Think of a situation (either interpersonal or group) in which you felt that you were not communicating very well with the other party or parties. Try to account for this breakdown in terms of cultural differences. For example, you might have been interacting with someone who seemed to be very authoritarian and, as a result, became defensive. It could be the case that the two of you differed with respect to “power distance,” as explained on p. 90. As another example, you might have felt uncomfortable dealing with another person or group of people who seemed to be willing to take risks that you were not and, hence, became involved in a heated exchange. In this case, you might have differed from the other or others with respect to “uncertainty avoidance” (see pp. 90-91). Once you have identified the situation and analyzed the problem as one resulting from one or more cultural differences of the sorts noted in Chapter 4, indicate how you might have behaved differently from the way you did in light of the principles that Galanes and Adams discuss on pp. 107-108 under the heading “Behaving Ethically in Intercultural Interactions.” You should be able to complete this assignment in 500 words.
As a result of completing the reading and writing assignment above, you should have a better understanding of how culture can and does contribute to the ways in which people in groups and other interpersonal situations interact with one another. You should also be better prepared to diagnose problematic interactions with respect to aspects of the cultural backgrounds of those involved. Finally, you will be able to minimize some of the problems you encounter by drawing on the guidelines presented in the reading.
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