Author: Chung, Sau Kwan
Title: Co-cultural analysis : exploring the intercultural communicative experiences of different co-cultural groups in Hong Kong and Canada
Degree: DALS
Year: 2019
Subject: Intercultural communication -- China -- Hong Kong
Intercultural communication -- Canada
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Faculty of Humanities
Pages: xi, 286 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: Cultures exist in all spheres of life. In this research study, a non-essentialist approach is adopted to investigate the intercultural communicative experiences of different co-cultural groups in different institutions in Hong Kong and Canada with reference to co-cultural theory. In Hong Kong, the literature has shown discrimination in the workplace where the subordinate/powerless are faced with an oppressive style of communication and discourse. The literature also shows that in global higher education, an increase in the number of international students and staff may lead to misunderstanding, prejudice and stereotyping in multicultural communication. Co-cultural communication research in the organizational and educational settings have so far been primarily examined in the USA. Some prior work (Urban & Orbe, 2007; Glenn & Orbe, 2010) suggested that combining co-cultural theory and notions of identity can help to reveal the complex intercultural communicative reality in different physical, socio-cultural and linguistic contexts. In this study, co-cultural theory is a primary lens, supplemented by self-aspect model to explore and compare the intercultural communicative experiences of the non-dominant in the organizational and educational settings in two regions, namely Hong Kong SAR and British Columbia, Canada. This research study has adopted a phenomenological and narrative research approach, using five focus group interviews, eleven semi-structured, individual interviews and ten individual, narrative interviews for collecting data, and thus enhancing the validity and reliability of the study. Interviews can provide a thick description of the communicative experiences; narrative interviews, in particular, can display human experiences, which are cognitive and emotional in nature.
This research study has generated a number of main findings. First, in Hong Kong, the international university teachers reported positive communicative experiences and were eager to communicate with the majority in their respective contexts. However, the Hong Kong Chinese in the lower institutional hierarchy in different workplaces were faced with discrimination. They reported that they were muted and had little confidence in making any change to the dominant structure. In Canada, the international students reported very positive intercultural communicative experiences and confidence in communicating with the majority in their distinct communicative contexts. Second, the three co-cultural groups, two in Hong Kong and one in Canada, were found to have adopted intragroup networking and utilizing liaisons strategies to secure support in their specific interactive contexts, rather than taking a separation approach. Third, among six co-cultural factors, individual abilities and situational context were found to be essential to the co-cultural groups' communicative behaviour. This finding was similar to that found using self-aspect model, where individual and interactional/relational identities were found to more influential to the communicative behaviour of the co-cultural groups. The study has made useful theoretical, methodological and practical contributions to the field of intercultural communication. Specifically, it has expanded co-cultural theory by underscoring the attitude of the dominant, which is a factor at the collective level, as the underlying cause of the communicative behaviour of the non-dominant co-cultural groups. Another factor that the study has identified is religion, in particular, Christianity, which can be added to co-cultural theory as a factor for communicative behaviour. The study has contributed to research methods in intercultural communication by confirming the importance of collecting data by means of narratives, in addition to focus groups interviews, in order to obtain personal stories about co-cultural communication experiences in chronological order. Narratives enable a much deeper analysis of the complexity of different intercultural communication issues. Practically, this study has generated rich findings, illustrated by plenty of personal stories, which could inform the design and writing of materials for intercultural communication seminars and courses. With consent from participants, extracts of their narratives could be used as real-life examples for examination and discussion by the seminar or course participants to achieve specific learning outcomes.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: restricted access

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