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BUCO 260: Business Communication across Cultures (2 units)

Jolanta Aritz
ACC 215D
Office Hours: T 11am -12:30pm and by appointment

BUCO 260: Business Communication across Cultures is designed to help business

students develop key communication competencies necessary to analyze and interpret
cultural diversity in business and to successfully interact and compete in an increasingly
global marketplace. BUO 260 is especially beneficial to students who are planning to
participate or just returned from short international trips, summer internships abroad, and
semester long study abroad offered by the Marshall School of Business.
BUCO 260 recognizes the complexity of the increasingly global world with rapidly
growing economies in Asia-Pacific, Latin-America, and Europe. More specifically, by
focusing on intercultural competencies it introduces issues that have moved to the
forefront of a new global marketplace - contrasting cultural orientations, culture shock,
differing communication patterns, and varying business and social customs. The course
builds on students previous international experiences, introduces them to intercultural
communication theory, develops practical skills and abilities, and strengthens personal
competencies to help students forge global perspective.

The overall objective of this course is to develop students intercultural communication

competencies by introducing intercultural communication theory and integrating it with
practice. Students will learn more about the corporate culture of foreign companies in key
geographic areas (including companies they visited during their LINC or GLP trips),
discuss and solve intercultural communication case studies, participate in simulated ELC
activities and class exercises.
BUCO 260 develops key communication competencies central to understanding how
businesses work across cultures. Three key groups of intercultural communication
competencies will be the focus of this course: knowledge (needed to live and work in a
diverse world); skills (communication and performance), and personal attributes (traits).
These three groups on intercultural communication competencies are incorporated in the
learning objectives of the course listed below:

1. Knowledge (needed to live and work in a diverse world). The students

enrolled in BUCO 260 will learn what is needed to:

Recognize individual, interpersonal, organizational, and cultural layers of
intercultural communication.
Develop a reflexive attitude for addressing global business communication
challenges by integrating the four layers of intercultural communication.
Gain an ethical orientation towards intercultural business communication by
understanding these relationships.
2. Skills (communication and performance). The students enrolled in BUCO 260

Build practical skills by conducting research, working on case studies
involving intercultural business communication issues, participating in the
experiential learning activities and class exercises.
Learn to analyze and interpret intercultural business situations and contexts.
Augment their international experiences at Marshall by being able to analyze
and interpret these experiences.
3. Personal attributes. The students enrolled in BUCO 260 will develop the

following personal traits:

Being mindful of others The ability to understand anothers perspective and
negotiate meaning through dialogue with people from host culture.
Flexibility - The ability to respond and adapt to new and changing situations.
Respect - An appreciation for those who are different from one's self.

Tuleja, E.A. (2005). Intercultural Communication for Business. Managerial

Communication Series (ed. ORouke, J.S., IV). Thompson: Southwestern.
Molinsky. A. (2013). Global Dexterity: How to Adapt Your Behavior across Cultures
without Losing Yourself in the Process: Harvard Business Review Press: Boston, MA.
Cultural detective (online subscription) (license cost $34.95)

Oetzel. J.G. (2009). Intercultural Communication: A Layered Approach. New York:

Pearson Education. Inc.

McGregor, James. 2005. One Billion Customers: Lessons from the Front Lines of Doing
Business in China. Wall Street Journal Book: Free Press.
Murphy, Byrne, J. 2008. Le Deal: How a Young American, in Business, in Love, and in
Over His Head, Kick-Started a Multibillion Dollar Industry in Europe. New York,
NY: St. Martin's Press.
Storti, Craig. 2007. The Art of Crossing Cultures. Nicholas Brealey Publishing,
Storti, Craig. 2007. Speaking of India: Bridging the Communication Gap When Working
With Indians. Intercultural Press, Boston, MA.
Storti, Craig. 2001. The Art of Coming Home. Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
Hall, Edward. 1990. The Hidden Dimension. Anchor books: New York, NY.
Zafer Parlar. Business Over Turkish Coffee: Tips For Doing Business in Turkey
Assigned select readings.
Expectations: Attendance, active participation, and a positive attitude are required for

successful completion of this course. Must be present to win is true of skill building
and most other things in life. Many sessions involve group activities, and I plan and
organize them assuming all students will be present. Please notify me as far in advance
as possible if you are unable to attend any class or exercise so that I may adjust the
activities as necessary.
Evaluation: At the end of the course students will receive a letter grade based on their

performance. The graded components of the course include:


Percentage of
course grade

Participation (attendance and preparation for class discussion)

Cultural communication problem presentation
(Individual presentation and analysis of cross-cultural
communication situation)
Outsourced blog
Case study analysis of cross-cultural miscommunication (To
be completed in-class)
Culture Debrief assignment
(Choosing one book from the provided list and
preparing a debrief. Includes individual (75pts) and
group component (75pts).



Country business culture analysis

(Group project that analyses culture using the tools
learned in class) Includes individual (100 pts) and
group component (100 pts).
Final Exam (Global Dexterity project)



Complete instructions for each assignment will be posted on Blackboard.
Final grades represent how you perform in the class relative to other students. Your grade
will not be based on a mandated target, but on your performance. Historically, the
average grade for a Marshall elective course is a 3.3.

The changes in the global market have brought forward the key competency of future
global business leaders: the ability to move between cultures and translate
information across cultures. BUCO 260 develops these intercultural business
competencies and teaches students skills that are essential in communicating
information across cultural borders by ways of analyzing, interpreting, translating
and successfully transferring that information.
BUCO 260 creates the foundation and deeper knowledge of the global business context
upon which specific skills and strengths are built. The course may be taken prior to the
upper division BUCO 460: International Business Communication course, which focuses
on organizational communication skills needed for working in international or global
business settings. This elective builds foundation to prepare students for upper division
classes with global emphasis, MOR 470 Global Leadership and MOR 492 Global
Strategy, and their more localized focus on leadership in MOR 470 and strategy in MOR
BUCO 260 will especially benefit business students who are planning to participate in or
just returned from the international trips organized by Marshall Undergraduate
International Business Programs, summer internships abroad, and/or are planning to
participate in a semester long study abroad offered by the Marshall School of

Attendance. Your attendance and punctuality are necessary. Class discussions and
course assignments require your presence and participation in class. In cases of
compelling personal reasons (death in the family, hospitalization, etc.), absences may be

excused. You must present documentation of some kind in order to excuse an absence.
You will be marked absent for the day if you are more than ten minutes late for the class,
or if you leave before the class is over without proper notification.
Assignments. All assignments for this course must be completed on time and turned in at
the beginning of the class period. If you are unable to attend class on the day a written
assignment is due, make arrangements for it to be delivered to the classroom or to my
mailbox before the class. All late assignments will receive a grade penalty. Late or not,
however, you are expected to complete all assignments to pass this course.
Retention of "Graded" Work. Final exams and all other graded work which
affected the course grade will be retained for one year after the end of the
course if the graded work has not been returned to the student; i.e., if I
returned a graded paper to you, it is your responsibility to file it, not mine.

Class Notes Policy

Notes or recordings made by students based on a university class or lecture may only be
made for purposes of individual or group study, or for other non-commercial purposes
that reasonably arise from the students membership in the class or attendance at the
university. This restriction also applies to any information distributed, disseminated or in
any way displayed for use in relationship to the class, whether obtained in class, via email
or otherwise on the Internet, or via any other medium. Actions in violation of this policy
constitute a violation of the Student Conduct Code, and may subject an individual or
entity to university discipline and/or legal proceedings.
No recording and copyright notice. No student may record any lecture, class
discussion or meeting with me without my prior express written permission. The word
record or the act of recording includes, but is not limited to, any and all means by
which sound or visual images can be stored, duplicated or retransmitted whether by an
electro-mechanical, analog, digital, wire, electronic or other device or any other means of
signal encoding. I reserve all rights, including copyright, to my lectures, course syllabi
and related materials, including summaries, PowerPoints, prior exams, answer keys, and
all supplementary course materials available to the students enrolled in my class whether
posted on Blackboard or otherwise. They may not be reproduced, distributed, copied, or
disseminated in any media or in any form, including but not limited to all course notesharing websites. Exceptions are made for students who have made prior arrangements
with DSP and me.
Academic Integrity
Academic Standards: Academic integrity is a critical value of the University Community.
Integrity violations destroy the fabric of a learning community and the spirit of inquiry
that is vital to the effectiveness of the University. This course is subject to the Marshall
School of Business Academic Standards and USC Academic Integrity Standards, as
detailed in SCampus. Please refer to and become familiar with these standards. I will
work with you to maintain an atmosphere conducive to personal integrity, intellectual
honesty, and ethical behavior.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the unacknowledged and inappropriate use of the ideas or

wording of another writer and can result in severe penalties including an F in the
course. The best way to avoid plagiarism is to carefully document your sources, even
when you are only making use of data or ideas rather than an actual quotation. To avoid
having your writing marked by illegitimate assistance, ask yourself whether you would
be able, on your own and without further assistance, to revise and improve the writing in
question. If the answer is No---if you would not be able to maintain the same
conceptual and stylistic quality without outside assistancethen you should not submit
the writing as your own work.
Students with Disabilities
Any student requesting academic accommodations based on a disability is required to
register with Disability Services and Programs (DSP) each semester. You can obtain a
letter of verification for approved accommodations from DSP. Please be sure the letter is
delivered to me as early in the semester as possible. DSP is located in STU 301 and is
open 8:30 AM 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. The phone number for DSP is (213)
Emergency Preparedness/Course Continuity

In case of a declared emergency if travel to campus is not feasible, USC executive

leadership will announce an electronic way for instructors to teach students in their
residence halls or homes using a combination of Blackboard, teleconferencing, and other
Please activate your course in Blackboard with access to the course syllabus. Whether or
not you use Blackboard regularly, these preparations will be crucial in an emergency.

Class Activity
Week 1

Discuss course syllabus, requirements, and
course policies. Oral introductions.

Week 2

Discuss culture, stereotypes, prototypes, and
applications in the global marketplace.
Readings: Tuleja, E.A. Ch.1

Week 4
Week 3


Week 5


Readings: Tuleja, E.A. Ch.2
Tsedal Neeley Global Business Speaks


Week 6


Readings: Tuleja, E.A. Ch.3

Week 7


Readings: Tuleja, E.A. Ch.4
Reading: Kopnina, H. 2007. The world
according to Vogue. Patricia Search. Digital
Storytelling For Cross-Cultural

Week 8

Assignments & Due Dates

Due: Find an illustration of intercultural

communication (video, art clip, etc.) and
post it on Blackboard. Be ready to access it
in class and identify communication
elements represented.
Due: Form groups and choose cultures for
the Culture Debrief assignment.
Location: BRI- ELC
Assessing your direct and indirect
communication style (in-class activity).
In-class student reports on a cross-cultural
communication problem

In-class student reports on a cross-cultural

communication problem (continued)
Due: Culture Debrief assignment



Location: BRI-ELC

Week 9


Readings: Tuleja, E.A. Ch.5

Case study

Week 10

In-class video: Outsourced

Due: Outsourced blog posted by the end

of the week (midnight on Sunday).

Week 11

Video debrief: an analysis of Outsourced

Global Dexterity
Readings: Molinsky, Part I (pp. 5-47)

Week 12
Week 13
Week 14

Global Dexterity
Readings: Molinsky, Part II (pp. 47-129)
Global Dexterity
Readings: Molinsky, Part III (pp. 129-173)
Watch the movie: Shanghai calling

Group meetings with professor.

Week 15

Class Activity

Assignments & Due Dates

Final class meeting.

Due: Group presentations: country

business culture analysis.