9 Glossary

Diversity in the Canadian Workplace


Fit and healthy; not physically disabled.


The quality of being easily reached, entered, or used by people who have a disability.

Baby Boomer

A person born in the years following the Second World War, when there was a temporary marked increase in the birth rate.


Inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair.


A method or system for communication or distribution.


The policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.


Analyze and interpret (a communication or image).


Statistical data relating to the population and particular groups within it.


Skill in performing tasks, especially with the hands.


The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.


The variety of characteristics that all persons possess that distinguish them as individuals and that identify them as belonging to a group or groups. It is a term used to encompass all the various differences among people commonly used in Canada and in the United States.


Existing or occurring inside a particular country; not foreign or international.

Dominant Culture

A group that is considered the most powerful and privileged of all groups in a particular society or context and that exercises that power through a variety of means (economic, social, political, etc).

Earnings Gap (Pay Gap)

The difference in ​average ​pay between two different ​groups of ​people, for ​example men and women.


Convert (information or an instruction) into a particular form.


A group of people who share a particular cultural heritage or background.

Fault Line

A divisive issue or difference of opinion that is likely to have serious consequences.


The state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones).

Generation X

The generation born after that of the baby boomers (roughly from the early 1960s to mid-1970s).

Glass Ceiling

An unacknowledged barrier to advancement in a profession, especially affecting women and members of minorities.


Relating to the whole world; worldwide.


The practice of thinking or making decisions as a group, resulting typically in unchallenged, poor-quality decision-making.


A person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.


The action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure.


Treatment of a person, group, or concept as insignificant or peripheral.

Melting Pot

A place where different people, styles, theories, etc., are mixed together.


Denoting people reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century.


A form of government with a monarch (i.e., king, queen, or emperor) at the head.


A combination of diverse elements forming a more or less coherent whole.

Non-Dominant Culture

Not a member of a dominant culture.


A socially created category to classify humankind according to common ancestry or descent, and relies on differentiation by general physical or cultural characteristics like colour of skin and eyes, hair type, historical experience, and facial features.


Any individual action or institutional practice backed by institutional power that subordinates people because of their colour or ethnicity.

Sexual Orientation

A person’s sexual identity in relation to the gender to which they are attracted; the fact of being heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual.


A false or generalized, and usually negative, conception of a group of people that results in the unconscious or conscious categorization of each member of that group, without regard for individual differences.

Your Interpersonal Communication Preferences


Assimilated to a different culture, typically the dominant one.

Ascribed Identity

Personal, social, or cultural identities that are placed on us by others.


A thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof.

Avowed Identity

Identities that we claim for ourselves.

Communication Richness

Channels that transmit the most non-verbal information.


Wishing to do one’s work or duty well and thoroughly.

Cultural Identity

Based on socially constructed categories that teach us a way of being and include expectations for social behaviour or ways of acting.

Esteem Needs

The need for respect and admiration.


(The quality of being) an outgoing, socially confident person.


Having strong patriotic feelings, especially a belief in the superiority of one’s own country over others.


A foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious.


Abnormally sensitive, obsessive, or anxious.


Something that is usual, typical, or standard.


Stands for Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism as part of the five-factor model of personality.


The way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted.

Personal Identity

Includes the components of self that are primarily intrapersonal and connected to our life experiences.

Physiological Needs

The physical needs required for survival, including air, water, food, clothing, and shelter.

Selective Perception (Selective Attention)

Selecting only the parts of a message that relate to one’s needs or interests.

Self-Actualization Needs

The realization or fulfilment of one’s talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone.

Social Identity

A sense of who you are based on the social groups you belong to.


A cultural group within a larger culture, often having beliefs or interests at variance with those of the larger culture.

Cross-Cultural Communication


A distinctive way of pronouncing a language, especially one associated with a particular country, area, or social class.


A settled way of thinking or feeling about something.


An acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof.


Relating to different cultures or comparison between them.

Cultural Iceberg

Shows an analogy between an iceberg and culture illustrating that obvious cultural differences are the tip of the iceberg, whereas a huge mass of unseen differences lies below the surface.

Culture Shock

The feeling of disorientation experienced by someone when they are suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.


Having or showing an ability to deal with people in a sensitive and tactful way.


Evaluating other cultures according to preconceptions originating in the standards and customs of one’s own culture.


(In terms of face negotiating theory) your identity, your image, how you look or come off to yourself and others.


Actions to preserve or reduce face.

High-Context Culture

(A culture that mostly uses) implied meanings beyond words and even body language that may not be obvious to people unfamiliar with the context.


A title or word implying or expressing respect.


An exclusive, typically small group of people with a shared interest or identity.


Taking place between cultures or derived from different cultures.

Low-Context Culture

A culture that mostly relies on precise wording and values, saying what they mean and meaning what they say.


A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.


The policy or process of supporting, advocating, or allowing the expression of the culture of a single social or ethnic group.


Relating to or containing several cultural or ethnic groups within a society; takes the perspective of us and the others and typically focuses on those tip-of-the-iceberg features of culture.


Those people who do not belong to a specific in-group.

Personal Space

The physical space immediately surrounding someone, into which encroachment can feel threatening or uncomfortable.

Power Distance

The degree to which the less powerful members of a society accept and expect that power is distributed unequally; how a society handles inequalities among people.


A type of language consisting of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal, are more common in speech than writing, and are typically restricted to a particular context or group of people.


Principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life.

Conflict Resolution

Business Etiquette

The customary code of polite behaviour in business or among members of a particular profession or group.


The physical or psychological struggle associated with the perception of opposing or incompatible goals, desires, demands, wants, or needs.

Differentiation Phase

The phase where the conflict is contained, agreed or escalated.

Initiation Phase

Phase of conflict where one decides to confront, avoid, or take some other action related to the conflict.

Mental Bracketing

The process of intentionally separating out intrusive or irrelevant thoughts that may distract you from listening.

Mnemonic Devices

Techniques that can aid in information recall.

Non-Coercive Strategies

Conflict management strategies that include requesting and persuading.


First phase of the five-phase conflict management model that helps to identify elements of the conflict situation and who is involved.

Resolution Phase

Fifth and final phase of conflict where the conflict is resolved or managed.


Responding readily and with interest.

Return On Investment (ROI)

The payoff for putting time, money, or other resources into something.

Triggering Event

A variable such as a criticism or a rebuff that sparks a conflict.


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