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Bridging Differences

Bridging Differences
Effective Intergroup Communication

Fourth Edition
  • William B. Gudykunst - California State University, Fullerton, USA, California State University, USA

August 2003 | 448 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

The Fourth Edition of Bridging Differences: Effective Intergroup Communication builds on the strengths of the previous editions and provides state-of-the-art knowledge about intergroup communication. This new edition brings a strong skills-oriented approach to improving communication effectiveness between people from different groups (e.g., cultures, ethnic groups, social classes).


Bridging Differences is based on the assumption that the processes operating when we communicate with people from other groups are the same processes operating when we communicate with people from our own groups. Author William B. Gudykunst has written this book from the perspective of "communicating with strangers" and addresses how factors related to our group memberships (e.g., inaccurate and unfavorable stereotypes of members of other cultures and ethnic groups) can cause us to misinterpret the messages we receive from members of those groups.


New to the Fourth Edition:

  • Expanded discussions of several topics such as changing intergroup expectations; cultural differences in attribution processes; cultural and ethnic differences in conflict; cultural differences in indirect messages; cultural differences in uncertainty management; empathy; ethnic and cultural identities; face and its relationship to conflict management; intergroup communication effectiveness; intergroup conflict; intergroup biases; negotiating means; perceptual processes; and prejudice
  • New material has been added on civic engagement; community in public life; diversity and community; the content of stereotypes; communication in romantic relationships; cultural differences in effective communication; and theoretical explanations for prejudice
  • Pedagogical features include end-of-chapter study questions, self-assessment questionnaires, open-ended questions to stimulate readers to think about their implicit theories, and written skill exercises to increase students' skill development


Designed for students taking courses in Intercultural Communication or Intergroup Communication, Bridging Differences is also useful for many courses in Cultural Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, and Management.

1. Communicating with Strangers
An Overview of the Communication Process  
Managing Uncertainty and Anxiety  
Effective Communication  
Study Questions  
2. Understanding Cultural Differences
Other Dimensions of Cultural Variability  
Cultural Identity  
Study Questions  
3. Understanding Group Differences
Social Identities  
Ethnicity and Ethnic Identity  
Identities Based on Gender, Disability, Age, and Social Class  
Study Questions  
4. Having Expectations for Strangers
The Nature of Expectations  
Intergroup Attitudes  
Changing Our Intergroup Expectations  
Study Questions  
5. Attributing Meaning to Strangers' Behaviors
The Perception Process  
The Attribution Process  
Culture and Attributions  
Personality Factors Influencing Our Attributions  
Improving the Accuracy of Our Attributions  
Study Questions  
6. Exchanging Messages with Strangers
The Nature of Language and Nonverbal Messages  
Cultural Differences in Language Usage  
Cultural Differences in Nonverbal Communication  
Language Usage in Communicating with Strangers  
Improving the Quality of Messages Exchanged with Strangers  
Study Questions  
7. Being Perceived as Competent Communicators
Defining Perceived Competence  
Study Questions  
8. Managing Intergroup Conflict
The Nature of Conflict  
Cultural and Ethnic Differences in Conflict  
Face Concerns  
Characteristics of Intergroup Conflict  
Managing Intergroup Conflict  
Study Questions  
9. Developing Relationships with Strangers
Similarities and Differences Across Groups  
Intergroup Relationships  
Intergroup Relationship Development  
Romantic Relationships  
Study Questions  


10. Building Community with Strangers
The Nature of Community  
Characteristics of Community  
Community and Public Life  
Civic Engagement  
Diversity and Community  
Ethical Issues in Building Community with Strangers  
Principles of Community Building  
Study Questions  

I chose this title because of satisfactory experience with prior editions.

I wish that supplemental resources for instructors (e.g., power point slideshows; exam questions)--commonly available for other texts offered by other publishers--were offered for this title.

If any should become available, please notify me at:

Dr Kurt Bruder
Communication Dept, University at Buffalo
March 23, 2011
Key features
  • NEW research material on the content of stereotypes and power in intergroup interactions (Ch. 4, "Having Expectations for Strangers")) and on interaction involvement (Ch. 9, "Developing Relationships with Strangers")
  • EXPANDED discussion of anxiety and uncertainty management in chapters 1 ("Communicating with Strangers") and 9, and integrated in general more throughout the book
  • EXPANDED discussion on the negotiation of meaning throughout the book, and especially in chapters 1 and 6 ("Exchanging Messages with Strangers")

NEW end-of-chapter study questions and suggested readings

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