Intercultural Conflict in Interpersonal Relationships

Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Course Code
CMNS 2317
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This face-to-face interactive course presents knowledge and skills for understanding and managing intercultural conflict in interpersonal relationships. Through focused interaction and reflection, students will consider selected skills, attributes and theories required to effectively analyze and engage intercultural conflict in interpersonal relationships in a variety of settings. Interpersonal conflict knowledge and skills, intercultural factors influencing conflict, and conflict resolution strategies for intercultural situations will be addressed. This course has a strong applied focus.
Course Content

1. Foundational review of definitions and terminology:

- interpersonal communication

- intercultural communication and cultural values

- interpersonal conflict

- conflict styles

- cultural biases


2. Foundational review of models and taxonomies used in intercultural understanding

- Cultural Iceberg 

- Hofstede’s Dimensional Model

- Hall’s High and Low Context Model

- Identity Models (cultural identity awareness)


3. Meaning of intercultural conflict in interpersonal relationships

- intercultural conflict

- causes of intercultural interpersonal conflict

- intercultural conflict styles


4. Theoretical approaches to understanding and managing intercultural conflict in interpersonal relationships

- identity negotiation theory

- matrix of face theory

- anxiety uncertainty management theory

- communication accommodation theory

- coordinated management of meaning theory


5. Decision making across cultures

- factors that influence decision making

- power differential and balancing

- cultural norms and worldview approaches to conflict management


6. Conventions of language specific to intercultural conflict in interpersonal relationships

- language codes

- explicit/implicit communication

- nonverbal/verbal communication


7. Constructive intercultural conflict resolution skill development and culture-sensitive approaches to conflict resolution

- facework

- engaged listening

- mindfulness

- cultural empathy/analytical empathy

- reframing

- code switching


- problem solving

Learning Activities

This course will be highly interactive. Working individually or in small groups, students will engage in discourse, analysis and interpretation of intercultural and interpersonal communication and intercultural conflict management skills. A discussion-based teaching model will be used with the expectation that students will actively prepare for, participate in and extract meaning from in-class activities, case studies, simulations and role plays. Student activities may be videotaped for the purposes of informed self-evaluation.

Means of Assessment

The following is one example of assessment components and weighting:

Attendance, participation and professional conduct, quizzes 20%

Written and oral assessment, analysis and discussion of improved

intercultural conflict management functioning 30%

Written analysis of a conflict situation 25%

Research discussion and written reflection on intercultural conflict  in

different communication settings 10%

Team-based intercultural conflict project 15%


                                                                                         Total  100%

Learning Outcomes


By the end of the course, successful students will be able to:

1. explain the basic concepts of intercultural and interpersonal communication and conflict

2. identify causes of intercultural conflict in interpersonal relationships

3. describe factors influencing intercultural conflict

4. describe theoretical approaches to intercultural conflict

5. articulate various strategies employed to resolve intercultural conflict in interpersonal relationships



By the end of the course, successful students will be able to:

1. demonstrate an increased ability to be reflective and aware of their own cultural background and the influence that background has on intercultural conflict

2. use models, theories and concepts to discuss the causes and factors influencing intercultural conflict in interpersonal relationships

3. employ foundational skills for communicating effectively in intercultural conflict in interpersonal relationships

4. adapt appropriate strategies in the context of intercultural conflict in interpersonal relationships

5. apply skills in a variety of settings to manage intercultural conflict in interpersonal relationships



By the end of the course, successful students will be able to:

1. assess the improvement of their intercultural conflict management functioning

2. justify the benefits of interpersonal conflict management skills

3. discern and articulate the impact of decision making and power in intercultural conflict situations

4. reflect on and explain the role of their cultural conflict style and its effect on others

5. appreciate and explain the importance culture plays in managing intercultural conflict in interpersonal relationships

Textbook Materials

Sample of Textbooks and Materials Appropriate for Communications 2317 to be purchased in Current Edition by Students:

An instructor-designed course pack to be used in place of a textbook based on work by such scholars as Stella Ting-Toomey, Michelle LaBaron, Paul Lederach, David Augsburger, William Gudykunst


Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for CMNS 2317
Alexander College (ALEX) ALEX SOSC 2XX (3)
Athabasca University (AU) AU COMM 2XX (3)
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU CMNS 2XX (3)
Coast Mountain College (CMTN) CMTN SSW 113 (3)
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR COMC 253 (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU CMNS 2XXX (3)
Northern Lights College (NLC) NLC MGMT 3XX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU CMNS 2XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU CMNS 2XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU MCOM 2XX (3)
University Canada West (UCW) UCW COMM 2XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV ELEV 1st (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC ENGL 2XX (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV CMNS 180 (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC SOSC 1XX (1.5)
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU SSCI 2nd (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023