First Advisor

Devorah Lieberman

Term of Graduation

Fall 1992

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication




Communication in personnel management, Intercultural communication, Minorities -- Employment



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, v, 115 pages)


The purpose of this thesis is to examine communication issues which are most frequently identified as the concerns of U.S. managers who work with culturally and ethnically diverse workforces, and skills which are identified as useful in dealing with those issues. This thesis used a qualitative method of data collection. Information was generated through a review of literature in the fields of communication, management, and organizational behavior to determine frequently occurring themes concerning intercultural communication issues in the workplace. Following the review, three case study interviews were conducted with managers in the Portland metropolitan area to determine what they perceive as communication issues frequently encountered in a multicultural workforce and skills needed to effectively address these issues. Themes in the literature are compared with what the managers report are communication issues in managing a multicultural workforce.

Interview results indicated that there are both differences and similarities between what the manager reports and the literature themes. The similarities chiefly concerns the importance of nonverbal behavioral differences as a cause of intercultural communication differences. Differences between the themes in the literature and the interview results chiefly concerns the number of additional factors which could affect intercultural communication between manager and employee. More themes are suggested in the literature as sources of communication difficulty than in the interview results. These results suggest that language differences were more often the type of intercultural communication difficulties that managers encounter than is indicated by the literature.


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