (sperm to fertilize) in a safe place. Then We have fashioned the nutfa into an ‘alaqa (clinging clot or cell cluster), then We developed the ‘alaqa into mudgha (a lump of flesh), and We made mudgha into bones, and clothed the bones with flesh, then We brought it into being as a new creation. So Blessed is Allah, the Best of Creators.” [52]

Many scholars of Islam estimate the time of soul installment, marked by the angel breathing in the soul to bring the individual into creation, as 120 days from conception. [53] Personhood begins at this point, and the value of life would prohibit research or experimentation that could harm the individual. If the fetus is more than 120 days old, the time ensoulment is interpreted to occur according to Islamic law, abortion is no longer permissible. [54] There are a few opposing opinions about early embryos in Islamic traditions. According to some Islamic theologians, there is no ensoulment of the early embryo, which is the source of stem cells for ESC research. [55]

In Buddhism, the stance on stem cell research is not settled. The main tenets, the prohibition against harming or destroying others (ahimsa) and the pursuit of knowledge (prajña) and compassion (karuna), leave Buddhist scholars and communities divided. [56] Some scholars argue stem cell research is in accordance with the Buddhist tenet of seeking knowledge and ending human suffering. Others feel it violates the principle of not harming others. Finding the balance between these two points relies on the karmic burden of Buddhist morality. In trying to prevent ahimsa towards the embryo, Buddhist scholars suggest that to comply with Buddhist tenets, research cannot be done as the embryo has personhood at the moment of conception and would reincarnate immediately, harming the individual's ability to build their karmic burden. [57] On the other hand, the Bodhisattvas, those considered to be on the path to enlightenment or Nirvana, have given organs and flesh to others to help alleviate grieving and to benefit all. [58] Acceptance varies on applied beliefs and interpretations.

Catholicism does not support embryonic stem cell research, as it entails creation or destruction of human embryos. This destruction conflicts with the belief in the sanctity of life. For example, in the Old Testament, Genesis describes humanity as being created in God’s image and multiplying on the Earth, referencing the sacred rights to human conception and the purpose of development and life. In the Ten Commandments, the tenet that one should not kill has numerous interpretations where killing could mean murder or shedding of the sanctity of life, demonstrating the high value of human personhood. In other books, the theological conception of when life begins is interpreted as in utero, [59] highlighting the inviolability of life and its formation in vivo to make a religious point for accepting such research as relatively limited, if at all. [60] The Vatican has released ethical directives to help apply a theological basis to modern-day conflicts. The Magisterium of the Church states that “unless there is a moral certainty of not causing harm,” experimentation on fetuses, fertilized cells, stem cells, or embryos constitutes a crime. [61] Such procedures would not respect the human person who exists at these stages, according to Catholicism. Damages to the embryo are considered gravely immoral and illicit. [62] Although the Catholic Church officially opposes abortion, surveys demonstrate that many Catholic people hold pro-choice views, whether due to the context of conception, stage of pregnancy, threat to the mother’s life, or for other reasons, demonstrating that practicing members can also accept some but not all tenets. [63]

Some major Jewish denominations, such as the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist movements, are open to supporting ESC use or research as long as it is for saving a life. [64] Within Judaism, the Talmud, or study, gives personhood to the child at birth and emphasizes that life does not begin at conception: [65]

“If she is found pregnant, until the fortieth day it is mere fluid,” [66]

Whereas most religions prioritize the status of human embryos, the Halakah (Jewish religious law) states that to save one life, most other religious laws can be ignored because it is in pursuit of preservation. [67] Stem cell research is accepted due to application of these religious laws.

We recognize that all religions contain subsets and sects. The variety of environmental and cultural differences within religious groups requires further analysis to respect the flexibility of religious thoughts and practices. We make no presumptions that all cultures require notions of autonomy or morality as under the common morality theory , which asserts a set of universal moral norms that all individuals share provides moral reasoning and guides ethical decisions. [68] We only wish to show that the interaction with morality varies between cultures and countries.

III.     A Flexible Ethical Approach

The plurality of different moral approaches described above demonstrates that there can be no universally acceptable uniform law for ESC on a global scale. Instead of developing one standard, flexible ethical applications must be continued. We recommend local guidelines that incorporate important cultural and ethical priorities.

While the Declaration of Helsinki is more relevant to people in clinical trials receiving ESC products, in keeping with the tradition of protections for research subjects, consent of the donor is an ethical requirement for ESC donation in many jurisdictions including the US, Canada, and Europe. [69] The Declaration of Helsinki provides a reference point for regulatory standards and could potentially be used as a universal baseline for obtaining consent prior to gamete or embryo donation.

For instance, in Columbia University’s egg donor program for stem cell research, donors followed standard screening protocols and “underwent counseling sessions that included information as to the purpose of oocyte donation for research, what the oocytes would be used for, the risks and benefits of donation, and process of oocyte stimulation” to ensure transparency for consent. [70] The program helped advance stem cell research and provided clear and safe research methods with paid participants. Though paid participation or covering costs of incidental expenses may not be socially acceptable in every culture or context, [71] and creating embryos for ESC research is illegal in many jurisdictions, Columbia’s program was effective because of the clear and honest communications with donors, IRBs, and related stakeholders.  This example demonstrates that cultural acceptance of scientific research and of the idea that an egg or embryo does not have personhood is likely behind societal acceptance of donating eggs for ESC research. As noted, many countries do not permit the creation of embryos for research.

Proper communication and education regarding the process and purpose of stem cell research may bolster comprehension and garner more acceptance. “Given the sensitive subject material, a complete consent process can support voluntary participation through trust, understanding, and ethical norms from the cultures and morals participants value. This can be hard for researchers entering countries of different socioeconomic stability, with different languages and different societal values. [72]

An adequate moral foundation in medical ethics is derived from the cultural and religious basis that informs knowledge and actions. [73] Understanding local cultural and religious values and their impact on research could help researchers develop humility and promote inclusion.

IV.     Concerns

Some may argue that if researchers all adhere to one ethics standard, protection will be satisfied across all borders, and the global public will trust researchers. However, defining what needs to be protected and how to define such research standards is very specific to the people to which standards are applied. We suggest that applying one uniform guide cannot accurately protect each individual because we all possess our own perceptions and interpretations of social values. [74] Therefore, the issue of not adjusting to the moral pluralism between peoples in applying one standard of ethics can be resolved by building out ethics models that can be adapted to different cultures and religions.

Other concerns include medical tourism, which may promote health inequities. [75] Some countries may develop and approve products derived from ESC research before others, compromising research ethics or drug approval processes. There are also concerns about the sale of unauthorized stem cell treatments, for example, those without FDA approval in the United States. Countries with robust research infrastructures may be tempted to attract medical tourists, and some customers will have false hopes based on aggressive publicity of unproven treatments. [76]

For example, in China, stem cell clinics can market to foreign clients who are not protected under the regulatory regimes. Companies employ a marketing strategy of “ethically friendly” therapies. Specifically, in the case of Beike, China’s leading stem cell tourism company and sprouting network, ethical oversight of administrators or health bureaus at one site has “the unintended consequence of shifting questionable activities to another node in Beike's diffuse network.” [77] In contrast, Jordan is aware of stem cell research’s potential abuse and its own status as a “health-care hub.” Jordan’s expanded regulations include preserving the interests of individuals in clinical trials and banning private companies from ESC research to preserve transparency and the integrity of research practices. [78]

The social priorities of the community are also a concern. The ISSCR explicitly states that guidelines “should be periodically revised to accommodate scientific advances, new challenges, and evolving social priorities.” [79] The adaptable ethics model extends this consideration further by addressing whether research is warranted given the varying degrees of socioeconomic conditions, political stability, and healthcare accessibilities and limitations. An ethical approach would require discussion about resource allocation and appropriate distribution of funds. [80]

While some religions emphasize the sanctity of life from conception, which may lead to public opposition to ESC research, others encourage ESC research due to its potential for healing and alleviating human pain. Many countries have special regulations that balance local views on embryonic personhood, the benefits of research as individual or societal goods, and the protection of human research subjects. To foster understanding and constructive dialogue, global policy frameworks should prioritize the protection of universal human rights, transparency, and informed consent. In addition to these foundational global policies, we recommend tailoring local guidelines to reflect the diverse cultural and religious perspectives of the populations they govern. Ethics models should be adapted to local populations to effectively establish research protections, growth, and possibilities of stem cell research.

For example, in countries with strong beliefs in the moral sanctity of embryos or heavy religious restrictions, an adaptive model can allow for discussion instead of immediate rejection. In countries with limited individual rights and voice in science policy, an adaptive model ensures cultural, moral, and religious views are taken into consideration, thereby building social inclusion. While this ethical consideration by the government may not give a complete voice to every individual, it will help balance policies and maintain the diverse perspectives of those it affects. Embracing an adaptive ethics model of ESC research promotes open-minded dialogue and respect for the importance of human belief and tradition. By actively engaging with cultural and religious values, researchers can better handle disagreements and promote ethical research practices that benefit each society.

This brief exploration of the religious and cultural differences that impact ESC research reveals the nuances of relative ethics and highlights a need for local policymakers to apply a more intense adaptive model.

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[37] Alahmad, G., Aljohani, S., & Najjar, M. F. (2020). Ethical challenges regarding the use of stem cells: Interviews with researchers from Saudi Arabia.  BMC medical ethics ,  21 (1), 35.

[38] Alahmad, G., Aljohani, S., & Najjar, M. F. (2020). Ethical challenges regarding the use of stem cells: Interviews with researchers from Saudi Arabia. BMC medical ethics , 21(1), 35.

Culturally, autonomy practices follow a relational autonomy approach based on a paternalistic deontological health care model. The adherence to strict international research policies and religious pillars within the regulatory environment is a great foundation for research ethics. However, there is a need to develop locally targeted ethics approaches for research (as called for in Alahmad, G., Aljohani, S., & Najjar, M. F. (2020). Ethical challenges regarding the use of stem cells: interviews with researchers from Saudi Arabia. BMC medical ethics, 21(1), 35., this decision-making approach may help advise a research decision model. For more on the clinical cultural autonomy approaches, see: Alabdullah, Y. Y., Alzaid, E., Alsaad, S., Alamri, T., Alolayan, S. W., Bah, S., & Aljoudi, A. S. (2022). Autonomy and paternalism in Shared decision‐making in a Saudi Arabian tertiary hospital: A cross‐sectional study. Developing World Bioethics , 23 (3), 260–268. ; Bukhari, A. A. (2017). Universal Principles of Bioethics and Patient Rights in Saudi Arabia (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University).; Ladha, S., Nakshawani, S. A., Alzaidy, A., & Tarab, B. (2023, October 26). Islam and Bioethics: What We All Need to Know . Columbia University School of Professional Studies.

[39] Ababneh, M. A., Al-Azzam, S. I., Alzoubi, K., Rababa’h, A., & Al Demour, S. (2021). Understanding and attitudes of the Jordanian public about clinical research ethics.  Research Ethics ,  17 (2), 228-241.

[40] Ababneh, M. A., Al-Azzam, S. I., Alzoubi, K., Rababa’h, A., & Al Demour, S. (2021). Understanding and attitudes of the Jordanian public about clinical research ethics.  Research Ethics ,  17 (2), 228-241.

[41] Dajani, R. (2014). Jordan’s stem-cell law can guide the Middle East.  Nature  510, 189.

[42] Dajani, R. (2014). Jordan’s stem-cell law can guide the Middle East.  Nature  510, 189.

[43] The EU’s definition of autonomy relates to the capacity for creating ideas, moral insight, decisions, and actions without constraint, personal responsibility, and informed consent. However, the EU views autonomy as not completely able to protect individuals and depends on other principles, such as dignity, which “expresses the intrinsic worth and fundamental equality of all human beings.” Rendtorff, J.D., Kemp, P. (2019). Four Ethical Principles in European Bioethics and Biolaw: Autonomy, Dignity, Integrity and Vulnerability. In: Valdés, E., Lecaros, J. (eds) Biolaw and Policy in the Twenty-First Century. International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine, vol 78. Springer, Cham.

[44] Council of Europe. Convention for the protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine: Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine (ETS No. 164) (forbidding the creation of embryos for research purposes only, and suggests embryos in vitro have protections.); Also see Drabiak-Syed B. K. (2013). New President, New Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Policy: Comparative International Perspectives and Embryonic Stem Cell Research Laws in France.  Biotechnology Law Report ,  32 (6), 349–356.

[45] Rendtorff, J.D., Kemp, P. (2019). Four Ethical Principles in European Bioethics and Biolaw: Autonomy, Dignity, Integrity and Vulnerability. In: Valdés, E., Lecaros, J. (eds) Biolaw and Policy in the Twenty-First Century. International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine, vol 78. Springer, Cham.

[46] Tomuschat, C., Currie, D. P., Kommers, D. P., & Kerr, R. (Trans.). (1949, May 23). Basic law for the Federal Republic of Germany.

[47] Regulation of Stem Cell Research in Germany . Eurostemcell. (2017, April 26).

[48] Regulation of Stem Cell Research in Finland . Eurostemcell. (2017, April 26).

[49] Regulation of Stem Cell Research in Spain . Eurostemcell. (2017, April 26).

[50] Some sources to consider regarding ethics models or regulatory oversights of other cultures not covered:

Kara MA. Applicability of the principle of respect for autonomy: the perspective of Turkey. J Med Ethics. 2007 Nov;33(11):627-30. doi: 10.1136/jme.2006.017400. PMID: 17971462; PMCID: PMC2598110.

Ugarte, O. N., & Acioly, M. A. (2014). The principle of autonomy in Brazil: one needs to discuss it ...  Revista do Colegio Brasileiro de Cirurgioes ,  41 (5), 374–377.

Bharadwaj, A., & Glasner, P. E. (2012). Local cells, global science: The rise of embryonic stem cell research in India . Routledge.

For further research on specific European countries regarding ethical and regulatory framework, we recommend this database: Regulation of Stem Cell Research in Europe . Eurostemcell. (2017, April 26).   

[51] Klitzman, R. (2006). Complications of culture in obtaining informed consent. The American Journal of Bioethics, 6(1), 20–21. see also: Ekmekci, P. E., & Arda, B. (2017). Interculturalism and Informed Consent: Respecting Cultural Differences without Breaching Human Rights.  Cultura (Iasi, Romania) ,  14 (2), 159–172.; For why trust is important in research, see also: Gray, B., Hilder, J., Macdonald, L., Tester, R., Dowell, A., & Stubbe, M. (2017). Are research ethics guidelines culturally competent?  Research Ethics ,  13 (1), 23-41.

[52] The Qur'an  (M. Khattab, Trans.). (1965). Al-Mu’minun, 23: 12-14.

[53] Lenfest, Y. (2017, December 8). Islam and the beginning of human life . Bill of Health.

[54] Aksoy, S. (2005). Making regulations and drawing up legislation in Islamic countries under conditions of uncertainty, with special reference to embryonic stem cell research. Journal of Medical Ethics , 31: 399-403.; see also: Mahmoud, Azza. "Islamic Bioethics: National Regulations and Guidelines of Human Stem Cell Research in the Muslim World." Master's thesis, Chapman University, 2022. chapman.000386

[55] Rashid, R. (2022). When does Ensoulment occur in the Human Foetus. Journal of the British Islamic Medical Association , 12 (4). ISSN 2634 8071.

[56] Sivaraman, M. & Noor, S. (2017). Ethics of embryonic stem cell research according to Buddhist, Hindu, Catholic, and Islamic religions: perspective from Malaysia. Asian Biomedicine,8(1) 43-52.

[57] Jafari, M., Elahi, F., Ozyurt, S. & Wrigley, T. (2007). 4. Religious Perspectives on Embryonic Stem Cell Research. In K. Monroe, R. Miller & J. Tobis (Ed.),  Fundamentals of the Stem Cell Debate: The Scientific, Religious, Ethical, and Political Issues  (pp. 79-94). Berkeley: University of California Press.

[58] Lecso, P. A. (1991). The Bodhisattva Ideal and Organ Transplantation.  Journal of Religion and Health ,  30 (1), 35–41. ; Bodhisattva, S. (n.d.). The Key of Becoming a Bodhisattva . A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life.

[59] There is no explicit religious reference to when life begins or how to conduct research that interacts with the concept of life. However, these are relevant verses pertaining to how the fetus is viewed. (( King James Bible . (1999). Oxford University Press. (original work published 1769))

Jerimiah 1: 5 “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee…”

In prophet Jerimiah’s insight, God set him apart as a person known before childbirth, a theme carried within the Psalm of David.

Psalm 139: 13-14 “…Thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”

These verses demonstrate David’s respect for God as an entity that would know of all man’s thoughts and doings even before birth.

[60] It should be noted that abortion is not supported as well.

[61] The Vatican. (1987, February 22). Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation Replies to Certain Questions of the Day . Congregation For the Doctrine of the Faith.

[62] The Vatican. (2000, August 25). Declaration On the Production and the Scientific and Therapeutic Use of Human Embryonic Stem Cells . Pontifical Academy for Life. ; Ohara, N. (2003). Ethical Consideration of Experimentation Using Living Human Embryos: The Catholic Church’s Position on Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Human Cloning. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology . Retrieved from

[63] Smith, G. A. (2022, May 23). Like Americans overall, Catholics vary in their abortion views, with regular mass attenders most opposed . Pew Research Center.

[64] Rosner, F., & Reichman, E. (2002). Embryonic stem cell research in Jewish law. Journal of halacha and contemporary society , (43), 49–68.; Jafari, M., Elahi, F., Ozyurt, S. & Wrigley, T. (2007). 4. Religious Perspectives on Embryonic Stem Cell Research. In K. Monroe, R. Miller & J. Tobis (Ed.),  Fundamentals of the Stem Cell Debate: The Scientific, Religious, Ethical, and Political Issues  (pp. 79-94). Berkeley: University of California Press.

[65] Schenker J. G. (2008). The beginning of human life: status of embryo. Perspectives in Halakha (Jewish Religious Law).  Journal of assisted reproduction and genetics ,  25 (6), 271–276.

[66] Ruttenberg, D. (2020, May 5). The Torah of Abortion Justice (annotated source sheet) . Sefaria.

[67] Jafari, M., Elahi, F., Ozyurt, S. & Wrigley, T. (2007). 4. Religious Perspectives on Embryonic Stem Cell Research. In K. Monroe, R. Miller & J. Tobis (Ed.),  Fundamentals of the Stem Cell Debate: The Scientific, Religious, Ethical, and Political Issues  (pp. 79-94). Berkeley: University of California Press.

[68] Gert, B. (2007). Common morality: Deciding what to do . Oxford Univ. Press.

[69] World Medical Association (2013). World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki: ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects. JAMA , 310(20), 2191–2194. Declaration of Helsinki – WMA – The World Medical Association .; see also: National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. (1979).  The Belmont report: Ethical principles and guidelines for the protection of human subjects of research . U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[70] Zakarin Safier, L., Gumer, A., Kline, M., Egli, D., & Sauer, M. V. (2018). Compensating human subjects providing oocytes for stem cell research: 9-year experience and outcomes.  Journal of assisted reproduction and genetics ,  35 (7), 1219–1225. see also: Riordan, N. H., & Paz Rodríguez, J. (2021). Addressing concerns regarding associated costs, transparency, and integrity of research in recent stem cell trial. Stem Cells Translational Medicine , 10 (12), 1715–1716.

[71] Klitzman, R., & Sauer, M. V. (2009). Payment of egg donors in stem cell research in the USA.  Reproductive biomedicine online ,  18 (5), 603–608.

[72] Krosin, M. T., Klitzman, R., Levin, B., Cheng, J., & Ranney, M. L. (2006). Problems in comprehension of informed consent in rural and peri-urban Mali, West Africa.  Clinical trials (London, England) ,  3 (3), 306–313.

[73] Veatch, Robert M.  Hippocratic, Religious, and Secular Medical Ethics: The Points of Conflict . Georgetown University Press, 2012.

[74] Msoroka, M. S., & Amundsen, D. (2018). One size fits not quite all: Universal research ethics with diversity.  Research Ethics ,  14 (3), 1-17.

[75] Pirzada, N. (2022). The Expansion of Turkey’s Medical Tourism Industry.  Voices in Bioethics ,  8 .

[76] Stem Cell Tourism: False Hope for Real Money . Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI). (2023). , See also: Bissassar, M. (2017). Transnational Stem Cell Tourism: An ethical analysis.  Voices in Bioethics ,  3 .

[77] Song, P. (2011) The proliferation of stem cell therapies in post-Mao China: problematizing ethical regulation,  New Genetics and Society , 30:2, 141-153, DOI:  10.1080/14636778.2011.574375

[78] Dajani, R. (2014). Jordan’s stem-cell law can guide the Middle East.  Nature  510, 189.

[79] International Society for Stem Cell Research. (2024). Standards in stem cell research . International Society for Stem Cell Research.

[80] Benjamin, R. (2013). People’s science bodies and rights on the Stem Cell Frontier . Stanford University Press.

Olivia Bowers

MS Bioethics Columbia University (Disclosure: affiliated with Voices in Bioethics)

Mifrah Hayath

SM Candidate Harvard Medical School, MS Biotechnology Johns Hopkins University

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