InterCultural Communication Report

Over the last decade, international materials have become a major source of technical information. You will almost certainly encounter multicultural situations in the workplace, and it is critically important that you become familiar with the basics of multiculturalism as it relates to technical communication.

This assignment is designed to give you a brief introduction to the issues surrounding intercultural communication. In most businesses, with the exception of large corporations or businesses specializing in multicultural and international business, you will often have to take the initiative to ensure that your own documentation is designed with sensitivity to multicultural or intercultural audiences. You should know how to conduct research and adjust your content accordingly.

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For this assignment, you will conduct secondary research on another country (see your assigned country at the end of this description). This secondary research includes data from Geert Hofstede, who conducted one of the most comprehensive studies of how values in the workplace are influenced by culture. He defines culture as “the collective programming of the mind distinguishing the members of one group or category of people from others” (read more about Hoftstede’s work here https://www.hofstede-insights.com/organisational-culture-consulting/ (Links to an external site.). You will apply the findings of your secondary research to an analysis of the McDonald’s website of your country. This analysis should provide examples of how Hofstede’s cultural dimensions either reflect or contradict the content, organization, and design of the website.

Collecting Secondary Research

Begin this assignment by collecting secondary research on your assigned country AND explore that country on Hofstede’s six dimensions. The below resources should help get you started with conducting this research.

  • World Factbook provides extensive reports on every country in the world from the CIA. Some relevant sections for your report could include the Background and People & Society, and Communications sections of each report; however, other relevant sections might also include Government, Economy https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html (Links to an external site.).
  • Nations Online Project provides profiles of every country, including links to various current information from sources like the BBC, Wikipedia, and the World Factbook https://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/first.shtml (Links to an external site.).
  • Hofstede’s Country Comparison provides country-specific research on your country on Hofstede’s six cultural dimensions https://www.hofstede-insights.com/country-comparison/ (Links to an external site.).

Carefully consider the content you end up including in your report Your purpose is not to find every fact you can about a country and dump it into the report. Instead, you want to report findings that that should inform readers on the values of your assigned country and how ideal communication practices reflect those values. Remember what the Spence textbook says about “data dumps” of information and how this method demonstrates ineffective audience analysis.

Applying Your Research Findings to a Website

Use the secondary researching findings to analyze the McDonald’s website for your assigned country. In particular, organize your analysis around Hofsted’s six cultural dimensions:

  • power distance
  • individualism/collectivism
  • masculinity/femininity
  • uncertainty avoidance
  • long term orientation
  • indulgence

Your analysis should look past a surface level analysis of a McDonald’s website from a different country or region (i.e., beyond differences in food, colors, etc.) and more into values. For example:

  • What does it mean that the website in Mexico uses more pictures of families? https://www.mcdonalds.com.mx/ (Links to an external site.) 
  • Why might the UAE website focus on explaining that the McDonald’s is owned by a local business person who hires local people? https://m.mcdonaldsarabia.com/uae/en/home.html (Links to an external site.)

After completing the evaluation, consider what you’ve seen on the website and apply the Key Lesson ideas into an evaluation of how you might alter the information or site design to better suit the target audiences. In particular, consider both customers and employees.

Writing the Report

Synthesize your findings from the above stages in a 2-3-page report (single spaced). Your report should be addressed to a prospective franchise owner, who is considering opening a McDonald’s in your assigned country. Use the below structure for your report

  • Introduction

    • Purpose statement.
    • General information on your country
    • Roadmap of the report’s structure.
  • Methods

    • Summary of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and explanation of how they can help assess intercultural awareness.
    • Description of your analysis process. For example, how many web pages did you analyze? How did you determine how the website conformed to the cultural dimensions?
  • Results

    • Report of findings of your website analysis, organizing the results around Hofstede’s six cultural dimensions. The report should include 1-2 examples that show how the McDonald’s website either reflects or conflicts with typical societal norms.
  • Discussion

    • Summary of overall findings.
    • Comparison of your findings to the cultural dimensions – e.g., does the website align with what your learned about your country?.
    • Recommendations for improving or maintaining the website’s current cultural awareness
  • References (Use the citation style of your choice).

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