Participants in an intercultural encounter bring with them differences in values, beliefs, attitudes, and world views. The communication of these differences often results in threat and defensive behavior. It is proposed in this article that the manner of communicating differences affects the responses to these differences. Open-mindedness and nonevaluativeness are seen as facilitating attitudes in the expression of differences, and the message characteristics of "open expression" are proposed to convey these attitudes. In an experimental study, participants were exposed to criticisms stated using varying degrees of open expression. Responses to open expression were judged to be more descriptive, problem oriented, receptive, other oriented, and involved than responses to non-open expression of criticism. Participants also reported less anger, irritation, and desire to change the other in response to open expression of differences. Results suggest that the manner of communicating differences is an important variable in moving toward understanding in intercultural encounters.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science