Week 2: Building Your Intercultural Competence: Frameworks and Tools
No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
– John Donne (1572–1631), English poet, satirist, lawyer, cleric in the Church of England
Each person develops a sense of self through communication and interaction with other people. An individual’s environment, community, and culture coalesce to form the personal self. Since personal self forms the only way of knowing from the earliest stages of a human life, it informs the way the individual will interact with new environments, communities, and cultures.
In the last week, you explored how your culture was transmitted to you. You examined your beliefs, values, and norms, your coming of age experience, and how your culture affects the way you communicate with other people. In this week, you consider how properly understood stereotypes can assist in building cultural competence in certain situations. You also apply frameworks and tools to self-assess your skills and support intercultural communication.
Photo credit: Microsoft Corporation. (Producer). MP900430443 [Photo of tropical island in Asia]. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.a…
- Analyze the effect of stereotypes on intercultural communication
- Apply frameworks and tools to support intercultural communication
- Analyze areas of study in the field of intercultural communication to develop intercultural competence
Photo Credit: [Robert Daly]/[OJO Images]/Getty Images
Lustig, M. W., & Koester, J. (2013).
Intercultural competence: Interpersonal communication across cultures (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
- Chapter 3, “Intercultural Communication Competence” (pp. 54–76)
- Chapter 6, “Cultural Identity and Cultural Biases” (pp. 129–150)
Laureate Education. (Producer). (2013b).
The beginning: How one event can affect culture. [Video file]. Retrieved from
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 3 minutes.
Tanaka, K. (Producer). (2013).
What kind of Asian are you? [Video file]. Retrieved from
Discussion: Stereotypes: Categories and Concepts for Understanding the World
Picture a teacher talking to a student. In the instant that you thought of the word teacher, what image of a person jumped into your mind? What were the age, color, gender, and nationality of the imagined teacher? What was the teacher doing and wearing? Similarly, what image of a student appeared in your mind to distinguish between the two people?
Humans understand the world by creating categories and labeling concepts and, in this way, apply the concepts in a new circumstance. Stereotypes fall into this category of labeling concepts. They provide a system of coding that facilitates the acquisition of knowledge. On the other hand, stereotypes often demean people by distorting individual characteristics, skills, and abilities. By classifying people based on perceived characteristics of a group, inaccuracies arise at individual and group levels. These inaccuracies about individuals or groups can inhibit effective communication. As an intercultural communicator, however, there are some instances when using stereotypes can be helpful in gaining a level of cultural competence.
To prepare for your Discussion:
- Review Chapter 6 in the course text. Pay particular attention to the section on stereotyping and the list of cultural categories. Have you seen or heard anyone stereotype any of these cultural categories either in the media or in your own experience?
- Locate common stereotypes about your culture on the Internet. Do any of them surprise you? What is true about these stereotypes? What is untrue?
- Find three common stereotypes of your culture in the media, or, using the cultural categories in Chapter 6 of the course text, think of a personal experience where you were stereotyped by your membership in one of those categories. Do you feel you are stereotyped in specific ways by certain cultural categories?
- Reflect on a personal experience or an example in the media where your culture has been stereotyped by another culture. How does stereotyping by the sender or receiver of the message in this situation affect the intercultural communication?
Note: One of the goals of this course is to promote a wide variety of views. You are encouraged to present your honest personal viewpoint while at all times reflecting a respectful tone for the views of others.
By Day 3
Post a 2- to 3-paragraph description of two examples of a stereotype of your culture that is found in the media or that you experienced personally. Explain the effects that true and untrue aspects of the selected stereotypes have on intercultural communication. Be sure to support your ideas by connecting them to at least one of this week’s Learning Resources. Additionally, you may opt to include an outside academic resource that you have identified.
By Day 5
Respond to the posts of at least two different colleagues in one of the following ways:
- Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
- Expand on your colleague’s posting by providing additional examples on stereotypes found in the media or experienced personally.
- Offer an alternative view on the selected stereotype portrayal.
Support all responses by citing your resources or other scholarly material. For assistance with APA citation, review the Writing Center’s information on APA referencing in the Week 1 Learning Resources.
Submission and Grading Information
To access your rubric:
Week 2 Discussion Rubric
Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 5
To participate in this Discussion:
Week 2 Discussion
Assignment: Intercultural Competence Frameworks and Tools
The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.
– Confucius (550–479 BC), Chinese teacher, editor, politician
In order to get a job done right the first time, a professional accesses the appropriate tools before beginning a project. The job of communicating in intercultural situations requires many tools. These tools and frameworks will assist you in understanding and interpreting other cultures for positive, productive relationship building and successful interaction.
To begin to understand your level of intercultural competence and areas in which you need to improve, you need to be able to evaluate your current behaviors and reactions to intercultural situations. The Behavioral Assessment Scale for Intercultural Competence (BASIC) and description-interpretation-evaluation (D-I-E) are two evaluative tools that you can use in any situation to gain insight into your own behaviors, reactions, and perceptions. This Assignment is an opportunity to practice using evaluative tools in communication situations and will help you improve your intercultural competence.
Photo credit: Microsoft Corporation. (Producer). MP900387119 [Toolbox photo]. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.a…
To prepare for this Assignment:
- Review the BASIC and D-I-E frameworks in Chapter 3 of the course text.
- Bring to mind an example of an intercultural interaction you had with someone whose behavior was annoying or offensive to you. How did you react? What did you think to yourself? Why? Is this a common reaction for you in an intercultural situation?
- Consider possible alternative interpretations for this person’s behavior in this situation. Use the D-I-E framework to help you.
- Think about your own behavior during this interaction. How much intercultural competence did you demonstrate? Use the BASIC dimensions to help you.
By Day 7
Submit a 2- to 3-page paper with four parts in which you:
- Part 1: Briefly, and as objectively as possible, describe the intercultural interaction with someone whose behavior was annoying or offensive to you that you thought of in the “To prepare” section.
- Part 2: Describe the situation using the D-I-E framework. Report on the alternative interpretations and evaluations that emerged from this activity. Explain what new insight this gives you into the situation and your reaction to it.
- Part 3: Using the BASIC dimensions, evaluate your behaviors during this interaction and explain what this evaluation reveals about your intercultural interactions.
- Part 4: Conclude with an explanation of how this exercise would help you prepare for an international job assignment.
Submission and Grading Information
To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:
- Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “WK2Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” as the name.
- Click the Week 2 Assignment Rubric to review the Grading Criteria for the Assignment.
- Click the Week 2 Assignment link. You will also be able to “View Rubric” for grading criteria from this area.
- Next, from the Attach File area, click on the Browse My Computer button. Find the document you saved as “WK2Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” and click Open.
- If applicable: From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database.
- Click on the Submit button to complete your submission.
To access your rubric:
Week 2 Assignment Rubric
Check Your Assignment Draft for Authenticity
To check your Assignment draft for authenticity:
Submit your Week 2 Assignment draft and review the originality report.
Submit Your Assignment by Day 7
To submit your Assignment:
Week 2 Assignment