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Public apologies and intercultural communication: Perceptions of Chinese and American students
The primary purpose of this study was to investigate how culture impacts recipients’ perceptions of the effectiveness of a public apology (Netflix apology). Data was collected through a survey instrument that included both Likert Scale items and short response items. A selected number of participants from each group were also interviewed. Quantitative and qualitative analysis of data were conducted. The study also aimed to identify specific verbal and non-verbal cues that correlate with students’ evaluations of this public apology. Overall, the participants evaluated the Netflix apology as ineffective in terms of verbal as well as non-verbal strategies used. Findings show that cultural variations regarding the appropriate non-verbal cues significantly affected the participants’ evaluations of the apology. Chinese emphasized the importance of a formal setting, professional dress, bowing posture and remorseful facial expressions, whereas Americans emphasized the importance of eye contact and body posture embodying attentiveness. The majority of the participants commented that the apologizer should have offered compensation as a means of taking responsibility for the offense. The study has teaching implications for raising intercultural competency among the students and business leaders, particularly regarding the use of online speech events in teaching scenarios.
Suggested citationSong, S.-C., & Galindo, K.B. (2018). Public apologies and intercultural communication: Perceptions of Chinese and American students. Intercultural Communication Education, 1(1), 27–44. https://doi.org/10.29140/ice.v1n1.41