The environment in which business competes is rapidly becoming globalized. More and more companies are entering international markets by exporting their products overseas, building plants in other countries, and entering into alliances with foreign companies. Global competition is driving changes in organizations throughout the world. Companies are attempting to gain a competitive advantage, which can be provided by international expansion. Deciding whether to enter foreign markets and whether to develop plants or other facilities in other countries is no simple matter and many human resource issues surface (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, and Wright; 1999). These issues stem from differences in how people communicate in different cultures.
People communicate differently among and surrounded by various cultures. One characteristic of communication style is how language is used. Language can be perceived as a link between people but it can also represent a barrier. Communication between cultures which do not share the same language is considerably more difficult. Each culture has different language rules, expressions and structure which cause confusion in intercultural communication. For example, Chinese rarely say "Thank you" to other family members for receiving help or service (Qunying, 2007). This would be considered rude to most people in America because from the time they are kids, they are taught to say “please” and “thank you” when they receive help or a service.
Non-verbal Communication is another way cultures communicate differently. There are forms of non-verbal communication such as personal distance and sense of time, that are not as typically thought of as basic facial expressions and gestures are.
In addition, different norms regarding the appropriate degree of assertiveness in communicating can add to cultural misunderstandings. For instance, some white Americans typically consider raised voices... [continues]
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