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Zack Lemire

Temple

Mid Term Exam

February 27, 2018
1. With the advances in technology and the world’s rapidly growing population, it is

easier now more than ever to communicate with foreign parts of the world. But it is

important that we understand these cultures in order for us to effectively form

relationships and maintain communication competence with these people of different

cultures. The benefits of communicating and establishing relationships with people from

different cultures are vast, including healthier communities; increased international,

national, and local commerce; reduced conflict, and personal growth towards increased

tolerance. For us to form these relationships though, we must remember that there is

no such thing as objective reality.

Everybody views the world through their own lens that has been shaped by their

culture. By the time somebody is grown the culture’s habits, beliefs, and impossibilities

become theirs. Ruth Benedict stated in her book Patterns of Culture, “No man ever looks

at the world with pristine eyes. He sees it edited by a definite set of customs and

institutions and ways of thinking.” It is the nature of human communication for people

to define themselves through their communication, which is why it is important to have

an understanding and appreciation for different cultures. Through gaining

understanding and appreciation, we also gain knowledge about different cultures which

leads to the building of communication competence.

The more we interact with different cultures the more we learn about them,

which improves our relationships. We must remember that we control how we are
perceived through the way we communicate. With consideration of who your audience

is and knowledge of their cultural values, we can improve and maintain our

communication competence. For example, in China they have a deep respect for their

elders while they are alive; so, if you are communicating with a Chinese family and

communicate with the father the same way you do with the son, they may find that to

be disrespectful. With knowledge of the culture you can take their unique values into

consideration and effectively build, improve, and maintain competent communication.

Through understanding of intercultural communication, we can build, improve,

and maintain communication competence with anyone anywhere in the world. We

want to be perceived by ourselves and others in the world as effective communicators.

Intercultural communication theory gives understanding in regards to why people feel

the way they feel towards others and it is because of the culture they were raised in. It

also recognizes how different people of different cultures are from one another, but

proves that unity is impossible without communication. Marcus Aurelius stated,

“everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the

truth.” With understanding of intercultural communication, we can build, improve, and

maintain communication competence but for us to form these relationships though, we

must remember that there is no such thing as objective reality.
2. Geert Hofstede is a cultural researcher who developed the theory of the Power

Distance Dynamic. Hofstede defined power distance as the extent to which less

powerful members of institutions and organizations within a country expect and accept

that power is distributed unequally. The theory believed that our communication styles

and behaviors are a response to how readily we accept the unequal distribution of

power. Each culture is different than the other in regards to the power distance

dynamic. Hofstede stated that when we accept that difference willingly, that represents

a high-power distance, and an example of a high-power distance culture would be

China. Chinese culture accepts their role in life and don’t question it. Other cultures

have a low power distance dynamic, meaning they don’t accept unequal power. An

example of a low-power culture would be that of the United States or England, where

we want to change any power differences if possible.

Each of the power distance dynamics are also accompanied with different

communication contexts. The context refers to the way we communicate with one

another within a culture. Hofstede characterized the high-power distribution with

having high context, then the low-power distribution with having low context. In low-

power distribution cultures the type of communication style is very collectivistic, they

communicate in cooperative, non-direct, and accepting ways. The reason they

communicate in this manner is because of the culture that they live in. In a high-power

distribution culture such as China, they are non-direct because they accept power for

what it is. They don’t go against those in power which is why they carry themselves with
such cooperative and non-direct communication styles because they want to show as

much respect as possible.

In countries like the United States or England, where there is a low-power

distribution dynamic, and individualism style of communication in the cultures. The style

communicate with each other is loud, direct, and ethnocentric. The reason this is the

style of communicate is because they are low-power distribution countries and do not

accept unequal power readily. Its believed that power is earned and they want to

change power differences if possible so they carry ourselves with a confident,

competitive styles of communication. The communication style reflects the way our

cultures are, we believe that we are more individualistic and are motivated by the

benefit of ourselves.

The power distance dynamic and context of cultures proves the statement

“language is culture.” Through the way we communicate with each other in a culture

reflects our beliefs and the way we react to things. Our communication style gives an

idea of the way we act as a culture toward one another, and just like our culture, our

communication is always changing depending on occurrences throughout cultures. We

communicate our beliefs that derive from our culture in the way that our culture taught

us to do, which is why the style in which we communicate reflects the belief systems of

that culture.
3. Professors Amy Cuddy and Susan Fiske have been gathering research about

stereotyping and have created the Stereotype Content Model (SCM). Cuddy and Fiske

believe after collecting so much data that the model is applicable to any culture. The

model tries to give an explanation regarding how and why people stereotype and the

essential content of those stereotypes. The stereotype content model gives the theory

that people ask two questions upon encountering out-group members which are, “Do

they intend to hurt me?” and “Are they capable of harming me?”

The judgements of warmth and competence stem from the potential harm or

benefit of the target’s intent, and whether the target can effectively enact that intent.

Judgements of warmth are based on social perceptions of honesty, trustworthiness,

friendliness, and sincerity. While judgements of competence are based on social

perceptions of skillfulness, knowledge, intelligence, and confidence. However,

judgements of warmth are made before judgements of competence, the reason being

because warmth determines whether to approach or avoid someone. Stereotypes

involving warmth and competence are competitors lack warmth while non-competitors

are warm, and high-status people are competent while low-status people are

incompetent.

In every culture, there are groups competing for resources and groups are ranked to

some hierarchy which is why the stereotype content model is applicable to them. The

model also correlates a direct link between the larger social structures, stereotypes,

prejudice, and discrimination. This correlation could lead to a nuanced understanding of

stereotypes in cultures. The reason being is a stereotype becomes associated with a
person of a particular group, then its automatically applied to the group which leads to

prejudice, and could possibly lead to discrimination. For example, if someone

encounters an elderly Caucasian woman and she is very rude towards them for no

reason, they will form the stereotype that all older Caucasian women are low in warmth

and low in competence. This leads to a certain perspective which leads to prejudice,

even though it was only one woman who acted that way.

The stereotype content model helps us understand how and why people stereotype

against one another. Through the two judgements of warmth and competence, people

decide whether they should interact or avoid a certain person. The model and theory

can be applied to any country, especially those with large amounts of micro cultures and

diversity. It is possible for some groups to receive mixed judgements, being positive on

one dimension but negative on the other. But we also must be careful not to form

stereotypes out of bad judgement because it could lead to prejudice against these

groups then discrimination.
4. The world’s population is at an all-time high and the number of English speakers has

almost reached 1.75 billion people. The reason that English is de facto language for business

situations is because of the overwhelming number of people in the world that are able to

usefully speak English. Especially in the business world, the United States has the strongest

global economy and is common ground for many different speaking countries. Also, the

United States is such a dominant power structure due to the amount of influence it has in

the world, and because of our cultural values we feel that others should learn English rather

than us learning a different language. All cultures are fluid and change, but for now the

individualistic cultures of the dominant power structures will continue pushing for English

to be de facto language used in international business situations.

The reason there are so many foreign countries that also speak English is because of

how much Great Britain colonized in the past. They spread their English influence to places

and forced their beliefs onto people so much that people of those former colonies still

speak English today. An example is Chimimanda Adiche, she gave a Ted Talk and spoke

about when she was growing up in Nigeria she spoke English, would read English literature,

and it gave her the false ideology of who she was. Through reading and speaking English she

began to become aware of the danger of a single story, and realized that the books she had

read as a child weren’t realistic where she was living. But Chimimanda’s story is an example

of how English has had its influence all over the world and supports why English would be

de facto language.

Another reason English is de facto language is because of the cultures of the English-

speaking, power dominant structures. The power dominant structures where English is the
primary language are countries such as the United States and England. Both cultures have

individualistic styles of communication, where they are very loud, direct, and competitive.

In comparison to collectivistic cultures, the individualistic style is the side to stand up for

themselves and claim they want English as the de facto language, while the collectivistic

style countries have more cooperative, non-direct styles of communication and are more

likely to cooperate and agree.

Although there are many different cultures and languages in the world, English remains

de facto language in international business situations. The reason being because of the

amount of colonization performed by Great Britain in the past, this spread English influence

to numerous parts of the world and that influence has lasted to this present day. Another

reason is because of the cultures of the English-speaking, dominant power structures. The

cultures are very individualistic and their styles of communication are very direct, so it is

predictable for them to push their beliefs and be straight forward about it. All cultures are

fluid and change, but for now the individualistic cultures of the dominant power structures

will continue pushing for English to be de facto language used in international business

situations.