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Relational Models and Horizontal & Vertical Individualism-Collectivism:
Unformatted Document Text:  Relational Models 1 A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Relational Model Use in Interpersonal Relationships of American and Singaporean College Students Of all human behaviors, none are more important in defining a given culture than those enacted in interpersonal relationships. It is primarily in interpersonal relationships where a culture’s values and beliefs are enacted, reinforced, and sanctioned. It is in the interpersonal relationships children have with their families and peers where they are socialized to become members of their native culture, and it in their relationships with coworkers and friends where adult immigrants are acculturated into their host culture. The relationship between interpersonal relationships and culture, however, is not a causal relationship. Rather, it is one of mutual dependence. Culture and interpersonal relationships are intertwined such that while culture is instantiated in interpersonal relationships, interpersonal communication is also always taking place in the context of culture and is incomprehensible without it. A consequence of this interdependence is that one way to achieve understanding of cultures is to achieve understanding of interpersonal relationships in those cultures, and, by extension, one way to compare cultures is to compare interpersonal relationships in these cultures. This paper attempts to do just that and compare American and Singaporean interpersonal relationships as a means to investigate similarities and differences in these two cultures. One challenge when comparing different cultures by investigating interpersonal relationships is that for those comparisons to be meaningful, they have to be done on aspects of interpersonal relationships that are significant to the individuals in the cultures under investigation and that simultaneously vary between different cultures. If relationship

Authors: Koerner, Ascan.
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Relational Models
1
A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Relational Model Use in Interpersonal Relationships
of American and Singaporean College Students
Of all human behaviors, none are more important in defining a given culture than those
enacted in interpersonal relationships. It is primarily in interpersonal relationships where a
culture’s values and beliefs are enacted, reinforced, and sanctioned. It is in the
interpersonal relationships children have with their families and peers where they are
socialized to become members of their native culture, and it in their relationships with
coworkers and friends where adult immigrants are acculturated into their host culture. The
relationship between interpersonal relationships and culture, however, is not a causal
relationship. Rather, it is one of mutual dependence. Culture and interpersonal
relationships are intertwined such that while culture is instantiated in interpersonal
relationships, interpersonal communication is also always taking place in the context of
culture and is incomprehensible without it.
A consequence of this interdependence is that one way to achieve understanding of
cultures is to achieve understanding of interpersonal relationships in those cultures, and, by
extension, one way to compare cultures is to compare interpersonal relationships in these
cultures. This paper attempts to do just that and compare American and Singaporean
interpersonal relationships as a means to investigate similarities and differences in these
two cultures.
One challenge when comparing different cultures by investigating interpersonal
relationships is that for those comparisons to be meaningful, they have to be done on
aspects of interpersonal relationships that are significant to the individuals in the cultures
under investigation and that simultaneously vary between different cultures. If relationship


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