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Home IB Tips and News Peach vs. Coconut Cultures

Peach vs. Coconut Cultures

December 27th, 2015, by

One reason cross-cultural communication is difficult

Cultures could be classified along the “Peach-Coconut” continuum.


U.S.A. and Japan are good examples of “peach” cultures. Americans and Japanese are “soft” on the outside. They are very friendly to people they just met. They smile at strangers, chat, share information, and are very nice and helpful. However, once you get past the initial friendliness, you see their real private self is protected by a hard shell of the pit. You often hear complains that they are nice only on the outside, but it’s impossible to become real friends with an American or Japanese.

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Russia and Germany are good examples of “coconut” cultures. They are “hard” on the outside. They rarely smile at strangers, do not easily engage in conversations, and may look nor friendly or even aggressive first. However, if you manage to break through their hard outer shell, they tend to become close loyal friends who will accept you as family.

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These differences often lead to misunderstandings and conflict:

Russians and Germans may think that Americans and Japanese are shallow, have a fake smile, manipulative and egoistic.

Americans and Japanese may think that Russians and Germans are rude, aggressive, humorless, cold, angry, and nepotistic.

In reality, one is just soft of outside and hard on the inside like a peach, and the other is hard on the outside and soft on the inside like a coconut.

Which kind is your culture?

Sourse: F. Trompenaars,