A1 Business and Technical College The Cultural Incident Discussion The standard format is described below for Module 4 Label and compose the 3 parts as s

A1 Business and Technical College The Cultural Incident Discussion The standard format is described below for Module 4

Label and compose the 3 parts as shown. Follow these content and organization directions carefully

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Outline for Standard Module


This is a detailed description. Open this section with a sentence or two to provide context and set the scene (how did you come to know of it? when did it happen? who was involved? etc.) Then provide a concise description of what happened. Make sure you include a word-for-word, (as accurately as possible; no need to censor) line-by-line transcription of the conversation to the best of your recollection. Do not just do a summary of what was said and done. For example, this is a summary: “They had a big fight, called each other names, and he stormed out of the apartment.” A proper “transcript” of the conversation would include verbal & nonverbal details as to who said what, where, when, in what order, and how. Example: She shouted, red-faced and bursting into tears: “Then go!” He took a breath and then yelled, jerking open the door to his room, “OK, but first I’m getting my stuff and you can just stay out of my face!”


In this section, employ at least 2 concepts from each of the assigned chapters we are studying for the current module, using the selected concepts to label and explain what happened. Labeling is giving an appropriate name to a behavior using our textbooks’ terminology. Explaining is exploring beneath the surface of the behavior to provide a reasonable answer to this question: WHY DID THIS HAPPEN? Sometimes an explanation for what someone else does is mainly speculative, (that’s where the theories in the chapters help). But if you are talking about your own behavior, the WHY question may be easier to answer and using the textbook can also be of use. In this module section, concisely label and explain the behavior of all persons involved in the Incident you described in part 1. Boldface the text concepts you have drawn from the chapter and cite the textbook page # in parentheses, e.g., (p. 217) next to the boldfaced term or phrase, indicating where the concept can be found in our main textbook. A total of 4 concepts, minimum, shall be employed.


Provide evaluation and some prescriptions. Here you pass a judgment: how well did this conflict go? Was it creative, destructive, or both? What could you and/or each the persons involved have said or done differently to help prevent or reduce the severity of the conflict? If you were involved in the conflict, focus on your own choices, but also make specific suggestions for changes in words and actions of the other(s), too. If you were just an observer and not directly involved, you can still make prescriptions for how the people who you observed could have spoken or could have behaved differently if they’d been thinking and communicating more creatively. Cross-Cultural
Awareness in Conflict
Chapter 5
 Chapter focus: pseudoconflict (i.e., conflicts emerging from
disagreements created by inaccurate communication)
 Actual conflict v. Pseudoconflict
 In actual conflict, concerns of two or more parties are incompatible
 In pseudoconflict, concerns do not actually exist but instead are
perceived as existing
 Cross-cultural Pseudoconflict
 Mistaken impression that a conflict situation exists derives from
cultural differences in how people process info. and communicate
 Two (2) areas of study:
 Recognize importance of intercultural comm.
 To assess nature of cross-cultural conflict, must be familiar with
what is meant by culture
 First Step: Establish need for and value of cross-cultural comm.
Need for
 Moore (1993): “all decision-making and conflict mgmt. procedures
are not necessarily universally applicable or appropriate”
 Awareness of need for intercultural comm. competency in conflict
mgmt. has increased over last 25 yrs…why?
 Greater cross-cultural interactions are taking place among
multinational corporations
 To interact w/others in global arena, individuals must be able to
communicate across cultures and w/in other minority subcultures w/in
his/her own culture
 Cox (1993) defines cultural diversity as “the representation, in one
social system, of ppl. w/distinctly different group affiliations of
cultural significance”
 Intercultural communication: “the sending and receiving of
messages w/in a context of cultural differences producing
differential effects” (Dodd, 1982)
 Culture: hard to define
What is
 Kluckhohn’s definition of culture: “the patterned ways of thinking,
feeling and reacting” and “the total life way of a people, the social
legacy the individual acquires from his group” (1964)
 In the view of many experts, culture and comm. cannot be
Why Does
Culturally Caused
 Misunderstanding, and from this counterproductive
pseudoconflict, occurs when members of one culture are unable to
understand culturally determined differences in comm. practices,
traditions, and thought processing
 Goldstein’s “stained glass window” analogy
 Language as a window
 Experts believe if sender is careful enough in encoding a message,
the receiver will understand it w/o interference
 Goldstein argues this is unlikely; message will not be able to pass
through comm. window unhindered
 Meaning must not be seen as an objective constant
 Meaning is in people, not in words
 When one or more people involved cling to an ethnocentric view
of the world, this may cause cross-cultural pseudoconflict
 Ethnocentrism: “the unconscious tendency to interpret or to
judge all other groups and situations according to the categories
and values of our own culture” (Ruhly, 1976)
 The ethnocentric party views culturally derived variations in
communication as wrong rather than as simply different
 Ethnocentrism is deceptive b/c members of any culture perceive
their own behavior as logical since that behavior works for them
 Effective communicators understand how the perception of a
given message changes depending on the culturally determined
viewpoint of those communicating
 Seven (7) factors likely to shift across cultures in a cross-cultural
setting; aka LESCANT

Environment and technology
Social organization
Authority conception
Nonverbal communication
Temporal conception
 Simplified LESCANT model to four (4) culturally derived influences
on comm. in perceived conflict situations

Thought Processing
Nonverbal communication
 Very nature of language provides a source for misunderstanding
 Accent differences

How one pronounces, enunciates, and articulates words
Social and cultural factors
Listeners judge speakers on their enunciation
Not all accents possible in given language are judged the same by all
of that language’s speakers
 Foreign accents judged according to cultural stereotypes w/in each
language group
 Linguistic differences
 Sapir-Whorf hypothesis believes language shapes culture that uses
it, affecting the way that its users think
 Source of pseudoconflict: even if one can approximate the meaning
of a message through translation, it is at best to difficult to convey
the ideas connected to the translator’s choice of words in that
 To avoid pseudoconflict, determine the degree of error probable in
translating whatever comm. is exchanged
 For the cross-cultural communicator, main purpose of translation
is to “prevent any confrontation between alien thought systems”
(Douglas, 1975)
 Translation difficulties:
 Gross translation errors
 Though frequent, less likely to cause conflict between parties
 Conveyance of subtle distinctions from language to language
 Recognizing culturally based variations among speakers of same
 Defined as the physical environment in which one lives and
existing technology, or way in which one manipulates that
 Environment and technology of a culture are interrelated, forming
a cultural system
 Many place-related comm. differences relatively easy for the
communicator to overcome as sources of pseudoconflict
 Based primarily on lack of knowledge rather than culturally intrinsic
 Human climate (e.g., literacy rate, role off mass media) changes
greatly between cultures; can cause pseudoconflict
 Another cause of pseudoconflict: when ppl. don’t adapt worldview
to technological level of sophistication of a given group of ppl. or
 The way in which people interpret the world around them
 Four (4) variables:

Social Organization
Authority Conception
Temporal Conception
 Social Organization:
 “The common institutions and collective activities shared by
members of a culture” (Victor, 1992)
 Shapes the most fundamental beliefs of members of a culture
 Pseudoconflict likely to occur when individual assumes as universal
his/her views on issues reflecting the SO of his/her culture
 Individuals must remain nonjudgmental when values determined by
SO patterns clash w/those w/whom they communicate (hard to do)
 Contexting:
 “The way in which one communicates and especially the
circumstances surrounding that communication.”
 Seeds of unintentional conflict planted
 Those from same culture would have more common
experiences/shared understandings than those from different cultures
 A shared set of understanding acts to reduce the inherent
uncertainty present in all communication
 The level of contexting w/in a culture depends on the nature of the
culture itself
 High-context cultures: members rely heavily on inferred meaning
 Low-context cultures: members rely heavily on literal meaning
 Context linked to issues of formality, face saving and respect
 Authority Conception:
 “The degree to which individuals believe that those higher up in the
authority hierarchy have the power to influence or command
 Authority can be seen as differing thought, opinion, and behavior
 Ppl. in the U.S. can communicate on a much more informal basis
than would be appropriate in many other cultures
 Flow of comm. varies greatly from culture to culture
 Temporal Conception:
 “How people view time”
 No factor in comm. thought-processing is more likely to create
conflict based on misunderstanding rooted in cultural differences
than how ppl. view time
 Monochronic and Polychronic time orientations
 Appearance
 Kinesics (body language)
 Oculesics (eye contact)
 Haptics (touch)
 Proxemics (space)
 Paralanguage
 To diminish the possibility of pseudoconflict deriving from
intercultural comm. differences:

Establish credibility
Establish trust
Express problem
Accurate comm.
Recognizing status
Establish goals
Anticipate reactions
Give and receive feedback
Maintain adaptability
Seek out creative means of problem-solving
Maintain open channels of comm.
Summarize decisions
How Writing Styles
Can Create Conflict
Chapter 6
Is this you?
Points to Be Addressed
 Written communication as a potential source of conflict
 Assessment: importance of identifying the appropriate aim of written comm. to minimize
unnecessary conflict (conceptualization)
 Acknowledgment: anticipating reader’s expectations and capabilities (reception)
 Attitude: vocabulary variation, language misuse, semantic unclarity as potential sources of
pseudoconflict (transmittal)
 Action: three (3) checklists to help writer(s) minimize, defuse, and/or avoid conflict
 Unlike speech, writing allows for one-sided comm.—a monologue written in writer’s favor
 How effectively a writer increases or reduces conflict is based largely on
 Tone and style chosen
 Situation at hand
 Perceived needs of reader
 Conflict deriving expressly from the way in which something is written: almost always
negative in consequences
Assessment: A Matter of Conceptualization
 Conceptualization requires writer to assess purpose of his/her writing; core of a great deal
of conflict deriving from writing style
 Often goes beyond determining purpose of comm.; writers attempt to maintain a certain
attitude in their writing (to persuade, to inform, to assign/avoid blame, etc.)
 Difficulties arise when writers fail to balance comm. content
 “Please provide me with a report on the high rate of absenteeism in your department.”
 Writing in potentially explosive situation? Identify and address potential conflict in least
antagonizing manner possible
 Maintain as objective a tone as possible
Acknowledgment: Reception
 To reduce effectively possible tensions inherent in a message, writer(s) must thoroughly
analyze how reader(s) may receive messages
 One of most dangerous conflict-causing errors: write a message as if it were intended for
writer(s) alone w/o consideration for reader(s)
 Unless writer(s) anticipates message’s reception, ability of writing to influence the
message’s reader(s) in desired manner rests on chance rather than choice
 Engage in audience analysis; will result in being least likely to create unproductive conflict
amongst readers
Attitude: Transmittal
 This is interim step in comm. process in which conceptualization (purpose) is transmitted to
recipient (audience); does not represent true conflict
 Transmittal problems in writing often represent perceived disagreements/pseudoconflicts
on part of parties who actually do agree
 Assumptions or false conclusions could escalate to ego conflict
 Conflicting parties become so emotionally involved in their perception of conflict that they can
no longer divest themselves of inherently hostile relational transactions w/o losing face or feeling
deep resentment
 Often seen in contract negotiations
Attitude: Transmittal
 In writing, pseudoconflict arises from two (2) causes:
 Unrecognized linguistic comm. conflict (i.e., errors in writing style)
 Tonal error: miscalculation of wording required to best address reader’s needs while fulfilling
intended purpose
 Transmissional conflict has, at its root, the fact that language itself is a faulty means of
comm. (Bloom, 1981; Whorf, 1952).
 Three (3) factors contribute to inability to communicate in differing degrees:
 Vocabulary variation
 Language misuse
 Semantic unclarity
Attitude: Transmittal – Vocabulary Variation
 Dialect differences:
 In formal writing, less likely to produce conflict through actual misinterpretation
 Regional slang or colloquialisms, however, can cause issues
 Sociolinguistic biases re: certain uses of language often encourage some groups to look down
upon those using forms they consider substandard (Chaika, 1982; Trudgill, 1974).
 Standard American English v. Appalachian dialect
 Professional jargon:
 Risks confusing reader(s) unfamiliar with it
 Acts as a profession’s passwords to exclude those who do not belong to group
Attitude: Transmittal – Language Misuse
 Ignorance
 Ignorant of basic rules governing their language
 Misconjugating verbs or vary verb tenses w/o reason
 Misspell words (“defiantly” instead of “definitely”, “seperate” instead of “separate”)
 Choose words that do not mean what they intend
 Use double negatives
 Conflict arises b/c grammatical errors reflect only writer’s ability to handle language, not
reasoning behind message
 Ambiguity
 Language misuse that is technically correct but carries more than one acceptable meaning
Attitude: Transmittal – Semantic Unclarity
 Semantics: meanings or connotations of words
 Different views of the world influence subtle variations readers associate w/same words (e.g.,
 Difficulty of semantic increases when words do not describe something that can be understood
through the senses (must be understood in abstract terms)
 E.g., What is cheap? What is expensive?
 State ideas more concretely
 Misunderstandings increase when abstract terms (e.g., freedom, liberty, etc.) lack even a
comparative base
Attitude: Transmittal – Semantic Unclarity
 Another issue: many words carry more than one meaning
 Tonal error also contributes to pseudoconflict in writing style
 Tone: “the manner of expression of character prevailing in a given piece of writing
 Conflict arises from tone when emotions intended do not match emotions for which situation calls
 Immoderation in word choice is generally provocative (e.g., “putrid” or “disgusting”)
 Patronizing tones produce ego conflict where substantive disagreements may not have existed
 Generalizations such as “always,” “every”, “all” frequently inspire resistance unless empirical
evidence supports them
Action: Remaining Conflict Free in
Conceptualization (Assessment Step)
1. What is my ostensible purpose for this message?
2. What are my underlying reasons for writing?
3. How do I want the reader to react?
4. Is there a possibility of real conflict here rather than pseudoconflict?
Action: Reducing Chance of Negative Conflict in Reception
Process (Acknowledgment and Attitude Steps)
1. How do I anticipate that the reader will react?
2. To whom am I writing?
3. What details—age, rank, sex, attitudes, area of expertise, experience—do I know about
the reader?
4. If the reader is unknown to me, what can I fairly guess about him or her?
Action: Reducing Unwarranted Conflict in Transmittal Process
(Action Step)
1. Am I using any dialect variations in my language that the reader may not understand or
might misjudge?
2. Am I using any professional jargon that is not absolutely needed?
3. If I am using needed jargon, can the reader understand it?
4. Am I writing in a technically proper manner w/good grammar, spelling, punctuation, and
5. Can the reader construe what I have written in more than one way?
6. Am I being concrete—that is, am I semantically clear?
7. Am I moderate in tone?
8. Have I avoided patronizing the reader?
9. Have I avoided oversimplification?
10. Have I eliminated any generalizations?
This incident happened between two friends of my daughter that were all eating lunch
together. The female in this incident has enlisted into the Navy and reports this fall.
The conversation started with us discussing what her initial training would be like.
Anna: “I am really excited about getting to travel to Illinois for boot camp. It will be hard
but I know I can do it.”
Billy: “Aren’t you nervous about being around and basically competing with mostly men
for such a long time?’
Anna: “Not really, why should I be?” (when she said this, she had been facing my
daughter, but when asked this question, she turned to face Billy and moves closer to
Billy: “It’s just that you are not what I think of as the military type.”
Anna: “What is that supposed to mean?” (staring directly at him with her eyebrows
Billy: “Calm down. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be able to go into the military, it’s
just you can’t even do a pull up. How are you supposed to save yourself in a sticky
situation much less save another full grown man?” (patting her on the head in a joking
yet demeaning way)
Anna: (Pulling away) Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean that I can’t do this job!”
Billy: “It’s not a matter of you being a woman it just I know I wouldn’t want to be paired
up with you unless you get a lot stronger because in a combat situation, I wouldn’t want
to have rely on you with my life.”
Anna: “I can’t believe you just said that!” (leaving the room upset).
Billy: (Laughing) “See….this is exactly what I am talking about. You are way too
emotional too. Perhaps you need to really think about what you are getting yourself
This conversation started out as what looked like any other conversation. However,
there were several aspects of nonverbal communication that came spoke just as loud
as words. For example, after Billy said that Anna wasn’t the “military type”, Anna looked
directly at him with her eyebrows raised. This was an example of expressive
oculesics (p90). With this body language, it was easy to interpret that she was certainly
surprised with this comment by him and rather disgusted. Another nonverbal
communication identified was when Anna turned to face Billy and moved closer to him.
This was identified as proxemics (p92). As described in the text, this spatial change
definitely spoke louder than the words that were spoken and at this time in the
conversation, the tone changed from move of a friendly dialogue to one that was not so
friendly. Next, I identified Billy’s patting Anna on the head as haptics (p91). On page
92 of our text, it relates that “a relationship exists between haptics and dominance.”
This could be gathered from this act of unwanted touching expressed by Anna pulling
away from him. Furthermore, Billy used rationality (p117) by using logic by saying that
he wouldn’t want to have to rely on Anna with his life. He employed this to justify his
argument. He also used a qualifier (p132) at the end of the conversation. When he
stated that “perhaps” she should rethink her decision it may have been a way for him to
soften the statement, but it was not used in a constructive way to allow participation in
the conversation.
This conflict did not go well at all. It was destructive. The behavior and body language
demeaning at times on Billy’s part and very defensive at times on Anna’s part. The
conversation started out friendly and ended up with hurt feelings. During the
conversation if Billy would have stated his concerns regarding Anna entering the Navy
in a more creative way it would have probably went over much better and been seen as
concern rather than sexist and accusatory. He could have said, “I am just concerned for
your safety and well being in this situation.”; instead of making accusations that she
couldn’t hold her own. This would have come across much better and I feel that it would
have been accepted better on Anna’s part. However, if Anna would not of become so
defensive early, with her body language, I do not feel that the conversation would have
gotten as h…
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