Cross Cultural Communication
Cross cultural understanding simply refers to the basic ability of people within business to recognize, interpret and correctly react to people, incidences or situations that are open to misunderstanding due to cultural differences. The fundamental intention of cross cultural training is to equip the learner(s) with the appropriate skills to attain cross cultural understanding. Once the foundations of cross cultural understanding have been laid, the learner(s), either through continued training or experiences within the workplace, gradually attains a more acute appreciation of cultural differences. The different types of appreciation are cross cultural knowledge, cross cultural awareness, cross cultural sensitivity and cross cultural competence. Although all the terms may appear similar in meaning, subtle differences exist between them. 'Cross Cultural Knowledge' is critical to basic cross cultural understanding. Without it cross cultural appreciation cannot take place. It refers to a surface level familiarization with cultural characteristics, values, beliefs and behaviors. 'Cross Cultural Awareness' develops from cross cultural knowledge as the learner understands and appreciates a culture internally. This may also be accompanied by changes within the learner's behavior and attitudes such as a greater flexibility and openness. 'Cross Cultural Sensitivity' is a natural by-product of awareness and refers to an ability to read into situations, contexts and behaviors that are culturally rooted and be able to react to them appropriately. An suitable response necessitates that the actor no longer carries his/her own culturally determined interpretations of the situation or behavior (i.e. good/bad, right/wrong) which can only be nurtured through both cross cultural knowledge and awareness. 'Cross Cultural Competence' is and should be the aim of all those dealing with multicultural clients, customers or colleagues. 'Competence' is the final stage of cross cultural understanding and signifies the actor's ability to work effectively across cultures. Cross cultural competency is beyond knowledge, awareness and sensitivity in that it is the digestion, integration and transformation of all the skills and information acquired through them, applied to create cultural synergy within the workplace. Cross-cultural communication tries to bring together such relatively unrelated areas as cultural anthropology and established areas of communication. Its core is to establish and understand how people from different cultures communicate with each other. Its charge is to also produce some guidelines with which people from different cultures can better communicate with each other. Cross-cultural communication, as in many scholarly fields, is a combination of many other fields. These fields include anthropology, cultural studies, psychology and communication. The field has also moved both toward the treatment of interethnic relations, and toward the study of communication strategies used by co-cultural populations, i.e., communication strategies used to deal with majority or mainstream populations. The key to effective cross-cultural communication is knowledge. First, it is essential that people understand the potential problems of cross-cultural communication, and make a conscious effort to overcome these problems. Second, it is important to assume that one’s efforts will not always be successful, and adjust one’s behavior appropriately. For example, one should always assume that there is a significant possibility that cultural differences are causing communication problems, and be willing to be patient and forgiving, rather than hostile and aggressive, if problems develop. One should respond slowly and carefully in cross-cultural exchanges, not jumping to the conclusion that you know what is being thought and said. Tips for Cross Cultural Communication
Here are some simple tips to help you improve your cross...
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