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Intercultural Communication

Elective / Compulsory Course for BA WIB/WNB (compulsory);

BA SMB, MVB, PEB (elective)

Summer Semester 2015 1. Prof. Dr. Terry Schumacher

TIME: 15:45 - 17:15 Thursday
phone 4306
Course Classroom: C 0.04 Office hours: to be announced

Exam handing-in date:

week of July 6 2015

Course Materials
Cases and Course Reader: Two sets of all materials used in the course are available in the library
for preparation
The course lecture slides plus further materials will be handed out in printed form in class.
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Course Text books:

Spradley, James, 1979, The Ethnographic Interview, Wadsworth Group, ISBN 0-03-044496-9
Lewis, Richard D., 2006, When Cultures Collide, Leading Across Cultures, 3rd edition, Nicholas
Brealey Publishers, ISBN-10: 1904838022 (Paperback - Section #1 Chapters 1 - 8)
Hall, Edward T., 1990, The Hidden Dimension, (Anchor Books a Doubleday Anchor Book),
ISBN 0-385-08476-5 (Paperback)
John Gray, Men are from Mars, 2012, Women are from Venus, HarperCollins, ISBN
978-0-06-057421-5 (Paperback)

Recommended books for further reference:

Hofstedter, Geert, 1980, Cultures Consequence
Osland, Joyce, The Adventure of Working Abroad, Jossey-Bass, 1995
Kelly, George (1955), A Theory of Personality: The Psychology of Personal Constructs, W. W.
Norton and Co.

Recommended articles for further reference:

Schumacher, Terry, "West Coast Camelot: the Rise & Fall of a High-Tech Culture", Chapter 6 in
Cultural Complexity in Organizations, Sonja Sackman (Ed), Sage, 1997
Schumacher, Terry, "Communication, Unit 2, Managing Knowledge
Ming-Jer Chen and Danny Miller, 2011, The Relational Perspective as a Business Mindset:
Managerial Implications for East and West, Academy of Management Perspectives, August
Mitchell R. Hammera, Milton J. Bennett, Richard Wiseman, 2003, Measuring intercultural
sensitivity: The intercultural development inventory, International Journal of Intercultural
Relations 27, 421443

Syllabus - Intercultural Communication - Page 1

Course Overview and Content
Culture is the context for all communication. Hence it has a significant impact on people and
institutions. Most of our communication is with people with whom we share a culture, yet we still
experience problems communicating. In an intercultural setting there are many potentials for
misunderstandings and conflict. It often is difficult to perceive and understand the many aspects of
culture, this course surveys the major contributions to this field to provide a perspective for
intercultural communication.
The Constructivist communication theory offers an powerful model for understanding different cultures,
and a description of how how change occurs in social settings. It therefore contributes significantly to
our understanding of leadership.
Ethnography is the study of culture. It was developed by Anthropologists as they sought to understand
cultural differences and shares a Constructivist perspective. Spradley has published a 12-step method
for conducting ethnographic interviews and his work is reviewed. Ethnographic interviewing is a useful
skill and has been used in Marketing and other corporate activities.
This course will explore theory, methods and many examples to improve your ability to communicate.It
therefore prepares students to contribute to the success of organizations in which we are members, to
improve their interpersonal relationships, and to adjust to change.

Course Objectives and Methodology

This course explores communication, focusing on intercultural contexts. The major topics discussed
Communication Models: Information Theory / Constructivism
Encountering Difference
Culture shock & adjustment
Condon & Yousefs dimensions of cultural difference
5 paradigms (progression of thought)
Multicultural Man (idealistic)
Edward Hall: Time & Space; high & low context
Geert Hofstedes 4 dimensions; culture vs practices
Milton Bennett: Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity, Forming / Feeling model
Alienation & Autonomy (locus of Control)
Empathy (Frame of Reference shifting)
George Kelly - The Psychology of Personal Constructs; Radical Constructivism
Ethnography: perspective & practices
Organizational ethnography: the Mentor Graphics study
Lewiss triangle map
Ghemawat - Managing differences
Managing Across Cultures
Ethnic Cultures & Organizational Cultures
Deal & Kennedys organizational culture typology
Gray - observing patterns in gender differences

Dr. Terry Schumacher will present all lectures. Lectures will be in English.

Assignments and Grading

Attendance and class participation are expected. Students are responsible for all material covered
during the course lectures and readings.
A students course grade will be determined by class participation (10%) and the final exam (90%).

Syllabus - Intercultural Communication - Page 2

Course Schedule

week of 19 March
The course begins by looking at examples of cultural differences. Some differences are obvious, such
as different types of food, clothing or music that are traditional in specific cultures. Other differences
are implicit, people use tacit cultural knowledge in setting their expectations, or making some
decisions. When people of different cultures interact, such expectations, and associated behaviors,
can cause misunderstandings and even conflict. We look at some playful examples to demonstrate
the wide range of differences that exist.

week of 26 March
A simple model describing the evolution of thought regarding difference is presented. There is a very
large range of beliefs in the world on how to behave toward those who are different. We will explore an
extensive of list of cultural dimensions by Condon and Yousef. These dimensions are abstract, but
provide useful guidance in understanding others and ourselves. The concept of Multicultural Man, an
idealistic view of how some people adapt to cultural differences, is described. Our personal identity is
an important element in how we change.

week of 2 April
The work of Edward T. Hall, often considered the founder of the field of Intercultural Communication, is
explored. The key cultural differences he discovered, Mono-chronic and Poly-chronic time, High and
Low Context, and differences in the perception of space, are described. Suggestions are given for
persons from a culture with one of these patterns who is interacting with a constrasting culture pattern.

week of 9 April
The concept of culture shock is described and demonstrated in a documentary video.
video Daughter of Danang

week of 16 April
The ethnographic approach to understanding culture is presented and Spradleys 12-step framework
is described. Ethnographic interviewing is a valuable skill. It assumes language is the core of culture.
There has been a gradual expansion of ethnography in the business such as marketing, product
design, and strategy during the past 20 years.

week of 23 April
The Constructivist communication model is presented and contrasted to Information Theory.
Hofstedes work on ethnic cultures is described as background for classifying ethnic cultures. Several
example cultures are discussed using this framework.

week of 23 April
The contributions of Milton Bennett to intercultural communication are discussed. These include the
Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS), and his model of empathy. These are
compared to Kuhns work on paradigm change and Koestlers 'Bisociation'. Play and Creativity are
discussed in this context.

week of 30 April
Lewiss book When Cultures Collide is discussed, with special attention to his model of cultural types
(triangle model). Cultural differences observed in negotiation patterns are described.

** International Week 5 - 8 May

video Milton Bennett - Better Together Than Apart

Syllabus - Intercultural Communication - Page 3

week of 14 May - holiday

week of 21 May
Radical Constructivism is briefly described. Kellys book, The Psychology of Personal Constructs, is
summarized. (This an excellent example of very low context.) The issues and challenges of working
abroad are discussed.

** Break 25 - 29 May

week of 4 June - holiday

week of 11 June
Specific ethnic cultures are described: Germany, Japan, India, China
Siemens case discussion; Relational Mindset

week of 18 June
Specific ethnic cultures are described: Mexico, Islam.
audio Benjamin Barber on Terrorism

week of 25 June
Corporate use of the culture concept is described. Suggestions on managing differences in
organizations are discussed. An ethnographic study of a very successful high-tech firm is described
(West Coast Camelot).

week of 2 July
Grays book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, is summarized. Patterns of gender
differences are described and examples presented. These are differences that we encounter with
some cultures. Grays observations are discussed from a Constructivist perspective. Cross-gender
relationships are discussed from a cultural perspective.

Syllabus - Intercultural Communication - Page 4