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Intercultural Communication

Intercultural Communication
A Contextual Approach

Seventh Edition
Additional resources:

January 2017 | 528 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

“…offers knowledge, voices, discussions, and activities that will greatly help students engage and embody the learning experiences of intercultural communication in and out of the classroom.”

Bin Zhang, PhD., South Puget Sound Community College


In the fully updated Seventh Edition of Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, bestselling author James W. Neuliep provides a clear contextual model (visually depicted by a series of concentric circles) for examining communication within cultural, microcultural, environmental, sociorelational, and perceptual contexts. Students are first introduced to the broadest context—the cultural component of the model—and progress chapter by chapter through the model to the most specific dimensions of communication. Each chapter focuses on one context and explores the combination of factors within that context, including setting, situation, and circumstances. Highlighting values, ethnicity, physical geography, and attitudes, the book examines means of interaction, including body language, eye contact, and exchange of words, as well as the stages of relationships, cross-cultural management, intercultural conflict, and culture shock.

A Note on Culture and Language
Chapter 1: The Necessity of Intercultural Communication
The Need for Intercultural Communication  
Benefits of Intercultural Communication  
Diversity in the United States  
Human Communication  
The Nature of Human Communication  
Human Communication Apprehension  
The Nature of Culture  
Accumulated Pattern of Values, Beliefs, and Behaviors  
An Identifiable Group of People With a Common History  
Verbal and Nonverbal Symbol Systems  
Microcultural Groups  
The Study of Intercultural Communication  
A Contextual Model of Intercultural Communication  
Intercultural Communication and Uncertainty  
Intercultural Communication Apprehension  
Fundamental Assumptions About Intercultural Communication  
The Ethics of Intercultural Communication  
The Five Approaches to Determining Which Behaviors Are Ethical  
The Ethical Principles of Eastern Cultures  
The Goal: Intercultural Communication Competence  
An Integrated Model and Measure of Intercultural Communication Competence  
Chapter Summary  
Discussion Questions  
Developing Intercultural Communication Competence  
Key Terms  
Chapter 2: The Cultural Context
Individualism Versus Collectivism?  
So, Who’s an Individualist, and Who’s a Collectivist?  
Patterns of Individualism and Collectivism Across the United States  
Communication Consequences of Individualism-Collectivism  
Vertical and Horizontal Individualism and Collectivism  
The Pancultural Self  
High- and Low-Context Communication  
Characteristics of High- and Low-Context Cultures  
Value Orientations  
Schwartz Theory of Basic Values  
Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck’s Value Orientations  
Power Distance  
Measuring Power Distance  
Communication and Power Distance  
Uncertainty Avoidance  
A Theory of Uncertainty Orientation  
Chapter Summary  
Discussion Questions  
Ethical Considerations Within the Cultural Context  
Developing Intercultural Communication Competence  
Key Terms  
Chapter 3: The Microcultural Context
Microcultural Group Status  
Muted Microcultural Groups  
Microcultures in the United States  
Black Americans  
Asian Americans  
Normative Communication Styles of Black Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics/Latinos  
Native Americans/American Indians  
Arab Americans  
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning Microcultural Groups  
Chapter Summary  
Discussion Questions  
Ethical Issues And Microcultures  
Developing Intercultural Communication Competence  
Key Terms  
Chapter 4: The Environmental Context
Environments and Information Load  
Culture and the Natural Environment  
Worldviews of the Natural Environment  
Natural Disasters as Cultural and Social Events  
The Built Environment  
Cross-Cultural Comparisons of Housing  
Japanese Housing  
American Navajo Housing  
Muslim Homes  
Perceptions of Privacy in the United States  
Cross-Cultural Variations on Privacy  
Online Privacy Across Cultures  
Monochronic Versus Polychronic Time Orientation  
Consequences of Monochronic and Polychronic Orientations  
Chapter Summary  
Discussion Questions  
Ethics and the Environmental Context  
Developing Intercultural Communication Competence  
Key Terms  
Chapter 5: The Perceptual Context
Culture and Cognition  
The Geography of Thought  
A Model of Human Information Processing  
Cross-Cultural Differences in Sensation and Perception  
Cross-Cultural Differences in Memory and Retrieval  
Categorization and Mental Economy  
Racial and Ethnic Stereotypes  
U.S. Stereotypes  
Media Influence on Stereotypes  
Stereotype Content Model  
Why Stereotype?  
Stereotypes and Expectations  
A Contemporary Conceptualization of Ethnocentrism  
Ethnocenterism, Intercultural Communication, and Interpersonal Perception  
Ethnocenterism and Communication in the Workplace  
Ethnocentrism and Racism  
Chapter Summary  
Discussion Questions  
Ethics and the Perceptual Context  
Developing Intercultural Competence  
Key Terms  
Chapter 6: The Sociorelational Context
Dimensions of Group Variability  
Membership and Nonmembership Groups  
In-Groups and Out-Groups  
Reference Groups  
Role Relationships  
Role Differentiation and Stratification  
Family Groups  
Sex and Gender Groups  
Sex and Gender Roles Across Cultures  
Saudi Arabia  
Chapter Summary  
Discussion Questions  
Ethics and the Sociorelational Context  
Developing Intercultural Communication Competence  
Key Terms  
Chapter 7: The Verbal Code
The Relationship Between Language and Culture  
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis  
The Structure of Human Language  
Sounds and Symbols  
Syntax and Universal Grammar  
Universals of Language  
Generative Grammar  
The Gendering of Language: Are Languages Sexist?  
Elaborated and Restricted Codes  
Cross-Cultural Communication Styles  
Direct and Indirect Styles  
Elaborate, Exacting, and Succinct Styles  
Personal and Contextual Styles  
Instrumental and Affective Styles  
Gendered Language Style Across Cultures  
Language and Ethnic Identity  
Do You Speak "American"?  
Chapter Summary  
Discussion Questions  
Ethics and the Verbal Code  
Developing Intercultural Communication Competence  
Key Terms  
Chapter 8: The Nonverbal Code
Definitions of Nonverbal Communication  
The Relationship Between Verbal and Nonverbal Codes  
Formal Versus Informal Code Systems  
Channels of Nonverbal Communication  
Physical Appearance and Dress  
Nonverbal Communication and Dimensions of Cultural Variability  
Power Distance  
High and Low Context  
Nonverbal Expectancy Violations Theory  
Cultural Contexts and Nonverbal Expectancies  
Chapter Summary  
Discussion Questions  
Ethics and the Nonverbal Code  
Developing Intercultural Communication Competence  
Key Terms  
Chapter 9: Developing Intercultural Relationships
Communication and Uncertainty  
Anxiety/Uncertainty Management Theory of Effective Communication  
Uncertainty Reduction and Intercultural Communication Apprehension  
Assessing Sociocommunicative Orientation/Style  
Empathy and Similarity in Relationship Development  
Perceptions of Relational Intimacy Across Cultures  
Eastern and Western Cultures and Relationships  
Interethnic and Interracial Relationships and Marriages  
Intercultural Relational Maintenance  
The Internet as Relational Maintenance  
Mate Selection and Desirability Across Cultures  
Arranged Marriages  
Marital Dissolution and Divorce Across Cultures  
Chapter Summary  
Discussion Questions  
Ethics and Intercultural Relationships  
Developing Intercultural Communication Competence  
Key Terms  
Chapter 10: Intercultural Conflict
Definition of Intercultural Conflict  
Kim’s Model of Intercultural Conflict  
A Culture-Based Social Ecological Conflict Model  
Intercultural Dialogue, Conflict Resolution, and a Culture of Peace  
The Concept of Face, Facework, and Communication Conflict Styles  
Conflict Communication Styles  
The Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory  
Individualistic and Collectivistic Approaches to Conflict  
Conflict Resolution in High- Versus Low-Context Cultures  
Resolving Cross-Cultural Conflict: A Contingency Model  
Chapter Summary  
Discussion Questions  
Ethics and Intercultural Conflict  
Developing Intercultural Communication Competence  
Key Terms  
Chapter 11: Intercultural Communication in Business, Health Care, and Educational Settings
Intercultural Management  
Management Practices Across Cultures  
Japanese Management Practices  
German Management Practices  
Mexican Management Practices  
Chinese Management Practices  
Culture, Intercultural Communication, and Health Care  
Lay Theories of Illness  
Health Care and Resources Across Cultures  
Health Communication  
Provider-Patient Communication  
Intercultural Communication and Educational Settings  
Learning Styles Across Cultures  
Teacher Immediacy in the Classroom and Across Cultures  
Some Recommendations for the Intercultural Classroom  
Chapter Summary  
Discussion Questions  
Ethical Considerations  
Developing Intercultural Communication Competence  
Key Terms  
Chapter 12: Acculturation, Culture Shock, and Intercultural Competence
Acculturative Stress  
A Model of Acculturation  
Modes of Acculturation  
Acculturation in the United States  
Culture Shock  
W-Curve Models of Reentry Culture Shock  
Strategies for Managing Culture Shock  
Indicators of Success in the Intercultural Context  
Intercultural Communication Competence  
A Model of Intercultural Competence  
Situational Features  
Chapter Summary  
Discussion Questions  
Ethical Considerations: Some Final Thoughts on Developing Intercultural Competence  
Key Terms  


Instructor Site

SAGE edge for Instructors supports teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students.

  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses provide suggested models for structuring one’s course
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for the course
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter to encourage students to think critically
  • Video and multimedia links appeal to students with different learning styles
  • Lecture notes summarize key concepts by chapter to ease preparation for lectures and class discussions
Student Study Site

SAGE edge for Students provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment.

  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material
  • An online action plan allows students to track their progress through the course and materials and to individualize their learning experience
  • Learning objectives reinforce the most important material
  • Video and multimedia web links facilitate student use of internet resources and further exploration of topics
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter

“… expert content, flexibility to adapt to student activities, current, provides useful conceptual foundation to apply to intercultural communication”

Shirley A. Fessel, MA, Med
Park University

“Intercultural Communication introduces the college student to the key principles and concepts needed to be an effective communicator in a continually complex and diverse world.”

Jason Hough
Hartnell College

“A solid academic overview of intercultural communication.”

Joshua Daniel Phillips
Penn State Brandywine

“…a very well researched and packaged textbook outlining the principles of intercultural communications. Additionally the book and publisher provides a number of helpful aids in teaching of this course and using its book effectively.”

Dr. David Schreindl
Dickinson State University

“This textbook could serve as an excellent introductory text for undergraduate students who are the beginners of intercultural communication. It offers knowledge, voices, discussions, and activities that will greatly help students engage and embody the learning experiences of intercultural communication in and out of the classroom.”

Bin Zhang, PhD
South Puget Sound Community College

“This is a useful resource for both teaching and research; a significant reference material to enhance students understanding of intercultural communication concepts.”

Shirley Acquah
Westfield State University

“Thoroughly researched and cited; an excellent research tool for a student interested in (or assigned) a research project in this area”

Sandra Alspach
Ferris State University

“…a thoughtfully constructed intercultural communication textbook that integrates rich detail about communication theory and research with vivid examples and opportunities for personal application.”

Meredith Marko Harrigan
SUNY Geneseo

“A well-rounded intercultural book that touches every corner of the course, including current examples, detailed definitions, and useful student exercises.”

Nader H. Chaaban, Ph.D
George Mason University
Key features


  • Increased coverage and integration of intercultural competence and communication skills reflects the latest research and trends in the field.
  • Five new Student Voices Across Cultures stories have been added to give readers the most current perspectives of students from around the world.
  • Each chapter now includes discussions on ethics and developing intercultural communication competence, which encourages students to think about how they would react in a variety of situations and builds upon their knowledge from previous chapters to make thoughtful decisions.


  • Neuliep’s contextual model of intercultural communication examines communication within macro- and micro-cultural contexts, a unique method not offered in any other text
  • Student Voices Across Culture features fascinating, real life applications, as students from across the globe share their personal experiences
  • Intercultural Conversations in each chapter show readers how theoretical concepts translate into real human communication
  • Research-based self-assessment tools measure concepts such as intercultural communication apprehension, ethnocentrism, individualism-collectivism, conflict style preferences, and intercultural competence
  • Ethics Questions encourage students to think about how they might respond and react ethically to intercultural situations

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 11

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