A World of Difference: Exploring Intercultural Communication
- Life Time Access
- Certificate on Completion
- Access on Android and iOS App
This course will introduce you to general themes, issues and perspectives associated with the study of intercultural communication. In exploring these issues, the presenters provide a brief introduction to the topic, a basic examination of important themes of culture and communication, two frameworks for viewing culture and examples from the presenters' research and life experience. We hope this project serves as a catalyst for thought and discussion regarding the challenges and opportunities associated with living in a diverse world.
Who this course is for:
- This course is intended for people at all levels
- You will not need any special supplies to begin the course. Additional readings are suggested as part of the class
- By the end of this course, you should be able to explain the importance of studying intercultural communication
- By the end of this course, you should be able to Identify the basic building block of culture and note examples of each
- By the end of this course, you should be able to apply Hofstede's Cultural Taxonomies and Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck's Cultural Patterns in exploring how culture can be viewed and understood
Dr. Foeman argues that an appreciation for intercultural communication is vital in today's society. She briefly discusses what this short course seeks to accomplish and the motivations behind its creation.
Drs. Foeman, Thompsen and Lawton briefly introduce themselves and discuss their interest in teaching intercultural communication.
Dr. Thompsen explores the meaning of communication and culture. He suggests that we should first consider the meaning of "meaning," since the concept of meaning has much to do with both communication and culture. He presents two key insights from the work of Ogden and Richards: (1) meaning is multi-dimensional, existing at the intersection of the physical, semiotic and conceptual dimensions, and (2) meaning is contextual. These insights into the nature of meaning help us understand communication as a process of creating meaning, and culture as a community of meaning-makers that provide much of the context for meaning.
There are over 7 billion people in the world. That's a lot of people, and it can be very difficult to grasp the human diversity that exists on Earth. But what if we could take the population of the Earth and reduce it to just 100 people, keeping the same proportions we have today? Watch this short video to get a better understanding of the human condition on Earth.
This lecture covers building blocks of culture, namely: beliefs, values, norms, and social practices. Dr. Lawton then applies these concepts to funeral practices common among people of Chinese descent.
Much of the material in Sections 2 and 3 of this course is based on:
Lustig, M.W., & Koester, J. (2012). Intercultural competence: Interpersonal communication across cultures (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Dr. Foeman continues the first lecture on cultural building blocks by exploring her experience with her mom's illness and death as an African-American woman.
Dr. Lawton explains Geerte Hofstede's cultural taxonomy, explaining the dichotomies of individualism/collectivism, high and low uncertainty avoidance, high and low power distance, masculinity/femininity, and long-term vs. short-term orientation.
For additional reading on applications of Hofstede on global branding and advertising strategy, you may read the following:
de Mooij, M., & Hofstede, G. (2010). The Hofstede model: Applications to global branding and advertising strategy and research. International Journal of Advertising, 29(1), 85-110.
Dr. Foeman and Dr. Lawton apply Hofstede's taxonomies to a particular cross-cultural parenting issue related to educational priorities for children.
Dr. Foeman explains an alternate framework in Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck's cultural patterns.
We hope you've enjoyed this short course, and will want to continue your exploration of intercultural communication. Here are a few links for further study...
Want to continue the conversation? If you have a specific question about intercultural communication, please ask it in the questions box on our course home page. And please consider joining the discussion on our Facebook page: