Intercultural Communication Essay

1673 words - 7 pages


Intercultural communication is not an easy subject in organisations and its worse for organisations operating internationally like my organisation YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association). It becomes important as it examines how people from different cultures, beliefs and religions come together to work and communicate with each other.
The demand for intercultural communication skills increases as there are more barriers and limitations when dealing with a foreign country, to cover the cultural differences encountered when stepping into foreign grounds is vital to fully understand the cultural differences that exist so as to prevent damaging business relations due to ...view middle of the document...

First is what she calls “cognitive constrains” these are the frames of reference or world views that provides a back drop that all new information is compared to or inserted in to. Second are “behaviour constrains” each culture has its own rules about proper behaviour which affect verbal and non-verbal communication. Whether one looks the other person in the eye or not, whether one says what one means overtly or talks around the issue; how close the people stand close to each other when they are talking, all of these and many more are rules of politeness which differ from culture to culture.
Ting-Toomey’s third factor “emotional constraints”, Different cultures regulate the display of emotion differently. Some cultures get very emotional when they are debating an issue. They yell, they cry, they exhibit their anger, fear, frustrations and other feelings openly. Other cultures try to keep their emotions hidden, exhibiting or sharing only the rational or factual aspects of the situation.
All these differences tend to lead to communication problems. If the people involved are not aware of the potential for such.
Stella Ting-Toomey, Cultural Barriers to Effective Communication, University of Colorado USA
Cultural conflicts arise because of the differences in values and norms of behaviour of people from different cultures. When I am at work I act according to my values and norms of my culture; another person holding a different worldview might interpret his or her behaviour from an opposite standpoint.
My colleagues and I once compiled a fundraising proposal which we thought was excellent, and as we pitched it with the boss before we could set up a meeting with the potential sponsor, he told us it was good but he was going to ask “Brent” the English speaking person to take over because he did not trust us black people to speak appropriately with the sponsor. This was a situation that left us feeling unworthy, discriminated against and stereotyped and caused a massive conflict. It’s these kind of things that make an employee untrustworthy and lose their loyalty towards their organisation.
Age difference is another issue that constitutes to effective communication. Our boss at work is about 57 and his assistance is about 27 and the assistance understands us as young interns, since our boss is older we perceive him as sick, boring, inactive and strict. If he gives us an instruction to do something we do it immediately no questions asked, where as if the boss is not around and leave work with his assistant to give to us and because we know him on a more friendly way we tend to not take him seriously resulting to miscommunication due to age-based psychology differences.
If a Zulu cultured person works mostly with white people in an organisation eventually their culture becomes the most valued one, and the black person’s language difference and perception of accent can block successful communication because the white people will perceive having an...

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