Intercultural and International Communication Essay
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I would like a 2500 word essay comparing and contrasting intercultural and/or international communication challenges within social and professional contexts.
I would like to use case studies from multilingual contexts and draw from the theories by Edward Hall and Geert Hofstede.
For instance, Hall describes important cultural factors and dimensions.
High-context cultures: Interpretation of messages heavily rests on contextual cues. EG China and Japan
Low-context cultures: Emphasis put on the written or spoken word. What is meant is what is said. EG USA and Germany.
Monochromic Time: Doing one thing at a time. It assumes careful planning and scheduling. Significance put on ‘Time Management’. EG Germany and Australia.
Polychromic Time: Human interactions are valued over time and material things, leading to a lesser concern for ‘getting things done’. EG Mexico and Saudi Arabia; They do get things done, but more in their own time.
Low Territoriality: Space and Boundaries are less Important. People will share territory and ownership with little thought.
High Territoriality: People have greater concern over ownership. They seek to mark out the areas that belong to them.
Whereas Hofstede uses the National Culture Model:
Power Distance Index (PDI): This dimension expresses the degree to which less powerful members of a society accept and expect that power is distributed unequally.
Individualism Versus Collectivism (IDV): How personal needs and goals are prioritized vs. the needs and goals of the group
Masculinity Versus Femininity (MAS): The masculinity side of this dimension represents a preference in society for achievement, heroism, assertiveness and competition. Its opposite, Femininity, stands for a preference for cooperation, consensus, caring for the weak and quality of life.
Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI): The UAI dimension expresses the degree to which the members of society feel uncomfortable with uncertainty. More society avoids ambiguity the most rigid codes exist.
Long Term Orientation versus Short Term Normative Orientation (LTO): Every society has to maintain some links with its own past while dealing with the challenges of the present and the future, societies prioritize these two existential goals differently.
Indulgence Versus Restraint (IND): IND stands for a preference towards enjoying life and having fun versus resisting gratification of needs and regulating it by using strict social norms.
For my essay, I would like to split it into 3 parts.
1) Social Contexts
High context, polychromic time and Low territoriality – (Halls Theory)
For this section, I would like to draw from A study of international students’ perspectives on cross-cultural adaptation (Attached) to discuss how intercultural communication can be a barrier within social contexts due to differences in social, cultural and linguistic environments.
I also would like to draw from the points made by Spencer-Oatey’s article about Intercultural Interaction.
It can be found at https://doi.org/10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal1446.pub2
2) Professional Contexts – typically the opposite – low context, Monocromic and high territoriality.
For this section, I would like to use the data from pages 12 and 13 of the British Council Culture at work document (attached). The graphs and data about the business value of intercultural skills fit in with the contrast.
For example, the X-axis of Chart 8 uses factors such as Good for reputation, Brining in new clients, building trust etc.
I also like the points made in this Sage Article about interactions made within multinational companies – MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES IN CROSS-NATIONAL CONTEXT: INTEGRATION,
DIFFERENTIATION, AND THE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN MNCS AND NATION-STATES. I have attached it too.
3) For the third part, I would like to draw from Hofstede’s model to discuss the similarities and differences of social and professional contexts using Power Distance Index (PDI), Individualism versus Collectivism (IDV) and Indulgence versus Restraint (IND).
I think this would be a good way to compare and contrast social and professional contexts as they contrast in IND and PDI. However, it is evidenced that within IDV, intercultural communication can be a barrier due to a lack of intercultural competencies. I find this to be a contradiction as whilst strong communication can allow for advantages both in the social and working realm, the lack of cultural background can counteract this. For example, within a high-context culture, the speaker may fail to identify how personal needs and goals are prioritised vs. the needs and goals of the group.
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