Stereotypes In Intercultural Communication

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Intercultural Communication Barriers: Thinking Shortcuts and Stereotypes

“Common experience teaches face-to-face communication is imperfect and can lead to misunderstanding and even conflict” (Guirdham, 2005, p. 179). Similarly to intercultural communication, scholars have acknowledged that when dealing with communication across cultures, there is bound to be some challenges and barriers faced. The study of intercultural communication has been regarded as important in today’s world (Oetzel, 2009). Its importance has also been focused on the barriers that it may cause. According to Patel, Li, and Sooknanan (2011), “challenges and barriers in intercultural communication arise as a result of the real world events around us and in our daily confrontations
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Just like perception, stereotype is ambiguous, and therefore there is no sure way to tell how much is right or wrong. Lustig and Koester (2013) have said that stereotype inaccuracies can happen in three ways. The first way is the ignorance towards individuality. The authors have suggested the outgroup homogeneity effect in which the difference of the individuality of each person in a group is overlooked. The second way that the authors have identified is when the stereotype is not only inaccurate but in a way that is improperly exaggerated. An example Lustig and Koester (2013) has put out is when Germans are stereotyped to be highly efficient in work, however, when individually looked, not all Germans can be deemed as “highly” efficient as one may have exaggerated. The third and last way is when the level of blunder and exaggeration is different between positive and negative aspects. For example, as provided by Lustig and Koester (2013), when one stereotypes a certain group to be highly efficient (positive), but inflexible in business (negative), and oversees the negative because of the positive, it can cause a “positive valence inaccuracy”. Vice versa, when positive is overseen because of negative aspects, this would be “negative valence inaccuracy”. Nevertheless, the inaccuracy can cause prejudice, another type of intercultural barrier, which leads to the last reason stereotype causes intercultural

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