Cross Cultural Communication for Leaders

Feasibility Assignment – EDUC 4151


Program: Leadership Certificate

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The Leadership Certificate offered by Vancouver Community College, Continuing Education Department, will help managers at various levels of experience and entrepreneurs become more effective leaders in a time characterized by technological change, global competition, and growing expectations of investors, customers, and employees. Students will develop a set of essential, practical and leadership abilities needed for success in today’s challenging corporate environment.

This is a part time program that can be completely in 1 to 2 years and it is delivered only face to face. The Leadership Certificate consists of 12 courses: six required courses and six elective courses. [1]

The Feasibility study is for the Cross-Cultural Communication for Leaders course that is not offered but I believe should be at least an elective course for all programs developed for future leaders.

Course: Cross Cultural Communication for Leaders (CCCL)

Course Description: This course is about the nature of cross-cultural interaction, drawing attention to the increasing need for competencies in understanding various cultures and communication styles in the workplace due to globalization, increased immigration and global mobility. The course addresses both the unexpected variations in other cultures and challenges the assumptions that stem from one’s own culture.

CCCL Lessons

Lesson 1: What is culture? *

           The focus of this Feasibility Assignment is on Lesson 1

Lesson 2: Importance of culture in today’s business environment

Lesson 3: Cultural intelligence

Lesson 4: Knowing your cultural style

Lesson 5: Applying cultural intelligence in communication

Lesson 6: Management and culture

Lesson 7: Increasing leadership skills using improved cross-cultural communication

Lesson 1 – What is Culture

Learning Goals

  • Gain a basic understanding of the concept of culture
  • Research and discuss main schools of thoughts and theorists of culture
  • Know and recognize the main cultural dimensions

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Explain the foundational concepts of culture, and the dynamics that influence human interaction and communication across cultures.
  • Distinguish between key cultural taxonomies for profiling ethnicities and nations (Hall, Hoefstede, Adler)
  • Discuss some of the general barriers in cross-cultural interaction and into approaches for overcoming limitations and barriers posed by their own culture.
  • Differentiate between stereotypes and generalizations, understand cultural identity, and become more empathetic and inclusive of the culturally ‘other’.

Learning Resources:

  1. Read: Martin, Judith N. & Thomas K. Nakayama. (2017). Intercultural communication in contexts (7th ed.). Mountain View, CA: McGraw-Hill Education.
  • Read: Chapter 2 of Cultural Intelligence for Leaders,


This link will take you to the e-text. Once you open the link, scroll to the Table of Contents and click on Chapter 2 to read the section on culture.

  • Watch: The Amish: A People of Preservation (1991) Written and produced by John L. Ruth; a Heritage production. By Ruth, John L. Worcester, PA: Gateway Films, c1991.
  • Watch: The Cultural Iceberg, published by Intercultural English

Learning Activities

  • Discuss: Positive stereotyping: helpful or harmful?
    Share your thoughts on this topic in the discussion forum
  • Contribute with constructive comments to 2 other entries in the learning forum
  • Post to your blog! Characteristics of Culture
  • Start working on the project: The Hofstede Model, Strengths and Weaknesses in Organizational Culture


  1. A new blog entry – 15% of your grade

Culture, as defined by Edgar Schein, consists of the shared beliefs, values, and assumptions of a group of people who learn from one another and teach to others that their behaviors, attitudes, and perspectives are the correct ways to think, act, and feel. According to him, there are 5 characteristics of culture. Post the following reflection on your blog:

  1. Define culture as you have come to understand it
  • Discuss three of the characteristics identified
  • Include examples from a culture you are familiar with
  • Your post should include no less than 3 and no more than 5 other references

For a quick reminder of how to post a new entry on your blog, please follow this link to the Ryerson University mini tutorial http://blog.ryerson.ca/making-a-post/

Be sure to include a link to your blog and grant me permission to access it.

2. Provide constructive feedback to a minimum of two blogs written by your colleagues; The entries should be a minimum two full sentences indicating either one idea you share with the author or one point you might see things differently.

Review the rules of online engagement and watch this video on nettiquette

Assignment due date

  1. All assignments are due before midnight (12:00 am or 24:00) the last day of the course. If unsure what that date is, please email me at michaela.fengstad@backinmotion.com and I will send you the date.
  2. Before submitting your assignment make sure you have checked your blog entries for grammar and spelling mistakes, the links are working and the blog is well organized (see Appendix 1 – grading chart)
  3. If you fail to submit your assignment before the due date, you will automatically be graded 0% for that assignment

Technical Specifications:

  • Make sure the author name and blog description are included
  • Blog design is organized and easy to read
  • All questions are answered or addressed
  • Multimedia is used within the blog
  • Use headings to outline each entry
  • References provided in APA format or linked directly


  • Blog Entry – 7%
    Self-assessment – 5%
    Feedback to two other blogs – 3%
  • Course Grade: this assignment is worth 15% of your final grade

Assessment Rationale

Learning is social and needs interaction. Online learning needs to build a strong community to be effective and engage students in their own learning activities. The interaction between students and content is as important as the student to student and student to instructor interactions. When creating an assessment tool, we need to consider how that assessment will engage the student in their own learning while creating opportunities for students to engage with each other and also to create ways for the instructor to be present to the course and able to interact/communicate with the students. Blogs “enable instructors to demonstrate their presence and allow student to communicate easily without sharing the same physical space” (Tunks, 2010), they allow students to write for a larger audience, rather than the “conventional essay audience of one” (Wheeler & Wheeler, 2009).

Because they are asynchronous and users don’t have to be online at a scheduled time, they offer more flexibility and more time to reflect and structure the concepts. Last, blogs are free and easy to use by anybody that can type a Word document.

Learning about culture requires a lot of reflection and challenges our set of learnt beliefs and values. Blogs or other asynchronous communication allows for more time to reflect before answering a question, more time to choose appropriate language or to change language that we are not comfortable using anymore. A blog assignment will also allow for every voice and every culture in the group to express opinions, share their cultural values and beliefs and reflect on the differences between groups in a very structured and disciplined way.

Blogs also offer the opportunity for the instructor to offer timely feedback, or add to a conversation using the comments area and moderate the discussions closely, for disrespectful remarks or for keeping the comments aligned to the topic at hand. Through reflection on blogs, learners are expected to analyse, synthesize and evaluate learning, which are considered higher level of thinking in Bloom’s taxonomy and encourage critical thinking. Conrad and Donaldson (2011) explain that evaluation of critical thinking and reflection requires assessment methods that encourage individual expression. Blogs are such tools. In developing assessments and grading for blogs, attributes like clarity of expression, evaluation of material and consistency of ideas should be considered (Palloff and Pratt, 2003)


Conrad, R & Donaldson, J.A. (2012). Engaging the online learner. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Lavin, R., Beaufait, A. & Tomei, J., (2008) Education for a Digital World. Retrieved from http://www.colfinder.org/materials/Education_for_a_Digital_World/Education_for_a_Digital_World_part1.pdf

Blogs and Wikis in the Online Learning, retrieved from https://www.ryerson.ca/content/dam/lt/resources/handouts/Handout_BlogsWikis.pdf

Peterson, B., (2004). Cultural Intelligence. Boston, MA: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

Santone, S., (2000) The Shape of Change: A Curriculum for Building Strong Communities and a Sustainable Economy. retrieved from: http://www.creativechange.net

[1] Adapted from VCC website https://www.vcc.ca/programscourses/program-areas/business/leadership-certificate/#courseSched