Antonio and Charlotte are managers in a medium-sized organization and chair the organization’s new diversity committee. They are excited to implement the strategies for creating an equitable workplace where people feel they belong.
During a team meeting, Bob comments that the accounting department is already intercultural and doesn’t need any DEI training or initiatives. To make his point, he states, “Three of our accountants are Korean, and one is Black, plus our department assistant is Spanish or Latin or something. We just promoted a woman to be team lead on the Cooper Incorporated account. Besides, our people in accounting don’t want to be singled out for their culture. They are all part of the regular team like the rest of us non-diversity folks. We just want to do our job well and get recognized for that. Your plan is just going to make them feel different from the rest of us.”
Antonio and Charlotte assess Bob’s comments and decide some education around distinguishing between multiculturalism and interculturalism is needed. Complete the items below to help Antonio and Charlotte plan the learning events.
- Create an email that would be dispersed to the entire organization that briefly but directly explains the difference between multiculturalism and interculturalism. Provide an example of each ideology.
- Write an email to Bob’s manager, the head of the accounting department, using Bob’s comments to explain the distinction between multiculturalism and interculturalism. The purpose of this email is to provide context for conversations between Bob and his manager and how he can grow in this area. Be clear about the barriers to intercultural communication evident in Bob’s comments (listed below):
- Narrow cultural framing: Framing is how a person views the world and other people in the world. When a person’s frames are limited to their own cultural perspective, biases, and preferences, then communicating effectively with others is difficult.
- Ethnocentric thinking: Making assumptions and judgements about other cultures based on one’s own culture, so that other cultures are defined only in comparison to one’s own culture, not as fully formed entities.
- Erroneous attributing: Assigning or attributing meaning to a person or group based on our own thoughts, assumptions, or judgements without proof that the assigned meanings are accurate. Acting on these attributions interferes with effective intercultural communication.
- Stereotyping: Painting a group with a broad brush instead of recognizing each person’s individuality and the variation within a culture.