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Intercultural Communications Essay

1440 words - 6 pages

Working across cultures is a new experience for many people. Intercultural communication can be a lively and creative affair. However, occasionally, due to the inability to interpret people correctly communication can become challenging. Developing an understanding of someone's culture, their communication styles, and behaviors can go a long way in improving relationships and becoming more successful in an intercultural environment Payne, 2006).Working within the confines of multicultural organizations, communication issues will inevitably become a distraction to the principle parties. This essay describes, explains, and rectifies a situation that illustrates an intercultural communications ...view middle of the document...

John did not attempt to conceal his frustration with this difficulty in communications.Manuel believed he was being treated unfairly and that this was not an isolated incident. As a result, Manuel complained to his supervisor who spoke to the store manager. A meeting was convened with Manuel, the store manager, and human resources. The meeting resulted in the store writing an ethics statement which provided Manuel a sense of equality with the other employees. In addition, human resources developed a training program which promoted a greater scope of equality among all employees.Diagnosis of the Communication IssueMany Hispanics who migrate from Mexico are from rural areas which means they tend to be of the lowest socioeconomic statue. Those from rural backgrounds are often illiterate, may also have lower levels of education, and may be limited in employment experience. Time means very little to Hispanics. Tardiness is not considered rude or disrespectful. Being late often means one is giving priority to a more urgent situation. Hispanics often live in extended families which often include: mother, father, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandparents, children, and in-laws (UNCG, 2008). These cultural norms necessarily impact the work ethics of Manuel.The cultural norms represented by John include:•A strong appreciation for innovation and a belief in progress.•A strong sense of privacy and civil rights.•A somewhat casual attitude towards sex and permanent monogamy.•Tolerance of other cultures.•A focus on youth and nuclear family, as opposed to extended family (Global Oneness, n.d.).Because the cultural norms of these two men appear to be vastly different, this must have been a contributing factor for the communication issue. John may lack the patience required to ensure his communication was clear and comprehensive. As a result of the obvious language barrier, Manuel may have been able to find some way to communicate to John his lack of understanding and seek additional assistance in acquiring the information required to assist in the completion of the project.Issue StrategiesCommunication issues may have been avoided if a few simple strategies had been implemented. Neil Payne (2006) lists 10 steps for effective communications in an intercultural environment:1. Be Patient: Working in an intercultural environment can be a frustrating affair. Things may not get done when expected, communication can be tiresome and behavior may be inappropriate. Patience with yourself and others helps move beyond such issues and address how to avoid similar incidents.2. Establish Rules: Sometimes if working in a truly intercultural team it may be necessary for all to take a step back and set down some ground rules. i.e. how do we approach punctuality, meetings, communication, emails, disagreements, etc? It is always a good idea to try and develop the rules as a group rather than have them imposed.3. Ask Questions: When you...

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