An Interview in India
Case analysis: The case is about an interview between an American program host and an
Indian interviewee. They talk about some aspects of Indian culture and the changes occurred these years. The case reflects some basic cultural elements people may find in all cultures: language, family pattern, marriage, wedding ceremony, food and the way to eat food, etc. From this case, guide the students in culture study and culture comparison. The students should realize that there are both similarities and differences in culture. Culture is in fact very dynamic and pervasive. Case 2:
Case analysis: The Indian women might think the wedding ceremony is a funeral if they see
the western bride in white gown. The case reflects the similes and metaphors in the text. Culture is like an iceberg: we can identify the color of the dress worn by women in different cultures, but we do not know the values underneath. Culture is like the water a fish swims in: people wear dress of different colors for different context but they usually take it for granted and never ask why.
The French in North America
Case analysis: The French were able to see Indian behavior only in the light of their own hierarchical social system, where it is natural for the few to command and the many to obey. Social systems that worked on other principles were literally unimaginable.
Case analysis: The case reflects the characteristics of culture. We can tell from the case that culture is pervasive and it’s learned. People may invent different ways for things even as simple as the issue of floor moping. The Philippine woman must have learned this way of mopping from her own culture.
A Black Girl’s Identity
Case analysis: Although we may say that identities are constituted by our communication, it
is obvious from the case that we cannot simply choose at any moment what our identity will be regardless of the context. First, we often do not share the recipe for certain identities with others even if we belong to the same ethnicity, gender, or nationality. Understanding this can help us avoid some of the broad assumptions made about groups of people based on the reflective way of thinking. Second, as we learned in the very first chapter, all meaning in communication is to some extent situational. Thus, the context mediates what identities we can choose. Sometimes things one may have no control over, such as age or skin color, are seen as essential parts of how one communicates an identity.
Case analysis: Hippies could be defined as a subgroup, as the hippies culture tends to be temporary. In modern American society, hippies culture could also find traits, but it has wide spread influence on American value system.
Clean up the Bathroom!
Case analysis: Cultural differences decide the two students are going to communicate in
different ways. The Chinese student wants the American student to understand the underlying means of his words, but the American student is used to the direct style of communication. This is decided by culture. In Chinese culture, people want to save face of both themselves and others, so they would not express their ideas directly. However, in the United States, unless you express yourself clearly and directly, the others cannot understand you.
She Has Three Hands
This case can reflect the different communication styles between Chinese and Canadians. In western cultures, communication is the means of transmitting ideas. Western people usually communicate directly with each other. That is why the Canadian in this case says what is in his mind directly in front of the Chinese woman without hiding anything. While Chinese culture stresses harmony and emphasizes the relationships between the communicators. Chinese people view communication as a process where all parties are searching to develop and maintain a social relationship. So the Chinese woman in this case tries not to argue with the Canadian face to face to keep the “harmonious relationship” between them.
A Piece of Cake
This case wants us to recognize some components of communication. Sender/source refers to
the person who transmits a message. Receiver is any person who notices and gives some meaning to a message. Context refers to a setting or situation within which communication takes place. In this case, Marilyn and Richard are simultaneously the senders and receivers. And their room, where the communication event happens and which makes the couple feel comfortable and relaxed, is just the context.
The Place to Have Lunch
This case reflects that communication is contextual, which means that communication does
not happen in isolation and it must happen within a setting or context. Whether this context is quiet or noisy is important to the smoothness of communication. When the communication event is disturbed by noise, the communication can not go smoothly. In this case,
Making an Appointment
This case can reflect how culture affects its communication style. Each culture encourages a particular communication style expected within it. This implies not only using correct symbols,
but also applying the appropriate communication style for the occasion. Communication styles include mannerisms, phrases, rituals, and communication customs appropriate for various situations in a culture. In this case, knowing the communication style of the Americans which is characterized by direct, exacting and instrumental, the exporter manager fulfills his job successfully.
Why Don’t You Eat the Pizza?
This case can reflect the problems appearing during intercultural communication and how ignoring cultural differences can affect communication. In Malaysia, where most people are
Muslims, people think the left hand is used only for cleaning the body and thus it is dirty and can
not be used to pass food. Knowing nothing about the cultural difference, the American student
puts himself in an embarrassing situation.
We and They?
This case reflects that in intercultural communication, people always regard themselves as the
best group in the world. This is actually inappropriate and should be avoided.
Perception of War
This case can reflect different cultures can give different influences on human perception.
People can have very different perceptions even on the same object or phenomenon because they have different cultures and are living in the different social realities. In this case, Jim and Olga
have very different attitudes and perceptions towards historical events because their nations’
different experiences and histories.
Observations on a Soldier
This case can reflect the basic model of human perception. Human being is equipped to sense
the outside stimuli and perceive the outside world. And the perception follows a certain
model—after being gained through the five basic senses, information is processed through selection, organization and interpretation. In this case, Sherlock Holmes and Mycroft did observations on the soldier according to the basic model of human perception. They selected some useful information which they gained from outside world through their five basic senses,
organized it in a reasonable logic and then attached meanings to it.
Different Responses to Noise
This case can reflect different culture can give different influences on human sensation. No two of people can assume that their sensations are the same, especially when they come from different cultures. Different social reality and living conditions can equip them with different way to sense the world. So it is very common for them to have totally different sensations even towards the same condition. In this case, the German professor and Japanese professor have very different response to the noise produced
by the same motor for the heating system because of their cultures and living habits.
What Is Black?
This case can reflect we have some barriers to accurate perception in intercultural communication. We have the ability to perceive the outside world, but we cannot always get the accurate perceptions, especially when we do the perception on other cultures, we often give the inaccurate and negative perceptions. In this case, on discussing the impersonal color “black”, we
give so many bad and negative meanings while black pupils can give some objective descriptions
and associations about the color. The barriers can include ignoring details, over-generalizing,
holding on to preconceptions and stereotypes imposing consistency, preconnecting causes and effects, preferring simple explanations, ignoring circumstances, crediting irrelevant information and focusing on the negative.
Are Perceptions Always Right?
This case can reflect our perceptions on outside world are not always right, especially when
we do perceptions on other cultures. We usually perceive others according to our own culture.
This can lead to ineffective intercultural communication. In this case Pat and Chris gave
inaccurate and negative perceptions on Akira and Michiko just because of their
Irresponsible judgment and they also gave completely positive perceptions on Marie just because
of their simple expectations. In order to avoid the inaccurate perceptions, we need some skills, including increase your understanding of the perceptual process; increase your observational acuity; recognize the elements to which you attribute meaning; check your perceptions; increase your Awareness of perceptual inaccuracies and compensate for them ;increase your awareness of others’ perceptions
of you; and develop social decentering, empathy, and other-orientation.
Chinese Hospitality — Overdone
This case reflects that sometimes people unconsciously assume that people from another
culture may behave in a way which is similar to theirs. The Chinese usually attach a lot of importance to taking care of their guests. When it comes to a foreign visitor, Chinese hospitality is usually more than what can be understood by a Westerner, who is uncomfortable when he is
always surrounded by people attempting to be kind. Concerning this case, Hong tried to respect
her traditions and her friend by doing more than she could really afford to do for Joe's visit, having
no idea that Joe ended up feeling frustrated.
A Danish Woman in New York
This case can reflect assuming similarity instead of difference. When communicating with
people from another culture, one is likely to regard and treat other people as “his people” and to assume there must be only one way of doing things: that is “his way”. In this case, the Danish woman assumes that her behavior of leaving the baby alone, which is common in Denmark, is also appropriate in New York. Here, she assumes what is suitable in her own culture is also
indisputable in another culture. That is why the small conflict happens.
This case can reflect ethnocentrism. Cultures train their members to use the categories of
their own cultural experiences when judging the experiences of people from other cultures. They
will believe that their culture is the center of the world and their standard should be the role model
for the rest of the world. Concerning this case, somehow Chinese people have habitually referred
12:00 a.m. as the time around lunchtime, making 12 : 00 p.m. midnight. Fortunately, the way they
tell other times are the same as that used in the States, so there's usually no misunderstanding between people from the two cultures. However, there is this one difference and Fan learns it by paying a fine since she may hold that her culture is the center of the world.
This case can reflect one of the translation problems: the lack of conceptual equivalence,
which refers to abstract ideas that may not exist in the same fashion in different languages.
Different cultures may attach different meanings to the same thing or person. Concerning this case,
we should know what young females call themselves is very different in China from the States. In China, "girl" means someone who is young and single. In a way, it makes a female sound more
desirable to be called a girl rather than a woman. For most people, "woman" means someone who is married and who probably is not young. In fact, most single Chinese females, such as university students, would be insulted to be called "women". While in the West, in formal, public settings, it
is customary to call any woman who is past puberty a woman, even though she may not be legally old enough to vote, marry, purchase alcoholic beverages, drive a car, or sign a contract. This terminology became widespread during the "women's liberation movement in the 1960s". The term "'girl" is sometimes interpreted to be demeaning or disrespectful.
An Unfair Decision
This case reflects prejudice, which involves an unfair, biased, or intolerant attitude
towards another group of people. In this case, Mr. Bias decided to select someone else, instead of applicant from the country Levadel, for the position. That is just because he holds prejudice towards people from the country Levadel.
One of the sources of the frustration and misunderstandings that occurred in this case was different notions of what was verbally relevant. In this case, Mary was expecting a much more direct response to her question. Ms. Goshima, however, was uncomfortable with the question and felt her response should be very indirect and establish a proper sense of modesty before revealing the answer to the question. If Mary had been more patient, she would have eventually heard the answer to her question, but she was not really paying attention when it finally came because she felt that Ms. Goshima's comments weren't really relevant to her query.
Slogans and the Importance of Language
The intercultural encounters we experience are not only influenced by language and perceptual differences, and language choice based on restricted and elaborated social situations, but also on language and how it is translated for members of a culture. For many reasons linguistic interpretation and semantics provide the source of numerous misunderstandings. For instance, an insurance company discovered that fires inadvertently occurred because warehouse employees acted carelessly around "empty" barrels of gasoline, although they previously had exercised great caution around "full" drums of gasoline. The terms full and empty seem to mask the real danger in working with gasoline drums. Empty drums are extremely combustible, while full drums pose far less threat. The linguistic perception of the word empty in the general culture signified null or void, but in the work culture of volatile products like gasoline the semantic "interpretation" was disastrous. A story is told of a Christian Scientist who refused to take vitamins, since the recommender described them as "medicine." However, the same person gladly took the vitamins when he was told they were "food."
Two Different Communication Styles
The dialogue takes place between a young couple who have been dating for a short time. The man is a U.S. student, and the woman is from an Asian culture. Note the misunderstanding that results as a consequence of the use of direct and indirect modes of communication.
In all likelihood, Jim is not going to get much of an answer from Michiko. She continues throughout the dialogue using rather general answers to Jim's very specific and direct questions
about her feelings toward the United States. Michiko might believe that Jim is being far too direct and invading her privacy. Besides, the fact that she has traveled halfway around the world should lie indicative of her desire to be here, right? There must he something about the United States that attracted her. Michiko cannot possibly say something critical about the United States because she would lose face, as would Jim, as a native. She relies on imprecise and indefinite answers.
Idioms are simply statements that are not strictly true, but their meaning is understood by a group of people. If you ask what happened to Martha and people say, "She kicked the bucket," it does not mean that she literally did this; it means she died. Just like in the case my student's friend did not literally mean that Shang should get out of the apartment. Idioms are common in all cultures, but when used in intercultural settings they can create a lot of confusion. One potential area of misunderstanding related to idioms is when to use them and with whom. For example, I would not use the "kick the bucket" idiom just any setting or with just any person. If I am talking with my grandmother and I am going to tell her about someone who has died, I may use what is often perceived as a gentler idiom and say the person has "passed away." Understanding the context of when an idiom is appropriate or sensible is part of intercultural knowledge.
Going Out to Eat
In the interaction, Jim is a student at a local university. He was born and raised in the United States. Akira is an exchange student from Japan. Jim and Akira are eating dinner together in a local restaurant. They have known each other for only a short time. Not only is Jim's style of communication overtly personal, but he's also quite direct.
Jim is trying to involve Akira in the conversation by relating to him his personal experiences
and preferences. Jim uses the first person "I" no fewer than eleven times and even refers to Akira as "Buddy." Akira never refers to himself in the first person; Akira generally defers to Jim and says little, even addressing Jim as "Mr. Jim." As a foreigner, Akira probably sees Jim as socially superior and uses a formal title. Moreover, rather than talking about his personal preferences, Akira mentions that Japanese people enjoy restaurants.
What Is Wrong with the Interaction?
This case can reflect different nonverbal communication patterns exist in the actual
intercultural communication. Nonverbal communication differs according to different cultures. People might have different opinions about the proper space, time, body language and paralanguage. If we don’t pay attention to intercultural nonverbal communication, we will have some misunderstanding and conflict. In this case, Jim (an American), Mitsuko and Akira (two Japanese) belong to totally different cultures; they have very different opinions about the space and body languages. Therefore, Mitsuko and Akira felt uncomfortable when Jim gave some exaggerated body language and kept close space distance in communication.
Are Americans Indifferent?
This case can reflect different nonverbal communication patterns exist in the actual
intercultural communication, especially facial expression differ according to different cultures. Compared to most Chinese, Americans like to smile a lot and to have causal and rich facial expressions in their daily lives, even though they have some misfortune. In this case, because of the different opinions about facial expressions in intercultural communication, the American lady talked about her father’s sickness and death in a smiling way to show she still has the optimistic way to treat the future life, which is misunderstood as being indifferent and selfish by the Chinese. Case 34:
What Is Sue’ s Problem？
This case can reflect nonverbal intercultural communication should be according to the
different context, too. Context refers to the actual setting when communication occurs and is also important in nonverbal communication. In this case, Sue knew how to wai and she knew that bowing was generally important in the Thai culture, but, as is so easy to do in a new environment, she forgot to consider the context. Relational hierarchy is very important in Thailand. Sue’s deferential actions may have appropriate in certain settings, but given her status of elder visitor such actions directed toward the children were extremely confusing and uncomfortable for the students and teachers alike.
This case can reflect the different use and understanding of silence can influence the actual intercultural communication. Different culture might have different interpretations to the silence. The Eastern culture usually attaches more meanings to silence, while the most western cultures consider silence to be absence of communication and most rude communicative behavior. In this case, Li Hua wanted to provide the opportunity for them to calm down and think about the matters carefully and so she kept silence, while this silence was misunderstood by Smith as the absence of communication and he might think Li Hua looked down upon him and became angrier.
Don’t Put Your Hand on My Arm
This case can reflect different cultures have different opinions to spatial relations. Different cultures have very different opinions about an individual’s unconsciously structuring the microspace immediately surrounding the physical body. Some cultures can have relatively close distance when communicating while other cultures cannot. Some western cultures consider body touch between people of the same gender to be cultural taboo and a symbol of being homosexual. In this case, Sam is from western cultures and knows the social taboo of body touch very clearly, so he wouldn’t let others misunderstand Mark’s close body distance and touch with him, even though Mark from Chile doesn’t know the cultural taboo at all.
This case can reflect different gestures can represent different meanings in different cultures
and misuse of some gestures can lead to ineffective intercultural communication. For example, the common “OK” gesture means being good and friendly in some western countries such as USA, while in Latin America it represent something dirty and obscene. Therefore, in this case, the gesture of the American politician is really a disaster and it hurt the people in this Latin American country and also made himself to be unwelcome person.
An American Librarian’s Puzzle
This case can reflect the meanings shown by facial expressions and gestures differ according
to different cultures in intercultural communication. For example, the smile in China can convey lots of meaning, such as being friendly and attentive and nodding one’s head in China is not always to say “yes”, sometimes it is just to say “I’m listening.” While in USA, nodding one’s head and smiling is usually to say “yes” and show agreement. Therefore, in this case, the American Librarian misunderstood the Chinese student Zhu Xiaohua’s facial expression and gesture
–nodding and smiling and felt quite puzzled.
Marriage and Social Status
Shaheed was disappointed, but he understood the problem and accepted the situation. However, in part because of different worldviews, this story really bothers .many Americans.
How many differences in worldviews did you recognize in this experience? I count at least
five. For example, an American would have felt that the hierarchical nature of the situation that helped to establish the concern in the first place was inherently wrong. Shaheed and the
woman would be seen as equals. In addition, if there were to be any differences between
the two, they should have been determined by achievement, not ascribed to the individuals
by birth. Third, the decision to go with what is wanted by the families or groups involved is in
line with a collectivistic approach rather than an individualistic approach, which would have encouraged each person to do what was best for him- or her-self. Fourth, Shaheed's
mother's understanding of the meaning of being served bananas at tea depended entirely on
lhe context rather than the verbal message. Many Americans who hear this story worry,
about whether Shaheed's mother got the right message. Finally, Americans would tend to
want to discuss the issue more, asking, "Why won't this work?" and trying to convince
the young woman's mother that it is okay. This orientation is grounded in using communication primarily as an information source rather than as a social lubricant, which Shaheed's mother did by not threatening the face of the other person or the status quo of the current relationship.
How Can We Lend Money to Her?
It is not unusual for married couples to come into conflict over money or how they relate to
in-laws, but in this case it is complicated because there are cultural differences in what is good and bad and what is morally appropriate in this situation. In Germany there are strong norms against borrowing unless you absolutely have to, and then you borrow from a bank and pay it back as quickly as you can. Except for very rare occasions in which a child must borrow from a parent, you would never borrow from family members, because they have enough problems of their own. In contrast, Lao borrowing norms indicate that borrowing is a natural and ongoing part of life. No one has everything they need, so everyone will need to borrow at some time. Buddha has said, "Do good and good will be done to you," so loaning is an honor. Finally, borrowing from an institution is frowned upon because you will not get a good deal and it will look like your family does not care about you.
Jay was frustrated in large part because many of the norms he was used to didn't apply in
Saudi Arabia, and many Saudi norms did not make sense to him. Much of the business done in Saudi Arabia depends on baksheesh, a type of kickback to a middleman (and it is a man), who facilitates contacts between potential business partners. The middleman is doing a service and expects to get paid for it. The more baksheesh the person gives, the more likely it is that the person will succeed, because the middleman will be sure to treat him very well. Giving baksheesh is a norm in the Saudi business community. In addition, Saudis believe that God gave us multifunctional hands and that the hand is our best tool for eating. However, they are also concerned with hygiene. They reserve the left hand for cleaning themselves and use the right hand for eating. Saudis have a number of norms related to restricting male and female interaction that, within the context of their religious beliefs, make perfect sense but would be very inappropriate to most Westerners.
Ning Tong was not observing the house rules for watching TV, which was probably why he eventually stopped saying anything in the argument. Usually, when a Chinese chooses not to say any more things in an argument, it would mean one or both of the following: the person feels that he/she is wrong; the person wants to stop the argument by not talking any more. The latter would often mean tolerance as one has to resist the impulse of reasoning with the other, especially when one feels he/she is right. When Ning Tong became quite, he was hoping that his silence could stop Tom since Tom would not have anything to respond to.
Tom was clearly frustrated at not being able to relax and enjoy some programs connected
with what is happening back home. Tom probably thought Ning Tong’s decision to stop arguing was “passive aggression”--- making the other person look bad by pretending to be mild-mannered or even not interested---yet not yielding in an argument.
The Improvement Does Not Work
Following their individualistic orientations, Mr. Patterson and Mr. Wyman were perfectly comfortable with the idea of creating team leaders within the individual sales groups. However, as Park Young Sam mentions, doing so upset the harmony of the groups, which in turn led to poor performance. In the United States, workers are often motivated by the opportunity for promotion and advancement as this serves the individualistic drive for individual achievement. In collectivistic cultures, however, workers may be motivated by being a part of a cohesive and productive team.
Individualism and collectivism are terms that describe whole cultures. But cultures are not
pure. Members of collectivist cultures may practice individualistic tendencies while members of individualist cultures may value collectivist ideals. For example, Denmark is a country with both collectivistic and individualistic tendencies. In Denmark, individual freedom is nurtured through a devotion to established traditions and customs. Regarding income and social rank, Danes are staunchly egalitarian. At the same time, however, Danes consider themselves free to be nonconformist and to stand out from the group. In this way, Danes may be at the theoretical midpoint of the individualism and collectivism cultural continuum.
When Shall We Meet For Dinner?
Uncertainty avoidance orientation can be seen in this case. In the dialogue presented below,
Kelly and Keiko are interacting about a dinner invitation. Kelly, from the United States, possesses
a relatively low uncertainty avoidance index, while Keiko, from Japan, comes from a culture with
a relatively high uncertainty avoidance index.
In the dialogue above, Keiko is confused by Kelly’s easygoing attitude toward the evening’s plans. Coming from a high uncertainty-avoidant culture, Keiko would prefer to plan ahead to avoid uncertainty and prepare her script for the evening. Kelly, on the other hand, is perfectly comfortable making plans based on how the evening progresses. Without a plan, how will Keiko know how to act?
What Is Valued?
This student's desire for privacy and personal space became obvious in a setting that denied
her the ability to achieve either one. Things we value, such as privacy, honesty, ambition, kindness, and so forth, are things we hold as important and desirable. Therefore, it is when we are unable to experience them that we most clearly understand what we value.
How Do Students Learn?
The American teacher cannot adapt to the traditional Chinese way of learning and interpret
the students’ behaviors as a problem. In China, being modest is a virtue and nobody wants to be special and boasting, so students would rather keep silent even though they know the right answer. Chinese people love keeping harmony, so they would not point out the mistakes in their classmates’ composition, because this is seen as a disturbance of harmony.
Talk or not Talk?
If you see an American friend, you can just say, "Hi, how are you?" and keep on
walking without even slowing down, but with his friends from the Middle East he
needs to stop and talk for awhile, no matter where he is and what he is doing. Khalid
explained knew John had been in a hurry the other day and Khalid did not want to cause
him to be late, so he thought it best to avoid any interaction rather than either be rude to his friend or cause John problems.
Coming from an individualistic perspective, the idea of just briefly greeting a friend from a
group I belong to and continuing on with my own plans seems like no big deal. However,
these connections are much more vital to who we are from a collectivist perspective, and it
is important to maintain these connections even if we are personally inconvenience in the example, Khalid recognized the predicament that he would face if he met his friend when
he was with John, who was in a hurry to get to a meeting, and wisely avoided it. We cannot always avoid such predicaments, but if we understand what is involved in them, we can
better manage them when they happen.
Gift from a Chinese
Chinese people love giving gifts. Usually, the value of the gift is an indication of how
important the receiver is in the sender’s eyes. Most people giving gifts are concerned about whether the gift will be seen as valuable enough. An inexpensive gift means a loss of face. Dongxie may have a practical reason in giving the ginseng to his manager, but most Chinese will take it as something usual for a subordinate to do this to a manager out of a sign of respect.
North American companies do occasionally receive gifts out of appreciation for the
friendship and assistance the manager may provide. Such gifts are treasured; however, the value usually is fairly small, a bottle of wine, a music CD, a small book, or other tokens.
Why Is He Angry?
Was Jose jealous? Jose had always been a supportive friend, so that idea didn't feel right.
Maybe something had happened earlier in the day, bad news from home, perhaps?
Jose had been asked to comment briefly on some of his curriculum ideas since they
had finished with Andy's presentation early. Jose had been a bit hesitant, and when he had commented on a few things, Andy had jumped in with some very direct, but insightful questions. No doubt they would force Jose to think through some of the issues before he
had to actually give his presentation, but it had put him on the spot in front of the whole faculty. She knew Filipinos were very sensitive about being put on the spot publicly like
that. Friends just didn't do that to each other, even if it would be helpful in the long run.
Jose had obviously been deeply hurt by what would seem like a betrayal by Andy.
Andy was confused because the idea of jealousy, which fit the situation, didn't seem
to fit his perception of Jose as a friend. Jose was deeply hurt because Andy's public
questioning of him was obviously something a friend would not do; thus, the ascription of
friend no longer fit. Margaret was starting to understand the problem based on the
Australian and Filipino identities of Andy and Jose. The key issue in this incident is not
who was right or wrong, but to see that from whatever position we are in, direct
participant or third-party observer, we use identities (friend, Jose, nationality, etc.) in understanding the actions of those around us.
Refuse to Be Treated?
In the case just described, the U.S. American medical team system for making sense
of the situation demanded that people be seen in order of the seriousness of their injuries
or illness. Each person was considered as worthwhile as the next, and so seriousness of
injury appeared to be a natural way to determine who was seen first. However, the cultural system working for those on the Virgin Islands demanded that elders be seen and treated
first. Their position, age, and wisdom demanded respect. For younger members of the community to go ahead of them in a time of crisis was seen as extremely disrespectful.
The conflict centered on efforts by each side to do what they perceived as good and
morally responsible. Because the U.S. Americans were in a better position to adapt than an
entire community that had just suffered great loss and were under extreme stress, it was
good that they were willing to do so. Sadly, this is not always the case.
You Don’t Need to Show Me to the Door!
The American woman has been used to the Chinese way of “show somebody out”. In China, when a guest calling at home or a cooperator visiting a company, it is polite to show the person out despite the visitor’s refusal. This is a way to show care and respect. But in the United States, as “Time is money” and the woman indeed knows “her way out”, the American man takes the woman’s words seriously and does not give it a second thought. The Americans are direct and the American culture is low-context, so this is the cause of misunderstanding.
This case can reflect the problems one may encounter during intercultural adaptation. When an individual enters a new culture, he may first experience excitement. But later more serious problems may come to him. When facing these problems, one may fell anxious and not know how to deal with the present situation. In this case, although Wu Lian has a good command of English, she also faces a lot of learning difficulties due to cultural differences. And besides, she also meets many difficulties in daily life. All these make her feel uncomfortable and stressed. The only way out for her is to learn more knowledge and skills to conquer these hindrances and become successful in intercultural adaptation.
This case can reflect segregation, which occurs because the more politically and
economically powerful culture does not want the intercultural contact. In this case, the Chinese girl wants to integrate with the two Western guys. However, the two guys, who may consider themselves as the mainstream culture which is more powerful, refuse to communicate friendly with the Chinese girl. So the Chinese girl is segregated.
A Fish out of Water
This case reflects that the boy is experiencing culture shock, which may bring him some psychological symptoms. Culture shock is virtually a communication problem which involves the depressed feelings accompanying a lack of understanding of the verbal and nonverbal communication of the host culture, its customs, as well as its value systems. Culture shock happens when people have to deal with a huge amount of new perceptual stimuli that are difficult to understand and interpret because the cultural context has changed. In this case, when the American student feels that his familiar cues from his native culture is removed, he becomes to reject the new environment and he displays some psychological symptoms due to culture shock. Case 55:
This case can reflect reverse culture shock. When people return home after an extended stay
in a foreign culture, they experience another round of culture shock in their native culture and they must proceed through the four stages of the U-curve pattern once again. In this case, John, whose comes from Canada, has been living in China for quite a long time and he has got familiar with the Chinese culture. Therefore, when he returns to Canada, he cannot adapt well to his native culture. Case 55:
Off to a Bad Start
This case reflects the importance of developing some strategies for avoiding culture shock
and engaging in intercultural adaptation. If we want to overcome culture shock effectively and adapt well and appropriately to the new culture, we must acquire enough knowledge and develop as many skills as possible. In this case, David Hu, who comes from the Eastern culture, does not know that Westerners emphasize privacy, so his behaviors of curiosity just irritate his Western colleague. Therefore, we know that David needs to improve his knowledge of Western culture and develop some strategies for avoiding culture shock and engaging in intercultural adaptation. Case 56:
Wow! The First Week in Canada
This case can reflect the initial period of intercultural adaptation, the honeymoon or initial euphoria stage. In this stage, people are usually fascinated with the new culture and by the excitement about all the new things they encounter in the host culture. Also people, during this stage, may not easily notice the cultural differences and the potential problems that arise from the cultural differences. In this case, Zhangli is just experiencing the honeymoon stage.
What’s the Matter with the Gift?
This case can reflect the relationship conflicts in intercultural communication. Intercultural communication competence is an integrated and complicated competence. In order to have intercultural communication competence, we need to pay attention to every element among it. Relationship conflict is one of them. Some relationship conflicts involve threats to an established relationship. In this case, the woman in Nukualofa became very angry and shouted the author out because of the rare gift the author sent to her, in fact, the woman’s extreme behavior is because the author‘s behavior of sending the gift has put herself into a position of superiority over the woman, which is a really threat to established relationship—the woman can be a good helper and teacher
of the author. The change in established relationship made the woman quite angry.
Demographic Analysis in USA.
Demographic analysis in this case can reflect that USA is a multicultural society with cultural diversity. Multicultural society refers to the society where there is ethnic diversity within it. And
this tendency is more and more universal all over the world. The multicultural society requires a heightened emphasis on intercultural competence.
Not Intended Humor
This case can reflect context plays a very important role in intercultural communication competence. Context refers to the actual setting when communication occurs. It can be very vital component in intercultural communication competence. A person’s behavior can be proper in one context while the same behavior cannot be proper in another context, and it is quite common phenomenon. For example, in this case, certainly there is exaggeration in the joking sequence, but more important than that for some purposes is that many of the things that are either nonsensical or wrong and, therefore, seen as legitimately laughable are perfectly sensible and socially correct within the “Whiteman” culture being referenced. The example is the systems of sense surrounding the use of a person’s first name. In short, it is a joking conversation just because the communicator didn’t pay attention to some useful and important contextual components.
This case can reflect that in order to have intercultural communication competence, we cannot just know the components among it but also know how the components work together, that is, know the dimensions of intercultural communication competence. We should know the knowledge dimension, the affective dimension, the psychomotor dimension and situational features dimension. In this case, John moved to another city to work, he faced different situational features, in order to conduct the work smoothly, he needed to have the new knowledge, affection and psychomotor, which are different from before. In this case, we can sense intercultural
communication competence is also dynamic and we need to adapt to new environment with improved intercultural communication competence.
This case can reflect we need some skills to improve intercultural competence. The skills include 1) Work to emphasize areas of similarity with others. 2) Try to accept differing opinions. 3) Make your verbal messages consistent with your nonverbal messages.4) Avoid dominating conversations.
5) Avoid being submissive in conversations and 6) Be an affirmer. In this case, the author and his friend had some misunderstanding on the Chinese man, but later, both the Chinese man and the author took some skills to modify their communication, and then the effective and satisfied intercultural communication was gained.
Jane Martin’s Problem
This case can reflect intercultural competence is relatively complicated and integrated competence, we should take every element influencing intercultural communication into consideration in accentual communication. In this case, Jane Martin is good at training but is not familiar with new environment –the Korean culture, which is totally different from American culture. Her gender, age, lack of knowledge on the Korean language and culture can be barriers to her effective intercultural communication and good work performance. To Jane Martin, she never sensed it is an intercultural communication and never aware of the future difficulties she will face. Without preparations, it’s hard to her to do intercultural communication. Therefore, we should take every element influencing intercultural communication into consideration in accentual communication.