Intercultural Communication

Topics: Culture, Communication, Intercultural competence Pages: 62 (21025 words) Published: January 10, 2012

"...the single greatest barrier to business success is the one erected by culture." Edward T. Hall and Mildred Reed Hall Why study Intercultural Communication?
Cultural diversity and multiculturalism are the realities of everyday life for almost everyone. The growth of interdependence of people and cultures in the global society of the twenty-first century has forced us to pay more attention to intercultural issues. In order to live and function in this multicultural environment as effectively and meaningfully as possible, people must be competent in intercultural communication. Therefore, demands for intercultural communication skills are increasing as more and more businesses go global or international. We realize that there are barriers and limitations when entering a foreign territory.  Without the help of intercultural communication we can unknowingly cause confusion and misunderstandings. For these intercultural businesses to breach the cultural barriers encountered when stepping into foreign grounds it is vital for business people to fully understand the cultural differences that exist so as to prevent damaging business relations due to intercultural communication gaps. We should also be aware of the reasons for the development of the world into a global system: a. The development of technology has enabled a constant flow of information and ideas across boundaries. Communication is faster and more available than ever. The development of transportation as well, has increased face-to-face contact with people from different cultural backgrounds immensely b. These developments have affected the world economy. The business world is becoming more international and interrelated. c. Widespread population migrations have changed the demographics of several nations and new intercultural identities and communities have been born. d. The development of multiculturalism

Working, meeting, dealing, entertaining, negotiating and corresponding with colleagues or clients from different cultures can not be perceived outside the frame of intercultural communication. This field is of importance to international businesses as it examines how people from different cultures, beliefs and religions come together to work and communicate with each other. However, the basic skills of intercultural communication are fundamentally general communication skills that can be used universally by all cultures and races. These skills are simply tweaked in a direction that takes the cultural limitation into consideration. An example of such communication skills in the intercultural environment is to listen without judging, repeat what you understand, confirm meanings, give suggestions and acknowledge a mutual understanding. Starting from these general observations, the main characteristics of intercultural communication can be established: • Intercultural communication is a form of global communication. It is used to describe the wide range of communication problems that naturally appear within an organization made up of individuals from different religious, social, ethnic, and educational backgrounds. • Intercultural communication is sometimes used synonymously with cross-cultural communication. In this sense it seeks to understand how people from different countries and cultures act, communicate and perceive the world around them. • IC also studies situations where people from different cultural backgrounds interact. • Aside from language, intercultural communication focuses on social attributes, thought patterns, and the cultures of different groups of people. • It also involves understanding the different cultures, languages and customs of people from other countries. • Intercultural communication plays a role in anthropology, cultural studies, linguistics, psychology and communication studies. • Intercultural communication is also referred to as the base...
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