Intercultural Communication

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Intercultural Communication in a Global WorkplaceWilhemenia M Maxey

Hana, A Joint Venture Between
Health Snacks and Toka Foods

March 09, 2013

Professor Marcus Payne
Trinity International University

The world consists of different countries. Every country has its own unique culture. People come from different countries have different belief and different customs. But with the globalization increasing, world is becoming smaller and smaller. Different people from different countries start to mix and live together. So to get better communication with different people,we should respect and understand different cultures. So I will analyze this case by using concepts in the field of intercultural communication. In this case, there are many cultural conflicts between Japanese and Americans. And these cultural conflicts lead to many obstacles in their cooperation. Firstly, I want to analyze the High Context Culture and Low Context Culture. American culture is a typical low context culture, while Japanese culture is a typical high context culture. People who hold high context tend to prefer indirect verbal interaction, and understand meanings embedded at many socio-cultural levels, and rely more on context and feeling, and employ spiral logic. But people who hold low context tend to prefer direct verbal interaction, and understanding the meaning at one level only, and they rely more on logic. They communicate in highly structured messages, provide details, stress literal meanings, and give authority to written information. The negotiations had been very difficult and took much longer than executives from Health Snacks had anticipated. The Japanese were slow and in their approach to the negotiation. Everything seemed to take a long time, and once the Japanese side had made up its mind on a point, it was difficult to agree on any changes. Everything had to go back and be re-discussed by Japanese executive. In low context culture, such as Americans prefer to the internal channel to communicate and deliver business messages, such as E-mails, and faxes which are efficient and convenient for business communication, but when the problems remained, Health Snacks have to solve them head on. Understanding the difference between high and low context culture, American prefers to express information explicit and to the point while Japanese tend to be vagueness and ambiguity to convey meaning, which will easily lead both sides feel uncomfortable. Therefore, first of all, the must understand the cultural shock and properly make a concession to adjust one’s own culture values to adapt other cultures and consider mutual common interests rather than complain about others. In Japanese culture the senior member of the group may not appear at all but he will direct his team members to proceed in a certain way and the final decision-making is determined by authority, also Japanese culture, status and promotions is determined by seniority value rather than by their personal practice performance and it also is exists of gender inequality, that is male and females have unequal status in the company promotion system. Japanese culture is a hierarchical culture. American and Japanese preferred different channels of communication. Health Snacks had tried to solve the problem via electronic communication. The even had organized a teleconference to meet face-to-face so that each side could hear the other’s viewpoint, but the Japanese wanted to communicate face-to-face on the table. They thought it was more reliable. Toka Foods wanted to make use of the corporate opportunity to gain access to new technology. Which is corporate culture that emphasis the advantages gained by both parties and achieving win-win culture. The importance of learning about unfamiliar cultures is diversity around the world and culture teach values, and then values underlie attitudes and sharp behaviors. Therefore, having a good knowledge of foreign...
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