US-North Korean Strategic Intercultural Communication Simulation

An Intercultural Experiential Learning Set

Lesson Plan, 2013

16 Pages


A Strategic Intercultural Simulation (Experiential Learning)

The US Versus North Korea, A Topical Bilateral Interfacing of Societal/Political Cultures

A highly participative group activity, aimed at developing and enhancing CQ – cultural intelligence

The following was a hand-out to international business students in the context of the subject Intercultural Relations and Communication of October 2006 designed to develop intercultural sensitivity and skills through the exploration of US – Korean intercultural relations. As one can see, the question has not been solved to this day. On the contrary, presently, North Korea is threatening the world with nuclear war.

Due to the importance of it I have decided to make this intercultural experiential learning set available to international/intercultural educators and students in part 1, while part 2 contextualizes the intercultural challenge in a transcultural approach.

In line with Richard D. Lewis one may assume that …”in terms of deeply rooted culture, all Koreans are the same.” Luckily, one may be inclined to say, because reliable intercultural research data are, as far as I know, only available for South Korea. So, we ground the experiential learning set on the assumption of the identity of core beliefs. The differences in political structures may, however, have conditioned people in the North and the South of the ideologically divided to develop different world views in a context of political isolation with few allies.

In short, in the following intercultural research data for South Korea are used as a first approach to the issue to be nuanced by to the socio-political context of the North.


Planning of a hypothetical cultural interfacing (encounter) of North Korean and US delegations. With the help of the docent you should prepare a cultural analysis of the parties. For this purpose the plenum will be divided into two groups, a US and a North Korean delegation, who will meet after the preparation phase. The scope of the exercise will depend on the orientation and on the preparedness of the students.

Strategic guideline

Sun Tzu’s strategic principle paraphrased as follows: “If you don’t know yourself, you never win, if you know yourself, you win sometimes, sometimes you lose, if you know yourself and your opponent, you will be victorious in a hundred battles.”

Culture profiles of the parties based on Geert Hofstede, Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner, Edward T. Hall and Richard D. Lewis:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Korean cultural values according to Richard D. Lewis, “When Cultures collide – Leading Across Cultures”, page 503:

“Confucian ethic, Vertical society, Observance of protocol, Toughness, creativity,

Tendency towards violence, Nationalism,

Protection of kibun (inner feelings), Respect for elders,

Competitive spirit, Obsession with survival, Adaptability,

Suspicion of neighbours, Dislike of foreigners,

Willingness to suffer hardship for the good of the country.”

Confucianism ( from Transcultural Management Dictionary, G. Deißler, Grin-

Verlag 2009)

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Key terms

NPT (non-proliferation treaty), WMD (weapons of mass destruction), Kibun and Hahn, denuclearization, negotiation strategy, envoy, intermediary, bilateral, multilateral talks, UN, Security Council, zero/non-zero sum game, values…

Some questions to be reflected upon

How may these South Korean cultural value preferences be impacted by North Korean ideology and its political culture in the context of isolation?

What is the impact of culture on the interfacing?

What face saving devices should be considered to bring the parties back to the bilateral/multilateral negotiation table?

Who should take the initiative and why?

What are the stakes and the strategic objectives and power balance issues regionally and globally?

Decision-making styles?

Relevance of trust and trust building. How can it be built?

Considering the process as a whole, specify the most critical moment and explain it in strategic terms.

What could be the impact of a facilitator on the process as a whole?

Can you comment on the connection between North and South Korean culture in North-East Asian culture setting (culturally, historically, economically, strategically and ideologically?

What (other) questions are relevant? (Brainstorming)

The Process of the experiential learning set

Once the delegations have done their preparatory word separately, the delegations should meet and enact an encounter. Depending on the availability of time delegation members may read the chapters on the two national cultures by R. D. Lewis, in particular the passages on negotiation behaviour. The simulation will then be debriefed in the plenum. The process as a whole has to be customized by needs.


Adler, N (2002 ) International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior, South-Western, Cincinnati, Oh. ISBN: 0-324-05786-5

Apfelthaler, G (2002) Interkulturelles Management: Die Bewältigung interkultureller Differenzen in der internationalen Unternehmenstätigkeit. Manz, Wien

Audia, PG and Tams, S (2002) ‘Goal Setting, Performance Appraisal, Feedback’ in Gannon, M J and Newman, L (Eds.) The Blackwell Handbook of Cross-Cultural Management, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford. ISBN: 0-631-21430-5

Bartlett, CH and Ghoshal, S and Birkinshaw, J (2003) Transnational Management. Text, Cases, and Readings in Cross-Border Management, International Edition, McGraw-Hill/Irwine,

New York, NY. ISBN: 007-123228-1

Belbin (1996) Team Roles at Work. Butterworth-Heinemann

Blackman C (1997) Negotiating China. Case Studies and Strategies, St. Leonards, NWS, AUS. ISBN: 186448070X

Bond (1988) The Cross-Cultural Challenge to Social Psychology. Books on Demand.

Brannen MY and Salk JE (2000) Partnering Across Borders: Negotiating organizational culture in a German-Japanese joint venture, Human Relations, Volume 53(4) 451- 487 , Sage Publications, London


Excerpt out of 16 pages


US-North Korean Strategic Intercultural Communication Simulation
An Intercultural Experiential Learning Set
Reutlingen University  (International Business School)
Intercultural Relations/Intercultural Competence
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
458 KB
intercultural communication, strategic studies, international relations, diplomacy, intercultural management education
Quote paper
D.E.A./UNIV. PARIS I Gebhard Deißler (Author), 2013, US-North Korean Strategic Intercultural Communication Simulation, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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