Interpersonal Communication and Cultural Stereotypes

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In recent years interactions between people from different cultures have increased, and this has been primarily due to globalization. Nowadays, many of us are living in a globalized society, and we must be able to understand other cultures better to connect with them. Cultural stereotypes and interactions can be difficult to navigate for the individual who’s part of this particular culture and those from a different one. This paper will take an in-depth look at how interpersonal communications help solves cultural stereotypes, how language can be a barrier in these relationships, and how diversity influences these matters.

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Interpersonal Communication and Cultural Stereotypes

Culture is our life and how we communicate, and it brings people together and prevents divisions while helping to keep conflicts at bay. Communication is a skill that needs to be practiced and developed, and interpersonal communication is one of the most important skills in the workplace today. It is important because it helps us learn about ourselves and others; it helps us build relationships with those who are different from us; it helps us work better together as a team. Interpersonal communication can sometimes be difficult to navigate (Peltokorpi and Hood, 2019, p. 655). It requires us to be receptive and understanding of others while being assertive and competitive when necessary. Communicating effectively with others will help you lower stress levels, increase productivity, and build relationships with those around you. Intercultural communication is the communication happening between people in different cultures. It can include anything from verbal to nonverbal communication. Using nonverbal strategies effectively in intercultural situations can be much more effective than relying on verbal communication (Bonfadelli, 2017, p. 9). Nonverbal cues like gestures and facial expressions are useful in communicating with people who do not share your language. For example, an inability to speak a person’s language is typically the case, especially if not speaking it at all. A greeting like bowing or kissing both cheeks usually exist in some cultures and an interview setting.

Communication is important and can be difficult when you have different cultures, but that does not mean there are obstacles in your way. Sometimes other cultures are unfamiliar to you, and it can come off as them trying to claim what belongs to them for their benefit. Cultural stereotypes are an important part of human communication and are often used to categorize people into groups. People are often categorized according to race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, and gender. For example, people in Western culture might believe Asians are more intelligent than Americans because Asians have a higher average IQ than Americans. However, there is a lack of evidence supporting this theory and many other theories about culture and intelligence. Cultural stereotypes help us understand the norms and values of people from different cultures. However, cultural stereotypes can also lead to misunderstandings and miscommunication among individuals. It is where intercultural communication comes in. Echterhoff and Schmalbach (2018, p.59) define intercultural communication as the process of understanding other cultures and adapting to them for better communication outcomes. It is a process that requires mutual respect, understanding, and empathy for all parties involved.

Stereotypes are a result of a homogenous society. Diversity is a key factor in how we think about society, how we perceive the world, and how others view us. Diversity influences stereotypes through the idea of “us vs. them,” which can sometimes lead to discrimination based on race or gender, etc. When you lack diversity, you tend to see things in black-and-white terms, which leads to generalizations and prejudices. The lack of diversity in society is not just limited to the workplace but also influences what we see in our daily lives. We often see things as either good or bad without considering the different opinions and beliefs that people may have. It leads to stereotypes and prejudices that can be damaging for everyone involved. Some stereotypes are found in different groups of people using the same attitudes or characteristics within their group. Ye et al. (2021) assert that stereotypes are inaccurate and can lead to discriminatory behavior, inhibiting effective communication. Many people find it difficult to relate with individuals from different walks of life. For some people, this leads to a feeling of loneliness and isolation, which can cause an array of other mental problems. Computer-aided personalization also helps in overcoming these problems. Communication is fundamental to teamwork, and understanding different cultural groups are crucial. If the trust breaks down, it can result in a significant hindrance to the progress of your company.

To avoid cultural stereotypes from becoming an issue in intercultural communication between individuals from different cultures, one should try to understand the beliefs and values of the other person first before jumping into a conversation about differences between two cultures or beliefs (Thomas and Osland, 2017, p. 97). This way, they can avoid arguing about their different beliefs in front of somebody who is not a part of those cultures, therefore avoiding any criticism that could be made. In early communication, new acquaintances usually check to determine whether common grounds, values, and interests exist. Intercultural communication and cultural stereotypes are influenced by language, cultural diversity, and affinity levels between people in different cultures.

One of the symbols of a culture is its language. Language is how each individual differentiates themself from others and represents who they are. Language communicates values, beliefs, norms, environment, and character that all add to an individual’s identity (Beukeboom and Burgers, 2019, p. 23). Culture influences the way an individual thinks or expresses their thoughts. Since language is how we communicate with one another, culture influences how individuals express themselves and the words they use to do so. Language can play a big role in how people interact in various situations. Interpersonal conversations like visiting doctors, going to school, or buying groceries can all be more difficult because of the language barriers between parties. For instance, a student was bullied because they could not speak English fluently. As a result, they were less able to connect with their classmates, making school life even more difficult and discouraging. While pronunciation is an important factor, language and culture are important concepts that must be understood. They are so interdependent that without one, the other cannot exist. Different languages have different meanings and values (Jackson, 2020). For example, sayings and norms differ from country to country. Language can create or reproduce culture by naming and normalizing practices valued by a particular culture.

Furthermore, cultural diversity is an important part of intercultural communication, and cultural stereotypes can play a key role in how you approach your work. When they are brought together in this context, they help to develop a better understanding of everyone involved. An example of a diverse nation is the United States, which contains ethnic groups, cultures, food, and people. The purpose of diversity is to create an interconnected world where different cultures can learn from each other and adapt to each other’s culture (Cuartas Álvarez, 2020). You can gain more understanding and intercultural communication styles with knowledge of other cultural values. You also will see a positive effect of interracial marriage from the diversity that pushes for innovation within the culture. Interracial marriage is becoming a more common occurrence in our society. One example is a marriage between an Indian woman and a Caucasian man – their different cultures bring acceptance from both families.

Ethnocentrism is the practice of evaluating a cultural norm as better than others. It is also commonly associated with greater prejudice and ignorance of other cultures. Ethnocentrism is hard to define—it is either negative or positive. Negative ethnocentrism brings about harmful effects and hatred, but positive ethnocentrism leads to passion, love, and promotion of one’s own culture. In other words, “ethnic nepotism” can be positive or negative. America is ethnocentric because it has discriminated against minorities and people from “out of the country” for many years. According to Airth (2022), ethnocentrism is a major obstacle in communication. The inability to provide accommodative or receptive responses when interacting with people from other cultures, to incorporate different norms and values, is important in creating intercultural understanding. Many consider the amount of empathy that the human race has for other cultures admirable. However, this way of thinking is insufficient and must be maintained at all costs. You must show appreciation and respect for another culture and try to learn about it to increase acceptance, understanding, and harmony with said culture. Communicating with people from other backgrounds is key to amicable relations and business-wise operations. The willingness to communicate makes intercultural communication challenging concerning intercultural understanding.

In conclusion, more intercultural communication in variable cultures will eliminate language barriers, stereotypes, and ethnocentrism. People will appreciate diversity and enable a harmonious coexistence among all people and cultures. Introducing multiculturalism and cultural awareness in the three tiers of education can help students, especially in social studies and history classes. It allows them to study intercultural communication, stereotypes, and the need to communicate with other cultures.


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  3. Bonfadelli, H. (2017) “Media effects: Across and between cultures,” The International Encyclopedia of Media Effects. Wiley, pp. 1–16. doi: 10.1002/9781118783764.wbieme0028.
  4. Cuartas Álvarez, L. F. (2020) “Intercultural communicative competence: In-service EFL teachers building understanding through study groups,” PROFILE Issues in Teachers Professional Development, 22(1), pp. 75–92. doi: 10.15446/profile. v22n1.76796.
  5. Echterhoff, G. and Schmalbach, B. (2018) “How shared reality is created in interpersonal communication,” Current opinion in psychology, 23, pp. 57–61. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2017.12.005.
  6. Jackson, J. (ed.) (2020) The Routledge handbook of language and intercultural communication. Routledge.
  7. Peltokorpi, V. and Hood, A. C. (2019) “Communication in theory and research on transactive memory systems: A literature review,” Topics in cognitive science, 11(4), pp. 644–667. doi: 10.1111/tops.12359.
  8. Thomas, D. C. and Osland, J. S. (2017) “Mindful Communication,” in The Blackwell Handbook of Global Management. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, pp. 94–108.
  9. Ye, J. et al. (2021) “The audience-tuning effect of negative stereotypes in communication,” Frontiers in psychology, 12, p. 663814. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.663814.
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Interpersonal Communication and Cultural Stereotypes. (2019, Sep 03). Retrieved from