EAPM4000 Professional Communication Practice

Intercultural Communication
Lecture 4
EAPM4000 Professional
Communication Practice
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Aims of this lecture
• understand that cultural differences affect
business relations within your country as
well as between nations
• appreciate the nature of culture, with its
implications for business practice
• recognise key differences among cultures
• learn intercultural communication skills
Intercultural communication
Mr Clarke: G’day mate. I’m Robert Clarke. My friends call me
Bob. Here’s my card.
Mr Lau: Hello Mr Clarke. I am William Lau. Very glad to meet
you. How was your trip? (Exchanges business cards.)
Mr Clarke: Call me Bob. Good, thanks. (Reading card: ‘Lau
Wing-Leung’) Oh it’s Wing-Leung! Nice to meet you. I’ll
call you tomorrow, Wing-Leung, OK?
Mr Lau (smiles): Yes, I will expect your call. (Both men
(Adapted from Scollon & Scollon 2001)
• Look at the previous ppt,
• In groups of 2 or 3 discuss what went wrong
with the conversation
• Write down 5 possible reasons why the
conversation was not a good start for a
business relationship.
The importance of
intercultural communication
• We live in a ‘global village’.
• Young Australians travel overseas as a rite of
• We are travelling more and more for business, family
and education.
• Multicultural nature of Australian society –49% of all
Australians were born overseas or had at least one
parent born overseas (2016 census) .
• We are constantly interacting with other cultures in
What is intercultural
• Starting point was The Silent Language (1959)
– Edward T. Hall
• 1970s – specialised books, courses and
professional divisions such as International
Communication Association.
• Intercultural communication can also refer to
sub-cultures within a culture, e.g. retirees,
motor bike riders, surfers.
Definitions of culture
• Culture:
– learned social behaviours that develop over time.
– a shared view of the world.
– surrounds everything we do.
– so pervasive that it becomes ‘invisible’.
– dynamic and constantly changing.
What is CULTURE?
• Difficult to define, but seems to refer to a way of
thinking and acting.
• Includes traditions, family roles, expectations,
attitudes and non-verbal communication.
• Not to be confused with ‘high’ culture (the opera)
and ‘low’ culture (pop music).
• Can be broken into four dimensions: history/world
view, socialisation, language and non-verbal
The effect of socialisation
• Acculturation: the imposition of a dominant culture into a
weaker one.
• Several overlapping stages:
– primary
– secondary
– organisational.
• Varies dramatically between cultures.
High-context and low-context
Edward T. Hall divided all cultures into:
–high-context cultures (e.g. Japanese,
Mediterranean, Middle Eastern) view the
context as importantly as the message itself.
–low-context cultures (e.g. Australian,
Scandinavians) see the message as being
the most important thing.
Context-based values
Hofstede’s dimensions of
• Geert Hofstede (1984) studied 117 000 people from 53
cultures, then re-studied 29 000 later to check on his
• Sampling biases: most were males, all middle class,
and worked for IBM.
• Activity: How would this sample affect the
results. Discuss in pairs and write down 3
limitations of the sample.
Hofstede’s dimensions of culture
Found there were five dimensions:
– Power distance
– Uncertainty avoidance
– Individualism–collectivism
– Masculinity–femininity
– Long-term–short-term
Hofstede’s model
Hofstede’s model
Hofstede’s model
• https://www.hofstede-insights.com/countrycomparison/australia/
• Check your country’s dimension score and compare
with Australia’s.
• Note all differences in Hofstede’s dimensions between
your country and Australia (if Australian with another
chosen country).
• Discuss with a partner how the different scores could
affect a business negotiation between the two
Hofstede’s model:
Professional Implications 1
• In intercultural activities those from high power-distance
cultures work with high-status negotiators or principals.
• People from high uncertainty-avoidance cultures want the
reassurance of structure and ritual.
• People from collectivist cultures like to build relationships over
a long period of time.
• People from high masculine cultures resolve conflicts by force.
• People from feminine cultures resolve conflicts through
compromise and consensus.
• People from long-term orientation cultures persevere to
achieve desired ends.
Hofstede’s model: Professional
Implications 2
• All about recognising that you think differently but
resolving common problems anyway by using
language and communication skills that guarantee
the messages are understood as intended.
• Note: Conflicts can still occur between people with
similar values (between individual and individual, and
among family and group members).
• Peaceful coexistence can prevail between people
with different values.
Activity: Professional Implications
• Watch the video then in pairs find all the
intercultural mistakes made in the meeting by
both sides.
• Then by using Hofstede’s model to explain the
errors made in the meeting:
• https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtLi13Sf2v
Intercultural communication
• Developed through understanding how we perceive
and react to cultural rules.
• Vital for managing the culturally diverse businesses
of today.
• True intercultural communication competence arises
out of long-term intercultural learning and personal
commitment to change and improve.
Activity: Moment of honesty and
• Watch the video on overcoming personal
prejudices and quietly reflect what is your own
prejudice and what you could do to overcome
• Then share your thoughts with a partner.
• If comfortable, share with the class:
• https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1MI_h0HI
Intercultural communication
• Hofstede (1991) has identified two different
approaches to culture learning:
 Culture-specific
 Culture-general
 Newly described as CQ – Cultural
Culture-specific approach
• Focuses on acquiring specific knowledge about the
‘other’ culture.
• Based on gathering information about a country.
• Useful information BUT it does not provide a full indepth understanding of the people and the culture.
Culture-general approach
• A much broader approach to culture learning,
focusing on developing the following abilities:
– cultural awareness and sensitivity
– cultural and communication sensitivity
– behavioural flexibility
– an ‘other-orientation’
– responsibility for communicating.
Activity (if time allows)
• As part of its expansion plan, an Australian supermarket called
Cheapfest decided to introduce its discounting sales strategies into
• In groups of 2 or 3 answer the following questions:
• 1. How do Japanese and Australians differ on Hofstede’s key
dimensions of culture as described in the text?
• 2. Based on the results from the model answer how:
• A. would the Japanese react to female managers from Australia
• B. How would they react to complements about their performance
from their superiors?
• C. How would they react to individual awards?
• Discuss and write down your answers.
• We have learned to:
• understand that cultural differences affect
business relations within each country as well
as between nations
• appreciate the nature of culture, with its
implications for business practice
• recognise key differences among cultures
• learn intercultural communication skills in a
professional environment.

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