Response to four posts (50-100 words for each)

Respond to your colleagues’ postings in one or more of the following ways:

  • Ask a probing question.
  • Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
  • Offer and support an opinion.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience.
  • Make a suggestion.
  • Expand on your colleague’s posting.

Post 1: (Write a 50-100 words response)

Inter- and Independent Cultural Perspectives

Culture can be broken into two categories, interdependent and independent. Interdependent refers to cultures where the emphasis is on family and community responsibilities and there is more focus on “we” over “I”. Independent cultures, in contrast, reflects an idea of the individual first, and a sense that the person is independently responsible for their outcomes. Japan is an example of an interdependent society where there is a great importance placed on family and country honor over individual needs. America, in contrast, is often defined as individualistic in nature, where anyone can be someone with enough hard work and dedication and independence from others is seen as a sign of successfulness.

Personally, I tend to carry both interdependent and independent perspectives collectively in most of the decisions I make and the interactions I have with others in society. I would say this is because although I have been raised as a strong independent American, I was also raised in a small rural community where collectiveness was required to maintain our livelihood. One example of this blend is in relation to my younger brother. When he retired from the military, we did not think twice to invite him and his large family to stay with us until they restructured themselves and stabilized. My collective side showed no hesitation to put my needs aside for the needs of my family. On the other hand, I had no issues with establishing independent self-motivated boundaries with setting restrictions when it came to my expectations with my education. It was clearly understood that I would not be bothered, in any way, when I was doing school work. My independent desires for my education were not going to be affected by my desire to help my brother. In the end, we did coexist, still have a great relationship, and I am still in school!

Selves, as described by Markus and Kitayama (2010), are “dynamic in that they change as the various cultural contexts they engage in change.”. Given that I have experiences in both interdependent and independent societies, and these experiences have helped to shape how I see myself and the world, it is rational for me to see myself as a blend of both ideals. When I look at it through the lenses of stereotyping and stereotype behavior I can also see that part of my decision to so quickly help my brother reflects my fear, in some automatic processing way, of receiving a negative stereotype in my community, by a group I strongly associate with. According to Clark and Kashima (2003) “knowing that a social stereotype is shared or not shared with others has been found to affect attitudes and behaviors toward members of the stereotyped group.” As I still live in this small rural collective community, I am aware of how my community looks at those that do not “do their part.”. Although I love my brother, my desire to not be perceived negatively as selfish in a selfless community would have also played into my interdependent decision.

Clark, A. E., & Kashima, Y. (2003). Stereotype maintenance in communication: How perceptions of

stereotype sharedness contribute to the stereotype content of interpersonal communication. Australian Journal of Psychology, 55(Suppl.), 38.

Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (2010). Cultures and Selves: A Cycle of Mutual Constitution. Perspectives

On Psychological Science: A Journal Of The Association For Psychological Science, 5(4), 420-430.

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Post 2: (Write a 50-100 words response)

Three Individual Factors for Intergroup Threat

According to Nelson (2016) intergroup threat theory is when one group feels that another group, the outgroup, can cause them harm. One individual factor that that can impact perceived intergroup threat is having a very high ingroup social identity. Here a person may feel like their social system is at risk of being changed and they can become fearful and mistrustful. A second individual factor that can impact perceived intergroup threat is subscribing to social dominance orientation or believing that group-based inequalities are okay. A third factor that can impact perceived intergroup threat is being politically conservative as this has a positive correlation to viewing the word as dangerous and feeling strength with their ingroup. (Nelson, 2016)

Consequences of Intergroup Threat

One consequence of intergroup threat theory is anger suppression leading to depression. (Cheung & Park, 2010) Feeling especially connected to the ingroup can lead to constant worrying which can lead to anger and if that anger becomes suppressed and remains suppressed for too long it can lead to depression. (reminds me of Yoda… fear lead to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to the dark side). This anger can also lead to a lack of emotional empathy for the outgroup too. (Nelson, 2016) All of this can of course lead to violent outbursts and social unrest. Culture can definitely have a role in this too. For example, today some people might say that the “American” culture is being “threatened” by a growing minority population. Here, in an effort to maintain the ingroup dominant culture, intergroup threat can lead the ingroup to feel threatened and for them to lash out in anger or suppress their anger. Perhaps this last election was an example of anger suppression. You had anger in the conservative media personalities and suppression in voters. Looking at the last election almost every media outlet said Trump was going to lose. Perhaps the media failed to realize that many voters suppressed their fear of intergroup threat only to express it at the voting booth.

References

Cheung, R. Y., & Park, I. J. (2010). Anger suppression, interdependent self-construal, and depression among Asian American and European American college students. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 16(4), 517–525.

Nelson, T. D. (2016). Handbook of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Psychology Press.

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Post 3: (Write a 50-100 words response

Culture influence on communication
Communication is the way in which we are able to interact and connect with each other. We learn this from our environment and our culture which plays a role in everything we do and who we are. Culture is an influence on our communication but we must look at the different ways of communication. Culture influences verbal communication because it is the language we are born into, we learn it. There is also what is referred to as the silent language which can be body language, personal bonds, face to face interaction and informal agreements, etc. In some cultures these take precedence and have more meaning than a formal agreement (e.g. Japanese) (Hwa-Froelich & Vigil, 2004).

There are many ways in which misunderstandings might occur among cultures with different communication styles. One of those ways is not being familiar with the language or non-verbal behaviors that are highly regarded in that particulare culture. Another method where miscommunication might occur is delivery of said communication; for example, white Americans typically consider raised voices to be a sign that a fight has begun, while some black, Jewish and Italian Americans often feel that an increase in volume is a sign of an exciting conversation among friends (Dupraw & Axner, 1997). Two solutions to enhance cross-cultural communication are: know your audience and match the message to their communication needs and style and engage in active listening which includes asking for clarity and paraphrasing to ensure understanding, can be very helpful (Kaplan & Cunningham, 2010).

Reference:

Dupraw, M.E. & Axner, M. (1997). Working on Common Cross-cultural Communication Challenges. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/ampu/crosscult.html#FTNT_5

Hwa-Froelich, D. & Vigil, D. (2004). Three aspects of cultural influence on communication: A literature review. Communications Disorder Quarterly. 25(3): 107-118

Kaplan, S., & Cunningham, C. (2010). Eight quick tips for improving global cross-cultural communications. Diversity Factor, 18(2), 33–38.

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Post 4: (Write a 50-100 words response)

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Interpersonal Relations

The board of directors of any organization usually consists of a diverse group of persons, with different cultural and social backgrounds, most of whom already have leadership experience but who must now subject themselves to the leadership of someone else and who must collectively agree upon and chart the strategic direction of the organization. The need for efficient communication, a willingness to compromise for the sake of the group yet scrupulously maintain one’s values, and the necessity of respecting the contribution of fellow directors all make for very interesting group dynamics, particularly when a crucial decision to explore a particular business option or even change the strategic direction is necessary.

Cultural value systems have an effect on people’s experiences and outcomes in common social situations. (Nibler & Harris 2003). In group dynamics, according to Matsumoto, (2001) is the extent to which conformity is found depends on whether the group members are familiar with each other. Collectivist cultures value security, conformity and harmony within the groups, but such a disposition is also known to impede freedom and encourage “group think” to the detriment of reaching the best possible decision. (Nibler & Harris, 2003). According to Matsumoto, (2001), a person may conform not by giving an incorrect answer to cover the errors of other members, but rather to save face or to be sensitive to others.

In individualistic cultures which value autonomy, achievement, competition, (Nibler & Harris 2003) and independence, (Cinnirella & Green, 2007), conformity is not a focus, because of the high value placed on the freedom to express themselves. According to Cinnirella & Green, (2007), collectivist cultures conform more to group judgements than persons from individualistic cultures. Both in face to face communications and in computer mediated communications,

Relational conflicts could be aversive and affect the performance of any group. Individualistic cultures tend to encourage more casual relationships than the collectivist culture which encourages closer knit groups. (Nibler & Harris 2003). One salient feature of the individualistic culture, is that group decisions are not mainly dependent on having good relations, according to (Nibler & Harris, 2003). Indeed, Americans are less concerned with communication issues and presenting themselves in an appropriate manner; they are focused primarily on the matter at hand. American groups that consist of friends, for example, engage in high conflict but they also show good group performance. Collectivist cultures like the Chinese on the other hand, who value group harmony, will not be comfortable with offending others, (Nibler & Harris, 2003), as they show more relational concerns.

I think in any culture cooperation will be valued when working together in groups. This is not to suggest that cooperation in individualist cultures may be devoid of conflict. In the U.S.A, for example, they are more accepting of conflicts, because they are aware that within groups disagreements will occur and this diversity helps to arrive at the best possible solution. Conversely though, collectivistic cultures may not see a benefit to conflict but regard it as a harmful element. (Nibler & Harris, 2003) suggest that cohesiveness can ultimately result either in a more effective group or contribute immensely to conflict amongst its members. It is a view shared too by Matsumoto, (2001), who posits that groups that share an interpersonal relationship are better able to work together and show better performance in decisions.

References

Cinnirella, M., Green, B. (2007). Does ‘cyber –conformity’ vary cross-culturally? Exploring the effect of culture and communication medium on social conformity. Computers in Human Behaviour. 23(4), 2011-2025. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2006.02.009

Nibler, R., Harris, K. L. (2003). The effects of culture and cohesiveness on intragroup conflict and effectiveness. The Journal of Social Psychology. 143(5), 613-631.

Briley, D., Moris, M. W., Simmonson, I. (2005). Cultural chameleons: Biculturals, conformity motives and decision making. Journal of Consumer Psychology,15(4), 351-362.

Matsumoto, D. (Ed.). (2001). The handbook of culture and psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press