Culture and Interpersonal Communication Chapter 2
Culture Culture consists of the relatively specialized lifestyle of a group of people that is passed on from one generation to the next through communication, not through genes.
Enculturation, Ethnic Identity and Acculturation Enculturation- The process by which you learn the culture into which you’re born. Ethnic Identity- A commitment to the beliefs and philosophy of your culture that can act as a protective shield against discrimination. Acculturation- The process by which you learn the rules and norms of a culture different from your native culture.
Culture Beliefs and Values The Relevance of Culture: Demographic changes Increased sensitivity to cultural differences Economic interdependency Advances in communication technology The fact that communication competence is specific to a culture
Demographic Changes Most obvious relevance of culture are the vast demographic changes. The United States was a country largely populated by Europeans, now it’s a country greatly influenced by the enormous number of new citizens from Latin and South America, Africa, and Asia. These changes have brought different interpersonal customs and need to understand and adapt to new ways of looking at communication.
Sensitivity to Cultural Differences American society has moved from an assimilationist attitude to a new perspective that values cultural diversity. In this diverse society, and with some notable exceptions- hate speech, racism, sexism, homophobia, and classism come quickly to mind. We are more concerned with saying the right thing and ultimately with developing a society where all cultures can coexist and enrich one another.
Economic and Political Interdependence Our economic lives depend on our ability to communicate effectively across different cultures. Our political well-being depends in great part on that of other cultures.
Spread of Technology The rapid spread of technology has made intercultural communication as easy as it is inevitable News from foreign countries is a commonplace. Internet has made intercultural communication easy.
Culture- Specific Nature of Interpersonal Communication Culture-specific is what proves effective in one culture may prove ineffective in another.
The Aim of a Cultural Perspective Culture influences: What you say to yourself and how you talk to your friends, lovers, and family in everyday conversation How you interact in groups and how much importance you place on the group versus the individual The topics you talk about and the strategies you use in communicating info or in persuading How you use the media and the credibility you attribute to them
How Cultures Differ Power Distances Masculine and Feminine Cultures High and Low Ambiguity Tolerant Cultures Individualist and Collectivist Orientations High and Low Context Cultures
Power Distance Low Power Distance General feeling of equality that is consistent with acting assertively. Seen as a certain distrust for authority. Rely less on symbols of power. High Power Distance Direct confrontation and assertiveness may be viewed negatively. Respect authority. Rely more on symbols of power.
Masculine and Feminine Cultures Masculine Emphasize success Assertive, ambitious, and competitive. More likely to confront conflicts directly and fight out the differences Win-lose conflict strategy. Feminine Emphasize the quality of life Modest and emphasize close interpersonal relationships. More likely to emphasize compromise and negotiation in resolving conflicts. Win-win strategy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGoC8FTLKSI
High and Low Ambiguity Tolerant Cultures High-Ambiguity-Tolerant Don’t feel threatened by unknown situations. Readily tolerate individuals who don’t follow the same rules. Low-Ambiguity-Tolerant Avoid uncertainty. Have great deal of anxiety about the unknown. Create very clear-cut rules for communication that must not be broken.
Individualist and Collectivist Orientations Individualist Orientation Responsible for themselves and perhaps their immediate family. United States, Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, France and Ireland. Collectivist Orientation Responsible for the entire group. Guatemala, Ecuador, Panama, Venezuela, Columbia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Costa Rica, Peru, Taiwan, and South Korea.
High and Low Context Cultures High Context Less verbally explicit communication, less written/formal information Long term relationships Knowledge is situational, relational. Decisions and activities focus around personal face-to-face relationships, often around a central person who has authority. Low Context More knowledge is codified, public, external, and accessible. Separation of time, space, activities, and relationships Knowledge is more often transferable Decisions and activities focus around what needs to be done, division of responsibilities.
Principles of Intercultural Communication Intercultural communication refers to communication between people who have different cultural beliefs, values or ways of behaving. Educate Yourself Reduce Uncertainty Recognize Differences Confront Your Stereotypes Adjust Your Communication Reduce Your Ethnocentrism
Educate Yourself Learn about other cultures Recognize and face your own fears
Reduce Uncertainty Reduce uncertainty about others Active listening Perception checking technique Seeking feedback Try to resist your natural tendency to judge others quickly
Recognize Differences between yourself and the culturally different within the culturally different group in meaning
Confront Your Stereotypes Stereotype- a fixed impression of a group of people. Stereotyping can lead to two major barriers: 1. can lead you to perceive that a person possesses certain qualities and you will fail to appreciate the multifaceted nature of all people and all groups. 2. can lead you to ignore the unique characteristic and you may fail to benefit from the special contributions each person may have.
Adjust Your Communication Learn the other person’s signals, how they’re used and what they mean Share your own signals with others so they can understand you.
Reduce Your Ethnocentrism Ethnocentrism- the tendency to evaluate the values, beliefs and behaviors of your own culture as being more positive, logical and natural than those of other cultures.