Drawing from your readings AND the videos, answer the following questions. Make sure to provide specific examples. Use your own words to define terms. Feel free to draw upon discussions with your classmates as well.
Things to ponder…
Communication takes place within a sociocultural environment known as the communication context. Appropriate behaviors are prescribed according to the culturally diverse communication rules that govern a variety of social contexts. These rules may concern informality, formality, assertiveness, interpersonal harmony, and social status. Intercultural communication may occur in a host of different settings, including school, business, interpersonal situations, travel, and so forth.
Business cultures influence management styles, leadership, and decision making. Cultural traits determine negotiation styles, including the selection of negotiators and the actual negotiation process. The identification of the causes, maintenance of an open mind, deliberate reduction in the speed of conversation, and focusing on ideas rather than individuals can all serve to reduce conflict.
Outside of the home, schools serve as the primary means of passing on a culture’s history and traditions to younger generations, imparting formal and informal knowledge and the values of a culture. Mirroring society at large, American schools have become increasingly linguistically and culturally diverse. However, students from international backgrounds continue to face significant obstacles in the classroom. Empathy is one of the key communicator qualities for educators in the modern, diverse classroom.
Similar communication challenges are found in dealing with health care. Health belief systems can be divided into three categories—supernatural/magico-religious, holistic, and scientific/biomedical—each with their own set of underlying premises. These categories highlight the differences in beliefs about the causes and treatment of illness. Those in the medical field should use an interpreter if they are not fluent in the language of their clients. Family members and friends are usually not good interpreters because of their connection to the patient and should only be used when there is no other alternative. Moreover, using such people as translators may well violate health information privacy laws and/or discourage patients from being fully forthcoming in their communication with health professionals. Cultural diversity affects individual beliefs about death and dying, which can lead to conflicts between providers and families about when, if, and how to communicate bad news to patients.