Intercultural Communication
Cross-Cultural
Comparison
The Nature of Communication
in India
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Historically, language has divided people in
India
India is one of the most multilingual nations in
the world
1947 after independence, India divided its states
according to language
Then introduced Hindi as the official language.
English also now shares official language status.
India has over 1000 languages and dialects
Intercultural Communication
Verbal Communication
1. Inequalities in wealth and power
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Linked directly to the caste system, which
originates in Hinduism
Upward mobility is prevented, even
though this practice has been outlawed
Most Indians are aware of this social
order and the place where they sit within it
Intercultural Communication
Intercultural Communication
2. Inequalities between men and women
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India is a very patriarchal society, with the
father the head of the household.
This social order must always be
maintained
3. Spirituality based on Karma
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Every action has a consequence and
everything happens for a reason
What one does in this life affects the next
This has implications for communication
and decision making as well as their idea
of time
Intercultural Communication
4. The Idea of collectivism is prevalent
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Indians are more accepting of group
decisions and hierarchical settings
Indians often define their identity as their
group (or caste) rather than their
individual identity
5. Small personal space and lack of privacy
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This is amplified by many people from the
extended family living in one home.
Relationships, rules, structures, trust and
mutual obligations are created.
Intercultural Communication
6. Respectful mistrust in business dealings
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It is assumed that a non family member in
a business dealing will be dishonest
This prevents the relationship being
damaged by one party trying to gain an
unfair advantage
7. Public Transport
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Are very congested and personal space is
small
Many people are crammed into small
places and seats
Intercultural Communication
Intercultural Communication
8. Lack of privacy
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Seeking personal information in India is
carried out in a very direct way. This can
lead to conflict as westerners find this
confronting
9. Indians are very hospitable
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They will invite total strangers to tea
10. Avoiding conflict
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Indians use indirect speech
Do Check for understanding page 104 question 3
HOMEWORK: Do Check for understanding page 104 question 1 and 4
Intercultural Communication
Core Values in Indian Society
Compared to Australian Society
INDIA
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Collectivist/group identity.
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No privacy
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Patriarchal Society- father is head of household.
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Hospitable- accepting of strangers.
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Easily offended when refused.
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Indirect in their speech.
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Hindi and English main languages.
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Life based around the concept of karma.
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Limited personal space.
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Direct in their questioning/open about privacy.
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Intercaste marriage forbidden.
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Very trusting.
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Inequalities between men and women.
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Strict caste system still operates even though it is
illegal.
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Aware of position in caste- no mobility.
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Avoid conflict.
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Arranged marriage
AUSTRALIA
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Individualist
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Egalitarian
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Trust in business deals.
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Fluid social hierarchy.
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Strong sense of mateship.
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Multicultural.
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Looser family bonds.
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Earn trust.
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Large personal space.
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Christianity- but not tied to religion.
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Privacy is important.
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Open to employment of non-family.
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Both parents have equal roles.
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Take offence at directness.
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Confrontation when angry.
Intercultural Communication
Non-Verbal Communication
There are two types of non-verbal communication
• Illustrators which accompany words
• Emblems which have meaning all their own
In India some main gestures are
• “Fight or flight”
- explain
• Suicide gesture
- explain
Intercultural Communication
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Facial Expressions and Body Gestures
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Staring is more acceptable in India than in the
West
Greeting- Hands in prayer like fashion and
sometimes bowing
Left hand to clean oneself
Right hand for giving and receiving
“come here”
- explain
“Sorry”
- explain
Shoes
- explain
Patting on the head
- explain
Admiration
- explain
Intercultural Communication
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Eye Contact
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Women may speak from behind the veil of their
sari
Lower status (or caste) will look to the ground
when addressing superiors
Direct eye contact with equals or in business is
significant
Time and Space
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Men and women stay segregated in large social
gatherings
Touching is only allowed by family or someone
from the same caste
Intercultural Communication
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Vocal Tones
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Indians speak loudly and fast with greater
enthusiasm than those from the west
Westerners may interpret this as rudeness
Intercultural Communication
The Effectiveness of
Communication
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Directness of response
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- expand
Based on Religion
- expand
Titles
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Hierarchical society
Naming
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- expand
Meeting People
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Cant say “no”
Conveys education, caste and/or profession
-expand
Gift giving
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Relates to religious beliefs
Intercultural Communication
- expand
Intercultural Communication
Social Relationships
and Social Control
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The caste system is the basis of class in India. It
is supported by Hinduism. It is illegal in Modern
India to practice the caste system
Name and explain the 4 main castes
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The fifth caste is called the “Untouchables”.
They were considered the lowest and performed
menial unhygienic work
Intercultural Communication
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People were born into their caste and
where they were born was based on their
previous lives
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The Indian government has implemented
positive discrimination laws to try and help
the lowest caste groups
READ page 109. “India-Intecaste Relations”
Intercultural Communication
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The remains of the caste system maintain
social relationships and social control.
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Communicating between different groups
is seen as unacceptable
Do Check for understanding page 110 questions 1 and 4
Do Think it through page 110 question 4
Intercultural Communication
Intercultural Communication
Gender and Communication
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All men and women cannot be grouped just
according to their gender
The variety of religions, regions, classes and
ages are going to affect the personal experience
of women especially
Modernisation has transformed India and
women as well as men peruse career paths
nowadays
Intercultural Communication
Intercultural Communication
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However, even in modern India sons are seen
and the main economic source for the family. In
many parts of Northern India, wives move in
with their husbands families. They are still
segregated as communication between
spouses is a threat to the patrilinial nature of the
family
Describe how women are being given more
power in economic decision making
Provide an example of how traditional practice
still prohibits women from active communication
Intercultural Communication
Intercultural Communication
Intercultural Communication
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In the cities the traditional and modern gender
roles are in conflict as well. For example
university educated women work in menial jobs,
just to earn a living
Socialising with the opposite sex outside work
hours used to be taboo, this is now changing
Gender roles in India are reflected in language
Mothers duty
- expand
 Tamil language
- expand
 Women remain silent while males express their
opinion
- expand
 The way men and women speak to each other
- expand
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Intercultural Communication
Intercultural Communication
Intercultural Communication
Intercultural Understanding
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Multiculturalism refers to an attitude about the
acceptance of a number of different cultures
living together in one society.
Usually there is one dominant culture that
supports the mix of other cultures
An example is in Australia – explain
Multiculturalism has only been introduced in
Modern India. Its constitution emphasis intergroup equality
Intercultural Communication
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The concept of intra-group equality is not
recognised in India. That is within specific
groups, inequality, domination and
patriarchy still exist
Read section on Mumbai. Page 113
1. List the various places of worship in Mumbai. Page 113
2. Define Hybrid Society. Page 114
3. Explain how this relates to India
Intercultural Communication
Aspects of Society and Culture that are
similar and different between
India and Australia (PAGE 114-115)
CULTURAL
FEATURES
AUSTRALIA
INDIA
LANGUAGE
RELIGIOUS
BELIEFS
Intercultural Communication
MISUNDERSTANDINGS
CULTURAL
FEATURES
AUSTRALIA
INDIA
SOCIAL
STRUCTURES
CULTURAL
COMPLEXITIES
Intercultural Communication
MUSUNDERSTANDINGS
The effect of gender roles and values
on behaviour
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All societies assign specific traits to males and
females. Traditional societies tend to focus on
this more (read page 115-116)
In India males are viewed as being superior and
therefore demand more respect
This is evident in the birth of a new baby. A male
child is sought after to look after the family and
property
Intercultural Communication
Intercultural Communication
The role of acculturation in the
acquisition of cultural perception
1. Read page 116-117
2. Do check for understanding question 1 and 2 page 117
3. Do think it through question 1 page 117
Intercultural Communication
The existence of group identity and
commitment to cultural continuity
1. Read page 117-118
2. Define Cultural continuity
3. Define Group Identity
Australia's group identity and cultural continuity
consists of:
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The belief of a fair go
The values of mateship, freedom and safety
The customs of commemorating Anzac day and
Australia day
Intercultural Communication
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The behaviours of participating in outdoor activities
(especially the beach)
Being direct in our communication and informal in our
language
India’s group identity and cultural continuity
consists of:
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The belief of self determination and some form of
nationalism
The values of multiculturalism and family
The customs of women wearing a sari and a bindi and
Hindu traditions
The behaviours associated with the caste system in
social, family and business interactions
Intercultural Communication
Intercultural Misunderstanding
Role play activity (page 119-120)
 4 scenarios with 3 different outcomes
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Intercultural Communication
Strategies to deal with
intercultural misunderstanding
It is important to be aware and to acknowledge causes of
misunderstandings:
 Different communication styles
 Importance of non-verbal communication (e.g.: facial
expressions, personal distance, tone, volume and sense
of time)
 Attitudes towards opinions and conflict
 Decision making related to roles and status
 Different attitudes towards personal information
 Gender roles and expectations
Intercultural Communication
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Strategies to deal with intercultural
misunderstanding because of intercultural
differences
Know the language – explain
Demonstrate social and cultural literacy
– explain
Be patient
– explain
Language expertise – explain
Be self reflective
– explain
Speak with natives – explain
Use multiple forms of communication – explain
Intercultural Communication
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Cross-Cultural Comparison