NETA PowerPoint® Slides

to Accompany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prepared by

Katharine Ferguson,

Seneca College

Copyright © 2019 by Nelson Education Ltd.

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Intercultural Communication

Chapter 3

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Intercultural Communication

Trends fuelling

globalization

Characteristics and

dimensions of culture

Enhancement of

intercultural

communication

Advantages and challenges

of workforce diversity

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The Growing Importance of Intercultural Communication

 

Markets go global

Major trends fuel globalization

Domestic workforce is becoming increasingly diverse

 

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North American companies in global markets must adapt to other cultures. Favourable trade agreements, declining domestic markets, and middle-class growth fuel the expansion of global markets. Learning more about the powerful effect s that culture has on behaviour will help reduce friction and misunderstanding when dealing with people from other cultures.

New transportation and information technologies are major contributors to the development of global interconnectivity. The changing landscape of business demonstrates the need for technology savvy and connectedness around the world.

Immigration makes intercultural communication skills increasingly necessary. Learning to adapt to an intercultural workforce and multinational companies is an important requirement for business communicators.

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Markets Go Global

Mergers, acquisitions, alliances, and buyouts stir growth beyond national boundaries.

Multinational companies in global markets must adapt to other cultures.

Even a locally successful company like Tim Hortons has expanded to overseas markets.

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Major Trends Fuel Globalization

Shrinking domestic markets

Favourable trade agreements (i.e., GATT and NAFTA)

Growing numbers of middle-class consumers in emerging nations

Transportation advancements

Increasingly sophisticated information and communication technologies

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An Emerging Global Middle Class

About 70 percent of world growth will come from emerging markets.

By 2030 the global middle class will more than double.

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Seventy percent of the world growth over the next few years will come from emerging markets. By 2030 the global middle class will more than double, from 2 billion today to 4.9 billion, two thirds of whom will reside in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Advancement in Transportation and Logistics

Transportation and logistics technologies are major contributors to global interconnectivity.

Digital wireless sensor telemetry keeps shippers informed of vital information en route.

Senders can track the destination, the speed of movement, and the temperature of a shipment’s environment, if necessary.

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Information and communication technology has fuelled globalization.

The Internet, wireless networks, smartphones, and mobile electronic devices permit instant communication.

High-speed, high-capacity, and relatively low-cost communications have made geographic location virtually irrelevant.

Reach of Technological Advancements

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Breakthroughs in transportation and communication technology also push the drive toward globalization.

 

Development of information and communication technologies is probably the most significant factor in fuelling globalization. These technologies have changed the way we live and do business with the help of the internet, wireless networks, smartphones, mobile electronic devices, and other communication media. Many are high-speed, high-capacity, and relatively low cost, which has made geographic location irrelevant for many activities and services.

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Domestic Workforce Is Becoming Increasingly Diverse

Immigration makes intercultural communication increasingly necessary.

The two most popular destinations are Canada and the United States.

Cultural diversity is increasingly the norm.

Business communicators must learn to adapt to a growing intercultural workforce.

Multinational companies must learn to accommodate and manage intercultural change.

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Culture and Communication

Culture is the complex system of values, traits, morals, and customs shared by a society.

Culture is a powerful operating force that moulds the way we think, behave, and communicate.

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Characteristics of Culture

Culture is learned.

Culture is inherently logical.

Culture is the basis of self-identity and community.

Culture combines the visible and invisible.

Culture is dynamic.

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The rules, values, and attitudes of a culture are learned and passed down from generation to generation.

The rules in any culture originated to reinforce that culture’s values and beliefs. They act as normative forces.

Culture is the basis for how we tell the world who we are and what we believe, and provides our sense of community.

To outsiders, the way we act is the most visible part of our culture.

Over time culture will change. Changes are caused by advancements in technology and communication. Changes are also caused by such events as migration, natural disasters, and conflicts.

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Dimensions of Culture

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Culture

 

 

Context

 

 

Individualism and collectivism

 

 

Time orientation

 

 

Power distance

 

 

Communication style

 

 

Cultural Context

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tIUilYX56E

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This video helps to distinguish and discuss the characteristics of high- and low-context culture based on the theory developed by Edward T. Hall.

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Context

Low-context cultures tend to be logical, linear, and action-oriented (e.g., North America, Germany, Scandinavia).

High-context cultures tend to be relational, collectivist, intuitive, and contemplative (e.g., Japan, China, Arab countries).

 

 

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Context refers to the stimuli, environment, or ambience surrounding an event. Developed by Edward T. Hall, the concept of context is the most important cultural dimension and also the most difficult to define.

 

Low-context cultures tend to be logical, analytical, and action-oriented. They stress clearly articulated messages that they consider to be objective, professional, and efficient.

 

High-context cultures pay attention to more than the words spoken. They emphasize interpersonal relationships, nonverbal expression, physical setting, and social setting. Communication cues are transmitted by posture, voice inflection, gestures, and facial expression.

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Individualism Versus Collectivism

Individualism

Low-context cultures tend to prefer individual initiative, self-assertion, and personal achievement.

 

Collectivism

High-context cultures tend to prefer group values, duties, and decisions.

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Time Orientation

Time is precious to North Americans. It correlates with productivity, efficiency, and money.

Time is seen as unlimited and never-ending in some cultures (i.e., some cultures have a relaxed attitude toward time).

 

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Power Distance

It measures how people in different societies cope with inequalities. High power distance countries emphasize formality and paternalistic power relationships.

In low power distance cultures, subordinates consider themselves equal with supervisors, voice opinions, and participate in decision making.

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Communication Style

Low-context cultures emphasize words, straightforwardness, and openness. People tend to be informal, impatient, literal, and uncomfortable with silence and delays.

High-context cultures rely on nonverbal cues and the total picture to communicate. Meanings are embedded at many levels, including figures of speech which, when taken literally, may be misinterpreted.

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High-Context and Low-Context Cultures

Asian

Arabian

South European

African

South American

Central European

Australian

Canadian

Northern European

German

Swiss

 

 

Low Context

High Context

HIGH-CONTEXT CULTURES

LOW-CONTEXT CULTURES

Relational

Collectivist

Intuitive

Contemplative

Logical

Linear

Individualistic

Action-oriented

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Show students this figure and ask how many feel their culture is high context and how many feel their culture is low context. As a class, discuss whether these dimensions are more or less true today given globalization and immigration. Culture is dynamic and influenced by technology and communication, so the lines between high- and low-context cultures may be blurring.

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Improving Intercultural Effectiveness

Build cultural self-awareness

Curb ethnocentrism.

Understand generalizations and stereotyping

Be open-minded

Save face

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Suggest students think of themselves as a product of their culture; what reflexive reactions and autonomic thought patterns are a result of their upbringing?

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Curbing Ethnocentrism

Ethnocentrism is the belief in the superiority of one’s own race and culture.

This is a natural attitude inherent in all cultures.

It causes us to judge others by our own values.

Automatic ethnocentric responses can be reduced through fostering knowledge of other cultures and developing cultural sensitivity.

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Ethnocentrism causes us to judge others by our own values. We expect others to react as we would, and they expect us to behave as they would. Misunderstandings naturally result. Ethnocentric reactions can be reduced through knowledge of other cultures and the development of increased intercultural sensitivity.

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Curbing Ethnocentrism

Takes a conscious effort

Leads to more satisfying relationships

Makes work life more productive and gratifying

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Understanding Generalizations and Stereotyping

Stereotype

An oversimplified behavioural pattern applied uncritically to groups

Prejudice

Rigid attitude based on erroneous beliefs or preconceptions

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Stereotypes are fixed and rigid. When a stereotype develops into a rigid attitude based on erroneous beliefs or preconceptions, it becomes a prejudice. Prototypes are dynamic and change with fresh experience. Prototypes based on objective observations usually have a considerable amount of truth to them. For example, “South American businesspeople often talk about their families before getting down to business.” This prototype is generally accurate, but it may not apply universally and it may change over time.

 

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Prototype

A mental representation based on characteristics that are flexible and open to new definitions with new experiences

Generally accurate, but may not universally apply and may change over time with new experience

Generalizations

When categorizing data, generalizations are made.

Significant intellectual discourse and science would be impossible without generalizations.

Unfounded generalizations can lead to bias and prejudice.

 

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Understanding Generalizations and Stereotyping

Unfounded generalizations about people and cultures, of course, can lead to bias and prejudice. However, for our purposes, when discussing cultures, it is important to use generalizations and describe cultural prototypes.

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Being Open-Minded

Empathy

Patience

Saving face

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To improve tolerance, practise empathy. This means trying to see the world through another’s eyes, being less judgmental, and being eager to find common ground.

 

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Patience and Silence

Recognize the effort speakers for whom English is an additional language are making.

Be patient.

Wait and listen.

Embrace silence for reflection and contemplation.

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When someone for whom English is an additional language (EAL) is struggling to express an idea in English, English speakers should exhibit patience and avoid the temptation to finish the sentence and provide the word that they presume is wanted. Many EAL speakers will smile and agree out of politeness, but the words many not, in fact, express their thoughts.

 

Remaining silent is another means of exhibiting tolerance. In Asian cultures, silence is deliberately used for reflection and contemplation.

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Saving Face

Face refers to a person’s image in his or her social network.

Positive comments raise a person’s social standing; negative ones lower it.

Low-context cultures are less concerned with face.

Those in high-context cultures are more concerned with social harmony and saving face.

 

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Saving face may require indirectness to respect the feelings and dignity of others. Face refers to the image a person puts forth in his or her social network. Positive comments raise a person’s social standing while negative comments lower it. People in high-context cultures are indirect and go to great lengths to avoid giving offence by saying no.

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Successful Nonverbal Intercultural Communication

Deciphering body language

Increasing awareness

Avoiding judgment

Showing support

Following their lead

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Deciphering Body Language

Deciphering body language is more complex when cultures differ.

Gestures can create very different reactions in different cultures and care must be taken when using and interpreting them.

Increasing awareness of cultural dos and don’ts can be difficult.

 

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Cultural Gaffes

www.youtube.com/watch?v=haohj1sVnyk

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This entertaining video shows how small, seemingly insignificant, nonverbal cultural faux pas can cause significant miscommunication. Students are often surprised by what they see here.

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Techniques for Achieving Intercultural Competence

Avoid judgment

Descriptive feedback is more effective than judgmental feedback.

Descriptiveness refers to the use of concrete and specific feedback.

Show support

Head nods, eye contact, facial expressions, and physical proximity support others positively.

Follow their lead

It is wise to follow the lead of businesspeople in other cultures.

 

 

 

 

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As an example, using objective terms to describe the modest attire of Muslim women is more effective than describing it as unfeminine or as motivated by the oppressive and unequal treatment of females.

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Improving Conversations in Intercultural Environments

Enhancing oral communication

Improving written communication

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Enhancing Oral Communication

Observe eye messages.

Encourage accurate feedback.

Accept blame.

Listen without interrupting.

Smile when appropriate.

Follow up in writing.

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Improving Written Communication

Use short sentences and short paragraphs.

Observe titles and rank.

Avoid ambiguous expressions, contractions, clichés, slang, acronyms, abbreviations, and sports idioms. Use action-specific verbs.

Strive for clarity and replace two-word verbs with clear single words.

Use correct grammar and conventional punctuation.

Cite numbers carefully.

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Sentences with fewer than 20 words and paragraphs with fewer than eight lines are most readable. See samples of ambiguous expressions, and so on, on page 76 in Chapter 3.

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Achieving Intercultural Proficiency

Examine your own culture.

Explore other cultures.

Curb ethnocentrism.

Treat each individual you meet as a prototype.

Observe nonverbal cues in your culture.

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Achieving Intercultural Proficiency

Embrace nonjudgmentalism.

Be aware of culture when using communication technology.

Use plain English.

Encourage accurate feedback.

Adapt to local preferences.

 

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Diversity and Its Advantages

Consumers

Want staff to read trends better and respond to a diverse global customer base

Want to deal with organizations that reflect their values and themselves

Are more creative and effective at problem solving

Business organizations

Suffer fewer discrimination lawsuits, fewer union clashes, and less government regulatory action

Recognize diversity is critical to bottom-line business strategy to improve employee relationships, strengthen work teams, and increase productivity

 

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Diversity and Discord

Organizations need to ensure equality for all employees.

Women experience the glass ceiling, prejudice and “old boy networks” blocking them from upper management positions.

Sexual harassment, unequal wages, and sexism still exist.

Older employees feel the deck is stacked in favour of younger employees.

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Diversity and Discord

Members of minority groups feel discriminated against in hiring, retention, wages, and promotions.

Individuals with disabilities feel that their limitations should not hold them back, and they fear that their potential is often prejudged.

People of different religions feel their beliefs are not respected.

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Improving Communication Among Diverse Workplace Audiences

Seek training.

Understand the value of differences.

Make fewer assumptions.

In discussion, don’t assume anything about others’ sexual orientation or attitude toward marriage.

Build on similarities.

 

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Summary of Learning Objectives

Understand the powerful effects of globalization and the major trends fuelling it.

Define culture, name its primary characteristics, and explain the five key dimensions of culture.

 

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Summary of Learning Objectives

Discuss strategies for enhancing intercultural effectiveness and communication techniques.

Explain the advantages and challenges of workforce diversity, and address approaches for improving communication among diverse workplace audiences.

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