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Running Head: DIVERSITY BARRIERS IN COMMUNICATION

Overcoming Diversity Barriers in Effective Communication
Larry Rankin II
HUB 640
National University

Abstract
Utilizing effective communication is becoming increasingly important as groups are becoming more diverse and varied across cultural barriers. The problems that face each person, community, and each country cannot be solved without global cooperation and joint action. Changes in the world economy, transportation and communication are resulting in increased interdependence among individuals, groups, organizations, communities and societies. With these changes, individuals must find ways to effectively interact and communicate with one another.

In Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, young Belle risks all and sacrifices her own freedom to save the life of her father’s, by living in the enchanted castle with the Beast. Although initially fearful of the Beast and horrified by his monstrous appearance, Belle is able to change her perception of him and becomes drawn to kind and sensitive nature. Ultimately the story ends in the “happily ever after” frame, but one of the key elements that remain in the mind of the audience is the idea of overcoming diversity in a relationship.

One reason Beauty and the Beast retains its popularity is because this idea strikes a familiar chord within many members of the audience. Often individuals find themselves initially repelled by unfamiliarity, and then later becoming very close with the same premises and concepts that once seemed so foreign. The moral of this children’s tale shines through when we look at communication across cultures, whether in small or large groups.

The diversity that exists among individuals creates an opportunity for both positive and negative outcomes when these individuals come together in groups to achieve a goal or complete a task (Johnson & Johnson, 1989). More specifically, diversity among group members can result in beneficial consequences, such as increased achievement and productivity, creative problem solving, and growth in cognitive and moral reasoning. To the contrary, diversity among group members can also result in harmful consequences, such as lower achievement and productivity, close-minded rejection of new information, increased egocentrism, prejudice, stereotyping and racism. The pathway of diversity is ultimately determined by the willingness of the group members to utilize effective communication to propel the needs of the group as a whole while respecting the culture and diversity of its individual members (p.461).

Barriers to effective cross-cultural communication:
Diversity among group members is an important resource that can be utilized to improve the group’s productivity. While doing so may not be easy, it is important to understand that there are a number of barriers to effective interactions with culturally diverse groups. These include stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination, the tendency to blame the victim, and cultural clashes. Stereotypes

Stereotypes can be found everywhere, and everyone has them. Stereotypes are a product of the way the mind stores, organizes, and recalls information. They are used to describe differences among groups and to predict how others will behave. They reduce complexities, assist in making quick decisions, fill in gaps of what is known, and help to recognize patterns needed to draw conclusions. In modern thought, stereotypes are defined as “a belief that associates a whole group of people with certain traits. Stereotypes are (1) cognitive; (2) reflect a set of related beliefs rather than isolated behaviors; (3) describe attributes, personalities, and characters so that groups can be compared and differentiated; and are shared by individuals and groups holding them (Ashmore &Del Boca, 1979). Prejudice and Discrimination

To be prejudiced means, literally, to prejudge, however, prejudice can be defined as an unjustified...