Cross-Cultural Business Communication
It is a well-known fact that to be a member of society means being concerned with everyday human relations, emotions and interpersonal skills. Actually, human interactions refer to everyday activities involving, for example, exchanges of relevant information, ideas, and interesting thoughts. Furthermore, cross-cultural interactions involve communication of emotions, feelings among not only individuals, but also among groups. Every person has a need to form relations with other people to meet his communicative needs. (Axley 1996)
Cross-cultural communication helps people to discover who they are, to establish meaningful relations with other individuals and groups, to examine or to change attitudes and behaviors, etc. Key function of communication is self-other understanding meaning to penetrate into inside world of yourself and others. It is suggested that when a person gets to know another one, he gets to know himself and when he gets to know himself he learns is able to learn how other affect him. Furthermore, communication promotes self-awareness and offers opportunity of self-other discovery.
Communication allows people to learn why they are trusting or untrusting, whether they can make their ideas and thoughts clear, whether they can make decision effectively and solve problems or conflicts. (DeVito 1995) It is necessary to mention that
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Therefore, effective communication plays crucial role in human relations and interpersonal skills. CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION IN BUSINESS WORLD Cross-cultural business communication is playing nowadays one of the most important roles in organizations and companies, because it is the only source of mutual understanding among employees and customers, directors and suppliers, etc. Effective cross-cultural communication arouses great interest compared with that of several decades ago.
It means that the future success of an international company mainly depends on its ability to use language and to communicate effectively not only within organization/company, but also across cultural boundaries. Nevertheless learning how to communicate effective isn’t limited only to one organization, because, for example, learning cross-cultural communication suggests how cultural traditions and patterns are understood and how cultural values may affect the process of communication. (Hargie 2003) Learning cross-cultural business communication is nowadays not only necessity; it is not only an option.
Understanding how to communicate cross-culturally will assist business developing in promoting creating smoothly working project teams; responding to customers, clients, and markets; living and working in a culturally diverse world. In a modern swiftly changing world people and cultures are circulating and interacting as at a really dizzying speed. Those people who know how to use language and how to communicate cross-culturally have a crucial advantage over other businesses. Actually, the first step in learning how to communicate with other cultures is to learn the details of that culture.
Company’s awareness in intercultural differences is useful in today’s world of business relations. Apparently, intercultural business communication affects: (Hargie 2003) 1. Stability meaning that conditions of a particular country may change either rapidly or slowly and it is necessary to respond quickly to changes. 2. Complexity meaning that cultures “vary in the accessibility of information”. For example, in the USA information is presented as explicit codes involving words, whereas in China and Japan information is hidden in conveyed implicitly and progresses through physical context and body language.
(DeVito 1995) 3. Composition meaning that that some cultures may consist of several subcultures and they may be ethnically diverse, whereas other cultures may tend to be homogenous. 4. Acceptance meaning that cultures have different attitudes towards outsiders. For example, some cultures are openly hostile or they maintain detached aloofness, whereas others are ready to cooperate with strangers. It is known that the more differences exist between cultures, the more difficult is the process of intercultural communication, especially in business sphere.
The main problems in business communication are language barriers, ethnocentric reactions and cultural differences. The magnitude of language barriers mostly depends on whether the company uses oral or written communication, because written is easier to handle. Oral communication is more difficult because of different pronunciation and thus the voice sounds in different ways. Cultural differences are based on different background and usually they involve religion and values, roles and status, decision-making customs, concepts of time, concepts of personal space, body language, social behavior and manners, etc.
(DeVito 1995) Concepts of social behavior are the most important in business communication, because what is considered polite in one country may be considered rude in another one. For example, in some countries it is acceptable to make small gifts to partner’s wife, whereas in Germany presenting a woman a red is rose is associated with a romantic invitation and thus is inappropriate for establishing business relations. Therefore, the role of intercultural communication is very important for business, because it is the main core of future success.
Failure to communicate effectively with foreign partners will inevitably lead to failure of business. (Axley 1996) For example, due to cross-cultural communication international companies get acquainted with cultural traditions and peculiarities of different nations whose world outlook may vary greatly. For example, communication style of Chinese people is outwardly restrained, whereas Cuban culture is very vivid and expressive. Emotional gestures and body language of Chinese businessmen is less expressive as compared with Cuba or Brasilia, for example. They are very reserved, though polite.
Nevertheless, in private situations Chinese are more expressive and sociable. (Zhiling 2004) In their turn Cubans communicate making lots of gestures and they are able to maintain the communication process even without speaking. Display of affection is accepted, whereas display of anger and negative emotions in public is considered negative behavior and is strongly criticized. Nevertheless, they won’t discuss government with unknown people, because their socialism system doesn’t allow freedom of expressions and they are afraid of becoming enemies of the government.
(Cultural Information 2006) So, it is seen that only cultural knowledge and communication is able to provide international business with necessary information about culture. CONCLUSION Each nation has specific communications styles, nonverbal gestures, body language and emotional expression. Because of the different ethnic background, similar emotions and gestures may have opposite meanings in a certain context. Therefore it is necessary to understand foreign cultures and to improve interpersonal communication skills.
Cross-cultural communication is the first step for companies to expand their businesses internationally and to set friendly contacts with other countries, to remain tactful and to avoid mistakes that can offend foreign partner. Communication is a necessary link between individuals aiming at providing friendly environment. Therefore, business field strongly promotes cross-cultural knowledge. As it is said “communication is the greatest luxury given to people”. (Hargie 2003) References Axley, Stephen. (1996).
Communication at Work: Management and the Communication-Intensive Organization. Westport, CT: Quorum Books. Cultural Information: Cuba”. (2006, June 14). Retrieved August 20, 2007, from http://www. intercultures. ca DeVito, J. (1995). The Interpersonal Communication Book. New York: Harper Collins. Hargie, Owen. (2003). Skilled Interpersonal Communication: Research, Theory, and Practice. London: Routledge. Zhiling, Mu. (2004). Chinese Nonverbal Communication. Retrieved August 20, 2007, from http://www. ling. gu. se/~biljana/gestures2. html