785 2P


Introducing Intercultural Communication

SAGE was founded in 1965 by Sara Miller McCune to support the dissemination of usable knowledge by publishing innovative and high-quality research and teaching content. Today, we publish more than 750 journals, including those of more than 300 learned societies, more than 800 new books per year, and a growing range of library products including archives, data, case studies, reports, conference highlights, and video. SAGE remains majority-owned by our founder, and on her passing will become owned by a charitable trust that secures our continued independence.

Los Angeles | London | Washington DC | New Delhi | Singapore

SAGE Publications Ltd 1 Oliver’s Yard 55 City Road London EC1Y 1SP

SAGE Publications Inc. 2455 Teller Road Thousand Oaks, California 91320

SAGE Publications India Pvt Ltd B 1/I 1 Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area Mathura Road New Delhi 110 044

SAGE Publications Asia-Pacific Pte Ltd 3 Church Street #10-04 Samsung Hub Singapore 049483

Editor: Mila Steele Assistant editor: James Piper Production editor: Imogen Roome Indexer: Cathryn Pritchard Marketing manager: Michael Ainsley Cover design: Jen Crisp Typeset by: C&M Digitals (P) Ltd, Chennai, India Printed and bound in Great Britain by Ashford Colour Press Ltd

 Shuang Liu, Zala Volčič and Cindy Gallois 2015

First edition published 2010. Reprinted 2011, 2012 and 2013

Second edition published 2015

Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form, or by any means, only with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers.

All material on the accompanying website can be printed off and photocopied by the purchaser/user of the book. The web material itself may not be reproduced in its entirety for use by others without prior written permission from SAGE. The web material may not be distributed or sold separately from the book without the prior written permission of SAGE. Should anyone wish to use the materials from the website for conference purposes, they would require separate permission from us. All material is © Shuang Liu, Zala Volčič and Cindy Gallois 2015

Library of Congress Control Number: 2014939151

British Library Cataloguing in Publication data

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN 978-1-4462-8590-9 ISBN 978-1-4462-8591-6 (pbk)


Preface ix Acknowledgements xii Companion website xiii Introduction: Communicating in a culturally diverse society xiv


Introduction 4 Contributors to cultural diversity 4 Necessity and benefits of intercultural communication 14 Summary 19 Join the debate: Will globalization result in the disappearance of local cultures? 19 Case study: Migration and diversity in Australia 20 Further readings 21


Introduction 26 The multifaceted nature of communication 26 Models of communication 36 Current issues surrounding theorizing communication 39 Communication and culture 43 Summary 47 Join the debate: universal or culture-specific theories of communication? 47 Case study: Hanging out in the public square 48 Further readings 49


Introduction 54 Definitions and components of culture 54 Characteristics of culture 66 Subcultures 71 Summary 73 Join the debate: Are we what we eat? 74 Case study: Mobile banking in rural Papua New guinea 74 Further readings 76



Introduction 80 Stages of the perception process 81 The influence of culture on perception 87 Perception and intercultural communication 91 Summary 97 Join the debate: Is ageism the fear of our future self? 98 Case study: How are Eastern Europeans perceived by the West? 98 Further readings 100


Introduction 104 Hofstede’s cultural dimensions 104 Hall’s high- and low-context cultural dimension 110 Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck’s value orientations 111 Schwartz’s cultural value theory 116 Intercultural communication ethics 118 Summary 121 Join the debate: Should same-sex marriage be accepted across the world? 121 Case study: Museums as a site of culture 122 Further readings 124


Introduction 128 Social categorization and identities 128 Subgroup memberships and identities 135 Identities and intercultural communication 144 Summary 146 Join the debate: Is identity what we have or what we perform? 147 Case study: South African identity and apartheid in South Africa 147 Further readings 149


Introduction 154 The components and characteristics of verbal codes 154 Language, culture, and discourse 159 Cultural variations in verbal communication 163 Language and identity 169 Summary 171 Join the debate: ‘Do the limits of my language mean the limits of my world?’ 172 Case study: How is politeness expressed across cultures? 172 Further readings 174



Introduction 178 Characteristics and functions of nonverbal codes 179 Types of nonverbal communication 183 Influence of culture on nonverbal communication 190 Summary 191 Join the debate: How can we lie with our body language? 192 Case study: Nonverbal expressions in politics – the case of Vladimir Putin 193 Further readings 195


Introduction 200 Migration and cultural diversity 201 Diversity and multiculturalism 204 Culture shock and acculturation orientations 208 Cross-cultural adaptation 212 Summary 218 Join the debate: To what extent should migrants be encouraged to maintain

their heritage culture? 218 Case study: The Cronulla riots 219 Further readings 221


Introduction 226 Dimensions and characteristics of human relationships 226 Stages of human relationship development 231 Culture and human relationship development 233 Developing intercultural relationships 240 Summary 244 Join the debate: Does communication technology bring us closer or set us

further apart? 245 Case study: Love by arrangement in India 245 Further readings 247


Introduction 252 Potential sources of intercultural conflict 253 Conflict stages and conflict management approaches and styles 262 Influence of culture on conflict management 265 Summary 270 Join the debate: When can conflict lead to productive and positive outcomes

in workplaces? 271


Case study: Hollywood celebrity activism in war-torn societies 271 Further readings 273


Introduction 278 globalization, technology, and mass media 278 Mass media and symbolic social reality 287 Mass media and cultural change 294 Summary 295 Join the debate: Will the print media still maintain a place in the digital age? 296 Case study: OhmyNews in South Korea 296 Further readings 298


Introduction 302 Homogenization and fragmentation 303 globalization and localization 307 Developing intercultural competence 312 Summary 316 Join the debate: Will our attitudes become more ‘provincial’ in the global economy? 317 Case study: Doctors without Borders 317 Further readings 319

Glossary 322 References 333 Index 347


We may have different religions, different languages, different-coloured skin, but we all belong to one human race.

Kofi Annan, 7th uN Secretary-general, 2001 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

This new edition of Introducing Intercultural Communication: Global Cultures and Contexts reflects theo- ries and practices in the current field of intercultural communication and related disciplines. The global perspectives that the first edition adopts made the book stand out among other competitors in the market. The realization that the first edition was so well received by scholars, colleagues, and, more importantly, students across the world in the past three years left us with a sense of achievement and appreciation. We interpreted this success to mean that a book with global perspectives has resonated with an international audience. We embrace the opportunity to refine and improve on the content and features that have proven successful in the first edition, while concomitantly advancing contemporary theories and research in the field. This second edition has added new features in relation to theories, models, concepts, questions, ex- ercises, and case studies, which take students into some new territory, empower them in active learning, and foster critical thinking. Further, we have broadened the applications to suit a greater range of users from diverse disciplinary areas, including communication, linguistics, business, management, social psy- chology, political science, public relations, and journalism.

This new edition continues our commitment to presenting intercultural communication theories and applications through a global prism and in a lively, interesting, relevant, and easy-to-follow writing style. At the same time, it maintains the high standard of intellectual depth and rigour in scholarly discussions. We have updated the content of each chapter to reflect state-of-the-art knowledge and current research in the field. Moreover, every chapter has been enriched with more examples from a diverse set of cultures, including Scandinavia, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Finland, and the uSA. This edition has a stronger emphasis on blending theory with practice. More challenging questions are included throughout the text to give students opportunities to exercise their potential, and possibly to target postgraduate students. In response to the reviews, we have also re-ordered the chapters to better streamline the presentation of various topics. At every point in the writing of this new edition, we have endeavoured to put ourselves in the student’s place, drawing upon the learning experiences of hundreds of culturally diverse students whom we have been privileged to teach.

New to this editioN • Streamlining of the chapters. Immigration and Acculturation (Chapter 9) is placed before Developing

Intercultural Relations with Culturally Different Others (Chapter 10); Categorization, Subgroups and


Identities (Chapter 6) is placed immediately after Cultural and Value Orientations (Chapter 5) and before Verbal Communication and Culture (Chapter 7). This re-ordering presents a more logical flow of the topics.

• Updated content. New sections are added to fill in the gaps identified in the reviews and to reflect current development in the field. They include emic–etic approaches to studying culture (Chapter 3, understanding Culture); Schwartz’s value orientations (Chapter 5); religious identity and subgroups based on sexual orientation – gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual individuals (Chapter 6); discourse and politeness across cultures (Chapter 7); refugees, Indigenous people and additional acculturation models (Chapter 9); and management of diversity in organizations (Chapter 11, Managing Intercultural Conflicts).

• Theory in Practice. This feature accompanies each ‘Theory Corner’ to highlight the application of theories in different disciplinary areas, including linguistics, business, organizations, advertising, political science, social psychology, and the mass media. In each ‘Theory in Practice’ box, we also include challenging questions to take students further in their application of knowledge.

• More in-depth discussion on theories and concepts. Chapter 2 (understanding Communication) is substantially revised to raise the level of the discussion on communication models. As well, more theoretical depth is added to Chapter 13 (Becoming an Effective Intercultural Communicator), with concrete examples from multiple cultures.

• Join the Debate. ‘Key Terms’ at the end of each chapter has been replaced by ‘Join the Debate’, which poses challenging questions and debates in the field. This feature enables students to develop interest and talent.

• Emphasis on critical thinking. Critical-thinking questions are incorporated throughout each chapter to engage students in deep learning.

• More examples from European countries. More examples from germany, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, and Scandinavia are added in the text and in case studies. Where appropriate, questions pertaining to case studies are revised to encourage application in a wider context.

• Communication in cyberspace. The role of social media and the issues of cyber-bullying in intercultural relations are elaborated in Chapter 10 as well as mass media in the digital age (Chapter 12, Mass Media, Technology, and Cultural Change).

RetaiNed fRom the pRevious editioN • Case studies. All reviewers and our own students embraced and endorsed them. To build on the success

of this feature, we have updated a number of case studies and expanded the domains to humanities, linguistics, business, organizations, and public relations.

• Theory Corners. Positive feedback has been received on the ‘Theory Corners’. We have updated the theories and added application (‘Theory in Practice’) to illustrate theories in action.

• Further readings. Further readings at the end of each chapter consolidate and complement students’ learning. In this new edition, the number of further readings is reduced to five per chapter but they are annotated. In addition, a list of further readings is provided in the Instructor’s Manual.


• Chapter summaries. The summary of each chapter highlights the key points covered. In response to the reviews, the chapter summaries in this new edition are in the form of bullet points to make them more concise and easier to follow.

• Pictures. The illustrative pictures were praised by reviewers and students as original and interesting. We have retained this feature and updated pictures to further align with the revised text and enhance their illustrative power.

• Glossary. The glossary, containing definitions of all key terms used in the text, is retained to give users a quick index of the key concepts covered and their definitions. A list of key terms by chapter is provided in the Instructor’s Manual.

• Instructor materials on the companion website. This new edition has updated all the exercises and activities, as well as multiple choice questions, to align with the new content in this edition. The original sections have been retained: lecture notes, key terms, PowerPoints, further readings, exercises and activities, and multiple choice questions. The companion website can be found at https://study.sagepub.com/liu2e


We would like to thank all those who have helped us as we progressed through the journey to complete this second edition. We thank the reviewers for their insightful comments on the first edition and valu- able suggestions for improvement. A special note of thanks goes to the many instructors who have adop- ted the first edition over the past two years, as well as to the scholars who have provided their feedback through various channels, including the website of SAgE Publications. Their positive comments on the first edition are especially gratifying, and their suggestions for improvement have helped us rethink and reshape this second edition. We have all had the privilege of teaching and doing research in intercultural communication, and these experiences have formed our outlook on this fascinating field.

We are indebted to our colleagues, friends, and students, both at the university of Queensland and at other institutions around the world where we have studied, worked, or spent periods of research leave; all of them have contributed to this book in various ways, including providing feedback on our intercultural communication classes, sharing their ideas with us, and lending us references and photos from their col- lections. In particular, we are grateful to Professor Carley Dodd from Abilene Christian university, who granted us permission to include his model of culture; to Alison Rae for granting us permission to use the photos she took while travelling around the world collecting stories as a reporter; and to uNESCO for granting us permission to include some photos from their photobank. We express our sincere gratitude to the Centre of Communication for Social Change in the School of Journalism and Communication at the university of Queensland for offering financial support to employ a research assistant, Laura Simpson Reeves, who assisted with the development of the Instructor’s Manuals for the companion website. Special thanks go to everyone who has given us support, time, and encouragement.

We express sincere appreciation to the Senior Commissioning Editor at SAgE Publications, Mila Steele. Without her encouragement and support, this second edition would not have come to fruition. Special thanks also go to the assistant editor, James Piper, others on the editorial staff, and the anonym- ous reviewers, who reviewed early and final drafts of the manuscript. Their insightful suggestions have greatly contributed to an improved book. We would like to thank everyone from SAgE whose work has transformed the manuscript into its present form.

Finally, we are deeply indebted to our families for their support, love, encouragement and patience throughout the writing of this book. Special thanks, therefore, go to Annie Liu, Mark Andrejevic, and Jeff Pittam.

Companion Website

This book is supported by a brand new companion website (https://study.sagepub.com/liu2e). The web- site offers a wide range of free teaching and learning resources, including:

For Students:

• SAGE Journal Articles: free access to selected further readings

• Glossary Flashcards: practice

For Instructors:

• PowerPoint Slides to accompany each chapter

• Instructor Notes including learning objectives and questions to think about

• Discussion Questions and exercises for use in class

• A testbank of Multiple Choice Questions for class testing


Human beings are drawn close to one another by their common nature, but habits and customs keep them apart.

Confucius, Chinese thinker and social philosopher, 551–479BC

Since ancient times, clear geographic or political borders have always been marked between countries, states, cities, and villages. Natural boundaries such as rivers, oceans, and mountain ridges, or artificial borders such as walls, fences and signs, all function as landmarks to separate country from country, region from region and people from people. However, the spread of culture has never been confined to these geographic or political territories. For example, as early as the fifteenth century, Aesop’s Fables were translated from greek, the language in which they were originally written, into English, thus making them accessible to entirely new cultural, national and geographical audiences. Today, the fables, available in many languages across the world, including Chinese, Japanese, French, Russian, and german, have permeated our culture as myths and legends, providing entertainment and moral truisms for children and adults alike. Regardless of where we live, the colour of our skin or what language we speak, it is likely we have at some time encountered many of the morals or adages of Aesop’s Fables: for instance, ‘A liar will not be believed, even when telling the truth’ from The Boy Who Cried Wolf; ‘Slow and steady wins the race’ from The Tortoise and the Hare. While we might not know that the stories were written by Aesop, exactly when they were written or how many languages they have been translated into, the tales still teach us universal virtues such as honesty, perseverance, modesty, and mutual respect. In addition to the spread of folk literature like Aesop’s Fables, cultural products like tools, technology, clothing, food, furniture, electric appliances, music, customs, and rituals are spread beyond geographic or political borders.

Culture is defined as the total way of life of a people (Rogers and Steinfatt, 1999). The word ‘culture’ is derived from the Latin root colere, meaning ‘to cultivate’. Our language, customs, expectations, behav- iours, habits – our way of thinking, doing and being – have and continue to be formed over a long period of cultivation within the specific physical environment and social context in which we were born, with which we grew up, and in which we presently live. During the process of learning and adapting to the envi- ronment, different groups of people have learned distinctive ways to organize their world (Dodd, 1998). A group’s unique ways of doing and thinking become their beliefs, values, worldviews, norms, rituals, customs, and their communication styles – ultimately, their cultural traditions.

Cultural traditions vary across different groups. For example, the concept of a wedding has a univer- sal meaning, but specific wedding customs and rituals vary from culture to culture. In southern regions of China, the gifts that the groom’s parents give to the bride’s family often include two coconuts. In the Chinese language, the word ‘coconut’ is similar in sound to the words ‘grandfather and son’. Thus, the gift of coconuts symbolizes a wish for both the longevity of the family’s older generations and the ongoing pres- ence of the younger generations, as an extended family of three or four generations is treasured in Chinese


culture. In India, the cultural tradition is for the bride to enter her in-laws’ home for the first time on her right foot and to knock over a container of uncooked rice, so as to bring good luck to the house. At a Sudanese wedding, seven broomsticks are burned and thrown away, to symbolize the couple discarding any bad habits that could pose a threat to their marriage. Japanese couples only become husband and wife after they take the first sip of sake, a rice wine drink, at the wedding. In Sweden, before leaving for the church to be married, the bride-to-be receives a gold coin from her mother to put in her right shoe, and a silver coin from her father to put in her left shoe. This is to ensure that she will always have sufficient financial resources. In the Netherlands, it is a custom to create a wedding ‘wish tree’. At the reception a tree branch is placed next to the bride and groom’s table, and paper leaves attached to pieces of ribbon are placed at each guest’s place setting. guests write their wishes for the couple on their leaves, which the bride and groom read and hang on the tree. And in France, the groom customarily walks his mother down the aisle before arriving at the altar to be married. Such are the rich variants of cultural traditions.

Culture defines a group of people, binds them to one another and gives them a sense of shared identity. It is the means by which a society expresses its structure and function, its views of the physical universe, and what it regards as the proper ways to live and to treat each other. Cultural traditions go through a process of development and sedimentation, and are passed on from generation to generation. Central to this entire process of development and maintenance is human communication. The word ‘communication’ is derived from the Latin word ‘to make common’, as in sharing thoughts, hopes and knowledge. Every cultural pattern and every act of social behaviour involves communication. Culture and communication are inseparable.

Human communication is a product of continual and ongoing development. In the villages of our early ancestors, information sharing was largely done on a face-to-face basis. The successive historical breakthroughs of print, telephone, broadcasting, television, and internet have progressively expanded the domain of communication beyond the immediate cultural and geographic borders. Correspondingly, our identities today have expanded from social groups, ethnic communities, and nations to incorporate factors that are no longer bound by politics, geography, or culture. The ease of global interaction in business, politics, education, and travel has brought strangers from different parts of the globe into face-to-face contact. This increased interconnectedness requires us to communicate competently with people whose cultures are different from our own; that is, to engage in intercultural communication. This ability does not come naturally, but must be learned. We must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in our increasingly diverse society.

the studY of iNteRCuLtuRaL CommuNiCatioN The roots of intercultural communication can be traced to the Chicago School, known for pioneering empirical investigations based on the theories of german sociologist georg Simmel (1858–1918) (Rogers and Steinfatt, 1999). Simmel studied at the university of Berlin, and taught there and at the university of Strassburg in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Simmel analysed concepts related to his own life. As the son of Jewish parents, the anti-Semitism he experienced in germany undoubtedly influenced his development of the concept of der Fremde or ‘stranger’, the intellectual descendants of which are key concepts in the fields of both sociology and intercultural communication today. The stranger (Simmel, 1950) is a member of a system, but not strongly attached to it or accepted by the other members of the system. Simmel’s insights on the role of the stranger are part of his general concern with the rela- tionships between individuals. His examination of reciprocal interactions at the individual level within a larger social context inspired much of the research at the Chicago School (Rogers, 1999) and subsequent


research in the field of intercultural communication. The notion of communicating with someone who is different from us – an intercultural ‘stranger’ – lies at the heart of intercultural communication.

The key scholar in translating and applying Simmel’s concept of the stranger was Robert E. Park, a former newspaper reporter who also earned his PhD degree in germany. In 1900 Park took Simmel’s course in sociology at the university of Berlin, and in 1915 began teaching sociology at the university of Chicago. Inspired by Simmel’s notion of the stranger, Park developed the concept of social distance, which he defined as the degree to which an individual perceives a lack of intimacy with individuals different in ethnicity, race, religion, occupation or other variables (Park, 1924). Park’s student Emory S. Bogardus later developed a scale that measured the social distance people perceive between them- selves and members of another group. For example, in the scale respondents are asked such questions as, ‘Would you marry someone who is Chinese?’ and ‘Would you have Chinese people as regular friends or as speaking acquaintances?’ (Bogardus, 1933). The Bogardus Social Distance scale quantified the perceived intimacy or distance of an individual’s relationships with various others.

As social distance is largely culturally prescribed, intercultural communication is invariably affected. For instance, Australians often use first names with someone they have just met, and in a university setting it is common for students to address the lecturers by their first name. This can be very puzzling to Korean students, who are more formal in their social relationships, only using first names with very close friends who are usually of the same age or social status as themselves. For example, an American Korean who has taught in the united States for over 30 years still feels some discomfort when students address her by her first name. When asked why she did not explain her preference to her students, she answered that she would only do it indirectly, a preferred Asian communication style. If a student addressed her by first name, instead of calling her ‘Professor’, she would respond in an unenthusiastic, subdued manner, in the hope that her student would gradually learn the ‘appropriate’ way to address her as a professor.

Simmel’s concept of the stranger and subsequent derivative concepts all deal with individual relation- ships, both with others and the larger society. The concept of the stranger implies that the individual does not have a high degree of cohesion with the larger system of which he or she is a part. …