Deborah A. Cai

Senior Associate Dean, Professor

Dean's Office, Globalization and Development Communication, M&C and Strategic Communication

Annenberg Hall, Room 334
2020 North 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122

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Dr. Deborah A. Cai is an internationally recognized researcher specializing in intercultural communication, negotiation and conflict management, and social influence. She is a Fellow in the International Association for Intercultural Research. Her research examines the effects of culture on social networks and on cognitive processes related to perceptions of conflict, decision making, and planning in negotiation. She has studied variations in social networks and relational obligations across cultures, in particular comparing China with Western cultures. Her scholarship addresses theoretical questions utilizing the full range of statistical techniques, from simple tests of mean differences to analysis of elaborate causal structures. She is the editor of the four-volume set that is part of the Sage Benchmarks in Communication, Intercultural Communication, and she has published in the premier outlets of the Communication discipline, including Communication Yearbook, Human Communication Research, Communication Monographs, the Journal of Applied Communication Research, and Communication Research. She is just finishing her term as Editor-in-Chief of Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, which is the official journal of the International Association for Conflict Management.


Ph.D.CommunicationMichigan State University
MAInternational StudiesTrinity International University
BAPolitical ScienceUniversity of Michigan

Courses Taught

STRC 3801Intercultural CommunicationUndergraduate
STRC 5002Leadership in Crisis and Conflict ManagementGraduate
STRC 9020Intercultural NegotiationGraduate
MMC 9101Communication Theory IIDoctorate
MMC 9700Intercultural Communication SeminarDoctorate


Journal ArticleA cross-cultural analysis of avoidance: Behind-the-scenes strategies in interpersonal conflicts.Han, B.Intercultural Communication Studies2015XXIV(2), 84-122
Journal Article“I want to talk about, again, my record on energy . . . ”: Modeling topic control in conversations using speaker-centric nonparametric topic models.Nguyen, V.-A., Boyd-Graber, J., Resnik, P., Cai, D. A., Midberry, J., & Wang, Y.Machine Learning201495, 381-421
Book ChapterQuantitative methods for conflict communication research. In The SAGE handbook of conflict communication: Integrating theory, research, and practiceFink, E. L.SageThousand Oaks, CA2013pp. 41-66
Book ChapterDiscrepancy models of belief change. In The SAGE handbook of persuasion.Fink, E. L.SageThousand Oaks, CA2013pp. 84-103
Journal Article The effect of conflict goals on avoidance strategies: What does not communicating communicate?Wang, Q., Fink, E. L.Human Communication Research201238, 222-252
BookIntercultural CommunicationSageThousand Oaks, CA20104 Volume set
Journal ArticleFace goals in apology: A cross-cultural comparison of Chinese and U.S. AmericansHan, B.Journal of Asian Pacific Communication201020(1), 102-124
Journal ArticleLoneliness, gender, and parasocial interaction: A uses and gratifications approach.Wang, Q., Fink, E. L.Communication Quarterly200855(4), 87-109
Book ChapterWhom do you trust? A cross-cultural comparison. In International and multicultural organizational communication.Hung, C. J. F.Hampton PressCresskill, NJ2005pp. 73-104
Book ChapterCultural structuring of the social context of negotiation. In M. J. Gelfand & J. M. Brett (Eds.), The handbook of negotiation and cultureGelfand, M. J.Stanford University Press2004pp. 238-257
Journal ArticleSemantics of social influence: Threats vs. persuasion.Fink, E. L., Kaplowitz, S. A., Chung, S., Kim, J. N., & Van Dyke, M. A.Communication Monographs200370(4), 295-316
Journal articleConflict style differences among individualists and collectivists.Fink, E. L.Communication Monographs2002pp. 69, 67-87
Journal ArticleCulture in context: Individualism/collectivism, negotiator role, framing, and paths to integrative agreementsWilson, S. R., Drake, L.Human Communication Research200026, 591-617
Journal ArticleCulture, plans, and the pursuit of negotiation goals.Journal of Asian Pacific Communication19988, 103-123
Book ChapterThe business of business negotiation: An intercultural perspective.Drake, L.Communication Yearbook199821, 153-190

Lectures / Conferences

The cultural shift from role to emotion. Delivered at five universities over two weeks: Hong Kong Baptist University, National Taiwan Normal University, National Taiwan University, Wuhan University (Wuhan, China), Xiamen University (Xiamen, China).October 2013
Empowering women to be leaders in peacebuilding and social change in post-conflict nations (The case of Afghanistan diplomacy). Florida Atlantic University’s Peace Studies Program, Boca Raton, FL.March 2012
Gender communication and leadership. Trainer for Women’s Campaign International to train civil servants from Afghanistan, funded by the Foreign Ministry of Italy, Rome, Italy.May 2011
Gender communication and leadership. Trainer for three day training for Women’s Campaign International to train diplomats from Afghanistan, funded by the Foreign Ministry of Italy, Rome, Italy.November 2010
Risk communication. Invited trainer; presented a series of lectures for a five day training conference for government representatives of developing nations in APEC (Asian Pacific Economic Commission), Manila, Philippines.June 2008
Roundtable on cross-cultural communication in a globalized world; Department of DefenseSeptember 2008
Coding messages from al-Qa'ida leaders for reference, target, and persuasive approaches. Invited presentation for the Department of Homeland Security Annual University Network Summit on Research and Education, Washington, DC.May 2007

Additional Projects

TitleDescriptionDates Active

Language Evidence for Social Goals: A Linguistic Approach to Persuasion Moves in Discourse. (Application accepted May 2009). IARPA grant; Dr. Philip Resnik,

Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, Principle investigator.  Base year $530, 950 (2009-2010); renewed for Option Year One: $923, 489 (2010-2011); renewed for Option Year Two: $550,000 (2011-2012).

Principal investigator

Project analyzing and coding 53 translated transcripts from leaders of  al’Qaeda, provided by the FBI, funded in part by START at the University of Maryland.

Principal investigator

Perceptions of the U.S. in Chinese printed news media.  $45,000 contract from the U.S.-China Commission awarded to the Institute of Global Chinese Affairs & the Department of Communication, University of Maryland.



NameType of ServicePositionDates Active
Negotiation and Conflict Management ResearchJournalEditorJuly 2012–November 2015


TitleType of AwardDate
Award for Outstanding ServiceInternational Association for Conflict Management2015
Research AwardSchool of Media and Communication, Temple University2010
FellowInternational Association for Intercultural ResearchDesignated in 2008