Intercultural vs. Cross-Cultural Communication

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1). Intercultural communication focuses on “sharing of meanings” across cultures, whereas cross-cultural communication focuses on comparisons of communication styles. Using a variety of academic sources, evaluate both of these theories to determine which is the most useful for developing effective communication with people from other cultures. You may also draw on personal experience in the development of your argument.

Everyone in this world is in one way or another influenced or affected by culture. We all have different interpretation of one’s culture due to diversification, racial or even physical location. We can come up with various views, perception or image regarding one’s culture just by having a glimpse of that particular person. This in turn will affect the communication between each other creating a positive or a negative image of a particular person. One without the knowledge of intercultural and cross-cultural communication is like an “irregular-shaped ball” – hard to handle and understand while playing with it and thus it will lead to barriers to effective communication. According to Samovar and Porter (1991, p. 10) “intercultural communication occurs whenever a message is produced by a member of one culture for consumption by a member of another culture, a message must be understand”. As a separate notion, it studies situations where people from different cultural backgrounds interact. While on the other hand, cross-cultural communication “is a process of exchanging, negotiating, and mediating one's cultural differences through language, non-verbal gestures, and space relationships” (Clarke and Sanchez, 2001). Having culture as a common shared word, both terms still stands with a different meaning. Whereby, in a nut shell, “intercultural communication involves face-to-face communication between people from different cultures while cross-cultural communication involves comparison of face-to-face communication.” (Gudykunst & Mody, 2002)

Bretag, Crossman and Bordia (2004, p. 306) states that “although the terms ‘intercultural communication’ and ‘cross-cultural communication’ have often been used interchangeably, more recently the two terms have become differentiated”. Its core is to understand how diverse culture cooperates with each other in vast scenarios. Historically, intercultural communication was brought in by the clashes of diverse cultures for example, the Mongol’s invasion in the Islam empires, colonization led by the Europeans and even including the capitalism stage where people bean to rule the world; which has led us having different perception of one’s culture and different attitude towards the others. And after the partition and independence of each country, ethnocentrism and patriotism was brought and implemented forming cultures within one’s territory. Today, in the growing diversity, people exchange views and ideas having cross-cultural communication. And this is how intercultural and cross-cultural was brought in.

Both intercultural communication and cross-cultural communication has an importance in today’s era due to diversity. One without the knowledge of language differences in intercultural communication and cross-cultural communication may bring conflicts or negative attitudes towards the others. Taking a minute example, the language slangs between the US and the UK is totally different and can result in misinterpretation of information being exchanged if one is not aware about the language differences. Samovar and Porter (1997) arrived with a model that ‘shows the possibility of misunderstandings that always exist in intercultural communication, especially if there is a great variation in cultural differences’. For example, an intercultural communication scenario with two cultures such as the US and Canada would not have strong impact on their communication as they have much in common that is political system, language, location, population color, etc. While on other...
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