Step 1:  Please read Chapter 12 in our textbook.

Step 2: Please read the following descriptions of two hypothetical countries: Sulandia and Norotania.
As you read through the descriptions, assume that you have been offered a position as a communication expert with a company that does business with both countries. It will be your job to act as a troubleshooter, solving disputes between locals and the American managers of your company, helping with contract negotiations, and aiding the families of the managers in adapting to the country.

Step 3: Please respond to the following prompts and questions.
1. Please list at least five potential intercultural communication problems that could occur in each country (five for Sulandia and five for Norotania).
2. How might you solve each of these problems? In other words, what is a solution for each potential problem you identified?
3. Personally, which country would you choose to work in? Explore the reasons for choosing one over the other.

Descriptions of two hypothetical countries
Sulandia: This country has been doing business with people from other countries for many years. It currently has one of the highest standard of living in the world due largely to a recent discovery of offshore oil reserves. It is ruled by a monarchy. Members of the royal family have special privileges, and there is a complex protocol that must be followed in communicating with them. Although any violation means banishment from the country and can adversely affect the company’s ability to do business, the rules are clear. Bribes to members of the royal house are an expected part of doing business in Sulandia.
The work force is plentiful and, for the most part, cooperative, motivated largely by the punishments they will receive if they fail to work hard. (Sulandians use severe corporal punishment to maintain order and to punish slackers.) Without these threats, workers lack personal ambition.
Sulandians are extremely religious and can be easily offended if their religious practices are mocked or violated. They refrain from eating certain foods or touching certain animals they consider unclean. Their religion mandates that women work within the home and obey their husbands. They have become used to the idea that foreign companies employ women as managers, and seem to accept this practice, perhaps because they do not class foreign women as real women. Female managers have found it easier to get along if they filter their requests and orders through a male interpreter.
The material conditions in the country are good. Most locals now have modern style apartments with electricity. Foreigners are particularly well cared for. They are given luxurious apartments with air-conditioning as well as access to health clubs, swimming pools, Western movies and television shows, and frequent trips to nearby countries for shopping and recreation are provided. Within the country foreigners are expected to stay within the compounds set aside for them. Women’s movement is especially restricted.
The language is difficult and unfamiliar to most Westerners. Workers do not know English, but each company has several interpreters. The climate is tropical, pleasant most of the year, except for the rainy seasons when typhoons hit coastal areas.

Norotania: This country has only recently started doing business with people from your country. Prior to this, the country was relatively closed to the outside world. Workers in this formerly socialist country were assigned jobs in state-owned enterprises. Employment was for life and was not closely connected to job performance; workers were motivated by state quotas rather than by individual rewards. Under socialism, service and work quality was very poor, but it has begun to improve somewhat since the advent of capitalism.
Norotanians show great loyalty to members of their immediate family, to people who share clan membership, and to those who’ve done favors for them in the past. They have great respect for age, believing that the young are not as wise as their elders. They are good and kind parents. They prize education and offer at least a grade school education to most of their citizens. Norotanians are atheists.
Although friendly and open, they have little experience with foreigners, and there have been a few unpleasant incidents involving misunderstandings between Norotanians and African exchange students. Women and men are treated equally and work side by side; however, since the rise of capitalism, the position of women has diminished somewhat.
The material culture in Norotania is somewhat primitive. Electricity and telephone service is available only in large cities, and even there service is likely to fail at unexpected times. In rural areas, these services are nonexistent. Transportation is extremely difficult, although foreigners are often given priority service. The apartments assigned to the company, although palatial by Norotanian standard, are primitive compared to American apartments. American workers will not have access to private automobiles, air-conditioning, or electric ranges. They will be provided with television, but broadcasts from outside the country are not available.
The language is difficult, and the script in unfamiliar to most Americans. Many local people, however, have rudimentary English which, since the late l960s has been taught in high schools. Business will probably have to be done through interpreters. The climate is temperate with large variations in temperature from summer to winter. In summer the temperature is often in the high 90s; in winter it can fall well below zero.


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