Think of a specific instance (either one-on-one or group) in which you felt that you were not communicating very well with the other party or parties due to differing
expectations of appropriateness. Keep in mind that differences in expectations do not need to be between people from distinct ethnicities, nationalities, or regions.
Because diversity and culture are complex, someone may have differing cultural expectations and yet externally look quite similar to yourself.
First, explain this breakdown in communication in light of one or more of the five cultural dimensions discussed in Chapter 4 (pp. 82-86). This should comprise the
bulk of your response.
Then, briefly explain how one or more additional factors of diversity, as discussed in Chapter 4 might also have contributed to this particular miscommunication.
Select a specific aspect of personality, gender, generation, or religion (pp. 77-93).
For example, interacting with someone who seemed to be very authoritarian may have led you to become defensive. So it could be the case that the two of you differed
with respect to “power distance,” as explained on pp. 84-85. You might also have noticed that the other person focused on details, while you tend to think more about
the big picture; perhaps your personalities differed on the sensing-intuiting spectrum as explained on p. 79.
While a language barrier may in some instances have been a contributing factor, I encourage you to focus only on the dimensions of diversity and culture discussed in
Finally, once you have explained the situation and analyzed the problem in light of several concepts from Chapter 4, briefly discuss how you could have behaved and
communicated differently to encourage a better result. (Since you can’t control or change others’ actions, how might you have invited a more productive response from
the other person, now that you’ve considered what might have motivated them?) You might review the last page of chapter 4 as you formulate your response here.
Optionally, you also might reference concepts from chapter 10 when supporting this portion of your answer.
As a result of completing the reading and writing assignment above, you should have a better understanding of how culture and diversity can and do contribute to the
ways in which people interact with one another. You will also be better prepared to diagnose problematic interactions in light of the cultural backgrounds of those
involved. Finally, you should be able to minimize some of the problems you encounter by drawing on the guidelines presented in the reading.