Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Chapter 6 Theoretical Perspectives on Intercultural Communication

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Chapter 6 Theoretical Perspectives on Intercultural Communication"— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 6 Theoretical Perspectives on Intercultural Communication
Managing Organizations in a Global Economy: An Intercultural Perspective First Edition John Saee Copyright  by South-Western, a division of Thomson Learning. All rights reserved.

2 Theories of Intercultural Communication and Adaptation: Origins
Theories of intercultural communication have their origins in trans-disciplinary areas of research.

3 True or false: “Intercultural communication competence has to a large extent to do with learning a foreign language.”

4 Psychological Theories of Intercultural Communication
Intercultural communication is explained in terms of individual behavioral adaptation. The main focus: personal and interpersonal traits and attributes, and individual internal psychological responses in intercultural communication situations.

5 Stages of Cross-Cultural Learning and Adaptation (Harris & Moran 1979, Lysgaard 1955)
Initial contact Initial culture shock Superficial adjustment Depression/isolation Reintegration/compensation Autonomy/independence

6 "Culture Shock" U-curve (Oberg 1960)
“Honeymoon" stage Stage of hostility Recovery stage Final stage

7 How do foreigners react to the host culture (Bennett 1971; Taft 1977)?

8 Value of psychological theories: a useful framework for understanding psychological reactions by sojourners living in the host culture. Critique: conceptually problematic.

9 Focus of other theories
Explaining intercultural communication in terms of the development of effective interpersonal relationships and the ability to communicate effectively.

10 Convergence Theory (Kincaid 1988)
If two or more individuals share information with one another, then they will tend to converge toward one another, leading to a state of greater uniformity. The main underlying thesis: the provision of opportunity for unrestricted communication. "

11 Hall 1976; Triandis 1972, 1983; Gudykunst 1983, 1984
Emphasis on “cultural learning”and adaptation as a way of developing intercultural communication competence.

12 Anxiety/Uncertainty Management (AUM) Theory (Gudykunst)
Theoretical Foundations The Concept of Stranger Uncertainty Anxiety Effective Communication Being Mindful The Concept of Stranger. Strangers are people who are different because they are members of other groups. Uncertainty. Uncertainty is a cognitive phenomenon; it affects the way we think about strangers. Berger and Calabrese (1975) isolate two distinct types of uncertainty present in initial interactions with strangers: cognitive uncertainty and behavioral uncertainty. Cognitive uncertainty involves our knowledge about strangers, while behavioral uncertainty involves the degree to which we are relatively certain that strangers will behave in a predictable way. Some degree of uncertainty exists in all relationships, but there tends to be more uncertainty when we communicate with members of different groups than when we communicate with members of our own groups. Uncertainty is dialectic between predictability and novelty. Anxiety. Anxiety is an affective (emotional) equivalent of uncertainty. We experience some degree of anxiety any time we communicate with others. Anxiety is a “generalized or unspecified sense of disequilibrium” (J.H.Turner, 1988, p.61). It stems from feeling uneasy, tense, worried, or apprehensive about what might happen. Anxiety is an emotional response to situations based on the anticipation of negative consequences (Stephan & Stephan, 1985). Anxiety is dialectic between fear and trust. Effective Communication. Communication is effective to the extent that the person interpreting the message attaches a meaning to the message that is relatively similar to what was intended by the person transmitting it. Communication is effective to the extent that we are able to minimize misunderstandings. Being Mindful. Most of the time when we communicate we are not highly aware of our bahavior. In other words, we communicate mindlessly or automatically. When we are aware of our communication behavior, we become mindful to some extent. Mindfulness involves “ (a) creation of new categories; (b) openness to new information; and (c) awareness of more that perspective’ (Langer, 1989)

13 AUM Theory Maximum and minimum thresholds for anxiety.
Avoidance (Stephan & Stephan 1985). Biases in how we process information. Road block to communicating effectively. We have maximum and minimum thresholds for anxiety (Gudykunst, 1993). Our maximum thresholds are highest amount of anxiety we can have and feel comfortable interacting with strangers. Our minimum thresholds are the lowest amount of anxiety we can have and care about our interaction with others. If our anxiety is above our maximum threshold, we are so uneasy that we do not want to communicate with strangers. If our anxiety is below our minimum thresholds, there is not enough adrenaline running through our system to motivate us to communicate with strangers. Tuan (1979) points out our curiosity is primed by our anxiety. When our anxiety is below our minimum thresholds, we do not care what happens. In some respects, we feel too safe and secure to pay attention to what is happening when we are communicating with others. One of the behavioral consequences of anxiety is avoidance (Stephan & Stephan, 1985). We avoid strangers because it allows us to manage our anxiety. When we are experiencing anxiety and cannot avoid strangers, we often terminate the interaction as soon as we can. Cognitively, anxiety leads to biases in how we process information. The more anxious we are, the more likely we will focus on the behaviors we expect to see, such as those based on our stereotypes, and the more likely we are to confirm these expectations and not recognize behavior that is inconsistent with our expectations (Stephan & Stephan, 1985). When our anxiety or uncertainty is too high or too low, we cannot communicate effectively.

14 AUM Theory Uncertainty and Anxiety Reduction (Gudykunst & Hammer 1988) through: Knowledge of host culture Shared networks Intergroup attitudes Favorable contact Stereotypes Cultural identity Cultural similarity Second language competence Gudykunst and Hammer(1988) argue that reducing uncertainty and reducing/controlling anxiety are necessary and sufficient conditions for intercultural adaptations. Eight variables were related to reducing both uncertainty and anxiety: knowledge of host culture, shared networks – the more expansive is the network, the les is anxiety and uncertainty, intergroup attitudes, favourable contact, stereotypes, cultural identity – the stronger is cultural identity the stronger is anxiety, cultural similarity, and second language competence.

15 AUM Theory Four variables influence only uncertainty reduction:
Intimacy Attraction Display of nonverbal affiliative expressiveness Use of appropriate uncertainty reduction strategies Four variables influenced only uncertainty reduction: intimacy increased interpersonal relationship decreases uncertainty, attraction, display of nonverbal affiliative expressiveness, and the use of appropriate uncertainty reduction strategies personality traits can influence uncertainty reduction, self- control and self-monitoring.

16 AUM Theory Four variables associated only with reducing anxiety:
Strangers' motivation to live permanently in the host culture Host nationals' intergroup attitudes Host culture policy toward strangers Strangers' psychological differentiation Four were associated only with reducing anxiety: strangers' motivation to live permanently in the host culture, - positive expectations decrease anxiety host nationals' inter-group attitudes, host culture policy toward strangers, and strangers' psychological differentiation understanding and empathy with the host culture..

17 Motivation to Communicate (Turner 1988)
Reactions to strangers. Social categorizations. An increase in strangers’ understanding of the similarities and differences between their culture and the host culture. “Ability to adapt to the host culture” equals “effectiveness of communication.” Motivation. Turner (1988) suggests that certain basic needs motivate us to interact with others. Needs are “fundamental states of being in humans, which, if unsatisfied, generate feeling of deprivation”. Four needs are critical to AUM: . Need for a sense of predictability (or trust). . Need for a sense of group inclusion. . Need to avoid or diffuse anxiety. . Need to sustain our self-conception. .Reactions to Strangers. To communicate effectively with strangers requires that we are able to adapt our communication.The more we are able to adapt our communication, the more confident we are in our ability to deal with new situations and to adapt the way we think about strangers. Increases in adaptability, therefore, lead to lower levels of anxiety and increases in our confidence in predicting strangers’ behavior. Social Categorizations. In categorizing ourselves and others , we become aware of being members of social groups. When we categorize others, our stereotypes of the groups in which we categorize them become activated. This leads us to focus on differences between ourselves and strangers. To communicate effectively with strangers, we must understand both our differences and our similarities to them. An increase in strangers’ understanding of the similarities and differences between their culture and the host culture will produce an increase in their ability to manage their anxiety and their ability to accurately predict host nationals’ behavior. Ability to “adapt to the host culture” needs to be substituted for “effectiveness of communication”.

18 AUM theory critique: The responsibility for miscommunication rests on the shoulders of the stranger who has not learned or interpreted the host culture sufficiently to adapt to cultural differences. Most notable misgiving inherent within Gudykunst's theory is that the chief miscommunication in his view, rests squarely on the shoulders of the stranger who has not learned or interpreted the host culture sufficiently to adapt to cultural differences. It is apparent that any meaningful intercultural communication process is about dialogue-building which in turn involves each interactant developing effective interpersonal relationship competence including crosscultural competence.

19 General Systems Theory (Kim 1988)
The intercultural communication competence: the overall internal capability of an individual to manage differences and unfamiliarity, intergroup posture, and the accompanying experiences of stress. According to Kim (1988), the concept of intercultural communicatioin competence is defined as the overall internal capability of an individual to manage key challenging features of intercultural communication: cultural differences and unfamiliarity, intergroup posture (interaction between in-group and out-group members, and the accompanying experiences of stress.

20 General Systems Theory (Kim 1988)
Cognitive, affective, and operational adaptability of an individual's internal system in all intercultural communication contexts. Adaptability of an individual's internal system equals an individual’s growth. 1st stage: cultural difference and intergroup posture lead to stress; a generic process of the human system which is experienced whenever the capabilities of the system are not adequately equipped to manage the demands of an environment. 2nd stage: In this system perspective, the capacity to manage intercultural challenges is referred to as adaptability - the capacity of an individual's internal psychic system to alter some of the old cultural ways, learn and accommodate some of the demands of the environment e.g., new cultural ways and to further creatively find ways to manage the dynamics of cultural difference/unfamiliarity, intergroup posture and the accompanying stress. Accordingly to be interculturally competent means to be able to manage such stress, regain internal balance, and carry out the communication process in such a way that contributes to successful interaction outcome. (Gudykunst 1988; Kim 1988) Kim further maintains that intercultural communication competence is explained not as communication competence in dealing with a specific culture but as the cognitive, affective and operational adaptability of an individual's internal system in all intercultural communication contexts. Individual's adaptability within intercultural encounters will affect their cognitive dimension ( ie. sense-making of cues inherent within such an encounter); affective dimension (ie. their motivational and attitudinal predisposition in responding to intercultural encounters) and the operational/behavioural dimensions (his or her abilities to be flexible and resourceful in carrying out what he or she is capable of in the cognitive and affective dimensions). 3rd stage: growth 4th stage: competence

21 General Systems Theory (Kim 1988) Critique
The processes are one-way, whereas the process of intercultural communication is two-way.

22 Interpersonal Theory of Intercultural Communication (Irwin 1996)
The ideologies of intimacy (closeness) and performance (competence). The key features of the communication process: Context Conduct Content “Interpersonal communication theory is informed and sustained by the ideologies of intimacy (closeness) and performance (competence). The ideology of intimacy, which holds that closeness between people is a moral good, leads to interest in openness, authenticity, honesty, trust, and empathy. The ideology of performance, which holds that improved performance is desirable and possible, leads to interest in communication and relational competence” (Irwin, 1996, p.26). Understanding interpersonal communication is important because it helps us to define our relationships with our people, moreover, we have some kind of relationship with everyone around us (Dimbleby and Burton, 1992). This focus on relationship was expressed by Forgas (1985) who maintained that “true interpersonal communication takes place at the level of mutuality where there is some degree of real personal involvement and intimacy exists between partners”( p.226). According to Littlejohn (1989) the nature of the “relationship is at the heart of interpersonal communication” (p.250). This is because when two people communicate with one another, in addition to whatever else they may be doing and achieving, they are also defining their relationship. People in a relationship are always creating a set of expectations, reinforcing old ones, or changing existing patterns of interaction. According to interpersonal theory there are three key features of the communication process: Context is the framework of rules, culture, social structure and technology within which people live and work. Again the context may be quite different from one culture to another (Jackson, 1993). Conduct is what one sees or the behavioural aspects of communication: what people actually do. This can also include the skills which people require in order to communicate effectively. These aspects of behaviour might be different between individuals of different cultural backgrounds. Content is what one does not see. Content includes the perceptions, motivations, attitudes and objectives of the individuals, that are prerequisites to acting in a particular way. These aspects are part of the person which have been acquired or generated through the experiences of living and working in a particular culture and environment and might be quite different between people from different cultures and countries.

23 Intercultural communication competence is a difficult concept to define adequately and precisely.

24 What is competence? The set of personal qualities/traits, attitudes, skills, abilities, and knowledge that enable an individual to......

25 Ruben and Kealy (1979): Give individuals empathy Display respect
Perform role behaviors Be nonjudgmental Be open Be tolerant of ambiguity Interactively manage

26 The knowledge component of competence:
Knowledge of: How to gather information Group differences Personal similarities Alternative interpretations for others’ behavior

27 Skills/Abilities (Berger 1979; Coleman & Depaulo 1991; Bellah et al
Skills/Abilities (Berger 1979; Coleman & Depaulo 1991; Bellah et al. 1985; Gudykunst & Kim 1997): The ability: To be mindful To tolerate ambiguity To calm ourselves To explain and make accurate predictions of strangers’ behavior

28 Dealing with psychological stress Communicating effectively
Behavioral Dimensions Associated with Perceived Competence (Gudykunst, Wiseman, & Hammer 1977) Dealing with psychological stress Communicating effectively Establishing meaningful interpersonal relationships Gudykunst, Wiseman and Hammer, (1977) isolated three behavioural dimensions associated with perceived competence: the ability to deal with psychological stress, and this includes the ability to deal with frustration, stress, anxiety, pressures to conform, social alienation, financial difficulties, and interpersonal conflicts); the ability to communicate effectively and this includes the ability to enter into meaning dialogue with other people, to initiate interaction with strangers, to deal with communication misunderstandings, and to deal with different communication styles; the ability to establish meaningful interpersonal relationships, and this includes the ability to develop satisfying relationships with others, to understand the feelings of others, to work effectively with others, and to deal with different social customs.

29 Do specific skills/abilities, knowledge and behaviors ensure that we will be perceived as competent in any particular interaction? Kim’s (1991) psychological definition of intercultural communication competence in which she argued that intercultural communication competence:should be located within a person as his or her overall capacity to facilitate the communication process between people from differing cultural backgrounds and to contribute to successful interaction outcomes. Here [intercultural communication competence] is considered a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for achieving success in intercultural encounters - just as a highly competent driver may not always be able to prevent accidents due to factors external to the driver (such as hazardous road conditions or serious mistakes made by other incompetent drivers (p.263). In this conceptualisation, competence is intrinsic to a person. Whereas, Gudykunst (1991) took rather a different approach to the concept of competence by arguing that judgments of competence emerge from the interactions in which we engage. Gudykunst maintained that if we can have views of our competence different from those of the people with whom we are communicating, then competence is an impression we have of ourselves and others. In other words, “competence is not something intrinsic to a person’s nature of behaviour” (Spitzberg and Cupach, 1984, p.115). This conceptualisation of competence suggests that specific skills we have do not ensure that we will be perceived as competent in any particular interaction. Overall, Gudykunst (1991; Gudykunst and Kim, 1997) defined intercultural communication competence in terms of minimising misunderstandings.

Download ppt "Chapter 6 Theoretical Perspectives on Intercultural Communication"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google