The Advantages of an Intercultural Relationship | Dating Tips
When two people from different backgrounds come together in the name of love, the cultural challenges can seem overwhelming. Many prove. Intercultural Relations, sometimes called Intercultural Studies, is a relatively new formal field of social science studies. It is a practical, multi-field discipline. But I will here use intercultural relationships as those in which real difference is the issue, . o Definitions of the relationship (friendship, romance, marriage, etc.).
Here I will summarize only a few key findings [often supplemented with overheads of findings from specific studies, in a live class!Types of Intercultural Relationships
Much of the work on dating and marital choice looks at sociological characteristics. One that has received the greatest focus is propinquity—the physical difference between partners. It makes common sense that we form friendships or romance with people we work with or who live near to us, as we see these people more often.
But, related to this, several factors such as segregation, hardness of boundaries between social groups e. The family is something else that intercultural and interethnic partners bring to a relationship. But family input can also come in the form of pressure to enforce cultural norms of the families cleanliness, modesty, courtesy, discipline, etc. The important role of the family has led one writer to suggest that the likelihood of success of an intercultural marriage is directly proportional to the distance from both sets of parents!
Some churches, for example, if a missionary finds a spouse on the mission field, will move the couple to a new culture that is not the first culture of either partner. Finally, to move beyond the traditional intercultural perspective, which sees so much of relationships and communication in individual, psychological terms, we must take a sociological glance and see relationships and families existing in larger social contexts.
Sometimes, society as a whole or specific communities do not accept certain types of relationships. For example, an interracial romance my receive ready acceptance in some circles, but be totally rejected and even persecuted in other communities.
What Partners Bring With Them: The closed-ended questionnaire asked about reasons for dating e.
The author explores that racism might be a reason for avoiding IR dating, but does not explore this possibility in depth. As a sociologist, he focuses more on propinquity physical closeness and segregation, arguing that segregation in our cities is a primary reason people do not date more interethnically. I suppose that is advice that would be good for everyone! The exact make-up of cultural values that impact marriage can be varied.
Differences in meaning of relational terms could be important for any form of relationship. Much work by Mary Jane Collier finds that different ethnic groups in the U.
The classic case of such difference is in cross-cultural expectations of what a friend is. Friendship in Mexico and many cultures outside of the U. The same principle applies to dating. In many cultures, the date constitutes a serious commitment. We were told several years ago when we went to Chile not to go out one-on-one with someone of the other sex, as the person might interpret that to mean that we were serious enough to begin thinking about marriage.
So also, what does it mean to go together? So he literally rolled up his sleeve and started scrubbing at the table with his elbow! There are also people you ought to see, and people you really want to see, but you can't do everything each trip. One difference of opinion has been over medical care.
The point at which I actually seek medical help is quite a low threshold, whereas his is a really high threshold," explained Casella. In their community as master's students it's easy to speak English, it's their common language.
In private, however, it can be difficult making yourself understood in a language that isn't your mother tongue. You need more explanation. Now we try to be more transparent and say what we really mean.
There are bonuses to an intercultural relationship. He explained that internationals, including the Italians, tend to keep to their own communities: The Italians are proud of their food. What does the future hold?
Once you make the mistake of not translating well, not just the words, but the energy behind them, it can lead to an attribution error. This is a psychological phenomenon. Once you're conscious of things it's easier to be flexible about them, in order to deal with conflict," said Sips. They also value practicality very deeply. There are also some emotions universally recognised in every culture - anger, fear, happiness, sadness, disgust and surprise.
Always keep in the back of your mind how your communication style can be perceived. Think about your words and gestures, try to avoid slang and expressions which get lost in translation," she concluded. The psychologist im Bender, psychologist and relationship therapist, came to the Netherlands from the US in for love.
His experience of his own relationship with his Dutch wife, coupled with his professional background, make him an ideal candidate to comment on this topic.
He described some of the issues people run into in intercultural relationships. The context under investigation emerges as rich in relational processes.
The development of intercultural workplace relationships is analyzed in terms of motives for and against engaging in relational growth, as well as behaviors enacted to develop or not develop relationships. One such nontraditional work arrangement is that of a foreign migrant worker, its occurrence fuelled by the growing labor shortage in low-status employment sectors experienced by Western states Castles In the European context, work-related migration increased considerably when mobility and employment restrictions were lifted for citizens of several East European states upon the EU expansion in and Demireva Research into different forms of employment that overlap with that of foreign temporary labor either questions whether migrants form interpersonal workplace relationships at all or presents these ties as dysfunctional.
In his discussion on temporary agency work, Tanskanen comments that the trend objectifies persons by capitalizing on their productivity. The temporary character of employment encourages the use of short-term value communicative strategies, such as engaging in conflict and abusing the other Ballard and Gossett Migrants may themselves have few interpersonal interests vested in their foreign workplace since they perceive their stay as temporary Demireva The image suggests someone who works hard in the host country but pretends to be living their interpersonal life in their home country, maintaining constant contact with family and friends.
Indeed, the growing body of literature on communication practices of migrant workers e. We believe that the theme of relationship building in a workplace with temporary foreign employees warrants a scientific inquiry. In this article, we want to fill the apparent research gap by offering an interpersonal communication perspective on relational processes in a workplace affected by the international flow of labor migration.
Our goal is to investigate how temporary migrant workers and the persons they work with in their foreign workplace perceive developing interpersonal relationships with each other. Interpersonal relationships involve repeated interaction Sias et al. Questions of how and why interpersonal relationships change over time have preoccupied researchers since the s Mongeau and Miller Henningsen Several scholars have attempted to describe and explain how relationships are formed, developed, maintained and dissolved e.
Altman and Taylor ; Knapp and Vangelisti Characteristic of this line of research is the idea that communication is critical for relational development. Not only are relationships constituted in communication but also features and development of relationships are manifested in interpersonal communication between the partners e.
Burgoon and Hale The major premise of the theory is that changes in interpersonal communication are inherent in relational development. Social penetration denotes an array of interpersonal behaviors verbal, nonverbal, and environmentally oriented behaviors that take place in a developing relationship. A behavior pivotal to the process is that of self-disclosure, or revealing of information about oneself.
Self-disclosure can be gauged along the dimension of the amount of exchanged information breadth and the intimacy level of information exchange depth. With gradual, systematic and reciprocal self-disclosure between the partners, the relationship progresses towards greater intimacy. Relational growth is influenced by various factors such as personality characteristics, the environmental context or the perceived relational rewards and costs Taylor and Altman From colleagues to friends Workplace relationships are interpersonal relationships that individuals engage in when doing their job, such as peer co-worker, subordinate-supervisor or customer-client relationships Sias These relationships are usually imposed; we cannot choose our supervisor, nor can we avoid interactions with a co-worker that we dislike.
However, workplace relationships may evolve, as they often do, into forms that go beyond the minimum required to complete organizational tasks. Kram and Isabella proposed a typology of peer workplace relationships that includes three primary relationship stages: Information relationships entail sharing organization- and work-related information while providing little emotional support, and are characterized by low levels of self-disclosure and trust.
Persons in a collegial relationship enjoy moderate levels of trust and self-disclosure. They exchange not only work-related information, but also job-related feedback, and support each other on work and family issues. They are more likely to receive confirmation and validation of self-worth.
The special relationship denotes friendship, with profound self-disclosure and self-expression.
The Development of Intercultural Relationships at Work
The partners provide each other with personal feedback, self-affirmation and a sense of an emotional connection. Special and collegial peers are more likely to use affinity-seeking strategies, i. Acquaintances develop into friendships due to the persons working side by side and sharing tasks.
Friendships become close usually because of personal or work-related problems, but the development is also supported by extra organizational socializing and perceptions of similarity. Methodology Research context We want to gain insights into the dynamics of relational development in the workplace that has become culturally diverse due to the arrival of foreign migrant workers.
The article reports on the findings of interviews with employees of a Finnish recruitment agency and Polish workers recruited by that agency. One needs social capital to migrate abroad safely and cheaply Castles Migrants often rely on connections with their fellow nationals in the target country who have already established how to solve bureaucratic problems, find work and accommodation Elrick and Lewandowska When the data for this study were gathered inthe Finnish recruitment agency had just begun hiring steel and building industry professionals from new EU-member countries in Eastern Europe, including Poland.
The responsibilities of the agency staff were not limited to matching the person with the job. Needless to say, the relationship between the agent and the foreign migrant was a prominent workplace relationship. Every day at work in the customer organization they would meet their Finnish peer co-workers and supervisors. While guest workers tend to end up performing jobs alongside other migrants or ethnic minority members Cook et al. They were employed in metal companies located in small towns in Northern Ostrobothnia, a region sparsely populated and viewed as a stronghold of mainstream Finnish culture.
In many cases, the Polish recruits were the first foreign employees in the given workplace, if not the first foreigners for their Finnish colleagues to meet. Respondents and data collection The data were originally gathered by the first author for another research project that focused on informal intercultural learning in the workplace. It was clearly worthwhile to revisit the data from a relational development angle.
The first author interviewed people involved in intercultural encounters in the workplace. The respondent group included 4 male recruited Polish workers and 5 employees of the recruitment agency 4 females and 1 male; 4 Finns and a Polish immigrant who had been living in Finland for 3 years. The participants were 26 - 47 years old. Their educational backgrounds varied from vocational training to a university degree, and their professions - from managing director and recruitment consultant, through interpreter, to computer numerical control machine programmer and operator, and welder.
While the recruitment agents and the younger contracted workers knew English, the older contracted workers did not speak any foreign language. The recruited workers interviewed had been living in Finland for 3 to 6 months. The length of their job contract was not specified. They signed an open contract with the agency that guaranteed them work for as long as there was demand. Job insecurity and prospects of having to move between different Finnish metal companies were an inherent part of their working experience.
The interviews were qualitative and could be described after Lindlof and Taylorp. The first interview was conducted face-to-face, while the others over the phone or Skype, and they were all recorded. The Finnish respondents were interviewed in Finnish, and the Polish respondents in Polish. The interviews lasted between 45 and 90 minutes, with the overall data comprising 11 hours of recording. Research framework We approach the phenomenon of relational development through the perceptions of our respondents.
This issue is reflected in the problematic matter of locating an interpersonal relationship itself. Is the relationship situated between the persons, or is it in their individual perceptions of their relationship? According to Baxter and Bullisalthough a relationship is an entity jointly constructed by the partners, each partner perceives the construction process in his or her own unique way.
Data analysis and interpretation The research method in this study was qualitative content analysis. The interview transcripts were read several times to identify sections where the respondents talk about issues related to intercultural workplace relationships — reasons, explanations, functions, expectations, actions, behaviors, processes, etc. The fragments of data were coded to generate lowest level concepts, and then linkages commonalities, differences, patterns and structures between the concepts were identified Seidel and Kelle The coding process was a mixture of data reduction and complication in that it was employed to break the data up into manageable chunks as well as to interrogate, expand and theorize about the data Seidel and Kelle The respondents talked a lot about different reasons or explanations related to developing or not developing intercultural relationships at work.
They also gave numerous examples of their relational activities. We therefore chose to look at the data in terms of motives for and against engaging in relational development, and behaviors enacted to develop or not develop relationships. Findings The recruitment agents discuss their relationships with the recruited Polish workers.
Relationships and Intercultural Communication
The Polish workers describe their relationships with the recruitment agents, as well as with their co-workers and supervisors at the customer company. The motives for and against developing workplace relationships are not experienced in isolation. The respondents manage several, often conflicting motives related to developing intercultural ties. Similarly, individuals enact a range of behaviors that may support but also contradict one another.
The findings are grouped into larger themes that unite, organize and explain them: When presenting the findings, we try to show the connections between the different motives and relational behaviors.
English translations of interview excerpts presented in the text were provided by the first author. Managing the lack of a common language While the agency provides interpreting services to its foreign employees in administrative matters, the task of managing the language barrier in everyday informal interactions is left up to the workers themselves. Within this theme, the following motives emerged: The respondents perceive self-disclosure as pivotal to relational development.
Not sharing a common language to exchange personal information in is identified as the greatest obstacle in developing intercultural relationships at work. These contracted Polish workers who do not speak any English report avoiding difficult and unnecessary interactions with their Finnish colleagues.