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Significance of Intercultural Communication in the Contemporary World
Intercultural communication entails the sharing of information among individuals from different social groups and cultural backgrounds. In addition to language, intercultural communication concentrates on thought patterns of a social group, its culture and collective attributes (Ledegaard 2007). In the modern world, intercultural or cross-cultural communication is not optional. It is present in every field, including academics, business, diplomacy, health, and economics, among others. The modern world has international media, available travel and fast Internet, which have enabled easy communication around the world. Another factor that is present in the modern world is the economic globalisation. It means that not a single nation or cultural group can function in isolation. There must be interaction with the rest of the world, which has diverse cultures (Ledegaard 2007). The world has numerous problems relating to the environment, poverty, terrorism, and governance of the Internet, which require cooperation among nations; hence, intercultural communication becomes a necessity. Cultures determine the manner, in which people encode messages, the transmission medium used and the way of the information interpretation. Therefore, since the modern world has resulted in interaction of people from diverse cultural backgrounds, it is important to understand intercultural communication. This paper aims at understanding intercultural communication through worker’s diverse cultural backgrounds based on the example of Splitting the Bamboo Ceiling. It also aims at analysing the intercultural communication within the group, using the intercultural adaptation theory.
Workplace Cultural Diversity
The cultural background of an individual is a determiner of their style of communication. Additionally, various cultures create different communication aspects such as the directness with which people speak, how loud they talk, emotions expressed in various situations, and non-verbal communication spects. Today, most companies have multicultural workforces, due to immigration and globalisation. At the workplace, people face intercultural communication, and they have to interact with each other. The social relationships at the workplace are extended to the life outside the company. Interpersonal connections created in the workplace are essential in various aspects of the company’s operations. The factors include obtaining information and solving workplace conflicts (Fan 2002). It is vital for an organisation to ensure that there is no hidden talent in its human capital as a result of communication barriers resulting from cultural differences. The best approach to counter the challenges is through the use of open communication and knowledge sharing. The management should ensure that the workforce, even if they culturally diverse, understand at least one common language. For instance, English is the language used by most people in organisations. Additionally, there should be awareness created on the importance of smooth flow of information within the company. Moreover, the use of slang speech should be avoided in the workplace.
Splitting the Bamboo Ceiling entails having some ethnic groups stereotyped and describes their roles in an organisation (Annese 2014). For instance, there is stereotype that Asians should work in support roles, executing strategies or applying their expertise on the subject matter. It is often expressed that they cannot strategize or conduct executive roles (Annese 2014). However, it is a stereotype that has been taken into the workplace. As a result, most of the people communicate with the Asians as though they are inferior. In the majority of Asian cultures, the people are respectful and humble (Xiaohua et al. 2009). When they incorporate such behaviour in their communication in the workplace, they are viewed as inferior. Despite cultural backgrounds, Asian people are as effective as other people. In fact, if they were not as good in organising, their countries would not be developing at the current high rate. Therefore, the cultural background of individuals ought to be considered. In addition, its impact on people’s behaviour shhould also be analysed. It shall be possible to crack the cultural ceiling based on consideration of ethnic differences.
The intercultural adaptation theory offers explanations of the manner, in which communicators engage with one another in purpose-related encounters, where they have to incorporate cultural factors. The theory explains communicative competence as the measure of adaptation, which is associated with assimilation. It advocates a case when immigrants leave their traditions and get assimilated to the local cultural beliefs. Ho (1990) states that Australia used the assimilationist approach for the immigrants since the Second World War. Its foundation was an assumption that the immigrants would embrace the Australian cultural values. It gave the local people an assurance regarding the prevalence of their culture. The theory is based on the same argument. For instance, in the case of the Asians, they should adopt the local cultural values, which will create a unified population. Once they practice such cultural values, they shall be perceived as similar to the other community members; hence eliminating the stereotypes. Thus, immigrants should strive to adopt the culture of the local people, in order to ensure quick assimilation and easy flow of communication. It is needed in the contemporary world to ensure success and development.
Numerous factors have led to the development of multicultural populations. Such factors include improved technology, ease in transportation and globalisation (Halualani 2008). Consequently, the modern workplaces tap into the diverse populations available for their employee base. It has led to the creation of multicultural workforces. However, at times, there are challenges regarding communication at the workplace resulting from the cultural differences. It is necessary to ensure that the flow of information is easy among the employees. It will ensure that the operations of the company are effective. Such can be realised through the use of the intercultural adaptation theory.
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