People Innovation Excellence

Communicating with the ‘uncultured’: the study of conventional norms in Indonesian intercultural communication context

Authored by Udiana Puspa Dewi & M. Rizqi Arifuddin

Intercultural communication study is gaining relevance in the globalised and connected world. This paper continues the research trend of communication practice between East versus West, using Indonesian and American communication practices as a case study. The paper aims (1) to assess Indonesian intercultural communication practice based on the five components of intercultural communication competence and (2) to explain the cause of the clashing norms which lead to intercultural communication problems in an Indonesian context. Data were drawn from questionnaires administered to Indonesian research participants and semi-structured interviews with Americans. The assessment components of intercultural communication competence show that despite having high levels of motivation, Indonesians still have difficulty communicating with Americans. The problem is mainly caused by fixed conventional norms possessed by Indonesians. This leads Indonesians to develop negative attitudes towards Americans, whom they label as ‘uncultured’.


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