SML3009 - Intercultural Communication in a Global World

2022/3 Module description

StaffProfessor Sonia Cunico - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module description

The 21st century is characterised by increasing transnational movements (of people, products, socio-cultural practices, etc.) which affect individual and collective perceptions and understanding of one’s own culture, language, and identity. To succeed in such complex multilingual and multicultural environments, intercultural awareness and competence, (the ability to recognise diversity and to function effectively in the culturally-diverse contexts) is fundamental. This team-taught module will help you deepen your understanding of intercultural communication in a wide range of settings, such as business and organisational contexts, and support the development of a non-essentialist view of culture to avoid stereotyping, prejudice, and othering.This is of particular relevance whether encounters are temporary, as in the case in tourism, or prolonged such as period of study or work abroad, and migration.

Module aims

In this module aims to:

  • Examine critically key theoretical perspectives on identity, language and culture, and explore how these complex concepts affect and inform the dynamics of interactions in multilingual and multicultural settings
  • Explore what intercultural communication is and how an ability to understand diversity and respond effectively and appropriately to unfamiliar cultural practices is an essential competence in any international working and social environment to avoid prejudice, bias, and ‘othering’.
  • Develop a greater sensitivity to cultural and linguistic diversity through engagement with critical concepts such as culture, identity, othering, mis/communication in a range of different contexts and through different media

The module adopts an interdisciplinary approach and it will help you to develop a familiarity with different analytical tools and approaches, and the ability to design and develop an individual research project.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate understanding of the key theoretical notions and concepts in Intercultural Communication Theory as well as their relevance in multilingual and multicultural contexts, and in particular in working environments
  • 2. Demonstrate the development of intercultural competence through the analysis of data which illustrate instances of cultural diversity and/or mis/understanding, bias and prejudice in a broad range of contexts including business and organisation contexts

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Recognise, describe, and evaluate, under guidance from the module tutor/s, a variety of critical responses to case studies and sources
  • 4. Identify, research and critically analyse situations in which aspects of cultural diversity may impact on communication and interaction in global contexts.
  • 5. Recognise and understand the role of language/s as a key locus of personal and sociocultural identity as well as of intercultural mis/understanding
  • 6. Demostrate understanding of and ability to apply relevant theories of intercultural communication and intercultural communicative competence to one’s life experience, real life scenarios, as well as business and organisational contexts.
  • 7. Demonstrate ability to engage with a variety of research approaches, including ethnography of communication, contrastive pragmatics, and discourse analysis

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. Develop intercultural awareness and competence based on engagement with a variety of readings and case studies
  • 9. Undertake an independent research project, which involves data collection and use of appropriate analytical frameworks

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • What is Mis/Communication? Models of communication.
  • Languaging, cultures, and identities – From linguistics to ethnography of communication
  • Intercultural mis/communication: bias, prejudice and othering in the workplace
  • Intercultural transitions: Immigration and acculturation
  • Language bias and prejudice in the workplace
  • Intercultural competence in business discourse and advertising
  • Gender in intercultural communication
  • Linguistic landscapes: harnessing language for tourism
  • Interculturality in the workplace
  • Language/s in Interaction: Crossing linguistic and cultural bridges (How do I say what I mean? And do I really mean what I say?)
  • Cross-Cultural Pragmatics at Work: Managing rapport through talk in the global village (from business to tourism)
  • Managing and resolving intercultural conflicts: Becoming an effective intercultural mediator

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1510 x 1.5 hour lectures and seminar
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1Conclusion
Guided Independent Study134Private study and seminar preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Project proposal written in English750 Words1-9Written and/or oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Project written in English1003000 word project in English1-9Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ProjectProject1-9Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Successful referred students will receive the maximum achievable mark of 40 for their essay. Successful deferred students will have their re-assessment treated as a first attempt, thus the full range of marks will be available.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Guirdham, M. and Guirdham O. (2017) Communicating Across Cultures at Work.Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 4th edition
  • Holliday, A, Hyde, A, and Kullman, J. · (2010) Intercultural Communication: An Advanced Resource Book for Students. Routledge
  • Hua, Zhu (2013) Exploring Intercultural Communication: Language in Action (Routledge Introductions to Applied Linguistics). Routledge
  • Martin, Judith & Nakayama, Thomas (2007 ) Experiencing Intercultural Communication: An Introduction. McGraw-Hill Higher Education
  • Jandt, Fred E. (2015) An Introduction to Intercultural Communication: Identities in a Global Community. SAGE
  • Piller, I. (2011) Intercultural Communication: A Critical Introduction Edinburgh University Press
  • Rings, Guido, and Sebastian Rasinger, eds. The Cambridge Handbook of Intercultural Communication. Cambridge University Press, 2020.

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Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

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Key words search

Intercultural competence, identity, culture, conflictsstereotyping, workplace 

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