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Class less powerful members of institutions… accept that

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ClassSimulation Reflection: ComparingBarnga to Cross-Cultural EncountersEmilyN.

CarusoRandolph-Macon CollegeClassSimulation Reflection: ComparingBarnga to Cross-Cultural EncountersDuringclass on Wednesday, January 17th, we played a card game called Barnga. We werebroken into groups of four where we were given specific instructions on therules of this game. After we all understood the rules, we were asked to remaincompletely silent for the remainder of class.

We proceeded to move around theroom to different tables and play a round of the same game with a new set ofpeople. We were unaware that each table had slightly different rules to playby. Conflicts quickly began to arise as we moved from group to group, whichsimulates cross-cultural encounters. Everyone assumed we all had the same rulesat first, and it came as a bit of a shock when we realized we did not. Communication barriers prevented us from being able to figure it out quicker. Thissimulation helps put in perspective the dynamics of cross-cultural encounters. Power DistancePowerdistance is present in many situations, some cultures have small powerdistances, and some are much larger in power distance. Power distance is the”‘ extent to which the less powerful members of institutions… accept that poweris distributed unequally’” (Ting-Toomey, 60).

This dimension is specificallyfocused on how the people not in power, accept that power is spread unequally. Individuals who live in cultures who have a high-power distance generallyaccept an unequal distribution of power, and expect directions (Ting-Toomey, 70). On the other hand, individuals in cultures with low power distancesquestion authority and emphasize equal distance (Ting-Toomey, 70). This wasdemonstrated in our game of Barnga. When I first started playing, I put down anAce of diamonds, and Michael, who was keeping score, took the pile of cards andI reached over to grab them but noticed he gave himself this point.

ImmediatelyI was was the trump card and the Ace was the highest card in the deck.  He looked at me confused- just as confused asI was because my hand was now on his desk taking his cards that he had justwon. I assumed he just didn’t know how to play this game and I’ll just give himthis point it’s not even worth it to try and argue over one point. Not beingable to verbally communicate made it very challenging. I just wanted to say,” Michael give me my point back” but I could not. He was keeping scoreand I had just came to this new table.

I conformed to this power distance andlet him win this mental battle because he was essentially in charge of thescore. If this was a situation with lower power distance, the person in mysituation would have argued and fought for equality. NonverbalPatternsNonverbalpatterns are the nonverbal clues that are passed between people whencommunicating. These patterns include tone, space, time, touch, eye contact, and facial gestures (Ting-Toomey, 117).

Nonverbal patterns have just as much impacton the receiver as words do. They play a significant role in successfullycommunicating. Although we were unable to directly speak during the Barngasimulation, the nonverbal cues helped us better understand what was trying to beconveyed. When savannah moved to our table to play a round of Barnga, it wasbecoming obvious to me that she was becoming frustrated with the game and theother three of us sitting at this table. Although we could not speak, hernonverbal patterns gave her away. When she put down a card of spades, shethought she had won. At her previous table, her card would have won, but atthis table the trump card was clubs. She did not understand this and hereyebrows scrunched together and she sat backwards.

Her facial expression wentfrom normal to confused. It quickly shifted once again to frustrated. Sherolled her eyes and turned her head away from the table. Her face gestures andbreaking of eye contact, accompanied with her body movements gave me a glimpseof how she was feeling.

Once I saw this, I tried to point to the cards withclubs on them to show her that these are winners. She understood, and I couldsee it in her nonverbal communication patterns. Even though we did not havewords to communicate, she communicated to me very clearly how she was feeling. I saw this many times throughout this simulation and it helped me have a betterinsight to communicating across cultures. Conclusionsand Real-World ConnectionsBarngais a fitting example to demonstrate hands-on how challenging communicating can beacross cultures. People believe that they share the same understanding of the basicrules, then we were shocked and confused to learn that we were all slightly different.

We struggled, then overcame these differences to effectively play this game andbe successful. These groups that we were broken into was a metaphor for diversecultures that exist in the world today. When someone is new to a culture, theremight be communication barriers or differences. Barnga shows us the importance ofbeing open-minded and overcoming these differences.  .

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