Prof. James Ziegler
April 8, 2013
Intercultural and International Communication within the United Way
Understanding cultural differences are imperative to the success of any business and (or) organization. Intercultural and international communications are essential to the growth of the United Way. You may recognize the United Way as one of the most influential non-profit organizations worldwide. Created over a hundred years ago to promote the values of quality educational and economic empowerment the United Way continues to thrive in today’s society. In order to become the successful organization it is there are techniques that are incorporated to ensure effective communication. In this paper, I will discuss, the history of the United Way, diversity and cultural training implementation, and promoting the building blocks of the ‘good life’ worldwide.
Created for the Greater Good
In 1887, five individuals formed a group to address the welfare issues plaguing the city of Denver. These religious leaders founded the Charity Organizations Society, the first “United Way organization. The group’s founders Frances Wisebart Jacobs, Rev. Myron Reed, Msgr. William O’Ryan, Dean Martyn Hart, and Rabbi William Friedman created this group to organize funds for 10 health and welfare organizations(United Way, n.d). The purpose of the committee was to collect funds for the local charities and to coordinate relief services and referral services. The movement collected over $20,000 for local charities by the end of the organizations first year. By the turn of the century the United Way began to expand throughout the Midwest United States. In 1918, twelve fund raising federations met in Chicago, Illinois, and formed the American Association for Community Organizations (AACO). This marked the beginning of the United Way as a national organization. With the concept of “community chest,” AACO continued to expand nationwide becoming a one stop for needy families seeking assistance in the community. By 1948 the United Way brand was introduced, and was headquartered in Rochester New York. Today the United Way is a household name. Nationally acclaimed and has become internationally known with offices in over 47 countries. As the years have progressed the United Way has collaborated with several different organizations to continue to promote financial stability, quality education, and healthy families.
In 1974, the United Way began to collaborate with several charitable organizations to form United Way International (UWI). The UWI provides services to those organizations such as administering international grants and support the development of new United Way organizations. In order for this expansion to take place without conflict, the organization developed a strategy to ensure their employees intercultural and international communication skills were impeccable. When mobilizing any organization internationally one must formulate a plan that evolves the study of those countries cultures, etiquettes, and mannerisms. According to Gundykunst and Kim (1997), individuals cannot accurately interpret or predict the behavior of strangers without first understanding their cultural filters (Jacob, 2011). The above statement further implies that in order for any organization to be successful in all international endeavors they must be willing to engage in first understanding the culture of the native people. Baack (2012) defines intercultural communication, as the sending and receiving across languages and culture. It is also the negotiated understanding of meaning in human experiences across social systems and societies. Intercultural communication in short is the ability to understand cultural differences and alleviate barriers so that organizations and (or) business’s are able to come to an agreement...