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Conflict resolution role cards (an American's first dinner in Korea) - an intercultural roleplay

Korean:

You are a Korean business person and you've invited an American from the corporate office in the US to have dinner with you and your colleagues. The meal of rice, side dishes, and daenjon arrives and you begin eating with your colleagues. However you notice that the American is not eating. When you ask him about this he says he's waiting for a plate and a bowl. Why does he want his own bowl? You'll need to use the 4 steps to find out.

1. Both people explain what they find unusual about the other's behavior.
2. Each person realizes the other's cultural perceptions.
3. Each person learns how the problem would be handled in the other's culture.
4. Together, the two people develop conflict solutions.

American:

You are an American executive and you're in Korea to see how the Korean office runs and suggest improvements to the US headquarters. After arriving in Korea, the employees take you out to dinner. You're looking forward to trying some Korean food but when it arrives you're surprised to see everyone spooning soup out of the same bowl, eating fish off the same plate, sharing little bowls of vegetables, etc. The only thing you have to yourself is a bowl of rice, water, and liquor. You're wondering why they don't give you a plate so use the 4 steps to get to the bottom of this.

1. Both people explain what they find unusual about the other's behavior.
2. Each person realizes the other's cultural perceptions.
3. Each person learns how the problem would be handled in the other's culture.
4. Together, the two people develop conflict solutions.

Teacher's notes

An assessment rubric for this roleplay is available: Intercultural communication roleplay assessment rubric.

1. I used this as one possible roleplay for the midterm exam during a Catholic University EFL class called Intercultural Communication. Students have already studied the conflict resolution process for intercultural communication. The one given here was created from an American perspective. It is worth asking students if they think it needs to be modified in certain circumstances. For example would a Korean approach conflict resolution differently from an American?

2. Normally you would want to set the scene in class. However because this was used for the midterm exam (students rolled a die on the day of their test to see which situation they would roleplay), students (one pair at a time) came to my office at the arranged time. I recorded the roleplays as I always do in case students wants to argue their grades.

3. Students work in pairs. A group of 3 should be possible with this roleplay.

4. It should be noted that this suggestion came from my Korean students and I then wrote the role cards based on their ideas.