Challenges In Cross-cultural Communication And How To Overcome Them.
Culture is a shared system of symbols, beliefs, attitudes, values, expectations and norms for behavior. Simply, culture is the integration of what a man does, what he wears, what he eats, what he believes and so on. Cultural background influences the way a man prioritizes what is important in life, helps define his attitude toward what is appropriate in any situation and establishes the rules of behavior. In the age of globalization cross-cultural communication is inevitable. Most of the international organizations have a multicultural workforce whose diversity has been proved beneficiary for both parties. Workplace diversity refers to the variety of differences between people in an organization. That sounds simple, but diversity encompasses race, gender, ethnic group, age, personality, cognitive style, tenure, organizational function, educational background and more. Cultural diversity is an increasingly prominent subject in professional, corporate and academic environments. Not only are many organizations are putting a lot of time and effort into increasing the diversity of their work force, they are also educating them about the importance, benefits and inevitability of cultural diversity in the contemporary global environment. In this assignment I will try to focus on the challenges of cross-cultural communication and how to overcome these challenges.
Challenges In Cross-cultural Communication
The most commonly found differences among cultures which might affect effective communication include: 1. Language differences
2. High context vs. low context
3. Social differences
4. Religious beliefs
5. Monochromic vs. Polychromic
6. Future vs. Present vs. Past Orientation
7. Individualism vs. Collectivism
8. Power Distance
9. Quantity of Time
10. Nonverbal differences
Now I will try to elaborate these issues with examples to make the challenges more understandable and of course the ways we can overcome the problems.
A German software company and a British company were competing for a contract with a Finnish customer. The Finns chose the Germans because they understood their English better. This is a joke but reality is not far different. In case of communication language barrier is the greatest one. In a diverse workforce you have to communicate with people who do not speak more than two languages. Moreover if English is not their mother tongue there is a possibility that they do not speak English pretty well or understand too. Sometimes it may be dangerous or at least make your organization less productive. Same thing will happen if you have problems with speaking or understanding the main language of your organization. You will not be able to communicate with your colleague or superiors and also you will not understand them perfectly. So you have to overcome your disability one way or other. For example, China provides the rest of the world vast opportunities thanks to its low cost labor with ample manpower and gradually increasing expertise. A research was carried out from a Swedish perspective through the eyes of Swedish companies which covered seven different Swedish companies located in Jonkoping County: Waggeryd Cell AB, Scandinavian Eyewear AB, Kapsch TraficCom AB, Kongsberg Automotive, Hestra-Handsken AB, Arlemark Glas AB and Falks Broker AB. There are huge differences between Chinese and Swedish culture as well as language. But they developed some methods to overcome the problem which are mostly interpersonal relationship and facial impression based.
High context Vs low context
A low context culture is one in which things are fully (though concisely) spelled out. Things are made explicit, and there is considerable dependence on what is actually said or written. A high context culture is one in which the communicators assume a great deal...