2 Topic overview Introduction: impact of globalisation Understanding the term ‘culture’Defining ‘intercultural communication’‘Third space’ communicationStrategies for effective intercultural communication
3 Impact of globalisation Globalisation has resulted in diverse societies and workplaces.Australia:43 per cent of the population born overseas or at least one parent born overseas.Over 200 languages are spoken (Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs 2005).Increasing diversity: need to develop intercultural communication competence.
4 Activity 1Form groups of three to four students and discuss the following questions:What are the key components of culture?Individually, or in pairs, write a simple definition of ‘culture’.Compare your definition with another group. Note the similarities and differences.
5 Defining ‘culture’ There are over 100 definitions of ‘culture’. The following definitions of culture are tied together by an understanding that:culture is learnedculture is sharedcultural experiences vary within a cultural groupculture changes continuouslyevery exchange with others is intercultural.Culture permeates everything we think, say, do and are.
6 Defining ‘culture’ (cont.) Chaney & Martin (2004, p. 268):Culture is ‘the structure through which the communication is formulated and interpreted; deals with the way people live’.
7 Defining ‘culture’ (cont.) Ferraro (2002):Culture is ‘everything that people have, think, and do as members of their society’ (cited in Gudykunst & Kim 2003, p. 19).
8 Defining ‘culture’ (cont.) Gudykunst & Kim (2001, p. 15):‘Our culture provides us with a system of knowledge that generally allows us to know how to communicate with other members of our cultures and how to interpret their behaviour.’
9 Defining ‘culture’ (cont.) Hofstede (2001):Culture is ‘the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group from another’ (cited in Dwyer 2005, p. 201).
10 Defining ‘culture’ (cont.) Mohan, McGregor, Saunders & Archee (2004, p. 80):‘… culture can best be understood if it is broken up into four main dimensions:history and world view, including values, beliefs and religionsocialisation, including education, enculturation and personal growthlanguagenon-verbal communication’.
11 Defining ‘culture’ (cont.) Windschuttle & Elliott (1999, p. 481):‘A culture is a shared system of behaviour, values, beliefs, attitudes, manners, symbols and assumptions.’
12 Activity 2 Form groups of three or four students. Working alone, write down five ‘rules’ or conventions your family follows when eating a meal together. In one household, the five rules might be as follows:Set the table.Turn off the television.Help bring the food to the table.Wait until everyone is seated before starting to eat.At the end of the meal, thank whoever cooked the meal.
13 Activity 2 (cont.)Now, compare your family’s ‘rules’ with those in your group. What is different? What is the same?How much of your family meal rules are based on your family’s own ideas and how much on wider cultural expectations (e.g. using a knife and fork vs using chopsticks)?Spend some time in your group discussing how the ‘rules’ change depending on particular circumstances (e.g. when a guest comes to dinner; when a family member has a birthday; on the weekend, etc.).
14 The unspoken ‘rules’Life is made up of hundreds of unspoken expectations and ways of behaving.Even within the same ethnic and linguistic background, the ‘culture’ will be distinct from one family to another.Individual behaviour also depends on the context and the other individuals with whom the interaction is taking place.
15 Understanding culture Understanding culture is about being conscious of what we do everyday without even thinking about it.The key to understanding culture is the recognition that ‘culture is transmitted and maintained solely through learning, enculturation and group interaction’ (Dwyer 2005, p. 33).
16 Iceberg analogy of culture Tip (external culture):language, customs, typical food, dressacquired through observation, education/trainingeasily learned and can be changed.Under water (internal culture):values, ways of thinking and perceiving, non-verbal communicationovertly learned (formal education) or implicitly learned through socialisationinfluences/motivates our behaviour
17 Ethnocentrism‘The belief in the superiority of one’s own culture’ (Guffey 2001, p. 12)Judging others by our own valuesOften results in stereotypes
18 StereotypesOversimplified behavioural patterns applied to entire groupse.g. ‘all Australians drink beer’Fixed and distorted generalisations about all members of a groupIgnore individual differences and specifics of the person or the situation
19 Stereotypes (cont.) Support underlying prejudices or biases Support a superiority/inferiority belief systemUsed to justify unfair differential treatmentLearnt through socialisation and often reinforced or perpetuated by the media (adapted from Cross-cultural awareness training module n.d.).
20 Activity 3In groups of three or four, write a brief stereotype for each of the following nationalities:AustraliansNew ZealandersChineseBritishJapaneseGermanFrenchPresent your feedback to class.
21 Activity 3 (cont.)Was it easy to agree on a simple stereotype for each nationality?Who taught us these stereotypes?Based on your own experience, are these stereotypes true?How are stereotypes used to discriminate against others?Can you think of any situations where stereotypes might be useful?
22 Conceptualising communication Communication is a symbolic activitywords, non-verbal displays and objects (e.g. the national flag).The meanings of symbols vary from culture to culture.Communication is a process involving the transmitting and interpreting of messagesmessages can be transmitted, but meanings cannot.
23 Creation of meaningThe channel used to transmit the message influences how we interpret the meaning. For example:face-to-facetelephonecomputer-mediated (e.g. , Internet)handwritten message.The context also influences the interpretation of the message (e.g. work, home, school) and issues of power affect the interpretation of a message.
24 Communication awareness Communication takes place at varying levels of awareness.Much of what we know was learned unconsciously.Most of the time we are unaware of the process of communication.Awareness is heightened in new or strange situations.
25 Communication intention Intention is not a necessary condition for communication.Other conditions include:habits (rituals such as greetings)emotions (responding to others without thinking, e.g. becoming defensive if we feel we have been insulted).
26 Non-verbal communication Only 7 per cent of what is communicated between people is transmitted through words (Lahiff & Penrose 1997, p. 61).So often we focus on language (the words), when effective communication is much more about culture.
27 Activity 4 Working in pairs, complete the following exercises: List five communication symbols (words, non-verbal displays or objects).Consider issues of power in an educational setting. How does this affect the communication between student and teacher?
28 Activity 4 (cont.)Think of a recent communication exchange with a person from another country. Can you recall any non-verbal issues that impeded your communication (e.g. kissing, touching, hand signals)?Consider the same question in relation to communicating with a person from your own country.
29 Intercultural or cross-cultural? Intercultural communication: social interaction, sharing of meanings between people from diverse cultures, focus on ‘understanding and sharing’ rather than ‘comparing’Cross-cultural communication: focus on comparison of communication styles
30 Intercultural communication Concept of ‘stranger’: anyone unknown or unfamiliarSelf-disclosure: a major factor in develop-ment of personal relationships with strangersNeed for communication partners to validate and confirm the otherSpeaking the same language is no guarantee of shared understandings (consider gender, age, status)ALL interactions could be called ‘intercultural’
31 ‘Third space’Effective communicators ‘step outside’ their own culture when communicating, taking on a ‘third space’ perspectiveDescribes the possibility for a negotiated re-imagining of cultural identityIdentity is constructed and deconstructedRemoval of ‘us vs. them’ distinctionsRequires mutual commitmentNeed to find ‘common ground’
32 Strategies for effective intercultural communication Resist stereotypes.Resist assumptions.Recognise own cultural position.Develop empathy.Communicate respect.Be aware of non-verbal communication.Aim for clarity.Recognise and rectify mistakes.
33 Activity 5Do an Internet search on Geert Hofstede and the five cultural dimensions. How useful do you think Hofstede’s cultural dimensions are in developing effective intercultural communication skills?
34 SummaryTo develop intercultural communication competence, we need first to understand the concept of ‘culture’.Compare cross-cultural communication with intercultural communication.Be aware of ethnocentrism, stereotypes and other barriers to communication.Aim for ‘third space’ communication.
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