Intercultural Sensitivity Literature Review

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2. Literature Review

This section will discuss several theories, finding of previous researchers and concepts related to Intercultural sensitivity, culture and the field of Intercultural Communication. The literature review section aims to achieve several objectives. Firstly, it plans to define the concepts of Intercultural competence, Intercultural sensitivity and other related terms from the points of view of different researchers. Secondly, it discusses the history of intercultural field and the theoretical frameworks developed with regards to intercultural sensitivity as well as intercultural competence in the education field. Next, it provides a summary of various intercultural sensitivity measurements used to identify and analyse the
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Intercultural communication transpires when a person from one culture intends to deliver a message to a person from another culture. Contrastingly, intercultural miscommunication happens when the sender's intended message is not successfully delivered to the individual from the second culture. Misperception, misinterpretation, and misevaluation are often one of the main reasons that cause cross-cultural misunderstandings and complications. Therefore, studies and theories on cross-cultural communication provide a base to exploration in the field of intercultural sensitivity. As stated by Lustig & Koester (1999, pg.60.), the phrase intercultural communication can be broken down into two distinctive terms : ‘intercultural’ and ‘communication’. The relationship between culture and communication is indeed very complex and without any doubt is it clear that culture places a strong influence on…show more content…
For example; respect for differences, cultural empathy, preservation of harmony and awareness of communication symbols. These elements are able to pin-point the level of cultural sensitivity present in an individual. Some people hold the generalized perception that individuals who are genuinely exposed to people from different cultures are often more culturally sensitive and able to deal with their differences efficiently. However, a study conducted by Fuller (2007) totally rejects this thought. Fuller claims that intercultural exposure does not play any role in boosting or influencing intercultural sensitivity. In the field of education, Bandura’s Social Learning Theory emphasizes that one’s way of life and intercultural interaction in very much influenced by a symbolic environment. However, wrong imitation of the learning process may create inappropriate behaviour and portray one’s intercultural incompetency (Selmer, 2004). In addition, Gudykunst & Nishida (2001) also agree that lack of cultural sensitivity and interest in other cultures usually cause anxiety and uncertainty in intercultural phenomenas. Malaysian students and people in general must possess cultural sensitivity as it is extremely crucial in avoiding cultural chaos such as racism, stereotyping, ethnocentrism (Graf, 2004; Stahl, 2000), or bias in social popularity (Ones & Viswesvaran, 1999). Likewise as cited in Kawita (2013), Bennet (1993), Chen &
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