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Impact of Cultural Factors on Effective Interpersonal Communication Strategies

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This final paper outline presents a concise overview of the main points of the paper to be presented by the author. Five learning outcomes in interpersonal communication study area are selected and analyzed from the point of view of the purpose of the future research.

Keywords: effective interpersonal communication, intercultural exchange, cultural studies

Impact of Cultural Factors on Effective Interpersonal Communication Strategies


The cross-cultural communications appear to be drawing intense attention from both the media and the general public. Given the enlarged scope of intercultural relations in the Western nations, it is imperative that the study of the impact of culture on interpersonal communication be accorded a greater role. Thus, the purpose of the final paper shall be connected with elucidating the influence of cultural factors on interpersonal communication in modern society, with a view to understanding the link between cultural affinity and effective interpersonal communication strategies.

The following learning outcomes shall be used in drafting the paper:

Impact of gender and culture on interpersonal communications

Proceeding from the selected subject of the paper, it is necessary to deal with the influence exerted by gender and culture attachment of individuals on their interpersonal communications. Following Brabant, Watson, & Gallois (2007), the author shall examine both socio-psychological and linguistic aspects of intercultural communications, with the special attention being paid to the impact of group thinking (i.e. “intergroup” communications) on the interactants’ reactions and communication strategies.

The author shall review and compare diverse methodologies of research in intercultural communications, including simulated intercultural communication, intercultural communication competence (ICC), and cross-cultural adaptation theories (Brabant, Watson, & Gallois, 2007, pp.58-62).  The core assumption to be tested is that of dichotomy between individualistic and collectivist cultures that has an impact upon interpersonal communications between individuals belonging to different cultural milieus.

Evaluation of appropriate levels of self-disclosure in relationships

Following Chen (1995), the key assumption of the final paper shall be connected with the notion of difference in appropriate self-disclosure levels between members of individualistic and collectivist cultures. The results of the 1995 survey carried out by Chen (1995) will be used as a key reference to determination of the relevant levels of self-disclosure in interpersonal communication among diverse cultural groups. Self-disclosure shall be conceptualized as a factor dependent on cultural heritage of the interactants, which would have a bearing on the results of their effective communication. In addition, the issue of intercultural sensitivity shall be explored, with appropriate conclusions drawn on the impact of a culture’s self-disclosure tolerance on the former attribute (Hammer, Bennett, & Wiseman, 2003).

Identifying the barriers to effective interpersonal communications

Given the difficulties arising in intercultural communication, the analysis of interpersonal communication barriers in the light of the field’s specificity shall be an integral part of the final paper. Barna (1994) identifies six “stumbling blocks” in intercultural communications. Of these, the “assumption of cultural similarity” factor seems to be most pernicious, with the interactants wrongly assuming that the human species’ biological unity necessarily leads to similar responses toward nonverbal messages and symbolic codes (Barna, 1994, p.337). The other intercultural communication barriers may include language misunderstandings (depending on cultural context of verbal messages), nonverbal misinterpretations (i.e. lack of understanding of the specific nonverbal signals), preconceptions and stereotypes, tendency to evaluate the messages from the other culture’s interactant from the angle of perception characteristic of one’s own culture, and the high anxiety caused by interaction with unfamiliar culture’s members (Barna, 1994).

Strategies for managing interpersonal conflicts

The overcoming of cross-cultural communication barriers would involve the development of effective interpersonal conflicts management strategies. Accordingly, the paradigm introduced by Ting-Toomey & Oetzel (2001), exemplified by a culture-based situational model of an interpersonal conflict in cross-cultural environment, shall be utilized for the purposes of the final paper. Three core dimensions of intercultural communication conflict management will be introduced, with both collectivist and individualist perspectives on the factors and circumstances of intercultural conflict management included (Ting-Toomey & Oetzel, 2001, pp.174-177). The discussion of various types of monologue and dialogue-based interpersonal conflict resolution strategies shall be integrated in the overall framework of the paper’s narrative. A particular emphasis shall be placed on application of transcendent discourse and interaction adaptability approaches in cross-cultural interpersonal conflict management (Ting-Toomey & Oetzel, 2001, pp. 193-195).

Emotional intelligence and its role in effective interpersonal relationships

The impact of emotional reactions and expressions on effective interpersonal communication cannot be underestimated. Therefore, the final paper shall make use of the research in the field of cross-cultural emotional intelligence (EI) studies, in order to construct an effective framework for understanding the impact of nonverbal communications on cross-cultural interpersonal interactions. Following Elfenbein (2006), the feedback from the studies dealing with the emotional perception of face expressions from the persons of different cultural groups shall be utilized to obtain a better awareness of the impact of cultural factors on emotional intelligence.


Proceeding from the aforementioned, it is possible to conclude that the final paper shall encompass various learning outcomes’ focuses, so as to construct a viable and multifaceted representation of the research issues. Subsequently, the implementation of theoretical approaches referred therein would contribute to better understanding of the complexities of cross-cultural interpersonal communications.

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