Chapter 10: Intercultural and International Communication

65 Introduction

Chapter 10 Learning Outcomes

  1. Define Culture
  2. Define intercultural communication
  3. Discuss the effects of ethnocentrism.
  4. List several examples of common cultural characteristics.
  5. Describe international communication and the global marketplace
  6. Give examples of various styles of management, including Theory X, Y, and Z.

image of a woman with short curly hair and a pencil above her earBefore coming to Canada, Abe worked in Ethiopia. In her studies in Canada she learned about how different countries can be categorized based on their cultural dimensions. She is concerned that business etiquette in her home country is different from that of Canada. For instance, recently she was in a situation where she felt that it was expected of her to shake hands with a male co-worker. This is not an accepted practice in her home cultural context. She worries that there may be many differences between Canadian and Ethiopian cultures and hopes she can navigate the differences and adapt to her new environment.

Culture is a complicated word to define, as there are several ways that culture is used in business contexts. For the purposes of this chapter, culture is defined as the ongoing negotiation of learned and patterned beliefs, attitudes, values, and behaviours. Unpacking the definition, we can see that culture shouldn’t be conceptualized as stable and unchanging. Culture is “negotiated,” and as you will learn later in this chapter, culture is dynamic, and cultural changes can be traced and analyzed to better understand why our society is the way it is. The definition also points out that culture is learned, which accounts for the importance of socializing institutions like family, school, peers, and the media. Culture is patterned in that there are recognizable widespread similarities among people within a cultural group. There is also deviation from and resistance to those patterns by individuals and subgroups within a culture, which is why cultural patterns change over time. Last, the definition acknowledges that culture influences your beliefs about what is true and false, your attitudes including your likes and dislikes, your values regarding what is right and wrong, and your behaviours. It is from these cultural influences that your identities are formed.

Chapter Preview

  • Intercultural Communication
  • Common Cultural Characteristics
  • Divergent Cultural Characteristics
  • International Communication and the Global Marketplace
  • Styles of Management
  • Conclusion


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