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Communicating Across Cultures


Communicating Across Cultures Chapter 4 Communicating Across Cultures The communication process The culture-communication link Information technology going global ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Communicating Across Cultures

Communicating Across Cultures
Chapter 4
Communicating Across Cultures
  • The communication process
  • The culture-communication link
  • Information technology going global and acting
  • Managing cross-cultural communication

What is Communication?
  • Communication describes the process of sharing
    meaning by transmitting messages through media
    such as words, behavior, or material artifacts.

How Do Cultural Factors Pervade the Communication
  • Culture not only dictates who talks with whom,
    and how the communication proceeds, it also helps
    to determine how people encode messages, the
    meanings they have for messages, and the
    conditions and circumstances under which various
    messages may or may not be sent, noticed, or
    interpreted. In fact, our entire repertory of
    communicative behaviors is dependent largely on
    the culture in which we have been raised.
    Culture, consequently, is the foundation of
    communication. And, when cultures vary,
    communication practices also vary.
  • Samovar, Porter, and Jain

The Communication Process (Exhibit 4-1)
Decode Meaning
Meaning Encode
Terms in Communication
  • Intercultural communication is when a member of
    one culture sends a message to a member of
    another culture.
  • Attribution is the process in which people look
    for the explanation of another persons behavior.

Guidelines for Creating Trust (as suggested by
John Child)
  • Create a clear and calculated basis for mutual
    benefit. There must be realistic commitments and
    good intentions to honor them.
  • Improve predictability strive to resolve
    conflicts and keep communication open.
  • Develop mutual bonding through regular
    socializing and friendly contact.

Cultural Variables Affecting Communication
  • Attitudes attitudes underlie the way we behave
    and communicate and the way we interpret messages
    from other people. Ethnocentric attitudes are a
    particular source of noise in cross-cultural
  • Social Organization our perceptions can be
    influenced by differences in values, approach, or
    priorities relative to the kind of social
    organizations to which we belong.
  • Thought Patterns The logical progression of
    reasoning varies widely around the world.
    Managers cannot assume that others use the same
    reasoning processes.

Cultural Variables Affecting Communication (contd.
  • Roles societies differ considerably in their
    perception of a managers role. Much of the
    difference is attributable to their perception of
    who should make the decisions and who has
    responsibility for what.
  • Language Spoken or written language is a
    frequent cause of miscommunication, stemming from
    a persons inability to speak the local language,
    a poor or too-literal translation, a speakers
    failure to explain idioms, or a person missing
    the meaning conveyed through body language or
    certain symbols.

Cultural Variables Affecting Communication (contd.
  • Nonverbal Communication behavior that
    communicates without words (although it often is
    accompanied by words).
  • Time another variable that communicates culture
    is the way people regard and use time.
  • Monochronic time systems time is experienced in
    a linear way
  • Polychronic time systems tolerate many things
    occurring simultaneously and emphasize
    involvement with people.

Forms of Nonverbal Communication (Exhibit 4-4)
  • Facial expressions
  • Body posture
  • Gestures with hands, arms, head, etc.
  • Interpersonal distance (proxemics)
  • Touching, body contact
  • Eye contact

Forms of Nonverbal Communication (contd.)
  • Clothing, cosmetics, hairstyles, jewelry
  • Paralanguage (voice pitch and inflections, rate
    of speech, and silence)
  • Color symbolism
  • Attitude toward time and the use of time in
    business and social interactions
  • Food symbolism and social use of meals

  • In high-context cultures, feelings and thoughts
    are not explicitly expressed instead, one has to
    read between the lines and interpret meaning from
    ones general understanding.
  • In low-context cultures, where personal and
    business relationships are more separated,
    communication media have to be more explicit.
    Feelings and thoughts are expressed in words, and
    information is more readily available.

Cultural Context and its Effects on
Communication (Exhibit 4-5)
high context/implicit
Japan Middle East Latin
America Africa Mediterranean
England France North
America Scandinavia
Germany Switzerland
low context/explicit
Low Low
Explicitness of communication
Guidelines for Effective Communication in the
Middle East
  • Be patient. Recognize the Arab attitude toward
    time and hospitality take time to develop
    friendship and trust, as these are prerequisites
    for any social or business transactions.
  • Recognize that people and relationships matter
    more to Arabs than the job, company, or contract
    conduct business personally, not by
    correspondence or telephone.
  • Avoid expressing doubts or criticism when others
    are present recognize the importance of honor
    and dignity to Arabs.

Guidelines for Effective Communication in the
Middle East (contd.)
  • Adapt to the norms of body language, flowery
    speech, and circuitous verbal patterns in the
    Middle East, and dont be impatient to get to
    the point.
  • Expect many interruptions in meetings, delays in
    schedules, and changes in plans.

Differences between Japanese and American
Communication Styles (Exhibit 4-8)
  • Japanese Ningensei Style of Communication
  • Indirect verbal and nonverbal communication
  • Relationship communication
  • Discourages confrontational strategies
  • Strategically ambiguous communication
  • Delayed feedback
  • Patient, longer term negotiators
  • Uses fewer words
  • U.S. Adversarial Style of Communication
  • More direct verbal and nonverbal communication
  • More task communication
  • Confrontational strategies more acceptable
  • Prefers more to-the-point communication
  • More immediate feedback
  • Shorter term negotiators
  • Favors verbosity

Differences Between Japanese and American
Communication Styles (Contd.)
  • Distrustful of skilful verbal communicators
  • Group orientation
  • Cautious, tentative
  • Complementary communicators
  • Softer, heartlike logic
  • Sympathetic, empathetic, complex use of pathos
  • Expresses and decodes complex relational
    strategies and nuances
  • Exalts verbal eloquence
  • More individualistic orientation
  • More assertive, self-assured
  • More publicly critical communicators
  • Harder, analytic logic preferred
  • Favors logos, reason
  • Expresses and decodes complex logos, cognitive

Differences Between Japanese and American
Communication Styles (Contd.)
  • Avoids decision making in public
  • Makes decision in private venues, away from
    public eye
  • Decisions via ringi and nemawashi (complete
    consensus process)
  • Uses go-betweens for decision making
  • Understatement and hesitation in verbal and
    nonverbal communication
  • Frequent decision making in public
  • Frequent decisions in public at negotiating
  • Decisions by majority rule and public compromise
    is more commonplace
  • More extensive use of direct person-to-person,
    player-to-player interaction for decisions
  • May publicly speak in superlatives,
    exaggerations, nonverbal projection

Differences Between Japanese and American
Communication Styles (Contd.)
  • Uses qualifiers, tentative, humility as
  • Receiver/listening-centered
  • Inferred meanings, looks beyond words to nuances,
    nonverbal communication
  • Shy, reserved communicators
  • Distaste for purely business transactions
  • Mixes social and business communication
  • Favors fewer qualifiers, more ego-centered
  • More speaker- and message-centered
  • More face-value meaning, more denotative
  • More publicly self-assertive
  • Prefers to get down to business or nitty
  • Tends to keep business negotiating more separated
    from social communication

Differences Between Japanese and American
Communication Styles (Contd.)
  • Utilizes matomari or hints for achieving group
    adjustments and saving face in negotiating
  • Practices haragei or belly logic and communication
  • More directly verbalizes managements preference
    at negotiating tables
  • Practices more linear, discursive, analytical
    logic greater reverence for cognitive than for

Managing Cross-Cultural Communication
  • Developing cultural sensitivity
  • Careful encoding
  • Selective transmission
  • Careful decoding of feedback
  • Follow-up actions

Behaviors Most Important to Intercultural
Communication Effectiveness (as reviewed by
  • Respect (conveyed through eye contact, body
    posture, voice tone and pitch)
  • Interaction posture (the ability to respond to
    others in a descriptive, nonevaluative, and
    nonjudgmental way)
  • Orientation to knowledge (recognizing that ones
    knowledge, perception, and beliefs are valid only
    for oneself and not for everyone else)
  • Empathy
  • Interaction management
  • Tolerance for ambiguity
  • Other-oriented role behavior (ones capacity to
    be flexible and to adopt different roles for the
    sake of greater group cohesion and group

Personality Factors For Effective Intercultural
Communication (as reviewed by Kim)
  • Openness traits such as open-mindedness,
    tolerance for ambiguity, and extrovertedness
  • Resilience traits such as having an internal
    locus of control, persistence, a tolerance of
    ambiguity, and resourcefulness