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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Intercultural Relations

First Advisor

Kent Warren

First Committee Member

Michael Osmera

Second Committee Member

Dave Johnson


This study describes cultural values and communication styles that are attributable to Kenyans and U.S. Americans. It examines how Kenyans and U.S. Americans experience these different cultural values and communication styles and how they contribute to intercultural misunderstanding and conflict while working together in an office setting. Ten Kenyans and ten U.S. Americans who work or worked together in Nairobi, Kenya were interviewed and surveyed. The goal of the study was to explore and identify the experiences of the participants relative to the following values: individualism and collectivism; power distance; time orientation; high and low context; and universalism and particularism. The methodology used for this study included phone interviews and an extensive survey, which provided anecdotal evidence on how individuals experience and interpret the differences in these values. The interpretation of the data offers insights into significant intercultural differences between these two groups. The need for effective intercultural communication is an everyday reality in Nairobi, whether at the office, in the market, or on the street. Recommendations are offered for both Kenyans and U.S. Americans to work through and manage the differences to enhance productivity and satisfaction in the workplace. Ultimately the findings from this study will facilitate a rich discussion for human resources and training departments of similar organizations whether in Kenya or elsewhere.



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