Chapter 1: Challenges of living in a global society
McLuhan ‘Global village’ – a future world in which communication technology brings
news and information to the most remote parts of the world.
Globalisation is the process of increasing interconnectedness between societies, so that
events in one place of the world have more and deeper effects on people and societies far
In the past, people only came in contact to those in their immediate circumference. Today,
being able to travel, skype etc. we can meet literally everyone.
Global transformation – the worldwide economic and technological changes that influence
how people can relate to one another. (clothes, food, cars etc.)
More scarce resources can be used
Lack of communication competence
Increased competitive advantage
Attitude problems (mistrust)
Cultural diversity – acceptance
Conflicts of expectations
Contribute to society and economy
Multiculturalism at a descriptive level is a society with diverse cultures. As an attitude, it can
refer to a society’s tolerance towards diversity and acceptance of equal societal
Cultural relativists try to evaluate the behaviours of a culture using that culture’s
assumptions about reality.
Three competencies essential in the global workplace
1. Intercultural communication skills
2. Problem-solving ability
3. Global leadership
Quick Summary Chapter 1
Advancement in communication technologies, modern transport systems, global
economy, international business, mass migration and international exchange are
major contributors to cultural diversity in our society.
While geographic boarders that used to separate people and countries are receding,
there are various issues associated with globalisation and challenges we face by
living in a global village, which highlight the necessity of acquiring skills in
Our culture governs our behaviour; however our way of doing may be neither the
only nor the only right way. Different cultural customs and practices need to be
interpreted in their own contexts.
In order to harness the benefits of cultural diversity in our society, we need to
develop sound knowledge and skills in communicating with people from different
The study of intercultural communication equips us with the necessary knowledge
and dynamic skills to manage differences efficiently and effectively.
Additional lecture notes chapter 1…
Milgram’s Small world experiment ‘Six degrees of separation’ network theory
The idea that all living things and everything else in the world are six or fewer steps
away from each other so that a chain of ‘a friend of a friend’ statements can be made
to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.
2012…small world experiment 2.0
Distance between two random Facebook users 3.57 degrees of separation (smaller world)
Globalisation in business
…trade around the world
The idea that the world is developing in a single economy and culture as result of improved
technology and communications.
Three perspectives of globalisation
1. Globalists: inevitable development, cannot be resisted or significantly influenced by
2. Traditionalist: most economic and social activity is regional, rather than global,
significant role of nation-states
3. Transformationalists: significant shift, but there is still significant scope for national,
Contributors to cultural diversity
1. Advanced technology and transportation and increased mobility
2. Global economy and business transactions
3. Mass migration and international exchange
4. Globalised economy and business (global transformation (local market as diverse as
global market), international expansion (MNC’s operating globally, outsourcing low-
wage countries)) and diverse workforce (migrant workers, expats)
5. Mass migration and international exchange (from developing to developed countries)
Facilitating cross-cultural adaptation (the tension between immigrants and host nationals
often centres on the issue of cultural maintenance)