Cross-cultural communication or inter-cultural communication can be defined as a subject that observes flow of information between people from different cultural origins and backgrounds. Cross-cultural communication aims at understanding the various common and diverse methods through which people belonging to different cultures communicate with one another.
Meaning and Definition of Cross-Cultural Communication
According to Gudykunst and Kim___” Intercultural communication is defined as “a transactional, symbolic process involving the attribution of meaning people from different cultures”.
According to Bennett___” Cross-cultural communication is the capacity to interpret verbal and non-verbal communication, and custom in cultural styles different from our own”.
According to Jandt___” Cross-cultural communication is comparing phenomena in diverse cultures”.
Problem and Challenges in Cross-cultural Communication
1. Lack of Communication: Undoubtedly, the chief contributor that leads to poor communication is lack of communication. Many businesses consider it as one of their major problem. Lack of communication does not only imply to the communication gap due to unsaid words, but also to inaccessible information.
2. Language: The following types of difficulties are faced by the business man when communicating in the cross-cultural environment:
- Using inappropriate Language: A language does not only carry’s information, but the subliminal meanings, vocabulary, stress, tone, pitch, etc.,can also be extracted from it. This reflects a person’s intentions. Hidden meanings, inappropriate use of words, and concealed emotions affect the attitude and confidence of the employees in the cross-culture setting. Use of inappropriate language damages the relations among the organisational members and lowers the self-confidence of the employees.
- Foreign Language: With the emerging trend of recruiting best talents from all over the word, the use of foreign languages, is common among many businesses. Often businesses use more than fifty languages. However, the company should establish one common language whether English, Spanish, German, etc,, so that every piece of work related information can be understood by everyone. This will be beneficial for the company and for the employees. Also, the management should make sure that their selected language can easily be understood by every. Coaching and tuitions should be provided, if necessary.
3. Culture: Culture differs from one nation to another. Person belonging to one culture communicates in a specific language and has habits and values that differ from a person belonging to some other culture. This acts as an obstacle in cross-culture communications as international business with a diversified workforce face challenges like use of different languages, etiquette,beliefs and values. Often different business practices are used by people belonging to different cultures. This issue can be eliminated if a cross-cultural consultant is hired by the business parties. This consultant will work as a bridge that will untie the culture differences and will help them in working as a team. He will also assist both the parties in managing the communication channel in a cohesive and productive manner.
4. Organization Culture: The culture of an organization can be explained in terms of its internal management practices.
5. Different Attitudes toward Conflict: Every business has a different attitude towards a conflict. Some deal with a positive thinking and some other take it as a negative business aspect.
6. Different Approaches to Completing Tasks: People from different attitude towards a conflict. Some deal with a positive thinking and some other take it as a negative business aspect.
Guidelines for Effective Cross-culture Communication
- Fluency of Host Country Language.
- Learn to Neutralise Language Accents.
- Awareness of Cross-Cultural Barriers.
- Speak in Clear and Open Language.
- Be sensitive to Non-Verbal Communication.
- Show Cultural Sensitivity.