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Week 8-9 MANAGING INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

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Title: Week 8-9 MANAGING INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION


1
Week 8-9 MANAGING INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION
  • MNGT 583 Özge Can

2
Todays Questions
  • What are the major communication challenges
    facing international managers?
  • What are the various forms of verbal and
    nonverbal communication?
  • What cultural factors are relevant here?
  • How can managers overcome the barriers to
    effective intercultural communication?

3
Communication
  • Communication
  • Exchange of information, be it words, ideas or
    emotions.
  • Communication is only possible between people who
    to some extent share a system of meaning (hint
    hint culture)

4
Communicating Across Cultures
  • Aside from perceptions and interpretations of
    behavior, you need to communicate your feelings
    or reactions
  • Even when speaking the same language,
    communication is not the same
  • It is a function of culture, background and
    experiences
  • Communication styles gt The tendency for a
    culture to adopt a common style of communicating
    that is tacit and difficult for others to
    appreciate

5
Languages of the World
  • Thousands of distinct languages and even more
    dialects
  • But, only about 100 languages have more than one
    million speakers
  • About 10 languages account for most of the
    communication on the planet
  • Most widely spoken native language Chinese
    (Mandarin)

6
Speaking Other Languages
  • You need to communicate in the language of the
    country in which you are doing business
  • Being monolingual, bilingual, multilingual
  • On the other hand, English is becoming more
    pervasive in international business circles as a
    common language
  • Many nations teach English as the second language
  • Also the most common language in the academic
    world

7
Communicating in Foreign Languages
  • Even with great profiency in a certain language,
    you may still face many problems in verbal
    communication
  • Dialects, accent and other variations as well as
    many subtle differences in use
  • Even native speakers have same challenges
  • Communicating within natives as opposed to with
    non-native speakers
  • Example Americans and British

8
Communicating in Foreign Languages
  • Despite accuracy in the literal translation of
    words, the actual meaning of a word can vary
    considerably.
  • Ex Japanese peoples indirect way of saying no
  • Language might be a good indicator of underlying
    cultural values such as individualism and
    collectivism
  • Ex dropping or requiring the pronoun (I, you,
    he or she)

9
Beware Humor, Understatement or Irony!
  • Sarcasm the last refuge of modest and
    chaste-souled people when the privacy of their
    soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded.
  • ? Fyodor Dostoyevsky

10
(No Transcript)
11
  • Ricky Gervais, creator of the tv series, The
    Office The difference between American and
    British humour
  • http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Office
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vHK-Cf9R4q-c

12
Affective vs. Neutral Cultures
  • Members of cultures which are affectively neutral
    do not show their emotions but keep them
    carefully controlled and subdued.
  • In contrast, in cultures high on affectivity
    people show their feelings plainly by laughing,
    smiling, grimacing, scowling and gesturing they
    attempt to find immediate outlets for their
    feelings.

13
Affective vs. Neutral Cultures
  • The amount of visible "emoting" (degree of
    affectivity) is a major difference between
    cultures.
  • Examples
  • Americans tend to exhibit emotion, yet separate
    it from "objective" and "rational" decisions.
  • Italians and south European nations in general
    tend to exhibit and not separate.
  • Dutch and Swedes tend not to exhibit and to
    separate.

14
Test Yourself
  • In a meeting you feel very insulted because your
    business counterpart tells you that your proposal
    is insane. What is your response?
  • 1) I will not show that they have hurt/insulted
    me, because that would be seen as a sign of
    weakness and would make me more vulnerable in the
    future.
  • 2) I will not show that I am hurt because that
    would spoil our relationship. This will allow me
    later to tell the counterpart how much I was hurt
    by their comment so they might learn from it. I
    rather show my emotions when they have more
    chance to improve our business relationship.

15
Test Yourself
  • 3) I will show clearly that I am insulted so that
    my counterpart gets the message. I believe the
    clarity of my message will allow me to be able to
    control even greater emotional upset in the
    future.
  • 4) I will show clearly I am insulted so that my
    counterpart gets the message. If business
    partners cannot behave themselves properly they
    have to bear the consequences.

16
Compliments, Criticism, Embarrassment and Apology
  • Wide differences across cultures in terms of how
    often praise is given, what is praised and how
    people respond
  • Personal traits and physical apearance or
    interpersonal things - relations in a context?
  • In-group vs. out-group relations
  • Difficulty in expressing and accepting
    criticisms, admitting mistakes
  • Concern about face saving feeling of shame

17
Compliments, Criticism, Embarrassment and Apology
  • What is more important physical or psychological
    harm?
  • Types of apologies
  • Being direct vs. indirect
  • Being extensive and intense v.s. simple and quick
  • The meaning of and approach to forgiveness

18
Written Communication
  • Adoption of new communication methods-technologies
  • Which communication types a culture prefer?
  • e-mail vs. instant messaging and telephone
  • How people in different cultures write an e-mail?
  • Short, to-the-point or extented and flowery
  • Use of personal (formal) tone vs. third-person
    (informal) tone

19
Written Communication
  • Bypassing when different people use the same
    words to mean different things and thus
    communication errors occur
  • Example the meaning of the word profit
  • Use of idioms and analogies

20
Nonverbal Communication
  • The subtle cues used to communicate within and
    across cultures, including facial expressions,
    appearance , eye contact and body movements
  • Above and beyond what is being said
  • How it is being said
  • Interpersonal space and gestures
  • Emotions and touch
  • Vocal qualities

21
A Research Example
  • Riviello et al. (2012), Conference paper
  • A cross-cultural study on the perception of
    emotions How Hungarian subjects evaluate
    American and Italian emotional expressions

22
A Research Example
  • In the present work a cross-modal evaluation of
    the visual and auditory channels in conveying
    emotional information is conducted through
    perceptual experiments aimed at investigating
    whether some of the basic emotions are
    perceptually privileged and whether the
    perceptual mode, the cultural environment and the
    language play a role in this preference. To this
    aim, Hungarian subjects were requested to assess
    emotional stimuli extracted from Italian and
    American movies in the single (either mute video
    or audio alone) and combined audio-video mode.
    Results showed that among the proposed emotions,
    anger plays a special role and fear, happiness
    and sadness are better perceived than surprise
    and irony in both the cultural environments. The
    perception of emotions is affected by the
    communication mode and the language influences
    the perceptual assessment of emotional
    information.

23
Nonverbal Communication
  • Interpersonal space the distance we have between
    ourselves and others when we talk and interact
  • Different spaces are preferred by different
    cultures
  • Gestures are usually more direct and deliberate
    and designed to convey a message
  • Example a shoulder shrug, a thumps-up sign

24
Nonverbal Communication
  • Haptics the use or lack of touch as a
    communication tool
  • Vocal qualities characteristics such as speed
    and loudness of ones voice that project
    information in communication
  • People from different cultures prefer different
    levels of touch and speed of talking

25
Context, again...
  • Something communicated often carries importance
    abov and beyonf what is being said.
  • So, context itself might be the ultimate example
    of nonverbal communication
  • Difference in communication between high-context
    and low-context cultures
  • The former is more subtle and nuanced and
    prefers face-to-face communication the latter is
    more direct and prefers written communication
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