Module 1 Case Study (Solved)



Module 1 Case Study  

Attention: This case study may trigger your emotions. Please book an appointment with one of the counselors at our Learner Success Services if you need any support. The author of the case study, Crystal Manyfingers, who is a teaching and learning consultant at Bow Valley College, will also be happy to provide additional support.

This case describes a situation of racial profiling, which, according to a CBC news piece that draws from an Ontario Human Rights Commission report, Indigenous people report happens to them frequently in stores. Please read this report:


Case Study 

James earned his MBA at Concordia University at Montreal, Quebec. As a child, James was raised by his grandparents who taught him to be proud of his Inuk heritage. He grew up on the land and learned all the ways of his ancestors and about their rich cultural traditions. He enjoys and places importance on sharing these teachings with his own daughter, Nicola.

As his career progressed, James sought out and won the position of Executive Director for the Blackfoot Confederacy Corp. in Mohkinstis (the City of Calgary). He moved his young family to the nearby rural town of Crossfield, so Nicola could start grade five in a smaller community. Just before the first day of school, the family decided to go to the nearby shopping centre to buy school supplies and clothes.  James and his wife Suzanne were not aware of the ongoing tensions and racist relationship that existed between some of the local townsfolk and certain members of the neighboring First Nations reserve.  

Upon entering the store, James and his family began to be followed by a security guard. At first they thought that this was just a coincidence, so they continued on with their shopping. The security guard followed them uncomfortably closely and James heard the guard mutter, “Braids are for little girls.” James had grown his braid since he was a child[1]. This comment upset Nicola, and Suzanne said, “Let’s just get out of here.”  

This entire situation angered James, so he abruptly turned around to confront the security guard and asked why he and his family were being followed around the store. The security guard’s response was that there had been an ongoing problem with shoplifting by the nearby Blackfoot people. This blatant generalization angered James, so he asked to speak to the store’s manager.

After a while, the store manager came and took the group aside into his office. James explained what he had just experienced, and that he had just moved to the community from Eastern Canada, that he couldn’t believe that his family had been followed in the store just because of their race, and that he would not tolerate anyone upsetting his family. The manager listened to James and was thinking of an effective way to respond.   


Part A: Case study questions (60 marks or 15 marks each)

Answer each of the following questions in approximately 200 words.

1.       Do you think the work of the security guard will be negatively or positively affected if a more interpersonal relationship with James and his family is established? Why? Refer to the principles of “interpersonal communication exists on a continuum” (DeVito, Shimoni, & Clark, 2016, p. 5) and “interpersonal communication involves power” (DeVito et al., 2016, pp. 16-17).


2.       Did you assume that the security guard was born in Canada, white, or male when reading the case study? What does this assumption reflect on your own intercultural communication? Why? Refer to two concepts in Chapter 2.


3.       Nicola is developing her self-concept, which according to DeVito et al. (2016) is influenced by four sources (p. 48). Which of these two sources do you think influence Nicola’s self-concept most? Why? Explain and apply the textbook concepts on pp. 48-50 clearly in your answer.


4.       Imagine that you are the manager in the case study. Write a dialogue that illustrates a positive outcome of his communication with James by applying the effective listening strategies in Chapter 4.

[1] For some information about Indigenous men and boys wearing braids, use this link: 

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