A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Teaching Cross-Cultural Communication

Topics: Cross-cultural communication, Culture, Intercultural competence Pages: 13 (4347 words) Published: January 10, 2011
A MULTI-DISCIPLINARY APPROACH TO TEACHING CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION Paul Kalfadellis Working Paper 34/05 May 2005

DEPARTMENT OF MANAGEMENT WORKING PAPER SERIES ISSN 1327–5216

Abstract The ability of managers to interact with individuals from cultures other than their own, requires a concerted effort on the part of business educators and academics to ‘train’ and ‘educate’ today’s students and tomorrow’s managers in the area cross-cultural communication. This is not necessarily an easy task. Teaching cross-cultural communication requires a multidisciplinary approach, which goes beyond what is traditionally offered by trainers and educators. It requires the educator to design a course that includes not only culture-general but also culture-specific information that incorporates the study of history, religion, politics business, communication, and other social sciences. This paper includes discussion of material and methods from the author’s own experience in incorporating a multidisciplinary approach in the conduct of a cross-cultural communication class. Paper presented at the 11th Learning Conference, Havana Cuba, 27-30 June 2004

This paper is a work in progress. Material in the paper cannot be used without permission of the author.

A MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACH TO TEACHING CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION The interconnectedness and interaction of culturally diverse citizens, business and governments is arguably more evident today than at any time in history. The globalization of markets, the international movement of people and the increase in culturally diverse work places has meant an increasing requirement to be able to deal competently and effectively with people of differing cultural backgrounds. In international business there is a growing need for people to receive cross-cultural training (Black & Medenhall, 1990; Brislin & Yoshida, 1994; Tung, 1981). Barlett and Ghoshal (1989) argued that the only way transnational organizations can deal effectively with the complexities involved in cross border business is if they developed managers who have a global perspective. In 1995, Professor Karpin in his report on Australian Leadership and Management Skills pointed out that Australian managers were not globally ‘savvy’. An introspective domestic view and a limited international outlook was a criticism leveled at the Australian manager in the 1990s (Karpin, 1995). According to Karpin (1995) in order to succeed in the 21st century, Australians needed to develop a greater international focus. He called upon business educators to provide the country’s future managers with the education and training to enable them to engage as world-class leaders. If managers in the future are to interact and develop an awareness of people from diverse cultures, an intensive effort on the part of business educators is required to ‘train’ and ‘educate’ students in cross-cultural communication. Consequently, it is in this context that business schools have heeded the call and are educating their students to become effective cross-cultural communicators. In the U.S., business schools have introduced courses in cross-cultural business communication (Cheney, 2001; Varner, 2001). The situation is similarly replicated in Australia, where business schools are offering their students studies in cross-cultural communication and international management. THE NEED FOR CROSS CULTURAL TRAINING AND EDUCATION In the international business environment, the growing importance in understanding culture and its impact upon cross-cultural competency cannot be underestimated. International sojourners need a number of skills if they are to attain cross-cultural competency. These include: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. the capacity to communicate respect the capacity to be non-judgmental the capacity to accept the relativity of one’s own knowledge and perceptions the capacity to display empathy the capacity to be flexible the capacity to allow everyone to have their...

References: Bartlett, C., & Ghoshal, S. (1989). Managing Across Borders. London: Hutchinson Business Books. Beebe, S. A., & Biggers, T. (1986). The status of the introductory inter-cultural information course. Communication Education, 35, 56-60. Bennett, J. M. (1986). Modes of Cross-Cultural Training: Conceptualizing Cross-Cultural raining as Education. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 10(2), 117-134. Black, J. S., & Medenhall, M. (1990). Cross-cultural training effectiveness: A review and a theoretical framework for future research. Academy of Management Review, 15, 113-136. Brislin, R. W., & Pedersen, P. (1976). Cross-cultural orientation programs. New York: Gardner Press. Brislin, R. W., & Yoshida, T. (1994). Intercultural Communication Training: An Introduction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Broome, B. J. (1986). A context-based framework for teaching intercultural communication. Communication Education, 35, 296-306. Cheney, B. S. (2001). International Business Communication, International Students and Experiential Learning. Business Communication Quarterly, 64(4), 90-104. Deshphande, S. P., & Viswesvaran, C. (1992). Is cross-cultural training of expatriate managers effective: A meta Analysis. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 16, 295-310. Gannon, M. J., & Poon, J. M. (1997). Effects of Alternative Instructional Approaches on CrossCultural Training Outcomes. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 21(4), 429-446. Geertz, C. (1973). Thick description: toward an interpretive theory of culture. In The interpretations of culture (pp. 3-30). New York: Basic Books. Gudykunst, W. B., & Hammer, M. R. (1983). Basic training design: Approaches to intercultural training. In D. Landis & R. W. Brislin (Eds.), Handbook of intercultural training, Vol.1: Issues in theory and design (pp. 118-154). New York: Pergamon Press. Gudykunst, W. B., Ting-Toomey, S., & Wiseman, R. L. (1991). Taming the beast: Designing a course in intercultural communication. Communication Education, 40, 271-285. Hall, E. (1959). The silent language. Garden City, NJ: Anchor. Harrison, R., & Hopkins, R. L. (1967). The design of cultural training. An alternative to the University model. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 3, 431-460. Hoffman, S. (1993). The nation, nationalism and after: The case of France: Tanner Lectures on Human Values, Princeton University. Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture 's consequences: International differences in work-related values. Beverley Hills, CA: Sage. Hofstede, G. (1991). Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind. New York: McGraw-Hill. Hofstede, G., & Bond, M. (1988). Confucius and economic growth: New trends in culture 's consequences. Organizational Dynamics, 16(4), 4-21. Irwin, H. (1996). Communicating with Asia: Understanding People and Customs. St.Leonards, NSW: Allen Unwin. Karpin, D. (1995). Report of the Industry Task Force on Leadership and Management Skills ( Karpin Task Force): Enterprising Nation. Knowles, M. S. (1990). The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species. Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing. Milhouse, V. H. (1996). Intercultural Communication Education and Training Goals, Content, and Methods. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 20(1), 69-95.
8
Oberg, K. (1960). Culture shock: adjustment to new cultural environments. Practical Anthropologist, 7, 177-182. Tung, R. L. (1981). Selection and Training of personnel for overseas assignments. Columbia Journal of World Business, 16, 68-78. Varner, I. I. (2001). Teaching intercultural communication: Where are we? Where do we go? Business Communication Quarterly, 64(1), 99.
9
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Essay on Cross Cultural Communication
  • Essay on Cross Cultural Communication
  • Cross-Cultural Business Communication Essay
  • Cross Cultural Communication Essay
  • Essay on Cross Cultural Communication
  • Cross Cultural Communication Essay
  • Cross-Cultural Communication Essay
  • Cross cultural management Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free