Cultural and ethics Studies
WEEK 1 Your company’s leaders are considering sending you as a representative to a conference with a large international attendance. The leaders want to make sure you handle the task appropriately, so they have asked you to provide them with a summary of your cross-cultural communication knowledge and skills.
Write a 700- to 1,050 word e-mail to leadership, in which you do the following:
Identify principles of cross-cultural communication.
Identify barriers to cross-cultural communication.
Provide examples of how to properly address barriers.
The ability to communicate effectively in a cross-cultural context is important for every leader, particularly in today’s multicultural world. To excel in cross-cultural communication, these leaders must possess the requisite knowledge and skills relating to cross-cultural communication. Against this backdrop, this email outlines principles of cross-cultural communication, barriers to cross-cultural communication, and examples of how those barriers can be properly addressed.
There are five principles of cross-cultural communication that leaders should always promote; they include non-verbal communication, ability to differentiate between high- and low-context cultures, ability to adapt to new knowledge regarding people of other cultures, respect for cultural differences, and ability to emphasize on cultural similarities. Non-verbal communication involves the use of gestures and body language to make up for cultural differences and lack of linguistic intelligibility. Moreover, a person should be able to draw the distinction between high- and low-context cultures and respond accordingly through social interactions and mannerisms. In high-context cultures, for example the Arab culture, a lot of emphasis is on non-verbal messages, meaning that people expect cultural norms to determine the way messages and feedbacks are communicated. In contrast, low-context cultures, for example the American culture, are characterized by a direct approach to communication, whereby no constraints are imposed by cultural considerations and expectations.
Moreover, an individual should adapt to new cultural information as soon as it becomes available by dismissing previously held culture-specific beliefs, misconceptions, and attitudes. Similarly, respect for cultural differences should also be promoted, such that an individual should not perceive his culture to be superior to other cultures. In other words, cultural differences should be celebrated and not tolerated. Lastly, the ability to emphasize on cultural similarities while at the same time suppressing difference greatly helps to enhance cross-cultural communication.
The most important barriers to cross-cultural communication that everyone should be wary of are cultural prejudice, culture shock, and ethnocentrism. Cultural prejudice arises when an individual develops a negative attitude towards another individual simply by associating him or her to members of a certain cultural group (Spencer-Rodgers and McGovern 614). On the other hand, culture shock occurs when an individual finds it extremely difficult, almost impossible, to rise up to the challenges arising from cultural differences, in most cases leading to enormous emotional and psychological suffering. In ethnocentrism, an individual belong to one cultural group tends to judge everyone else using his or her own cultural standards, thereby jeopardizing cross-cultural communication with members of all other cultural groups.
There are several ways of addressing barriers to effective cross-cultural communication. Cultural prejudices can be tackled by taking several measures. One of them is travelling widely in order to meet people of diverse cultural backgrounds. Lengthy interactions in cross-cultural contexts can challenge an individual to rethink his or her assumptions and misconceptions about people who belong to other cultural groups. The pursuit of education can also enable individuals to understand the evils that have been caused by cultural prejudice such as racism. This kind of knowledge can easily help communicants to overcome cultural prejudice in order to become effective in cross-cultural communication.
In conclusion, this email has identified five principles of cross-cultural communication: non-verbal communication, high- versus low-context cultures, adapt to new cultural knowledge, respect for cultural differences, and emphasis on cultural similarities. On the other hand, the main barriers to effective communication across cultures are cultural prejudice, culture shock, and ethnocentrism. Lastly, the best ways of addressing these barriers are travelling widely and getting education on the negative effects of prejudice and ethnocentrism on society.
Spencer-Rodgers, Julie., and McGovern, Timothy. “Attitudes toward the culturally different: The role of intercultural communication barriers, affective responses, consensual stereotypes, and perceived threat”. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 26.6 (2002): 609–631.
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