Cross-cultural Communication

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 26 September 2016

Cross-cultural Communication

One of the well known anthropologists, Edward Hall says that the influence of culture on the communication is too strong and he quoted it as “culture is communication and communication is culture”. The invisible source of misunderstanding of the people is the main difference in cultural values and perceptions (Dutta, 2008). And the present world of globalization market found that there is a free flow of human resources across the geographical limitations and the dissimilar cultures, so it has become essential to understand the significance of interpersonal communication practice.

Besides these fundamentals the current paper is focused to the discussion of different issues and challenges in the cross- cultural communication. Introduction In simple term the ‘culture’ can be defined as the life- style of people in a community. In broad way the culture include various attitudinal and behavioral dimensions like values, faith, expectations, norms, etc. However, all these aspects make the culture a composite thing to recognize and have drawn the concentration of researchers to learn about various magnitudes and its impact on the people who are living in the particular community or the society (Hayes, 2002).

Within the culture, however, there may be different subcultures on the basis of the ethnic groups, profession and religious group. But, some studies about the behavioral aspects say that the all the people who belongs to a particular community are thinking and behaving in a similar way irrespective of their sex. Hence, the culture also various from one group to another and ultimately this difference will affect to their trust in the communication process that one is trying to achieve with the people of other culture. Therefore the perfect understanding about the cross-cultural communication is very important.

Present free world situation requires the cross-cultural communication and the people want to traveling one place to another freely for their business assignments or for their entertainment activity. Hence it necessitates understanding others culture and the primary aspect of the cross-cultural communication aims at, how the people from the different culture could communicate each other and how they understand their problems each other. Let us see an instance that how the culture disparity affect the trust level and the open communication. An American and a Chinese were visit the observance, where their friends had been buried.

Meanwhile the Americans are crying to put a beautiful bunch of flowers on his friend’s grave. But the Chinese were crying to put a bowel of cooked rice and some fruits. However the Americans stated that one world leave the food at a grave. So he is asking with the Chinese that, do u think that your dead friend will come and eat food that you put down at the grave. In response to this question, he said of course my friend will come and eat the food around the time your time friend comes out to smell the flowers that you are leaving for him.

Though it is a friendly nature between each other and it is the situation where the American fined difficulty to understand the Chinese custom. Of course the cultural differentiation did not threaten to their friendship. Therefore one’s culture may be a main hunk to the international communication. One person’s activity starts from the culture that he follows. Throughout his growth, he understands the values of his culture, beliefs and culture. However the culture teaches to a person about good or bad and it shows the behavior of different people and it passes form one generation to another.

In order to be effective communication, understanding one’s culture is too essential and it will eliminate the attitudinal and behavioral obstacle in the communication process. Without the understanding the culture, it will lead to the misunderstanding of a person and ultimately the actions and attitude will be imperfect. By considering these aspects the Hewlett – Packard (HP) brought its US and the French engineers together to design the software. The US engineers sent long and detailed emails to their counterparts in France. And in response to it the French engineers reverted with prompt and very precise email.

But the US engineers believes that French engineers were holding some information without forwarding to them. By understanding the problem the HP hired a consulting firm to give proper training to them from both side to learn their differences. Globalization Globalization means it is the open economy to all and no company is restricted to enter national boundary. The important benefit of globalization is advanced technology, greater market opportunity, Internet facilities, telecommunication and market development and it is an integration of the world market (Lewis 1996).

Hence all these factors coordinate to maximize output with a limited time. It integrates the supply chain and outsourcing cheaper across the world. Extremely the policy of globalization even helpful to a small company to introduce its product in to international market with the help of internet, modern transport etc. The multi-cultural Workforce A good instance for the Multi cultural workforce is US economy. It has various people from different country from different ethical background like African and Asian compose the majority of immigrants are staying in the country.

So these people have their own culture and language style at the work place. Hence this process deals the truth that how the business communicates, plan and interpret various aspect in the work place. Until the globalization and before the IT boom of the Indian economy, a few of middle level management and the top-level management needs to communicate across culture. But the present scenario has changed and the young executives have moving around the world through their different assignments. However there are two main troubles in communicating with the people across culture.

The first problem is the inability to note and read the symbols that the other culture display and the other problem is that the tendency to attach to the symbols perceived from one’s own culture. So in both the case there is a chance to misinterpretation of the symbols. When there is a clash arises in between both the culture, the members should take proper action and should express open view of the features of the foreign culture. The extensive difference between Indian culture and the foreign culture makes a strong support to mutual understanding and its acceptance.

Hence, there should be taken extra care to avoid any kind of losses due to this problem. Understanding intercultural communication If we have the perfect knowledge about one’s culture, we can communicate effectively in a cross cultural context. Mainly four kind of cultural differences, Contextual The cultural context influences on the way that the people understand the messages. Taiwan and South Korea convey on non-verbal communication than verbal communication whereas US and Germany convey more on the verbal communication.

Social differences The social factor is another important factor which disturbing the culture. The materialistic US people believed that the money can solve any problem and it is one of the important sources for the achievement. However it is quite opposite as consider in to Indian culture. Because money is not an extreme objective but a sense of spiritualization is the best irrespective of their cast, creed and sex (Gudykunst, 1998). The perception towards time is also varies in both the country.

In western society the woman plays a major role in politics, sports, business etc but in India till last few years woman participation was too low. But now they start to enter into these areas which could find a positive change in the Indian society. Non verbal differences A non verbal difference is an essential tool to understand the difference in the non- verbal communication. The simple hand gesture may give different meaning from one culture to another. In some time the interpreting through gesture according through one’s culture may lead to the misunderstanding the message.

Indian culture Vs Western culture From the last two to three decades a large number of Indian young executives and professionals continuously communicate with the people from the other culture especially US and Europe. But the people from the western want to control the future and they are highly receptive to view the mistakes in positively and learn more from the past situations. But it is quite different in India. So the western people give more importance to the individualism and they tend to make more innovation in the field of science and technology.

But in Indian context we consult third party to take a simple decision. Our concern is mainly depends on the genecology, that try to protect the relationship. But in the western world if an individual has achieved something, it is his real position in the society. These kinds of cultural values and faiths will affect to our cross cultural communication system. Hence if we fail to give respect to our culture, or if we are still not aware about the values of different culture, our communication may be far away from the satisfactory communication.

And certain symbols of foreign language cannot be perceived by us or we may give them wrong meanings based on their symbols. Overcoming the Barriers One should have a good interpersonal communication skills to understand others culture and to communicate more effectively with the individual from the other cultures. He can get the skill by reading the articles from other culture and speaking with the people, who have interested to talk with other culture people. Hence he should know about each culture, history, religion, politics, value and cultures.

Meanwhile he should know about the countries subculture and particularly the business subculture. So this process will help them to make communication easier with the other culture people (Rayudu, 1997). Hence we could see the knowledge is an important mantra for effective cross cultural communication. The people understand the potential problems which is hitting to the cross cultural communication and they learned about a conscious effort to overcome the problems. The effort won’t give any success point until he adjusts his behavior in this aspect.

So on should always think that there is a possibility that the cultural differentiation may cause for communication problem. And he should be patients to get outcome rather than the aggressiveness. Finally he should be more careful and his respond should be slow rather than the behavior of he said is right and he knows everything. Active listening will avoid these kind of problems and it will makes the communication is more accurate. Conclusion At present scenario is concerned the cross cultural communication is an important factor and also a mantra for the success.

The effect of poor communication in cross cultural context is very high. The effective and able communication across cultures extended the success in global business world. Thus which decreases the misunderstanding among different cultures and which enlarges productive interpersonal relationship among the dissimilar group. As far as present business scenario is concern, the leaders should prompt to understand various issues and challenges related to the cross cultural communication and should provide essential training and information to avoid the misunderstanding among the business group in different culture.


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 26 September 2016

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