- Published: November 19, 2022
- Updated: November 19, 2022
- Level: Undergraduate
- Language: English
- Downloads: 46
Cultural Influences on Communication in Groups Almost a year back I was working in a group to makeour final term project for the course on Social Psychology. Our group comprised of 5 individuals, all seemingly the same but we realized the differences we all had amongst ourselves as soon as the work started progressing. The group composition was as follows: there was me, and then there was Janie, Mike and Sean. The project required us to complete a survey on the psychology of people across different income brackets and gauge whether any significant differences can be seen between people belonging to a particular income bracket. In order to carry out our survey, the first task was to build a comprehensive questionnaire after identifying certain measurable constructs from our literature review. The first conflict arose while deciding upon the statements that we should be including in the questionnaire in order to measure “ conformity.” I had suggested that we include “ I get influenced by the opinions of my friends while shopping.” This was opposed by Mike and Janie but in two opposite ways. Mike felt that nobody would agree to this statement since hardly anyone would compromise while making a purchase for oneself whereas Janie felt that it was a leading question and “ obviously” everyone will answer with a yes in order to appear modest and considerate. This debate automatically vouched for the inclusion of the question, however what was evident from the argument was that Janie and Mike belonged to two opposite value systems. Janie had a more collectivist approach whereas Mike was more of an individualist, who could not see beyond himself and his responses while making the questionnaire. Mike was the group leader and was very domineering throughout the project, he spoke more and listened less. The effect of his dominance could have been neutralized if Janie, Sean and I would have stood together and stressed our point of view against his, however while Janie and I used to make the effort of opposing Mike, Sean preferred playing a diplomatic game and initially refused to take sides. Later however, when Mike gave him no choice but to pick either Mike’s approach towards the project or ours, he sided with Mike. His attitude was that of someone with a high power distance belief, who would prefer the leadership of someone authoritative and not mind fading away his own identity and opinions. Since Mike was the leader, Sean thought it most sensible to side with the leader. From the onset Mike had a very “ Doing” orientation which all the group members liked, however what we later realized was that Mike meant doing things “ his way” which Janie and I could not stomach because we believed in participative leadership and thus we approached our course instructor and asked her if we could change our group. When I now consider the whole affair, I feel may be Janie and I could have acted in a more mature manner and instead of approaching our teacher we should have tried talking to Mike and defined the scope of his authority. Moreover, I feel Mike was not mindful of the fact that people in his group could have different opinions than his, so instead of commanding us with orders it would have been better had he proposed his suggestions to the group like everyone else, being respectful and mindful of the cultural sensitivities. Seeing this attitude of his I think we were not willing to talk the issue over with him, we were sure that he would turn us down so we directly approached our instructor which was not the right thing to do. Under such situations it is important that all stakeholders have an open approach towards the conflict and are willing to resolve the issue, which we were not.
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