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How has the “changing face” of Canada affected your daily interactions?

  • Effective communicators learn how to understand, respect, and adapt to cultural diversity.
  • By 2031, one in three workers in Canada will be from a visible minority.
  • Culture is a learned set of shared interpretations about beliefs, values, and norms that affect the behaviours of a relatively large group of people.
  • Co-cultures exist within the mainstream of society yet remain connected to one another through their cultural heritage.

How do ethnocentrism, stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, and racism affect communication?

  • Ethnocentrism is a belief that your culture is superior to others; stereotypes are generalizations about a group of people that oversimplify their characteristics.
  • Stereotypes lead to prejudices, which can be perceived as positive or negative attitudes about an individual or cultural group based on little or no direct experience.
  • Prejudice leads to discrimination, the exclusion of groups of people from opportunities granted to others.
  • In the extreme, prejudice and discrimination lead to racism, which justifies dominating and mistreating people of other races.

Why is it so important to understand cultural diversity?

  • When we view race as a socially constructed concept, it becomes a very neutral and natural characteristic.
  • Many people are not literate about others’ religions or about their own religion. This lack of knowledge can affect their ability to communicate effectively with others.

What cultural dimensions affect the way you communicate with others?

  • The individualism/collectivism cultural dimension contrasts independence and personal achievement with interdependence and group values.
  • The power distance cultural dimension examines the physical and psychological distance between those with power and those without power.
  • The masculine/feminine values cultural dimension contrasts an assertive and tough perspective with a more modest and tender perspective.
  • The high-/low-context cultural dimension focuses on whether meaning is expressed in words or through nonverbal communication and the nature of personal relationships.
  • The monochronic/polychromic time cultural dimension contrasts cultures that value time and concentrate on one job at a time and cultures that are not controlled by time and are easily accept interruptions and distractions.

What strategies can help you understand, respect, and effectively communicate with “others”?

  • Effective communicators are mindful; that is, they are receptive to new information and are responsive to and respectful of other perspectives.
  • Communication accommodation theory provides principles to help understand, respect, and successfully adapt to others without stereotyping.
  • Finding ways to interact and actively engage people who are different than you are can help you become a better communicator.