Spouses get divorced, friends fall out and workers change jobs -- often because of misunderstandings. Add cultural differences to the mix, and the sources of potential problems multiply. Language Differences Language differences are an obvious barrier to intercultural communication. The same English word may have different meanings to people from different cultures.
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Define and discuss how to facilitate intercultural communication. Define and discuss the effects of ethnocentrism. Communication is the sharing of understanding and meaning Pearson, J. What is a culture? Where does one culture stop and another start? How are cultures created, maintained, and dissolved? From the building we erect that represents design values to the fences we install that delineate borders, our environment is a representation of culture, but it is not all that is culture.
Culture involves beliefs, attitudes, values, and traditions that are shared by a group of people. Thus, we must consider more than the clothes we wear, the movies we watch, or the video games we play, all representations of environment, as culture.
Culture also involves the psychological aspects of our expectations of the communication context. For example, if we are raised in a culture where males speak while females are expected to remain silent, the context of the communication interaction governs behavior, which in itself is a representation of culture. From the choice of words message , to how we communicate in person, or by e-mail , to how we acknowledge understanding with a nod or a glance nonverbal feedback , to the internal and external interference, all aspects of communication are influenced by culture.
In defining intercultural communication, we only have eight components of communication to work with and yet we must bridge divergent cultures with distinct values across languages and time zones to exchange value, a representation of meaning.
It may be tempting to consider only the source and receiver within a transaction as a representation of intercultural communication, but if we do that, we miss the other six components—the message, channel, feedback, context, environment, and interference—in every communicative act.
Each component influences and is influenced by culture. Is culture context? Culture is represented in all eight components every time we communicate. All communication is intercultural. We may be tempted to think of intercultural communication as interaction between two people from different countries. While two distinct national passports may be artifacts , or nonverbal representations of communication, what happens when two people from two different parts of the same country communicate?
From high and low Germanic dialects, to the perspective of a Southerner versus a Northerner in the United States, to the rural versus urban dynamic, our geographic, linguistic, educational, sociological, and psychological traits influence our communication. It is not enough to say that someone from rural Southern Chile and the capital, Santiago, both speak Castellano the Chilean word for the Spanish language , so that communication between them must be intracultural communication , or communication within the same culture.
What is life like for the rural Southerner? For the city dweller? Were their educational experiences the same? Do they share the same vocabulary? Do they value the same things? To a city dweller, all the sheep look the same. To the rural Southerner, the sheep are distinct, with unique markings; they have value as a food source, a source of wool with which to create sweaters and socks that keep the cold winters at bay, and in their numbers they represent wealth.
Even if both Chileans speak the same language, their socialization will influence how they communicate and what they value, and their vocabulary will reflect these differences. Within the same family, can there be intercultural communication? If all communication is intercultural, then the answer would be yes, but we still have to prove our case.
Imagine a three-generation family living in one house. The grandparents may represent another time and different values from the grandchildren.
The parents may have a different level of education and pursue different careers from the grandparents; the schooling the children are receiving may prepare them for yet another career.
From music, to food preferences, to how work is done may vary across time; Elvis Presley may seem like ancient history to the children. The communication across generations represents intercultural communication, even if only to a limited degree. But suppose we have a group of students who are all similar in age and educational level. Do gender and the societal expectations of roles influence interaction? Of course. And so we see that among these students not only do the boys and girls communicate in distinct ways but also not all boys and girls are the same.
With a group of sisters, there may be common characteristics, but they will still have differences, and these differences contribute to intercultural communication.
We are each shaped by our upbringing and it influences our worldview, what we value, and how we interact with each other. We create culture, and it creates us. All of us are separated by a matter of degrees from each other even if we were raised on the same street or by parents of similar educational background and profession, and yet, we have many other things in common.
Communication with yourself is called intrapersonal communication , which may also be intracultural, as you may only represent one culture. But most people belong to many groups, each with their own culture. Within our imaginary intergenerational home, how many cultures do you think we might find? If we only consider the parents and consider work one culture, and family another, we now have two.
If we were to examine the options more closely, we would find many more groups, and the complexity would grow exponentially. Does a conversation with yourself ever involve competing goals, objectives, needs, wants, or values?
How did you learn of those goals, or values? Through communication within and between individuals, they themselves representatives of many cultures. We struggle with the demands of each group and their expectations and could consider this internal struggle intercultural conflict or simply intercultural communication. Culture is part of the very fabric of our thought, and we cannot separate ourselves from it, even as we leave home, defining ourselves anew in work and achievements.
Every business or organization has a culture, and within what may be considered a global culture, there are many subcultures or co-cultures. For example, consider the difference between the sales and accounting departments in a corporation. We can quickly see two distinct groups with their own symbols, vocabulary, and values. Within each group, there may also be smaller groups, and each member of each department comes from a distinct background that in itself influences behavior and interaction.
Intercultural communication is a fascinating area of study within business communication, and it is essential to your success. One idea to keep in mind as we examine this topic is the importance of considering multiple points of view. If you cannot learn, how can you grow and be successful? Having pride in your culture can be healthy, but history has taught us that having a predisposition to discount other cultures simply because they are different can be hurtful, damaging, and dangerous.
Ethnocentrism makes us far less likely to be able to bridge the gap with others and often increases intolerance of difference. Business and industry are no longer regional, and in your career, you will necessarily cross borders, languages, and cultures. You will need tolerance, understanding, patience, and openness to difference. A skilled business communicator knows that the process of learning is never complete, and being open to new ideas is a key strategy for success.
Key Takeaway Intercultural communication is an aspect of all communicative interactions, and attention to your perspective is key to your effectiveness. Ethnocentrism is a major obstacle to intercultural communication. Exercises Please list five words to describe your dominant culture. Please list five words to describe a culture with which you are not a member, have little or no contact, or have limited knowledge. Now, compare and contrast the terms noting their inherent value statements.
Identify a country you would like to visit. Research the country and find one interesting business fact and share it with the class. Write a brief summary about a city, region, state, or country you have visited that is not like where you live. Share and compare with classmates. References Klopf, D. Intercultural encounters: The fundamentals of intercultural communication 2nd ed. Pearson, J. An introduction to human communication: Understanding and sharing. Rogers, E. Intercultural communication.
Barriers to Intercultural Communication Essay
Define and discuss how to facilitate intercultural communication. Define and discuss the effects of ethnocentrism. Communication is the sharing of understanding and meaning Pearson, J. What is a culture? Where does one culture stop and another start? How are cultures created, maintained, and dissolved?
Intercultural Communication: The Hofstede Model
Learn More Ethnocentrism is mostly carried out unintentionally where one is not aware of the fact that what they are doing may cause cultural and communication barriers Coopman and Lull Ethnocentrism cannot for obvious reasons be predicted before hand and preventive measures cannot be taken against such an event. However, dealing with ethnocentrism is quite simple and different methods can produce positive results in a short time. Respecting the differences of cultures can significantly reduce the feeling of ethnocentrism amongst the people. The second step is raising awareness amongst people of different customs of other cultures Coopman and Lull
Voices of the Global Community
Intercultural Communication: The Hofstede Model Intercultural Communication: The Hofstede Model One of the most widely used frameworks for analyzing cultural differences is the model developed by the eminent cultural theorist, Geert Hofstede. In this model, the differences in culture between countries have been plotted along five dimensions, which can be used as the basis for predicting the cultural differences between different countries. The model was developed after extensive research into the cultural differences between different countries and after surveys of thousands of employees in the West and the East. The five dimensions along which the cultural differences are plotted are power distance, masculinity vs. The model is comprehensive and exhaustive in its treatment of cultural differences across cultures. To take the first dimension, power distance measures the extent to which hierarchy dominates the work environment. In the US, the power distance is relatively small when compared to China where the power distance is more because of the hierarchical nature of Chinese society.
Intercultural Communication: Definition, Model & Strategies
Tuesday, November 16, Intercultural communication opportunities and challenges. Communicate effectively in terms of being diverse and looking at it from an ethical stand point. Who would of thought while trying to be diverse and communicate with people from around the world would be challenging. There are opportunities and challenges when it comes to intercultural communication.
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