Encouraging Depth Rather than Surface Processing about Cultural Differences Through Critical Incidents and Role Plays
Intercultural interactions will increase in the future given international business ventures, immigration patterns, recognition of minority group rights in various countries, and other social changes. People can prepare themselves by participating in formal educational and training programs that deal with understanding cultural differences and with communication across cultural boundaries. One approach to education and training is to analyze critical incidents that depict people in intercultural encounters that involve a misunderstanding or a difficulty. In addition to identifying exact reasons for the difficulties, people can also learn about research-based concepts that assist in understanding many other intercultural interactions they are likely to have in the future. Participants in education and training programs can also prepare short skits that depict aspects of their own culture and how these can be explained to people from other countries. If participants can identify cultural influences on their own behavior, they will be more likely to search for culturally based reasons in their intercultural encounters. The realization that culture affects interpersonal interactions will make attributions based on "difficult personalities" or "purposeful prejudice" less common.
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