Tour Guide Intercultural Communication Competence


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In the rapid expansion of global tourism, tour guides play an important role in bridging cultures. Having an excellent intercultural communication competence (ICC) will be critical for their success. Based on the behavioral expectation model (Pavitt & Haight, 1985), Leclerc & Martin (2004) showed cross-cultural variations of the tour guides’ ICC among the American, French and German travelers. However this study also raises question about the appropriateness of applying ICC frameworks, developed in the US, to other cultures.

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Tour Guide Intercultural Communication Competence

  1. 1. Intercultural Communication Competence of an Excellent Tour Guide - Comparative Studies of Expectation from American, Chinese, and German Tourist Perspectives - by Prof.Dr.Hora Tjitra & Gao Li Zhejiang University,China contact us at
  2. 2. Intercultural Competence and Sensitivity 2 Tourism provide a perfect context for the study of Intercultural Communication Competence (ICC). Through travel, people are temporally migrating to other destinations and cultures, and tourism provides an opportunity for improving international understanding. Tour guide play a special role in these intercultural interactions China is a big market for the international tourism. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) forecasts that China will generate 100 million outbound tourists and become the fourth largest country of tourist origin in the world by 2020. Correspondingly, the number of foreign visitors has increased too. The number of foreign visitors to China is reach 100,000,000 in 2004 according to the China Tourism Green Book. The“Intercultural”Role of Tour Guide in International Tourism
  3. 3. Intercultural Competence and Sensitivity 3 Behavioral Expectation Model (Pavitt & Haight,1985) • Individuals hold cognitive notions of what comprises competence in particular contexts. • They then form impressions and evaluations of others’ behaviors based on these notions. • The degree to which the ideal meets the expected is the degree to which behavior is to judged competent
  4. 4. Intercultural Competence and Sensitivity 4 • Investigates the applicability and relevance of communication competency research in a cross-cultural tourism setting • Focus on how American, French and German travellers perceived the importance of tour guide communication competence. micro macro 1. Nonverbal behaviors 2. Topic/content behaviors 3. Conversational management behaviors 4. Communicative function dimension Intercultural Communication Competence according to Martin & Hammer (1989) Tour Guide Communication Competence: French,German and American Tourists’Perception (Leclerc& Martin 2004)
  5. 5. Intercultural Competence and Sensitivity 5 Behavioral communication competences scales American (n=190) French (n=54) German (n=107) F value 5.56 4.86 4.49  5.08 4.45 3.77  5.17 4.28 4.68  4.46 3.84 3.31  5.89 5.03 4.90  4.40 3.43 3.33  Assertiveness 3.52 3.33 3.15 5.98 6.05 5.00  Multiple analysis of variance for the behavioural communication competence scales Result Approachability Attentiveness Language adaptability Interpersonal inclusion Poise Touch Traits* a. American group perceived CC as more important then Europeans on all dimensions except for the ‘trait’ dimension. b. the European were statistically similar to each other The results indicate that there are at least two indicators that suggest possible validity problems
  6. 6. Intercultural Competence and Sensitivity 6 Tour Guides’Intercultural Communication Competence (TCC) Empirical Research 1. TCC (Leclerc & Martin, 2004) 2. Method: Questionnaire 3. Result: cultural differences of TCC among DE,FR,US 4. Question: appropriateness of applying US TCC framework to other cultures Theoretical Background 1. Theories of ICS focus on communication 2. Research from western perspective (Martin &Hammer,1989) Literature review Building Tour Guides' Intercultural Communication Competence Model 1. Group Discussion: new inputs from non US perspective 2. Content analysis: a. Inductive analysis b. Deductive analysis Compare cultural differences on Tour Guides’ Intercultural Communication Competence Cultural Sensitive Questionnaire on TCC - Respondents are international tourists from China, Germany and US
  7. 7. Intercultural Competence and Sensitivity 7 Qualitative Research Method:Group Discussion (GD) GD Design •Pure Chinese Groups (5) •Chinese - Other Asian Groups • Chinese with Korean • Chinese with Malaysian • Chinese with Pakistan •Chinese - Western Groups • Chinese with German (2) • Chinese with Australian Number of participants: 62 Number of groups: 11 Videos Flipcharts Short movies of tour guide Closing Introduction Preliminary discussion Question 1 Divided discussion Question 2 & 3 Plenary discussion Question 4 ProcedureProcedureData Pictures of Participants
  8. 8. Intercultural Competence and Sensitivity 8 Inductive Content Analysis Procedure (adapted from Mayring,2000) Research Questions: What is effective tour guide’s intercultural communication competence from the perspective of international travelers? Levels of abstraction for inductive categories 1. Dimension level: e.g. Communication Skill 2. Sub dimension level: e.g. non verbal Communication skill 3. Item level: e.g. smile Step by step formulation of inductive categories Three Steps in analyzing each group 1. Generalize at the Third level 2. Generalize at the Second level 3. Generalize at the First level Revision of Categories: After the first, the fourth and the last group, make revision according to related theories Final Results: The Structural categories of TCC
  9. 9. Intercultural Competence and Sensitivity 9 Deductive content analysis procedure on the transcription of group discussion Begin with TCC Characteristics Develop Coding Manual Analysis the first group Revise Coding Manual Analysis 2-4 groups Finish coding manual & reanalysis 1-4 Analysis group of 5-9 Reliability Test & Results
  10. 10. Intercultural Competence and Sensitivity 10 TCC Characteristics based on the initial results of inductive content analysis Dimension Sub dimension Knowledge Cultural knowledge Knowledge Local knowledge Knowledge Emergent knowledge Knowledge Procedural knowledge Communication skills Language ability Communication skills Good rhetoric Communication skills Active listeningCommunication skills Body language Communication skills Entertainment ability Traits Extroversion Traits Consciousness Traits Confidence Traits Nice appearance Interpersonal relationship Leading role Interpersonal relationship Customer orientation Interpersonal relationship Empathy Interpersonal relationship Renqing
  11. 11. Intercultural Competence and Sensitivity 11 Tour Guides’Intercultural Communication Competence from the cultural perspectives Based on the ICC model generated in the group discussion, a fifty-one items questionnaire was developed. The questionnaire was distributed to around 300 travelers from China, Germany, American tourists. The questionnaire is composed of four parts: 1. the first one is to detest the cross-cultural experiences of the respondents; the second one is about the expectation for high tour guides’ intercultural 2. communication competence; 3. the third is concerned with the demographic information 4. and the last one is an investigation for the major reason of touring. Hypotheses: H1: American tourist would emphasized communication skills as very important (Leclerc & Martin, 2004) H2: German tourist would like to have an “intellectual” tour guide (Intellectual Autonomy - Schwartz) H3: Chinese tourist would emphasized personality and interpersonal skills of the tour guide (Guanxi - Ren)
  12. 12. Intercultural Competence and Sensitivity 12 Sample of the Questionnaire
  13. 13. Intercultural Competence and Sensitivity 13 The respondents’demographic information
  14. 14. Intercultural Competence and Sensitivity 14 Cultural Specific Reliability Test of the Four Competence Dimension Reliability Test in the Four Competence Dimension
  15. 15. Intercultural Competence and Sensitivity 15 Comparison of the expectation of excellent tour guide from the American,Chinese and German Tourists Table 3.3.1 variance analysis of results for TCC from three countries Sum of square df F value knowledge Between-subjects 6.59 2 6.33* Communication skills Between-subjects 27.95 2 29.94** Traits Between-subjects 3.69 2 3.9* Interpersonal relationship Between-subjects 1.30 2 1.41 Note:* P<.05, ** P<.01.
  16. 16. Intercultural Competence and Sensitivity 16 The conclusion a) For the dimension of Knowledge, there are significant differences among the three countries, of which, Germany hold highest expectation for the knowledge of tour guides’. b) For communication skills, there are significant differences among the three countries, of which, Chinese hold highest expectation for the communication skills of tour guides’. c) With respect to traits, there are significant differences among the three countries, of which, Chinese hold highest expectation for the traits of tour guides’. d) There is no significant difference among the three countries in the area of interpersonal skills.
  17. 17. Intercultural Competence and Sensitivity Thanks a lot for you attention !! Contact us