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Case Studies in Intercultural Communication


Welcome to the MIC Case Studies page.

Case Studies Intercultural Communication

Here you will find more than fifty different case studies, developed by our former participants from the Master of Advanced Studies in Intercultural Communication. The richness of this material is that it contains real-life experiences in intercultural communication problems in various settings, such as war, family, negotiations, inter-religious conflicts, business, workplace, and others. 

Cases also include renowned organizations and global institutions, such as the United Nations, Multinationals companies, Non-Governmental Organisations, Worldwide Events, European, African, Asian and North and South America Governments and others.

Intercultural situations are characterized by encounters, mutual respect and the valorization of diversity by individuals or groups of individuals identifying with different cultures. By making the most of the cultural differences, we can improve intercultural communication in civil society, in public institutions and the business world.


How can these Case Studies help you?

These case studies were made during the classes at the Master of Advanced Studies in Intercultural Communication. Therefore, they used the most updated skills, tools, theories and best practices available.
They were created by participants working in the field of public administration; international organizations; non-governmental organizations; development and cooperation organizations; the business world (production, trade, tourism, etc.); the media; educational institutions; and religious institutions. Through these case studies, you will be able to learn through real-life stories, how practitioners apply intercultural communication skills in multicultural situations.


Why are we opening our "Treasure Chest" for you?

We believe that Intercultural Communication has a growing role in the lives of organizations, companies and governments relationship with the public, between and within organizations. There are many advanced tools available to access, analyze and practice intercultural communication at a professional level. 

Moreover, professionals are demanded to have an advanced cross-cultural background or experience to deal efficiently with their environment. International organizations are requiring workers who are competent, flexible, and able to adjust and apply their skills with the tact and sensitivity that will enhance business success internationally.

Intercultural communication means the sharing of information across diverse cultures and social groups, comprising individuals with distinct religious, social, ethnic, and educational backgrounds. It attempts to understand the differences in how people from a diversity of cultures act, communicate and perceive the world around them. For this reason, we are sharing our knowledge chest with you, to improve and enlarge intercultural communication practice, awareness, and education.


Last words

We promise you that our case studies, which are now also yours, will delight, entertain, teach, and amaze you. It will reinforce or change the way you see intercultural communication practice, and how it can be part of your life today. Take your time to read them; you don't need to read all at once, they are rather small and very easy to read. The cases will always be here waiting for you. Therefore, we wish you an insightful and pleasant reading.



These cases represent the raw material developed by the students as part of their certification project. MIC master students are coming from all over the world and often had to write the case in a non-native language. No material can be reproduced without permission. ©  Master of Advanced Studies in Intercultural Communication, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland.


Case Studies in Intercultural Communication

  A Case of Mixed-Religion Marriage
Keywords: Catholic, Convert, Ethnocentrism, Family, Judaism, Marriage, Mediation, Mexico, Religion, Stereotypes, Stigmatisation, Values
  Adapting to the French Culture
Keywords: Cultural Dimensions, Cultural Values, Culture Shock, Erasmus, Finland, France, Integration, Proximity, Studying Abroad, Time Orientation
  A Finnish – Italian Collaboration
Keywords: Cultural Dimensions, Cultural Values, Finland, International Collaboration, Italy, Miscommunication, Task Vs Social Orientation, Time Orientation
  A Highly Explosive Gas Deal
Keywords: Economics, Intercultural Negotiations, Iran, Media, Politics, Public Relations, Switzerland
  A Parish Council in Nigeria
Keywords: Africa, Critical Incident, Gender, Generation, High Context/Low Context, Individualism/Collectivism, Nigeria, Public Position, Religion, Time Orientation
  A Short Guide to Understanding Business Communications in China
Keywords: Business, China, Directness, East-West, Individualism/Collectivism, Intercultural Collaboration, Miscommunication, Temporality
  An Unintended Offence
Keywords: Cultural Prejudice, Generalisation, National Identity, National Past, Offence, Stereotypes, Swiss Banks, Switzerland, WWII
  Christian Christmas Eve Celebration at Multireligious Schools
Keywords: Christianity, Christmas, Education, Foreign Influence, Islam, Mediation, Parents, Religious Freedom, Schools, Switzerland, Tolerance
  Clothing Styles in an Intercultural Setting
Keywords: Airport, Awkward Feeling, Burka, Clothing, Critical Incident, International Setting, Local Customs, Neutral Setting, Stereotypes, Travel
  Conflictual Situation among Counterparts in a Pharmaceutical Company
Keywords: Collaboration, Company, Employees, Face Loss, Gender, Intercultural Collaboration, Mediation, Turkey
  Creation of Forums for Intercultural Exchange and Formation in Nigeria
Keywords: Africa, Competence, In-Country Diversity, Nigeria, Religious Conflicts, Representations, Social Capital, Stereotypes
  Culture Shock in a Professional Environment
Keywords: Collaboration, Culture Shock, Ethnocentrism, Integration, International Organizations, Management Styles, Mexico, Working Relationship, Working Styles
  Culture Shock in China
Keywords: China, Cultural Adaptation, Culture Shock, Developmental Model, Going Abroad, Living Conditions, Stages Of Culture Shock, Studying Abroad, Unhappiness
  Difficult Collaboration or Difficult Communication
Keywords: Bureaucracy, Collaboration, Critical Incident, Cultural Etiquette, Netherlands, Rules And Procedure, Saudi Arabia, Status And Hierarchy, Western Vs Oriental
  Drop the Tie – the Challenges of Reverse Culture Shock
Keywords: (Reverse) Culture Shock, Attire, Clothing, Cultural Configuration, Dress Code, Formality, Job Interviews, Non-Verbal Communication, Work Setting, Working Culture
  Edo the Bosnian Driver
Keywords: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Collaboration, Cultural Perception, Employees, Hierarchy, Individualism/Collectivism, Power Distance, Time Perception
  Emergent Conflict in an NGO for Torture Victims
Keywords: Arbitration, Cultural Presupposition, Discrimination, Ethnocentrism, Mediation, Rumania, Torture, Trauma, Xenophobia
  Fasting the Month of Ramadan at the Workplace
Keywords: Ramadan, Religion, Workplace, Conflict, Mediation Strategies, Inter-Religious Dialogue, Professional Environment
  Female Priests in Finland
Keywords: Christianity, Church, Equality, Finland, Gender, Gender Equality, Media, Religion, Religious Beliefs
  Field Visit in Afghanistan
Keywords: Afghanistan, Critical Incident, Cultural Assumptions, Gender Relations, Hierarchy, Islam, Religion, Work Abroad
  For or Against Religious Instruction for Children
Keywords: Agnostic, Atheist, Baptism, Christianity, Cultural Norm, Education, Mediation, Parents, Personal Choice, Switzerland, Upbringing
  Geert Wilders and Islam in the Netherlands
Keywords: Geert Wilders, Immigration, Immigration Policy, Islam, Netherlands, Politics, Religion, Religious Stereotypes, Terrorism
  Identity Crisis – Flight and Return
Keywords: Britain, Culture Of Origin, Expat, Going Abroad, Language, Multiple Identities, Stranger, Switzerland, Two Cultures, Values
  Immigrating to One’s Country of Origin
Keywords: Culture Of Origin, Identity, Identity Shock, Immigration, Language, Stranger, Switzerland
  Managing Diversity
Keywords: Collaboration, Cultural Dimensions, Egypt, Employees, Intercultural Competence, Management Styles, Working Abroad
  Meeting New England
Keywords: Adaptation, Culture Shock, Exchange Year, Expectations, Host Family High School, Stereotypes, Study, Teenager, USA, Way Of Life
  No Going Back – Coming to Terms with an Intercultural Identity
Keywords: African Immigrant, Culture Shock, Immigration, Monoculturality Vs Multiculturality, Multicultural Environment, Multiple Identities, Saudi Arabia, Studying Abroad
  One Size Does Not Fit All
Keywords: Business Culture, Collaboration, Communication, Compensation, Complaint, Individualism/Collectivism, Local Market Knowledge, Translation, Turkey
  On Friday We Meet in the Back Yard
Keywords: Discrimination, Islamophobia, Mediation, Minarets, Religion, Right-Wing Politics, Stereotypes, Switzerland
  Peace Building in Rwanda
Keywords: Africa, Ethnic Communities, Genocide, Intercultural Competence, Mediation, Peace Building, Rwanda, Stakeholders
  Reflexions on the Case of Bosnia-Herzegovina
Keywords: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cultural Values, Ex-Yugoslavia, Mediation, Peace Building, Perception, Religion, Religious Belief
  Save the Project on Indigenous People
Keywords: Choice Of Register, Common Ground, Development Cooperation, Ecuador, Indigenous People, Intercultural Negotiations, Negotiation, Non-Verbal Communication, United Nations
  Security Issues
Keywords: Collaboration, Cultural Dimensions, Intercultural Awareness, Intercultural Competence, Portugal, Stereotypes, United Kingdom, Working Styles
  Swiss Germans and Germans: Divided by a Shared Language
Keywords: Communication, Cultural Dimensions, Germany, Immigration, Language, Linguistic Register, Politeness, Switzerland
  Tense Negotiations at the World Youth Forum
Keywords: Forum, Gender, Homosexuality, International Setting, Islam, Mediation, Politics, Polygamy, Values, Western Vs Oriental, Youth
  The Alptransit Consortium
Keywords: Collaboration, Language, Mediation, Neat, Röstigraben, Stereotype, Switzerland, Tunnel
  The Case of the Jerusalem’s Temple Mount
Keywords: Archeology, Cultural History, Isreal, Mediation, Middle-East Conflict, Palestine, Religion, Religious Symbols
  The Chinese Bride
Keywords: Acculturation, China, Cultural Pressure, Family Expectations, Generation, Italy, Marriage, Overseas-Chinese, Parents, Traditions, Two Cultures
  The Chinese Restaurant // Invitation by a Stranger
Keywords: Awkward Feeling, Critical Incident, Cultural Values, Discrimination, Gender, Immigration, Individualism/Collectivism, Intercultural Competence, Money, Politeness, Social Reflex, Stereotypes
  The Name of the South African Capital
Keywords: Apartheid, Colonialism, Cultural History, Intra-National Diversity, Minorities, Names, South Africa, Symbols
  The Pope’s Speech at the University of Regensburg
Keywords: Islam, Mediation, Offence, Religion, Religious Belief, Stereotypes, Vatican, Violence, Western Vs Oriental
  The Reception in Pakistan
Keywords: Assumptions, Business Meeting, Critical Incident, Etiquette, Gender Relations, Islam, Pakistan, Public Event
  The Referendum on Minarets in Switzerland
Keywords: Inter-Religious Dialogue, Islam, Media, Mediation, Minarets, Muslim Communities, Norms, Public Opinion, Religion, Switzerland, Symbol, Values, Vote
  The Visit of the Indian Consultants
Keywords: Collaboration, Critical Incident, Eating Habits, Hierarchy, India, Mediation, Non-Verbal Communication, Outsourcing
  The Vote on Minarets
Keywords: Islam, Mediation, Minarets, Religion, Religious Symbols, Religious Values And Identity, Switzerland, Symbol, Vote
  Turkish Delight
Keywords: Critical Incident, Dancing, Intercultural Relationship, Meeting The Parents, National Symbol, Non-Verbal Communication, Stereotypes, Turkey, Western Vs Oriental
  Wearing a Veil in a Danish School
Keywords: Asylum, Conflict Resolution, Denmark, Education, Immigration, Islam, Mediation, Parents, Religion, Stereotypes, Veil
  Yes is not the Answer
Keywords: Collaboration, Critical Incident, Going Abroad, International Setting, Linguistic Meaning, Management, Miscommunication, Philippines, Stress, Time Orientation, Working Style
  You Don’t Belong Here
Keywords: Australia, Being Different, Discrimination, Generalisation, Hostility, Immigration, South-East Asian Immigrants, Stereotypes, Two Cultures

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