ORGC 316 Hirokawa Part VII_final


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Hirokawa et al. Part VII: Diversity in Groups By Sherri L. Ter Molen

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What’s under your book cover? What is diversity? It’s not just variations in skin color. One person has one experience. Another person has a different experience. We put those two experiences together, & we have diversity of thought! Synergy is a term thrown around in business all the time. Do you remember what it means? Now is the time to review it on pp. 5-6! Here come your learning objectives… 1

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Learning Objectives To distinguish between diversity of skin color & diversity of thought To identify the importance of diversity in group decision-making To appraise one’s own experience with diversity 2

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What is culture? Hirokawa et al. “define culture as the sum total of beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, perceptions, customs, practices, language, & other artifacts of social life that are learned, shared, & passed on by a group of people,” (p. 215). 3

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Cultural Bliss 4 Where we come from impacts the way we judge the world. Some Dutch think root beer is repulsive whereas many Americans can’t imagine eating maatjesharing! Some cultural groups value team sports whereas others prefer individual sports. Some cultural groups think recycling is important and make it easy for their citizens to take care of the earth. Other cultural groups don’t.

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Does our cultural diversity impact communication? Jeff just got a new job at a public relations firm! The salary is larger than he expected, & the benefits are awesome! However, he notices that he’s the only one of his sex in the department. Does it matter? Should it? 5

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Do you remember the difference between sex & gender from last week? 6 Seem familiar? If not, review pp. 219-220!

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Jeff is using instrumental communication. Perhaps he should rely a little more on expressive communication since relationships seem important in this firm. See p. 221! Jeff’s PR Adventure On Jeff’s first day, his co-workers take him to lunch to welcome him. Slowly but surely over the course of a few months, he finds himself outside their social circle however. His boss, Karen, tells him that he’s doing good work but that she’d like to see him be a bit friendlier. She’s concerned that he doesn’t say, “Good morning!” before he accosts co-workers about deadlines. 7

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Jeff assumes that guys value work & that women value relationships. However, most men & women understand that relationships are important for group task completion. See pp. 221-222. Jeff’s PR Adventure Jeff is frustrated. He doesn’t see why he should waste time with niceties when there’s so much work to do. He complains to Hyung, a guy who works in another department, assuming that Hyung will see things his way. However, Hyung defends Karen’s position. Hyung says it’s an important part of the firm’s culture to be friendly! 8

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Karen assumed Jeff’s gender (as separate from sex) based on his communication style. Communication style is not always a good indication of someone’s sex or gender. Refer to Chapter 19! Jeff’s PR Adventure Jeff tries to be friendlier, but he’s just too busy to think about it most of the time. Jeff works really long hours. One day, Karen brings him a package from a client and tells him that she needs him to stay late to work on an urgent project. Jeff tells Karen he can’t keep working these long hours. He tells Karen that he and his same-sex partner are having problems because he’s always working. Karen is surprised. Jeff is gay? 9

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Karen leans toward group orientation. However, she also exhibits force in her communication. One person can exhibit both “masculine” & “feminine” communication styles. See p. 222! Jeff’s PR Adventure Karen understands because her relationships are affected by the long hours she works too. However, clients have to come first. She tells Jeff that she appreciates his long hours, but she reminds him that the entire team puts in a lot of hours. She firmly asserts that she really needs him to stay late once again. 10

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Jeff’s PR Adventure Ooh! It looks like conflict is arising! Men are viewed to be more assertive. Women are viewed to be more submissive. Based on what you know about Jeff & Karen, who do you think will win this battle? Will Jeff stay late again? Review the section entitled “Conflict Styles” on pp. 224-225. 11

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Jeff’s PR Adventure Jeff caves. He agrees to stay late. He doesn’t want to have more problems than he’s already having at work. He & his partner recently bought a condo, & he can’t afford to lose his job. Ginger in the next cube overhears the exchange. She thinks it’s wimpy that Jeff backed down, but she also thinks that Karen should have been more understanding. She’s a woman, after all. Is Ginger’s reaction typical? Read more on pp. 225-226! 12

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Jeff’s PR Adventure The following week, Jeff is introduced to Nick who has just joined the company. Jeff is thrilled! Finally! There is another guy on his team! However, Jeff notices that Nick is even less friendly than he is! Nick hardly talks at all! Nick lived most of his life in Greece before he moved to New York and then Chicago. Nick is from a high-context culture. What does this mean? 13

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High-Context Communication 14 In high-context cultures, people are less verbal. Sometimes, people simply share understandings. At other times, information is relayed through non-verbal communication or through other physical means. For example if a coach pats a football player on the shoulder after a play, the football player understands that she did a good job even though the coach doesn’t say a word!

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Low-Context Communication 15 In low-context cultures, people are more verbal. They convey almost all information through words. For example if a visitor to Chicago asks how to get to Wrigley Field from the Loop, the explanation of where to get on the Red Line and where to get off the El could take several minutes to describe!

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Jeff’s PR Adventure Jeff has a flashback. He studied for a summer in Japan where he was the only non-Japanese intern in a PR firm. At the time, he was taking a Communication class, & he learned terms such as high-context and low-context communication. He also learned other intercultural communication terms. He thinks hard. What were these terms? 16

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Intercultural Communication Individualism vs. Collectivism 17 Power Distance Uncertainty Avoidance Face Turn Taking

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Jeff’s PR Adventure Jeff suddenly realizes that he was more aware of cultural differences when he was studying & interning in Japan where he tried to understand and follow local customs. Maybe he could do the same thing in the PR firm in Chicago! That night, he goes home & pulls out his old Communication textbooks. 18

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A Happy Ending 19 As Jeff applies his prior experiences & intercultural knowledge to his new workplace, his relationships improve. Eventually, Jeff is chosen to manage a new account, which takes him to Toronto, Tokyo, & Tel Aviv! His understanding of intercultural communication in groups & teams takes him far!

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Look at these great PR examples! Small groups often start out with small ideas that escalate to large ideas & include people from all different backgrounds & experiences. Look at this video about the importance of diversity in business & this PR example that’s full of diversity on YouTube! YouTube -- How Does Diversity Impact Business Today? YouTube -- Emerson College Lady Gaga LipDub These links are also posted on D2L! 20

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What we’ll leave in our wake… 21 This is the last reading assignment & PowerPoint in this class. I hope you will take a lot away with you. May you be like Jeff & apply what you learn so that you can achieve all of your dreams! Diversity is really cool. Embrace it!

Summary: ORGC 316 Hirokawa Part VII - Week 9 - Sherri Ter Molen

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