Communication With People of Different Ages in the Workplace: Thai and American Data


Corresponding author: Robert M. McCann; e-mail:


To test hypotheses about intra- and intergenerational communication perceptions, nonmanagerial-level bankers (n = 348) in two nations (Thailand and United States) self-assessed their communication beliefs on the Global Perceptions of Intergenerational Communication scale. Communication accommodation theory was used as a theoretical backdrop. Results revealed that older bankers were seen as more nonaccommodating (e.g., more negative, more ordering) than young bankers, though young bankers still felt more obligation to be respectful (e.g., hold back opinions) with older bankers than to their same-age group. In addition, managers were seen as more nonaccommodating than nonmanagers. Cross-cultural findings emerged to the extent that Thai bankers perceived others, in general, as less accommodating (e.g., supportive, helpful) and more nonaccommodating than did their American counterparts; hence, workplace conversations were at least partially viewed as more difficult in Thailand than in the United States. Research on religious and philosophical traditions, cultural convergence and divergence, modernity, and workplace homogenization were invoked to interpret the above findings.