Strategic Interpersonal Communication

By John A. Daly; John M. Wiemann | Go to book overview

Chapter 8
Strategies for Effective Communication and Adaptation in Intergroup Contexts

William B. Gudykunst California State University, Fullerton

Bradford 'J' Hall University Wisconsin, Milwaukee

See at a distance an undesirable person;
See close at hand a desirable person;
Come closer to the undesirable person;
Move away from the desirable person;
Coming close and moving apart,
how interesting life is
.

-- Gensho Ogura

Even though the cultural diversity of the population in the United States has increased in the last few decades, communication between people from different cultures and/or ethnic groups is still relatively rare. Most people have little contact with members of other cultures/ethnicities in their daily lives that is not role-related. Some people avoid interacting with members of other cultures/ethnicities and/or view them as "undesirable" people. Either response can lead to members of other cultures/ethnicities being treated in a morally exclusive manner (i.e., outside the boundary for which moral values apply; Optow, 1990). When others perceive that they are seen as undesirable and/or believe they are being treated in a morally exclusive fashion, they may respond with frustration or aggression (e.g., the unrest in Los Angeles in 1992). Individually, however, we can make a difference in the relations between groups in society. To improve relations between groups in society, we must individually communicate as effectively as we can with members of other cultures/ethnicities and be able to adapt our communication when

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