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EXPERIENCING INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION AN INTRODUCTION PDF

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With the focus on the benefits of diversity to organizations, current diversity management practices are not intended to guarantee the integration of minorities in a dominant culture. One strand of this critical theorizing questions the essentializing of sociodemographic categories, such as race, ethnicity, and gender. These scholars maintain that representing sociodemographic categories as fixed essence and binaries e.

Hence, these writings emphasize the fluidity of diverse identities in organizations and the importance of social and organizational contexts and how they shape the dynamics of managing diversity e. A second and related strand emphasizes the need to examine diversity within existing interlocking power structures and relations and in differing social constructions of diversity values and priorities [ 53 ].

Several discourses of human rights, justice, antidiscrimination social responsibility and diversity as a business case are intertwined in the diversity policies of frontrunner Danish firms, which emphasize care, peer support, and personal development together with the business advantages of diversity.

Within the antidiscrimination framework, several Canadian scholars and consultants on equity in the workplace have advanced the concept of anti-racism that poses pointed questions about power disparities and other forms of inequity e.

Dei [ 58 ] puts forth a comprehensive definition of anti-racism as an action-oriented strategy for institutional systemic change that addresses racism and other interlocking systems of social oppression. It is a critical discourse of race and racism in society that challenges the continuance of racializing social groups for differential and unequal treatment.

Antiracism explicitly names the issues of race and social difference as issues of power and equity, rather than as matters of culture and ethnic variety page While the concrete steps of an anti-racism approach would depend on the workplace culture and dynamics of each organization, there are certain common principles underlying this framework. Racism is, thus, seen as a by-product of apparently neutral procedures of doing business. For example, studies have shown that recruitment processes often screen out people of color who do not have the same background as White people who were recruited in the past [ 7 ].

Anti-racism acknowledges that inequitable power relations exist in society and permeate every sphere. True and lasting equity can be possible only by taking a reflective, honest, and critical look at the ways in which the normal, apparently neutral mechanisms of most organizations benefit the dominant group and disadvantage visible minorities [ 40 ]. This process of self-analysis recognizes that employment systems may not always reward competence and hard work and may be vulnerable to favoritism and bias.

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Secondly, the anti-racism framework believes that modern racism exists in ways that may be hard for those who do not experience it to fully understand. This can trigger dialogue instead of shutting down conversations about racism. Through dialogue the visible majority and minority groups can become more aware of each other and themselves, which enhances the possibilities for working together toward common goals. Thirdly, and arising from the second principle, anti-racism equips the dominant group with knowledge and skills to acknowledge their own privilege and to work towards social change.

Elaborating on the dimensions of Whiteness, Frankenberg cited in [ 22 , page ] noted that firstly, Whiteness is a location of structural advantage or privilege. The essence of Whiteness, thus, lies in its potency to maintain a silent assumption that equates normality with White culture, which becomes the taken-for-granted norm.

Therefore, proponents of anti-racism approach believe that any racial equity work must ensure that people with power have opportunities to examine their own experiences of unearned privilege. Examples include the ability to be unaware of race; the assurance that police will not stop or harass them because of their race; the assurance that they will not be followed in a store; the assurance that they will not be harassed, hated, or intimidated in the community; the assurance that they will not experience surveillance from their neighbors or police; the assumption that getting hired or promoted is due to their competence and not because of their race.

Lopes and Thomas [ 40 ] further mention that White people must also grapple with the difficult question of why they would want to share the power they hold. This can lead to innovative solutions to address the discriminatory work culture.

Finally, this approach mobilizes the skills and knowledge of White and racialized people gained through the anti-racism deliberations to question the status-quo and work towards a redistribution of power in organizations and society. For instance, White people can challenge employers on the number of White people hired as a result of networks and friendships. Racism, thus, is seen not only as a problem to be resolved by those it targets; it is also the responsibility of White people who benefit from this system to reject it [ 59 ].

Lopes and Thomas [ 40 ] inform that although this approach can lead to tensions and discomfort, the dilemmas that arise as a result can be used productively to build alliances and common cause among White and racialized workers. The anti-racism approach has been applied in several settings in North America and elsewhere see [ 60 ]. Dismantling Racism Dismantling Racism DR , coordinated by dRworks originally called Changework , was initiated in the US as a systems change intervention strategy to address institutional racism in organizational settings.

The pivotal characteristic of DR is that it is a process to assist leaders and organizations to understand and address racism, both within their organization and also in the community where the organization operates or is located [ 61 , 62 ].

The DR framework addresses institutional racism at three levels of an organization: i at the individual level in terms of individual employee attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors; ii at the intraorganizational level through the organizational structure, climate, and culture, including relationships between staff and organizational policies and procedures; iii the extraorganizational level that includes the influence of external social, economic, political, and cultural factors that impact the organization.

A key element of the DR intervention is incorporating a change team, which is multiracial in composition consisting of a cross-section of employees within the organization, who work alongside DR consultants, evaluators, community representatives, and other stakeholders.

The change team is responsible for monitoring and evaluating the impact of the intervention in terms of organizational policies, procedures and practices, allocation of resources, relationship structures, organizational norms and values, and individual skills and attitudes of staff.

Although Project Change has concluded, several of its anti-racism activities and networks continue to operate, both within some of the communities, as well as at a national level [ 63 ]. The organizing structure of Project Change included the formation of taskforces consisting of volunteer members from diverse groups. The initial goals of Project Change were to i dismantle institutional policies and practices that promote racial discrimination; ii ease tensions between minority and majority groups and reduce interethnic conflict; iii promote fair representation of diversity in the leadership of community institutions; iv stop overt or violent acts of racial or cultural prejudice Batten and Leiderman, cited in [ 60 ].

According to the evaluation undertaken by the Centre for Assessment and Policy Development CAPD , Project Change succeeded in changing policies and practices in some institutions, including the composition of boards and governing bodies. Taskforce leaders felt limited in their ability to reduce institutional racism. These challenges were compounded, given limited resources and the broader economic and political context for addressing institutional racism [ 63 ].

On the positive side, Project Change enhanced the national and internal dialogue on institutional racism by disseminating information to organizations, corporations, funding bodies, policy makers, and at meetings and conferences. The project also resulted in a number of publications and resources, including an online network and clearinghouse for anti-racism news and activities [ 63 ].

The program is ongoing with the following aims: i to assess the impact of race on organizational culture, policies, practices, and procedures, ii to transform business practices towards race and social justice goals, iii conduct outreach and create public engagement opportunities, iv to provide training and build the capacity and skills of city staff to address institutionalized racism Potapchuk and Aspen Institute Roundtable for Community Change, cited in [ 60 ].

The RSJI initiative requires all city departments to develop a work plan to undo institutionalized racism and support multiculturalism; it requires that activities and findings must be reported directly to the mayor. In the first year of the program, review of department plans identified five common concerns: workforce equity, economic equity, immigrant and refugee services, public engagement, and staff capacity building [ 64 ].

RSJI developed a comprehensive organizing framework to manage and implement specific activities arising from these central concerns across departments. The Office for Civil Rights is responsible for managing implementation of RSJI: it reviews departmental plans, provides support to change teams, coordinates training and manages the staffing of the core team.

Change teams have been created within each department and they are responsible for implementing the RSJI plan supervised by a senior leader. The central concerns committee coordinates efforts across various departments, enables sharing of best practices, and develops tools and policies to address concerns raised within departmental plans Potapchuk and Aspen Institute Roundtable for Community Change, cited in [ 60 ].

An evaluation of the initiative found that the broad goals of the RSJI were disseminated and adequately understood by department managers and change team members.

Most departments embraced the initiative and established change teams to develop and implement work plans [ 64 ]. Workforce equity activities were enhanced and these included the recruitment of people from diverse backgrounds at every level, particularly entry-level positions such as laborers and administrative assistants. However, the city has expressed its commitment to increase upward mobility and professional development opportunities for employees.

From to , the City of Seattle expanded its commitment to racial equality: RSJI received full endorsement of all elected City officials. Seattle City Council requires all City departments to report on the progress of their annual Race and Social Justice Initiative work plans [ 65 ]. The institute provides training, consultation, and leadership development to organizations nationally and internationally.

Workshops aim to enable participants to unpack racism, where it comes from, how it manifests and why it persists, and how to dismantle racism. Training materials include learning from history, developing leadership, ensuring accountability, establishing networking, undoing internalized racism, and understanding the role of organizational gatekeepers in perpetuating racism.

Under the Undoing Racism program, the Community Organizing Strategy Team COST works with community activists to assess their organizations, roles, and relationships in terms of racial and cultural diversity. The Reflection, Assessment, Evaluation Team RAE enables the organization or group to articulate its vision, values, and goals and to measure outcomes in terms of the stated objectives.

In the evaluations conducted, participants have rated Undoing Racism highly, with many participants expressing commitment to address institutional racism. For instance, Mack Burch et al. While 80 percent of participants rated the workshops highly, 90 percent agreed to undertake some form of action to tackle the effects of institutional racism.

Many participants also mentioned that the workshops had impacted them on a personal level, and a number of them have adopted practices to improve cultural competency within their organization and to decrease institutional racism.

Another evaluation of Undoing Racism was conducted by Johnson et al. This evaluation found a high level of participant satisfaction with the training, increased knowledge of issues of race and racism, and increased awareness of racial dynamics [ 67 ]. Since organizations differ in their internal cultures, no cookbook recipes can be suggested for dealing with racism; however, there are significant commonalities in the aforementioned case studies in terms of intervention strategies, outcomes, and key learnings.

It is interesting to note that although several of these interventions included diversity training as one of their components, authors such as Yee and Dumbrill [ 22 ] and Lopez and Thomas [ 40 ] maintain the distinction between the anti-racism approach and diversity training and cultural competence models: they emphasize that the anti-racism approach must acknowledge that racism exists in society and that conflicts between ethnoracial minorities and the dominant group are not due to lack of understanding between groups, but rather a manifestation of power differentials between the dominant group and racialized minorities.

In terms of positive outcomes, anti-racism initiatives have recorded improved representation of diverse employees; better staff seniority profiles; increased sales and productivity; increased retention of visible minority employees; more diverse composition of boards; improved awareness, knowledge, and skills; perceived fair treatment; acceptance of ethnic differences; reduced racial tension [ 60 ]. Several key learnings deserve attention. One of the most salient themes that emerged from the aforementioned initiatives is the need to be cognizant of resistance from some institutions as the effort required to reduce institutional racism becomes evident.

Training for managers and staff emerged as significant in recognizing and addressing race-based discrimination and its consequences. The case studies also demonstrate that transforming the values and culture of individuals and the organization is a time-consuming process and requires long-term commitment. Importantly, anti-racism approach has been criticized for creating psychological discomfort for the dominant group. Strong emotions such as guilt, humiliation, sadness, shame, and embarrassment can result, leading to increased prejudice [ 68 ].

As this educator and author of the present paper experienced in her classrooms in US and Canada, students from the dominant culture may disengage from anti-racism discussions as they become overwhelmed with discussions of race.

The atmosphere of alienation and bias against white people thus engendered can further widen the schism. Where relevant, it is important to focus on the privilege itself rather than painting the entire dominant group with one stroke of brush as inherently racist. Similarly, evidence of racism committed by members of minority ethnic groups should be acknowledged, rather than being hushed or denied. Anti-racism approach must encourage everyone regardless of racial, ethnic, cultural, or religious background to engage with experiences of privilege across other facets of their identity e.

As such, firstly it is imperative for the Canadian version of anti-racism approach to build solidarity with the decolonization struggles of the original inhabitants-Aboriginal peoples [ 70 , 71 ].

Secondly, given the high rates of immigration and racism faced by new immigrants [ 27 ], educating participants about the geopolitical reasons for contemporary outmigration from other countries can reduce racism in the society and contribute to a better understanding of immigrants and their cultures.

Finally, anti-racism in the Canadian context must also debunk common myths, such as immigrants are taking away the jobs of the dominant group [ 72 ].

Experiencing Intercultural Communication PDF

Even today, Canada faces a shortage of skilled workers; moreover, many immigrants are employed in unskilled and low-paid jobs such as meat packing that are not filled by the dominant group. Concluding Comments Despite the fact that diversity makes astute sense for organizational success, visible minorities face discrimination in the hiring process. They are paid less than the dominant group, and they face blocked opportunities in addition to racism in the larger society and community.

While employment equity and diversity and cultural competence initiatives exist in many companies and organizations, they have largely failed to ensure equity and fairness in hiring, retention, and treatment of visible minorities.

Most diversity programs in Canadian workplaces are limited in their scope. Attempts to increase the number of minority hires are inadequate unless they are also coupled with programs to deal with racism in the workplace. Discrimination continues to permeate organizations in subtle, nearly invisible forms due to stereotypical assumptions prevailing in organizational norms and everyday practices.

The importance of the anti-racism approach for organizational success cannot be overstated. The anti-racism framework takes up the challenge of building healthy, inclusive, and antidiscriminatory work environment. However, the anti-racism approach is not without challenges.

This paper has highlighted the key dilemmas faced by anti-racism practice, and it has briefly suggested several directions to make this approach more suitable to the Canadian situation. Undoubtedly, further research and development in anti-racism work in Canada are an urgent priority. Additionally, as Brief et al. Anti-racism initiatives in the workplace must be supplemented by efforts on a national scale with government officials, educators including those in business, commerce, and management disciplines and popular media taking the initiative to debunk the notions of skin color, ethnicity or religious background as markers of inferiority or superiority.

Given the space constraints in this paper, it is suggested that workforce participation of other diverse groups are important and complex topics that merit detailed and separate reviews of their own. Visible minorities will form more than half of the populations of Toronto and Vancouver [ 2 , 22 ]. References K. View at Google Scholar K.

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